I have a lot of friends who have just recently started blogging and look at me with my 300. I feel like a proper blogger now. I’ve already mentioned that I have another idea for a series of themed posts but I will get to that later – now is time for internet celebrations.
So instead of musing on the future, the pain of adult life and my various moods, I’m going to have a quick hark back to my childhood.
We’re going back. Very far back. To before I was a singing teacher, to before I played piano, to before I latched to academia as if my life depended on it. Yes, we are taking a gander at my life in dancing.
In retrospect, I am not sure I could call myself a dancer. I stopped dancing at the age of fourteen and haven’t returned in a real way since. But at the time, it was my life and I adored moving myself to the various beats that madam music can present.
Like, I said – I’m not a dancer. Not any more. But I remember the very first time I stood on stage at the age of four, hair pulled into a bun, garish blue eye shadow and red lipstick smeared on my face, playing a rain drop in a tutu with all of the other four year old ballerinas in my class.
It was a time when I loved my dance classes. Over the years, I was neither best nor worst, picking up occasional parts here and there, marvelling at the skill and physique of the older dancers. I participated in nothing anyway active except for my ballet lessons. I loved the long skirts of character dancing that you only wore for an exam, I loved stretching my legs in weird ways, I loved the studio full of mirrors. I didn’t love the occasional comparison to elephants when we landed loudly, but I loved ballet all the same.
At the age of 10, I decided to leave to pursue other art forms – namely the theatre. I joined the stage school (of which my sisters were also members) and delved into the worlds of jazz, tap and hip-hop – along with a little acting and singing for good luck. When asked my favourite of the three, I would still respond without hesitation that dancing was my passion. I fell into a nice middle ground again – neither best nor worst, picking up small parts here and there, relishing the applause of the stage.
At this point in time, I had also been involved in another hip hop class, was chosen for the set dancing team in school and was doing well in my acting class (yes, I took another acting class on top of this.) My early teens were dominated by the concept of a career in the theatre. I had no other prospects in mind, because I had the arts and that was all that I needed.
Sometimes I look back and wonder why I left. At fifteen, I said the Junior Cert was more important than the stage. In reality, I think I had just become too awkward for it to work any more. I was sitting alone in class, I was comparing my appearance to others and my joy of dancing was overwhelmed by my increasing depression. So I ran away.
My future forays to re-enter the theatre were cut short by my own ego and sense of criticism. Auditions didn’t go well and back in the day, I did love to play the victim. I hate that I never tried but c’est la vie. As someone who tries to instil this sense of potential into students, this is always a lesson for me to remember.
And for you: Don’t be afraid. Keep doing the things you love. Your ability isn’t what matters – your joy is.
And because that got very serious, lets finish with a little laughter.