It’s been a while since I've written here. Mostly because we have been up to our noses in rehearsal as we prepared our major concert of the year here in Atlanta. A time of hard work and jammed backed days, in the evenings there was no energy to form written sentences. Yet, in my mind, in any quiet moment, I found myself thinking about the basic human need to express the spirit. I've seen how that can translate into frayed emotions, pushing physical bounties, overwhelming the memory and frustrating the mind. As the last performance played out, by intermission we were taking on the look of the “walking wounded” (pardon the pun). Head collisions, bruised and battered feet/toes, a smashed set of knuckles and every ice pack found or made, when the lights came up, we were all on again. This is what we do, more than just our livelihoods, but our lives.
Unlike dancing in a club or otherwise for oneself, dancing as performance is what Gabrielle Roth once called the “Light of controlled Chaos”. When rehearsals transition into nonstop run throughs, the task is to get every movement exactly correct, all the while making it feel fresh and look spontaneous. However, it is surely then that things go awry. Roth also said, “Chaos has a shadow side, when it is not grounded. And that is just a panic”. Not really “stage fright” it is the added energy that makes dance going toward performance start to “feel different”. Making mistakes you've never done before, turning ways you can’t image, forgetting moves you done a hundred times. The only thing to do is breathe, turn nervousness into excitement, finding the balance, hopefully, before opening night. Prayer, lucky charms and kind words can go a long way towards that end.
So the curtain rises, the lights are on and you and your cast mates are in it together. Each performance will have moments of great syncopation, impromptu elements of inspiration and bumps in the beat that one makes do and carries on. I think the best times are when the company pulls together, from reaching a steady hand in the momentary dark before the music rises to checking on the wonderful and the wounded as the applause fades. "Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation." - William H. Sheldon.
Now in the week our director has given us off, I, for one, am using the time to catch up on my everyday tasks and much needed sleep. The knot on my noggin all but gone, my feared broken toes are still black across the ridge, but only bruised. I find I am getting antsy, ready to create again, eager for that wonderful “controlled chaos” that turns learned patterns into art, and simple counts into music of movement and life.