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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Hangs in the Balance


Happy Holidays!  The end of the year has snuck up on me, and I haven't been able to devote as much energy to dance simply because my reserves have been drained by the demands of my office job this quarter.  If this continues, my physical health (not to mention my sanity) is going to be at risk and I'll have to ask myself some tough questions.  They always loom in the back of my mind, but at some point I have to buckle down and think about who I am and what it is I want to be spending my energies on.

My dance life recently hasn't been non-existent, rather it's redeveloping.  I realize I go through phases in my choice of daily class.  I'll find myself wanting to feel all my muscles working properly and to go back to the basics; you'll find me at ballet class 70% of the week.  Then at some point I'll just want to move, no holds barred, focusing on endurance and strength.  I'll want to end the session with me, flat on my back on the floor, relishing the sweatiness!  Mop me off the floor at the Chinese dance studio.

I'm somewhere in between at the moment, trying to recover from work. I'm simply happy to be dancing at all.

This video is of the Yi ethnic dance "Mo She Ge" that I'd dubbed "Yi Feisty Girl" in an earlier post.  It reminds me of why I keep pushing myself; no matter how tired I am from work, I make sure I do something every day to stay in touch with my body and to get myself to class (or to give myself class if I have to).  It's to keep on pushing the boundaries of what my body can do, not just in terms of strength, but in internalizing new styles of movement.

The distinctive, playful movements of this Yunnan province dance are meant to look natural and at ease, but in reality learning this was completely unnatural for me!  This sounds strange, but it felt akin to putting on the most ill-fitting suit and shoes, and being asked to tap dance while giving a speech.  Obviously this wasn't specifically the case, but you get the idea: I had no clue as to even which muscles I should use to initiate the movements.  Awkward.  I know it's bad when my normally intense teacher laughs after I try something!  In the end, I somehow pulled this off between business trips to Beijing and the results were at least fun and colorful.

The point is, this reminds me that dance is a real part of me.  When I'm a stressed zombie after another 15 hour day at the office and have no room left in my brain, I need to remember who I am.  I am not just a worker bee.  I dance.  Perhaps it's time to reevaluate the (lack of) balance in my life.

Here's looking forward to a year ahead of music, movement, growth, and joy!  
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