I wrote a few posts ago about dance, but this post is more specifically about ballet. I'm really missing it this week, and today a fabulous find on YouTube motivated me to get out my pointe shoes, put them on, and dance around the room. I'm not even kidding.
I'm starting swing, and really enjoying it. I've done a tiny bit of mambo, salsa, and some other types of dance... but ballet is somewhat unique.
Ballet is extremely disciplined, as dance forms go. There were times that the monotony of the barrework or the slow precision of port de bras in the center could get a little boring. And especially to those who have never danced, warmups and technique exercises probably seem utterly banal.
In the 13 years I danced ballet, it was fun, but more than that. Dance could become something of an escape for me. This did happen occasionally in another activity, like marching band or guard, but ballet was a little different, either because of its nature or just the fact that I'd done it for so long.
When I get upset over things, it often happens in the form of being what I call 'thinky.' I'll get in a bad mood, for one reason or another, or none at all, and overthink things. I'll think about one bad thing, which reminds me of another, and another... and suddenly I'm overwhelmed with worries, memories, regrets, and other unpleasant thoughts. Sometimes I want to sit around and be mopey, but most of the time I feel like getting away. I feel like pushing it all to the back of my mind and forgetting the world.
When I was thinky, ballet was amazing. As soon as I settled into the familiar routine of barrework, I'd concentrate on my turnout or my extension or how hard my toe was pointing or the shape of my arm... and eventually the soft piano melody just sank in and took over. I'd become so engrossed in the dancing that my problems would go into hiding for the time being. They didn't go away; dancing never made my problems disappear. But somehow, the thoughts driving me crazy would go into hiding for the time being, and I would relax. Pushing off of the floor, reaching into the air, pushing each extension higher, feeling the music... just dancing.
Sports players will talk about being 'in the zone,' and that's exactly what this was like. I would concentrate on moving, performing, dancing... and nothing else mattered. Even after the lesson, I'd come away feeling much more relaxed and so much less stressed than when I came.
It's a difficult thing to describe, but I miss it. I miss the feeling of the music sweeping me away into a world where all that matters is dance, and the rest of my life fades away. It's been a long time since I've felt it, and sometimes when I get really thinky, like earlier this week... I want that escape more than anything in the world.