Pictured are true friends in our natural habitat (nursing old injuries we previously failed to acknowledge)
In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d give a Hallmark worthy shout-out for some of the reasons I’m thankful to have dance in my life.
1. Artistic Amnesty
Thank you dance for granting me creative license and never revoking it even when I took advantage of the system by claiming that my crappy work was misunderstood, subjective, or ahead of its time. I knew it sucked. Thank you for giving me a haven for what I consider “artistic amnesty” that I believe we as artists have rightfully earned in place of the paychecks we deserve.
2. Drive and Determination
Thank you dance for giving me drive to push through each class, rehearsal, and show when all I wanted was to eat a Twinkie on the couch while watching other people workout in my VHS 90’s Tae Bo tape. It’s a lot like riding a bike. If you stop pedaling, you’re going to lose your balance and fall over or come to a screeching stop. Just keep pedaling and chances are you’ll cover some distance.
3. Communication Skills
Thank you dance for teaching me how to communicate. Not only do I better understand what I think of as subconscious choreography, or body language but I’ve also become well-equipped to defend my craft. Now when relatives ask what I intend to do as a dance major I can either explain my field or throw a red herring at the argument with the adroit skill of a crooked politician. I’ve calculated my risks. Yes, I know that I’m bad at math, but I’m going to take a shot at it.
4. Wonderfully Bizarre Friends
Thank you dance for the wonderful friends I have that don’t question me when I soak my feet in the recycling bin, sleep with a foam roller, or walk around with an icepack down my pants. Dance friends are the kind of friends worthy of a cheesy 90’s sitcom show that has theme music and laughter every time an entrance is made. They’re also the best party friends and are well-rehearsed to whip out the Single Ladies dance at a moment’s command.
5. Freedom from Caring About Appearances
Thank you dance for making me oblivious to people around me who are dressed in real clothing while I’m in sweats. Meanwhile, I will eternally be fashioned in something that looks like Boo Radley was auditioning to be the latest Nike’s model. Don’t get me wrong…we could clean up if we wanted to. However, we’ve all gone onstage dressed in something worse than our “Cousin It” inspired look so embarrassment ceases to exist. I also am thankful for permission to be sweaty. I like to think that our wardrobe (and hygiene for that matter) is like limbo, “How low can you go?” The answer? VERY.
6. A Place to Fail
Thank you dance for giving me a haven where I can fail…constantly. Whether I’m doing petit allegro resembling Bambi learning to walk, performing a combination in the back like Left Shark, or actually tumbling to the floor like a drunk person after a pirouette gone awry, I am always granted permission to fail. In fact, some teachers actually clap when I fall for “going for it.” The fact that I found a place where I can receive an applause for falling (that isn’t ironic) is pretty wonderful. Falling is a part of life…but I like to tell myself that one day everything will clumsily, haphazardly fall into place.