Friday, July 6, 2012
That Other Place
Someone had asked me, years ago, if dancing took me to an almost spiritual level. He had heard that performing could be a religious experience for professional dancers. I regretted having to tell him that while I had enjoyed performing on stage, I hadn't experienced that euphoric ideal yet. I hated having to disappoint him.
Although I was 23-years-old, at the time, I was emotionally young, still. But I wasn't truly a professional dancer, even after achieving my desired status as a paid performer - at a dinner theater! I had started late in life as a dancer, getting my formal training after I had turned eighteen and had moved out of my parents' house. It would be years before I would even begin to comprehend the spirituality of dancing.
But I did enjoy those performing-induced endorphins early on. The natural high from physically exerting my body while performing live for an audience was addicting. I wanted more.
That was a long time ago. In the last few years I have been feeling a little angry, now and then, about my dancing days being behind me. Having started so late, I realize how lucky I am that I got to dance at all.
But it wasn't enough. I had wanted more, so much more. So I've started performing again this year, age be damned.
I will start rehearsals soon for "Miss Saigon." I have been walking around work feeling a quiet joy of anticipation, walking from my office past cubicles, thinking about the most recent dance audition that helped me get cast as one of the ensemble.
Now that I am older, I'm just grateful that my body can still "do it" when I go to the rare dance audition, grateful that I can still pick up the steps and execute them at a fairly strong level (thank goodness for all of the workouts of lifting weights, jogging, and Pilates). It is mortally exhausting, and yet I still have the urge, the drive to dance, to perform!
I think about the martial artsy/military-esque routine for "Miss Saigon's" audition, and the angry Vietnamese soldier I was trying to put forth. It was almost like a removal of my conscious self, in typical actor fashion. I got out of my own way to let another persona inhabit the dance and the movements and the storytelling.
While going over the dance audition in my mind this week, I realized that I was able go to that other place outside of myself, and into performance euphoria.
And I think, finally, at my age, I'm beginning to understand more about what it means to reach a more spiritual level via dancing.
Better late than never.