Most nights when I go to a ballet class, probably 3 out of every 4 times, I end class feeling fine. I’m happy I got the opportunity to dance, to move, to sweat and to exercise. The fourth class, I end up feeling horrible. Maybe it corresponds to times when I am PMS-ing, in which case, the rest of this post is invalidated, but whatever.
Tonight was the fourth class. One of those classes where every wobble, every missed turn and misaligned hip is another voice nagging in my head, this is why you couldn’t make it. One of those classes where I peek in on classes with seventeen year old girls and see them with all their youthful potential and get jealous – jealous of seventeen year olds! One of those classes where I stay after to work on pirouettes and my reflection in the mirror tells me, why even bother?
I haven’t put on pointe shoes in months, partly because I want to work on my technique and partly because I keep asking myself, what’s the point? I have a love-hate relationship with dance because I want to keep getting better and to look good and sometimes that sucks the joy out of dancing. I know I preach that anyone can dance and anyone can have fun while dancing, but I remember what it’s like to be (sort of) decent – or at least what it’s like to think you still have years ahead of you to improve. And that makes me dissatisfied with anything but quality dancing from myself. I guess taking ballet classes doesn’t help, since ballet can be less forgiving, but I think even taking a jazz or contemporary or lyrical class would produce similar results for me in terms of the lows and highs I can feel. There are days when I can tell myself, okay – I’m not going to be a professional and that’s okay, I can just be better and improve for myself. And there are days when I feel so frustrated with the limitations of how far I can go because of external circumstances and body type.
Or maybe it’s not that I have a love-hate relationship with dance but that dance in its abstract cruel form has a love-hate relationship with me. Then what am I supposed to do, when dance no longer loves me?
Maybe I need a new hobby. But I have the feeling that to completely give it up – to go cold turkey, which I sort of tried before – will be even sadder than dealing with the one in four times when I feel horrible. Is feeling happy from dancing 75% of the time worth it? For now it is…