Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This is what I look like, generally speaking, after a day of rehearsals. I spend most of my working days in either shapeless cotton that could double as pajamas or in stretchy, thin things that could double as swimsuits, if they weren't so ratty and utilitarian. I look like a bedraggled character from a Dr. Seuss illustration. My clothes are mostly sweaty, my hair has gone mad, and I am usually stiff, bruised, or otherwise aching.

1. Ballet class remains hard, incredibly and painfully hard, about two decades after my first one.
2. Last week, I was very lazy. I had a light rehearsal schedule, so I skipped class on four days out of the possible seven. Still, I danced for twelve hours. And this is me being as slothful as I probably can without going on vacation. Usually, it's 30 hours or more.
3. All of this practice--class, rehearsal, being on stage--all of these hours and hours, thousands and thousands of them, add up to a certain level of skill that still leaves me working on such difficult things as Standing Up Properly.

Dance, for me, has lost its glamour. It's still beloved and beautiful, still capable of offering intellectual sparring, rapturous pleasure, and that particular satisfaction of time spent on something so worthwhile and good that you can't wish it had been allotted to anything else. But it has lost its slickness and soft unreality. I've lost the illusion that disconnects the magical, floating, impossible creatures onstage from the damp and unromantic confines of the studio.

It's a side effect of familiarity. Something like the sharpening of focus that takes place when you've known someone for years. It's intimacy in action and the exhaustion of mistruths. It's commitment and honesty and all that is good and solid and thrilling-yet-not. It's infinite possibility, and I am glad to have it. Even at the expense of glamour.

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