It’s been a long time since I’ve had the experience of a break from school, but I’ve been taking dance classes, and since the year-end holidays all fell in the middle of our class week, we haven’t had lessons for a long, long, long time. Well, it wasn’t that long, but considering how important those sessions have become to me, it seemed as if I’d started leading a whole other danceless life during the break.
Luckily today, our first day back, we took it slowly. Much strength and elasticity is lost with just a couple of weeks of inactivity, and there is no way to make up the loss in two-and-a-half hours. (One and a half hours for ballet, one hour for Arabic dancing.) Supposedly every day lost to dancing takes a week to make up when one is young, so there’s no telling how long it will take now. I’ll just be patient with myself and hope the teacher will do the same.
Still, it was good to be moving, to feel alive. Since most of today’s ballet class wasn’t taken up with all our usual barre exercises and stretches, we had time to learn a little dance. “Dance” might be too grand a word for those few basic steps, but it was elegant for all that, with développés, pas de bourrées, glissades, sauté arabesques, and soutenu turns. (I’m showing off. Can you tell?)
It’s amazing to me that anyone is willing to teach someone who comes to dance at such an advanced age, particularly since I will never be a “real” dancer, just as I will never be a “real” writer. Neither dance nor writing will ever be the sole focus of my life. I will not tolerate suffering for the sake of either art. (Quite frankly, I have no interest in suffering at all.) I have no passion to bring to either activity — I seem to be missing the passion gene, and the consensus seems to be you need passion to be a dancer or a writer. Although writing and dancing bring much life to my life, both seem to be not ends so much as means to what I really want, though continuing to be frank, I have no idea what I really want. (Which is sort of the problem, because of course, if I knew what I wanted, I could start doing whatever it is I needed to do in order to get what I wanted.)
But I’m getting off the topic of this particular bloggerie, which is today, dance, life.
Today I danced. Today I lived. Can’t ask for better than that.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.