Hello, it is 6/11/17 This post is from 2015 or 2016 I am going through drafts and thought to post this. My physical health is improving. During my 14 months and 5 days since my last dance performance, I have been spending many hours and lots of energy rlecting on my 19 year dance career.
I just read this.
I am not a writer, but I agree that in any low paying creative endeavor, you sacrifice. I agree that you try something, and if you like, it, you do more. I didn’t have to “buy” experiences as the author of the above article implies, but I did have to be training daily, and have spent my earnings for tuition. That kept me from falling into the trap of substance abuse. When I started seriously studying my discipline, I was 17 years old, and doing restaurant work. Before the city I was born in gentrified, I was able to pay all my bills and study while waitressing, it was not unusual.
I did not start this art form it for the money, but dancing (yes I have kept my art form vague to stay anonymous but I will disclose this detail) kept me from descending into addiction. I did not know about depersonalization at this time, and did not even know that not everybody experienced this phenomenon, but the mixture of disciplined physical training mixed with the sense of flow when dancing snapped me into my body, and for short periods of time, I was feeling embodied. I got attention from teachers because I had “the right attitude” and I improved quickly, as I was very focused and consistent. These two attributes are due to my mental health issues; I was focused because I grew up needing to be diligent in school and sports, and because my attitude was just a by-product of the abuse that I experienced: be quiet don’t talk. I was extremely shy, and never small talked in class. If you have studied dance, you know how teachers hate when students talk when they are giving corrections, changing music, changing sides on the bar, and demonstrating. My hypervigilance, or the fear of getting hit, thrown into walls, body slammed, hit with objects, etc, pushed me to “make” myself pirouette, embody music, get the positions right. I was definitely not the star of these classes and studios, but I had a lot of positive reinforcement from teachers.
I kept spending all my “fun” money on dance classes, because it made me feel good. At that time, I did not know that it was actually small glimpses to what felt “normal” That is why I studied consistently for 8 years until I went to auditions. I never thought I can start dancing on stage. I loved to dance so much, yet I knew that you needed an early start, and that it is competitive. I only started to go on auditions because my friend encouraged me. She more than encouraged me; she kept telling me I need to; she started dance late and got into a post modern performing group, and thought I needed too, so I went on 3 auditions and failed; on the 4th, I joined a small post modern performance group. Someone in that group invited me to join his group. Someone in the audience liked my dancing, and 3 years later I was in her group to stay in her dance company for 6 years.