Monday, May 23, 2011

"If you dance you'll never grow old."

There was a time in my life when the world revolved around dance.  Not because I was particularly good at it.  The technique of dance was anything but natural.  Becoming a part of my university's beginning team took three years of training prior to beginning college, nine college classes in dance, and three auditions.  But the love of moving and music was much, much easier.

Growing up my family owned a cassette tape with the music from Disney's Aladdin.  I would put on the tape and dance to it all around the living room.  In eighth grade I spent an afternoon in a friend's garage where there was space for her to teach me all the leaps and turns she was learning in ballet.  Within a week or two I was enrolled at a local studio.  After a few years of ballet and jazz dance I began looking for a better teacher, but there weren't any in my small town.  At college I spent many more hours dancing than studying.  I became part of the International Folk Dance team and did my best to learn to clog, tap, Irish dance, and every other kind of dance from around the world.  I loved every single moment of it.  Through dance I made some of my closest friends, had most of my romantic relationships, and experienced some of my most bitter disappointments.  The time came when I put my dancing shoes away and pulled my books out as I worked my way through four years of graduate school.  Dance became a social hobby rather than a performance driven pursuit.  Around the same time I experienced a painful injury in my foot from running that has curtailed all activities that involved my feet.  Now, after two and a half years, I am able to again stand on my toes, do turns, and walk.  I find myself bumping into my furniture because I don't have enough room to dance to the music playing in my little house.

There are many things I love about living on the edges of Yellowstone: no stoplights, quiet nights, small towns, good people, a sky as big as the outdoors, and the pine trees that whisper my name when no one is around.  My dance studio is different now.  When no one is looking at work, at home, or when I am alone on a mountainside I find myself reaching for the sky and spinning down the trail.  I dance under the blue sky and I have to be careful that I don't turn an ankle in a ground squirrel hole.  I have no audience and I need none.  This time I dance simply because it expresses so much that I feel and cannot say.

This came to my mind because I recently found the following animation.  It reminded me of all that I have and do love about dancing.


Meg said...

I'm with you, Rach. There is something about dance that gets inside of you and never lets go, long after you leave a studio. I still do the same thing. And, I'm happy to say I see it in the next generation, too. I caught a student this week doing a chane turn from the trash can back to her desk. :)

evieperkins said...

Beautifully written, Rach. I nearly cried.

Miss Wesel said...

I think I have more respect for the human body because of seeing the dance animated.

fm7 said...

Dancing and dancing on a trail - I can only imagine but it's beautiful.

Eddie Ludema said...

That's a really well-done video, I loved it!