My body aches. It aches to feel the sensation of mastery of movement. To dance. In a studio or on a stage. My soul cries out to move again.
The way we once did at the height of our collective artistic endeavor.
Where passion met artistry met hard work met years of dedication.
When magic happened.
It was the week of Nutcracker. We were in the theatre rehearsing. I was slated to perform as Frau Stahlbaum & Snow Queen in the beloved annual production.
Only, I couldn’t. Not the way the choreographer intended.
Not the way it had been rehearsed for months.
My back locked up, pinching both sciatic nerves and shooting severe pain from both hips, down each leg. Muscles stopped working.
I felt frozen in place, while the rest of the world around me continued at a dizzying pace. Shock set in.
The week in the theatre before a full-length Ballet we oh-so-lovingly refer to as hell week; is grueling. The hours are long. There is more to do than can be done. (yet, it somehow gets done) So many moving pieces to bring together, to put into place.
That specific week, now seven years ago, brought on a whole new meaning to the term, hell week.
That week turned into hell month, which turned into hell year.
In those moments, my performing career as a ballet dancer came to a grinding halt.
I was done.
Sure, I managed to pull out all the stops for one more performance the following December. But, that was it.
The time had come for a transition.
In ballet, every single transition is choreographed and rehearsed until they are seamless. So seamless that the audience doesn’t notice what has happened until it has.
But a life transition? There is no rehearsal for one this monumental.
Sure, I had double-majored in college.
I had worked jobs alongside my dance jobs. Honing skills that would “give me something to fall back on when my body could no longer hold up to the riggers of dance”.
That had always been a theoretical day. Some time far off in the future. Not now. Not when I felt in the prime of my abilities. I wasn’t prepared for how difficult the transition would be and is.
The weight of all this landed firmly in my lap, leaving me nothing to do but deal with it all.
I brushed off what I could. Discarded what had fallen in unrecognizable pieces. Picked up what remained, and hobbled off with my bruised persona into an unknown.
I started a business. The products were beautiful. And effective. There was a market for them. But, it didn’t work. For a myriad of reasons, it didn’t work.
I fell back on my fallback and worked jobs as an Accountant.
Each day at a computer, applying the work ethic of a lifelong dancer in a non-dance world was… exhausting. Although I enjoyed the actual work and loved the team of people I worked with, I wasn’t quite able to offer the best of me. The culmination of ALL my skills and talents.
Then, my dad died. My heart shattered. Again.
A few weeks later, I held a pregnancy test with a little blue plus sign.
And so. Much. changed.
(There’s more to this, I’ll save it for another time.)
Finding myself at another crossroads, I looked back on what is now YEARS of experience in 2 things:
Coalesce my skills to bring artistry to business and profitability to dance.
Marica Porter, Consultant to the Performing Arts.
Dance is valuable. Possessing the potential to thrive financially.
I am infuriated at the lack of respect and value given to all Arts. Dance and the Performing Arts included.
I embark to shout their worth and value from the rooftops.
That worth and value fuel my drive to help Performing Arts organizations to thrive.