Dancing and Not Dancing

Since my last post, I had ACL surgery, finished my comprehensive exams, got engaged, graduated from OSU’s MFA in Dance program, got a job, got married, and moved into an apartment with my husband.

I can’t help but say it: life is strange. I think sometimes about how any one of those moments could have been the defining moment of a year. I just packed five years of moments into about six months.

In addition to being strange, life is really different now. I can’t say dance is the central part, and it’s oddly….okay. I miss being in the studio and sweating with other people who love moving and trying and exploring and failing  and laughing a lot, but I also have enjoyed the freedom that’s come from having a 9-5 schedule at a job I really enjoy. Each week, I work, go to physical therapy, go to the gym, hang out with friends and my husband. He and I go up to visit his parents on the weekend. I watch TV at night (!!!) My body isn’t sore all the time and I don’t spend every evening on a foam roller.

My physical therapist, who I’ve seen since before I had my ACL reconstruction surgery (in which they took a piece of my hamstring to make a new ACL–magic!) cleared me to start taking ballet so I have taken barre a couple of times. I’m still not cleared to run and jump so by the end of class I stand in place and tried to mark the arms and facings. But marking tombé-pas-de-bourée-glissade-jeté is just really not the same.

In the dark moments of injury recovery, I’ve thought back to the day I tore my ACL, and how fast it happened, and how one second I was moving big and fearlessly and then in the next I was on the floor clutching my knee. And I think: that’s it. It happens that fast. You’re invincible and then you’re not. You’re a dancer and then you’re not.

Of course its not quite that simple, or that dark. I have to say I’ve felt some freedom in not identifying first as a dancer. This forced hiatus (or whatever it is) from dancing made me realize that I used to think that being a dancer was the only thing that made me interesting. Like that was my thing I had to share or talk about with people. What a small view, past self! I’ve found that taking off the name tag I wore around that said “HI I’M A DANCER” has changed how I see myself and others. People are complex, they have rich inner lives, and only so much of that comes through in our daily interactions. My experience of stepping back from identifying so strongly with one part of myself has made me see just how interesting and deep and delightful people are, without the adornment of occupation, or the groups they associate with, or the cool stuff they’ve done. All of that is great, but there is just so much more to people.

I’m still teaching here and there and making stuff. I have a dance called Go In Go On in Ohio Wesleyan’s Orchesis show this weekend that I made with a group of students there, and I teach a dance class for adults over 50 every Monday night. In that class, me and two of the participants have just started a rehearsal process for a new dance and its been great to embark on a new process with two very hungry-to-dance people.

Tonight I gave myself a small class and worked on some material in My Dance Studio:

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It’s not much, but it does have wood floors, props, places so sit, and kitchen access. I’ll take it.

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4 comments

  1. Martha Wittman · · Reply

    Thanks for your great catchup Sara. I didn’t know about your knee. I’m glad you’re on the healing side of an injury now. I agree with you. Sometimes life stops us in our tracks but there is so much
    opportunity and deepening there too. Sounds as if you have had an extraordinary 6 months.
    Love your little studio space with access to kitchen.

    oxox Martha

  2. Mitchell Rose · · Reply

    Wow, a lot has happened in the last two weeks!

    1. Yeah, and I didn’t even mention the election! ;)

  3. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    DANCE WITH WHATEVER YOU HAVE! GOOD POSTING!

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