‘Tripped and fell, stood up again … and I am dancing still.’
Consider myself a dancer. In the early years, nothing greater than the new pair of ballet shoes, and waiting in the wings for the day I could finally graduate to the beloved tutu. Oh, to be given a tutu, that stiff, gorgeous bit of Swan Lake. Most of the time, being the tallest in the class, I was rather the sailor, or the tree, or the mountain top, but the tutu escaped me until my mother had one made, just because she loved me, and I have the picture to prove it. Years of ballet classes in the hope of point shoes … oh the hope, and when I finally got them, black satin I wanted, just to be different, the ankles said no – not a chance you were going to be on point, forever. Ugh.
Shattered dreams. Giselle was still out there, but rather than give up, I changed to contemporary dance. The satin, black, beautiful point shoes are still in a box somewhere. The changing led to an Honours degree in dance, and my love for Martha Graham, for Isadora Duncan – doyennes of the different dance. Danced until they dropped, the one getting old but still dancing, the other, killed by a gorgeous scarf trapped in the wheels of a car. Ah, the drama was my intoxication. And their differentness became my life dance.
I learnt that the dance need not be the traditional. It may not be the classical, the formal, the stylised acceptance – it was the free form of dancing, of moving to music, to rhythm and even now, at this age, when the music comes, the dancing comes. Not on a stage, but on the stage that is my life, in the any place where dance makes me happy.
But it is more than that. Dancing is a metaphor. The way you live your life. Times we feel awkward and exposed, incapable, clumsy. We fall and trip and crash to the ground. Life does that. But as we lie there, there is always the beginnings of the tapping, the notes that begin to play and it ignites us to doing again, to get up again, and move again. How we move, matters not, we move, and we shimmy, and we shake, and then we rise above and lose ourselves, find ourselves and rather than dance like no-one is watching, we dance like we were born to do it. On the open stage of life. Our own style.
The perfect dance, like a play, like true theatre, always has the scene of … well, all fall down. It’s a classic. The betrayal, the broken heart, the what do I do now moment. The suspended pause. Will we fail? Will we rise? Will we get up again … of course we will! Life dance always builds to the great ending and we do the same, only we do not wait in the wings, or stay in the chorus of our own lives, we adapt, we find the scarf in the derelict box, the talisman and change our perspective. And we dance, in the open, unafraid, for everyone to see.
As we are this dancer of our lives, when we get dropped by the lead or fall back into the shadows for a while, we are also being watched – we baby boomers are exposed in our glory, or defeat, by others, younger than us. Times it is not a pretty sight to see the principal loose her footing, but the important thing, when things go wrong, is to show those who follow us, that the dance is not yet over. We do fall, we do succumb to doubt and awful disappointments and lie there for a while. But we do get up again, and we can show that change may be required but the dance will go on.
And it does. Without the perfect leg rise, the perfect pirouette or the handsome catcher who was absent as we crashed. For still, there is the grand jeté, the leap of faith … the can can.
When we dance, as if everyone is watching, we dance in truth. We spin, we turn, we stumble at times and we get up to dance again. Technique in dance, and life, may have escaped us, but style, oh yes, style will be the climax of the dance. We will fall, and we may just fly, trying and dancing is all.
Live with your own sense of style, and you are dancing in the light.
Images: google, motivationalreads,pintrest