When I do a search on Dancemagazine site for “older dancer”, I find an article blurb asking “Why aren’t we seeing older dancers more often?” and when I click on the More hyperlink,…..the article is no longer there….
Kind of like the remnants of a dancer’s life.
Like amazing dancers who just vanished from the dance world, with only pictures and memories. It’s as if they died, but we have links to them. The links are just dead.
When I have experiences like this, and when I look for classes in cities I am visiting, and they have JAZZ40 (Jazz for folks over 40 years old), I start to feel like a senior citizen. All this at the same time I am thinking of starting dance all over.
Part of me says this is impossible. The pragmatic, scared part of me knows that to simply follow a “regular” career would be the easiest route, the safest route, the predictable route, with only the pain of numbness.
Another part of me, the warrior side, jumps at the challenge. “I can do anything I set my mind to” is her mantra. I have accomplished most of what I set out to do, although I have not learned to sustain anything. But, this is not something to conquer, although I would have to use all of those warrior skills to ensure I am safe and consistent and that I push through those tough times. This part of me knows what it takes, and stands at attention, ready to take on the next challenge I give it.
The weary part of me asks, “when will all these challenges end? I am so deeply tired.” This part wants simplicity, no goals, just time to ponder, and sleep, and feel what comes up. She wants to slow down enough to feel nature, to breathe in her surroundings. Slow down until the air breathes her, until the rumblings of the earth are the rumblings of her body, until the vibrations of the universe are the music in her cells. And then, she will be rejuvenated, and then she will tap into the wellspring of mana and let it flow through her.
And a deeper part of me knows that this is not a labor of a year, or simply a challenge. This is not something for which I instantly drop everything else in a brave attempt to reclaim what I laid down in shame. ..Something I picked up again, and again, and again.
This is a calling to be fully embodied, not just to dance the form I know best, but to yet again be a channel of light and love. This time, with more wisdom, with more gravity, more balance and sincerity.
This is a deep act of self-preservation in a world so confusing and chaotic, so wildly unnatural in its attempt to curb our true wild nature. Our wild nature IS balance. It is a natural, instinctual response to the vibrations moving in, around, and through us. It is not a set of societal structures and rules, but rather an inner compass based on wisdom, heart, and deep knowing. It is sourced from our genes and our ancestors.
I know not where this is coming from, except that I know a knot inside is coming unraveled. It’s a big one, a gnarly mess of shame, grief, unspoken desires and abandoned dreams.
It’s time for something new to be born from an old passion. When I left San Francisco Ballet School and abandoned a full scholarship, I told them that dance was a spiritual thing for me. I didn’t tell them the truth, that I couldn’t afford to survive. And yet, I think in many ways, I did tell the truth. Dance is my way of connecting to source, to being a channel of the FULL experience of life. It rolls in the past, the present, and future. It rolls in HUMANITY. It can be shared or it can be solitary, and either way it connects us.
I trust I will find people who feel the same way as me on my journey. This journey started 33 years ago, when I discovered ballet. While I may not have spent all those years in the studio, I have explored movement in many forms, and I keep coming back to the DANCE….
Dance is Life is Dance