I’ve been staring at my computer, drinking tea, scribbling stream-of-consciousness thoughts on paper, and scrolling Instagram. All to find the one thought that will spark the idea for this week’s blog post. Finally, I decided to ask for help.
Thank you Christina for your response in the form of a question that finally got me typing!
What most inspires you to develop your dancing?
This question meshes well with the ponderings bouncing around my head this morning. I’ve written a lot this year about the effects that the pandemic has had on my dance journey, specifically my motivations for continuing to dance and my quest to discover a deeper sense of purpose in my performances. Performance opportunities are limited though, and the present-day competitions and showcases can feel like a stubborn grip on the past rather than a step forward into the future.
I have no doubt that the U.S. will win the “most epic fail” award by the end of this pandemic, and I struggle to define the goals that feel appropriate to this chapter of my dance journey and that would keep me moving forward in such an environment. Part of me wants to compete, to be out on that floor again dancing full out for myself and my audience. Another part of me feels like holding an event like a ballroom competition right now is ignorant and disrespectful of the situation we’re in.
Then, there are the virtual showcases. I’m preparing for my second one right now. Showcases are more project-specific goals, as opposed to longer-term growth goals. You learn and rehearse a specific routine, perform it, and then you move on. For me, they are fun diversions but don’t provide the deeper fulfillment or purpose I’m seeking in my dancing. This particular one however is serving a secondary purpose of practicing management of my social anxiety, since the routine is a group number and I have to spend time with six other people.
I questioned whether this group performance was another example of being ignorant of our current situation. Yes, we’re all wearing masks. The routine is very low intensity, so we don’t end up breathing hard (which makes the 6-foot guideline pointless). I justified my personal participation by noting that I only leave my apartment to either go to the dance studio or go to my physical therapy appointments. I’m still staying home as much as possible to limit my exposure and potentially becoming an unaware carrier. Still…
I realized pretty quickly at the beginning of the pandemic that external goals like competitions would not suffice as inspiration or motivation to keep up my dance training. I had to find that push within myself.
This year during the pandemic, I’ve found inspiration in exploring and developing the connection with my own body. After an online ballet barre class the other night, I tried once more to lift and develop each leg while focusing on keeping the standing leg’s side lengthened like I’m supposed to (for those newer to me, I have a minor obsession with being able to lift my leg high). For a few brief seconds, I felt something slightly different, a smidgen of additional strength and control, and I swear my leg went a touch higher with less-than-usual struggle. My understanding of how my body was working ticked up a point, and even though it was the tiniest sign of progress, I felt immensely accomplished.
It’s those little moments of magic that happen out of the spotlight in random places like in front of my bathroom sink – those are the moments inspiring me this year. Where I take those tiny but significant accomplishments is still to be determined.
Ultimately, I write and dance to communicate with the rest of the world. I hope to inspire and encourage others on their own journeys. Dance is a powerful vehicle for making a positive impact. How to best use that vehicle in our current environment is what I’m still trying to figure out. I’ll be sure to let you know when I do.
Reminder – all book/journal bundles at Practice Ballroom Dance are on sale! If you can’t find inspiration in your dancing, journaling about your dancing will help. It’s why I started blogging about my ballroom journey in the first place!