6th Annual NYCB Gala performance with USC Dance Company

Sara Mearns rehearsing "Western Symphony" with USC Dance Co. March 18, 2011

It’s been two weeks from the show and I am just now getting time to settle down and write my reflection…

Sara Mearns was exceptional and outshone all the dancers on stage. She has just been promoted to principle dancer with NYCB after all. She deserves all sorts of recognition – she is a master mistress at her craft; fully, 110% dedicated to it, something I never seemed to be able to maintain…and she is stunning. gorgeous. real and tangible, not ethereal, which makes her that much more likable and enjoyable to watch on stage, and she is thin, strong and embodies ballet dancer to the very tips of her fingernails and eyelashes. She danced out of every inch of her body. Nothing is forgotten. Music is made by her – or her movement made by it, I’m not certain which. I could rave about her on and on, and I am not even one who knows her personally or can claim any tie to her growing up in Columbia, SC or beginning her ballet roots here and attending the university’s dance conservatory as the dance department at USC likes to boast, but I appreciate her nonetheless. I say “appreciate” because I am trying to distinguish for myself my new mentality of appreciating ballet stars at somewhat of a safe distance rather than idolize them as I did when I was a striving dancer. That dangerous line I am drawing for myself distances me even further from ever pursuing a dance career again; regardless of how impossible it seems. I like to remind myself that if I found it in myself to emotionally, physically and financially commit to my craft 100% again, I could be back in the running for a professional career. It would take me losing weight finally and for good, and really committing – which I can’t do now because I am in school trying to finish my degree, I work 3 or 4 part time jobs, and I live in the deep South…. after all that, I have to remind myself of what I have come to accept as taking responsibility of my own foiled dance career – that I do not want and cannot sustain that lifestyle – and perhaps the reality that I never fully wanted it. But I was young and naive then… So enough of this somber reflection and regret. I am still dancing, and that’s what matters. I will never be Sara Mearns, and my body is far from the shape she is in now, but I have had other valuable life experiences outside of the narrow ballet world that she will never have that I treasure and would not trade, not even for an illustrious career with NYCB… Well…

It amazes me the power a desire so strong can have over me — that from the age of 9 or 10 when I decided I seriously wanted to pursue dance as a career, it took over me — and it may take just as many years to undo its power. I would not undo its influence and passion; just its obsessive control and lack thereof and the pain it has caused me. but no more of this sentimental vague reflection. I praise God He has given me back my dancing and I pray He continues to give it back tri-fold as I seek to honor Him with the ways He has given it back to me, even if it’s not the way I imagined it. Success does not make one happy always. God’s plans are better than our plans. Recognition does not supply¬†fulfillment.

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Pink Tights Success!

Last week on Wednesday I had to put on the pink tights for the first time in, um, YEARS. But we were already at the theater so my self-consciousness didn’t have much of an effect on my ability to perform. The performances Thursday and Friday went extremely well, I thought, for myself as well as the rest of the company. I was just pleased with myself to be performing onstage again. Being backstage of the Koger Center felt completely familiar and normal, as if not a month had passed since I last performed in it. The last time I performed was spring 2009. It goes to show I feel at home onstage dancing. Every time I stood in the wings before I went onstage this weekend though, I was reminded of God’s goodness to me and thanked Him for the opportunity to be performing again. He truly knows the desires of my heart and saw that they were a good thing and was pleased to give it back to me. I would love to continue performing for as long as God will allow me to, but I think I can say now that it no longer has such a grip on me that it is what I live for, and my primary goal in lie. My primary passion is for the Lord, and in Him I can order my other passions. That is the difference between me and the other dancers. I know that I was made to worship God, and that is what I am doing in my heart whenever I dance or perform. It’s an attitude of the heart, and it’s taken me a long time to figure that out. God willing, it is not too late to get back into performing. I don’t think it is. He has been gracious to me, so gracious and so good!

pink tutu

 

Oh, need I mention I was so worried about my weight before the performance ans how I hadn’t lost any before the performance? I let it go as est I could, and surprise surprise! I had dropped 5lb over the weekend. I guess I just need to repeat that weekend more often: eating mostly just chocolate, coffee and performing!

As if it weren’t enough to have to wear pink tights for my first performance back after a couple years, I had to wear a very PINK romantic tutu for Raymonda variations and a pink and nude unitard/pants suit with attached skirt for Great Galloping Gottschalk. The latter, choreographed by Lynn Taylor-Corbett, was my favorite of the two because it was so much fun to dance. I was one of the four souvenir girls. It was a treat to have Lynn come set the piece on us at the beginning and just before the performances as well. But the best part of this weekend was that my Mom came to see me!She hadn’t seen me perform in 3 years, and that time was in Koger Center with Columbia City Ballet. It was a special treat to spend time with her all weekend, especially since I will not be home again for Thanksgiving. Someday I would like to be home again for Thanksgiving. The last time was 6 years ago.

Well, next I will look forward to performing in our student choreography showcase Nov. 29-Dec. 3 at Drayton Hall, then finishing up all my work (quite a bit of catch up work and papers to write. ugh) the semester and going home for Christmas.  Happy holidays!