It would be safe to say that I’ve gone thru quite the ringer with my dancing this last week. But, not in my lessons or with my teachers. With myself. I guess this is what happens to you when you start to read more. Couple that with great conversations with arts-minded friends who push me to think beyond what I have ever considered before and I find myself delving into new depths — and I love it. When the brain gets so involved, the sleep takes a dive. When the sleep takes a dive, the immune system takes a hit. When the immune system takes a hit, you get sick. And thus, here I sit at my computer sniffing and hacking away while ruminating on my last week. A lot has happened. I had three good lessons this week. It was a 2 steps forward, 1 step back kind of week — PROGRESS! 🙂
But, I think perhaps I’ve taken a step forward — at least lateral — mentally in how I view this whole dancing thing, — and I can’t help but think that far outweighs some back steps I’ve taken with my actual floor craft. There is so much to sift thru mentally, I’m more than confident I’ll be speaking of these things for some time … to anyone who is willing to listen to me blather. (Of course, online I have no one to filter or stop me!) 😉
This last week I also received some cool offers to help with some local productions and I’ve had to begin immersing myself in that creative process. In preparation, tonight, I spent several hours going back into Charles Dickens’ world via “A Christmas Carol.” I watched some very old B&W British versions of the story and started taking notes. The style is obviously unlike our modern sensibilities of acting and staging (especially American), however, the story is compelling to me; I still got choked up. The story never changes; the themes of grace and redemption and second chances are moving. Scrooge … who, we must admit is closer to the end of his life … does a complete turnaround and actively changes who he is and how he does his life. It’s a very hopeful story. He goes back to engaging in his local community — to investing his money and his life in others.
More on all of this to my theatrical friends, I’m sure, but I do have a point here. When Scrooge awakens after that frightful revelatory night, he is fuzzy on whether he is still alive and what day it is. When he realizes that the whole haunting took place on Christmas Eve and he has been given his second chance, this moment is delightful. Dickens has him laughing and dancing about his rooms — reminiscent of the other very happy time in his life we see from his past: dancing and laughing about the rooms belonging to Fezziwig — back when he is still engaged in his community and investing in others.
In the words of Twyla Tharp: “I’ve always believed that a dance evening energizes an audience, that an audience goes out feeling chemically stronger and more optimistic. This is what I understand about dance. And this is an important thing. We need this. Our culture needs it.”
Sometimes, I think we forget about this concept of dance and community. I have a post that I’m still ruminating on about where I want to discuss this. I was inspired when I heard some fellow dancers say things about wishing to dance without an audience or definitely not in front of anyone they know. I was very dismissive of this because of my theatre background, but, I think I have more to say on it now that I’ve done some reading and reflecting. 🙂 But, I digress.
It seems perfectly natural for Scrooge to dance about the room showing his great joy in his new chance at life! In fact, it would be strange if he didn’t show us this exuberance. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the technique of our dances and the problems/relations with our coaches and teachers and other dancers, etc., we forget that, sometimes, dancing can just simply be done for the sheer joy of being alive and part of a community. And we need it. I need it.