Friday, February 4, 2011

Feeling grateful

Just yesterday, I was thinking about my first pair of point shoes. I still have them in a box in my closet; the only pair I've kept. The day I bought them was a proud day, for they were well earned. My ankles had to have a certain strength and my skill and technique had to handle the responsibility. My fellow dancers and I had been preparing for this day for quite some time. Going to the dance shop was a field trip for us young dancers, not unlike seeing a museum of dinosaur bones for the first time. Phillip, the fitter, placed lambs wool in the box of the shoe as to soften the shock of skin on wood. The anatomy of a point shoe doesn't exactly aid in pretty feet, other than when one is wearing them to dance. I placed my hands in his as he aided me in rising to my tippy toes. I might as well had been on the tippy top of the world.

Agnes De mille, a dancer, said, "To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking." That is how I felt in that moment. Taller. Stronger. Proud. Strange how something so foreign can bring so much happiness. I had never worn point shoes before, yet I somehow felt that I had made a new friend. My love for dance has only grown as I have. I smile when I remember that first time and the many times that dance changed me for the better. If ever there was a short-cut to happiness, dancing is certainly one of them.

Freedom is what dance gives you; Freedom of the heart, freedom from the mind, even freedom from your body. It's like the soles of your feet take flight. You can be anyone or anything in that moment. When I am on stage, and I am dancing, that is when I feel the most "me." I feel that if I have something to say, I can say it without saying a word. I am moved by it, inspired by it, touched by it. It's pure creativity. It is pure being..."to chase the glowing hours with flying feet." So...I'm feeling grateful that it exists and that I can exist in it.

"The dancer believes that his art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing...there are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words. There are movements which impinge upon the nerves with the strength that is incomparable, for movement has power to stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself. This is the dancer's justification for being, and his reason for searching further for deeper aspects of his art." - Doris Humphrey, dance pioneer.

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