Last night, I took a proper ballet class in a proper studio for the first time since 2009.
It felt as though I was being reintroduced to a part of me I’d lost somewhere along the way. I’ve been dancing regularly again for a bit more than a month now, but there was something extra special about returning to ballet. Yeah, West African dance makes me feel grounded and alive, and hip-hop gives me this spunk and fight that feels a bit like a heady power-trip, but ballet? Ballet showed me a sense of grace, and of strength and extension, and best of all: of the relief of familiarity in recognizing someone in the mirror whom I’d been resigned to believing no longer existed.
Last night, I left the studio sore and proud, and maybe somehow just a little bit more whole. After six years of bad habits, long schedules, and stress-induced inertia (as well as a hearty serving of natural, maturational growth), my body hardly resembles the person I was back in 2009. I’ve spent the last month getting acquainted with this new woman in the mirrors of this new dance studio–watching her move; watching her sweat; watching her shrink, slowly but surely. But last night, this stranger I’ve been trying to get used to metamorphosed into somebody I recognized–someone I could pick out from a herd of a thousand people.
It made me wonder for a moment: had I forgotten, over the past few years, what it was to be me? How much of oneself does one have to misplace to not recognize his or her own reflection? How long has it been since I was last a whole, entire me? …how many people are walking this earth, mere unknowing fragments of the true individuals they’ve somehow left behind?
Of course, this moment of consideration of philosophical absenteeism was cut short (thank goodness, or, should I say: thank enthusiastic dance instructor) by the resetting of the CD track and its inherent signal to prepare to traverse the studio floor once more. And who am I to hesitate when there are ‘saut de chat’s to be leapt freely across an open space? (With a sprung floor, to boot!)
Freedom, when at last recognized for what it is, must be taken.
…no matter how sweaty the process. ;)