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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Smooth Moves and New Jobs

    Every time I prepare move, I invariably become convinced that no landlord will ever want to let me pay to live in his building. Until the moment I have a set of keys in my hand, I continue to find myself wondering which subway stations will best protect me from the elements, and which park has the comfiest benches. No matter how many times I recite Matthew 6:25, nothing reveals how much of a doubter and worrier I am, quite like moving. I'm happy to report that Graham and I have not been forced to sleep on the A train, waking only to break dance for spare change. God provided us with a smooth (if laborious) move-in and amazing friends willing to help carry boxes up five flights of stairs. We now live in a spacious studio apartment right along the Hudson River in an adorable part of Washington Heights. Graham and I both agree that if we were ever to raise a family in New York City, we would do it here (or even further North in Inwood).

    In other news, I've joined a dance company for its summer (and potentially Fall) season! I'm so excited to be rehearsing and performing again, and so grateful the Lord has blessed my attempts to do what I love professionally. Besides dancing, I'm making a small amount of money writing freelance which is both awesome and kind of weird. Awesome because "work" is now approximately three feet from my bed, and weird because I don't feel like I have a "real" job. Still, I'm not complaining. God is great. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Goals, Disappointments and Dancing Dreams

     As dancers, we know that our biggest dreams are difficult, if not impossible to attain. I remember being four years old, watching  Darci Kistler float across my family's clunky TV screen as the sugar plum fairy in the television version of  Balanchine's Nutcracker and telling my mom confidently, "I want to do that." While she patted me on the back and told me that was a lovely dream to have, she added that I'd have to "work very hard"  to do it and that not everyone gets to be a prima ballerina. I vowed then and there to work as hard as possible to achieve my goals of becoming a "real" dancer.
 After beginning training at a professional ballet school, I was told over and over again that having a career in a well-paying company was next to impossible, even if I continued training rigorously. I listened, but remained convinced that nothing could stand in my way. Body type, poor extensions, height, back injuries. Nothing mattered, I reasoned, if I just worked harder. Although my goals shifted in the years that followed--toward contemporary ballet after a brief fling with musical theater--my determination remained the same. It wasn't until I moved to New York in 2007 that I realized my dreams might not all come true.
    A handful of injuries combined with sudden weight gain and anxiety made me afraid, for the first time, of going to dance classes and auditions. The whole NYC dance world overwhelmed me and with each unsuccessful audition, I wondered whether I could really do this. But I couldn't, and still can't, imagine what life would be like without dancing, performing, taking class, having that dream. By the grace of God, I'm learning to compete with dignity in this crazy business. The number of callbacks I've received has increased and I have a couple of company membership options on my horizons. I still wonder what might have happened if I'd stuck  with classical ballet alone or if I'd skipped college in favor of conservatory training or an apprenticeship, but I know the decisions I made were for the best. I sometimes feel like my best dancing years are behind me and even though I probably peaked, physically, at 17, I know my technique and versatility have improved immeasurably since then.
  Even if my goals are impossibilities, I'm going to keep dreaming, imagining and trying until I'm too old to tie the drawstrings on my ballet slippers.

Yeah, I totally stole this entire post from a believe-in-yourself motivational posters.   I'm sorry that this blog is sounds like a Lifetime movie and I hope you'll forgive this disgusting display of sincerity. At least I didn't link you to this. (Oops.)
    What's your impossible dream?