"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Can't, I Have Dance

Isn't it just so crazy how sometimes you really just have no clue how much you love something until you think you're had more than enough of it and lose it, leave it, or quit it?

I started dancing when I was 5, and started performing when I was 7. Cinderella. This is me after my first ever ballet performance! The next year it was Thumbelina. Then next year just a non-story end of the year showcase. Then the Nutcracker for the next 2 years. When I was 12 I started taking classes at Caryl Maxwell Classical Ballet and performing in 2 shows each year; a Spring performance and the Nutcracker. A couple years later I registered at the Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland (actually it was still officially named Ballet Royale Academy at the time...the B.R.A.as abbreviated in the information packets) and started performing in an annual Gala with guest artists from the American Ballet Theater in addition to a Spring showcase and the Nutcracker each year.

Those were crazy times! As if 12 or so hours of technique classes wasn't enough, with the extra time for rehearsals I'd be at the studio dancing for 20+ hours a week for most of the year. That's not even including the time spent at the studio waiting between classes and rehearsals, or the time it took to drive there and back, or wait for my ride to pick me up, or do my hair every day, etc.

Dance classes and rehearsals kind of defined my life during high school, especially considering I was home schooled for almost all of my life (I went to public school through 2nd grade...not much). I couldn't ever do anything. "I can't, I have dance" was basically the motto by which my life was lived. After awhile my friends stopped inviting me to things altogether because they knew I wouldn't be able to come. But I digress.

Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals. I still remember clearly the sweaty smell and humid mugginess that almost knocked you down when you opened the door, the deathly feet stench of the dressing room, the awful thirsty dehydrated heat-exhaustion feeling of sandpaper scrubbed against the insides of my temples, the never-healing shin splints, having sweat run down my face and into my eyelashes, looking like I was made of polished glass from being literally drenched in sweat...even having sweat coming out my forearms and the backs of my hands, laughing at each others awkward sweat marks on our leotards, hearing Mr. Slava yell out "Karin! Line!" in his accent, taking TUMS before rehearsals to help with the nausea that heavy breathing and exercise brought about, the taste of accidentally inhaling hairspray in the dressing room, the excruciating tear-jerking pain of doing pointe with bruised toenails, how my face would always get flushed and red from exertion except right around my lips for some reason, trying to put on a tough face and keep dancing with massive bloody blisters on the backs of my heels right where the drawstring of my pointe shoes rubbed (I've got some nice scars on the backs of both heels from constant blisters on top of blisters), the stress of having a performance coming soon, being exhausted and just wanting to lay down on the floor and sleep but still having to keep dancing...oh man, I could go on all night. SO many unpleasant memories!

Once I graduated and came to BYU I fully intended to be on one of the performing Ballet companies, but I chickened out and didn't audition. Then my tendonitis and other random body issues, plus class scheduling conflicts, forced me to give it up altogether. It was really sad, but at the same time it was great! For the first time in 7 years my life didn't revolve around my ballet schedule! No more having my hair in a bun every day, or stressing about whether or not I had washed my leotards the night before, or carrying all my dance stuff around, or having to keep my legs shaved because I spent every day in pink tights, or struggling to remember choreography or combinations, or any of that! And I turned to ballroom instead for several years and loved it! But that's a whole different story. (ending in me getting a ballroom dancer husband :D Yay!!!)

Even throughout all the ballroom blitz and glamor - not to mention the personal discovery, competition experience, and all the good times, good friends, phone numbers, dates, and boyfriends I got from it - there was still a tiny little unignorable voice deep down inside whispering "I love ballet" over and over. After I graduated from BYU and started fading out of the ballroom scene the voice kept getting louder and louder until just 2 months or so ago when it was practically screaming in my ears, and the little "I miss ballet" of years past was replaced with a massive hunger to fill that part of my life back up again!

I remember getting into my truck to drive to work one day and basically pleading in my mind with my Heavenly Father to let me have one more chance to be in a performance. Once you've graduated from high school and college, there really aren't any more performance opportunities unless you go professional...which is not an option for me, so I knew it was basically a hopeless plea, but still a very sincere heart-felt one. The best I could hope for really was to find a studio that I could take adult ballet classes at and just hope it wasn't for beginners! I started looking up local ballet studios, trying to assess the teaching quality from their websites, comparing tuition costs, and trying to find a class at a day and time that I could take it. One of the only studios with an advanced adult class just so happened to be right between where I work and where I live, and the class was held on Wednesday nights, which is usually my day off. It was just too convenient to pass up. After my first class I was hooked! I could hardly wait for the next week to go back again!!

Before my 3rd or 4th class there the teacher took a couple minutes to tell us about a performance that the studio was doing, and she wanted me to be in it! No way!! Probably the only studio in Utah that had a performance opportunity I could be a part of and I had no idea that was the case when I started going there! A couple of weeks later the director told us in rehearsal that she had been really worried about getting enough dancers for the show, and had been praying for Heavenly Father to send her some dancers who were capable. I don't think it is any coincidence that both of us had our prayers answered :) So now, not only am I in the show, I am in every single dance of the show except for the ones with only the lead husband and wife!! It's been over 5 years since my last performance. Spending my evenings in rehearsals feels like coming home :)

And now the next time something comes up on a Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday night, or a Saturday afternoon, I can say with a smile "I can't, I have dance". And I honestly don't mind one bit!!  :D

1 comment:

  1. I love this! I miss it too... I'm not even doing ballroom really right now. Not dancing sucks.