Garyecht Posted July 9, 2013 Report Share Posted July 9, 2013 In July of 1994, just after turning 50, I was injured and depressed. I needed a change. I had competed in highly physical sports for 40 years and knew I needed some less physical activity I could continue for the next 10 years. I picked dance, an odd pick as I knew from my teen years that I was a nothing special dancer. I was incredibly ignorant, thinking my only choices were ballroom and square dance. I picked ballroom because I had seen ballroom competitions on TV and knew it was a sport. I felt comfortable in the sporting world. Ballet was something for kids and professionals. I had never heard of modern dance, improvisational dance, jazz dance or Spanish/Flamenco, all styles I would later study. Nineteen years later, I feel quite comfortable with myself as a dancer. In sport I was naturally disciplined and known as a hard worker. I never had talent, but was always pretty good. I think I can now say the same for dance. Dogged persistence pays. Ive also been very lucky. I went to excellent schools and met and befriended the right people. Many performance opportunities. Wonderful friends made. The most important thing I did happened about a year after I began ballroom. I realized I was never going to be a really good ballroom dancer. As a consequence I broadened my dance experiences, leading me to theatrical dance, beginning with ballet, and further broadening within the theatrical dance world. Over time dance styles narrowed down as teachers left, companies closed, and my body started rebelling against jumping. Now Im a modern dancer, a highly diverse style quite favorable to us old folk. Occasionally I'll do a ballet class without allegro. I remember well my earliest classes in ballet. I was never the best and was often the worst student. Of all the other students in those classes, as far as I know, Im the only one still dancing. That puzzles me. I understand how difficult it is for a mother of young children. I understand the frustration of a male trying to learn difficult skills. But why aren't others persisting, especially those who have more talent than me. I had some early success as an improvisational dancer and probably thought I was better at dancing than I really was, so perhaps those encouraged persistence. Though it sounds presumptuous I now think of myself as more an artist who works in movement than as a dancer who executes steps. The difference is huge. After a while attitude and self-perception trumps all. Just as I believe everyone can dance, I believe everyone has some artistry. Only a handful of artists can be exceptional. Most of us are average at best. But even average art has a place in this world. Art makes a wonderful gift; art received is a gift to savor. Making art is loads of fun and good for the soul. As youngsters we all showed our art to each other. As oldsters I think we should do the same even if only a handful of people see it. Quote Link to comment
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