Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Here is the part that might be hard for me. About blogging, I mean. This is the part where I have to choose. Should I actually write what I'm thinking? Or should I hurry up and hush, before I get myself in trouble.

Alright, we all know where this is stop, Trouble Station!

So here's what I've been thinking. I went away to school last September, and among other things, I met some incredible people. I found myself blessed to be a member of a freshmen class full of incredible talent and beauty - and I'm not exaggerating. There were freshmen everywhere you looked - making Dance Team, the hip hop team, the step team, performing in and choreographing for shows, excelling in classes freshmen rarely even get placed in. Making Company right there with upperclasmen. I think you get the picture.

As far as beauty goes, holy cow! The girls I shared this year with were a collection of pure beauties.

Now, I say all of this with affection and admiration. I love my girls - that they make me better, more competitive as a dancer. That they helped me loosen up a little, surprised me on my birthday, shared Chinese with me, watched So You Think You Can Dance together all season, walked to church in the snow.

But right now, there are a lot of them I envy. Thats because on Monday, tons of my freshmen friends were at placement auditions for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Summer Intensive, having been accepted into the program back in the spring.

And I was proud of them at the first audition, as they were accepted into the program, bragged about the ferocity of my freshmen class to my dancer friends, and prayed for those who things would be tight for to come up with the funds. I don't begrudge them . . . but I wish I was there with them.

Alvin Ailey, the Ailey School, Lincoln Center. These comprise long held dreams of mine. To be in Lincoln Center, affiliated with the best, in halls and studios I quite literally consider sacred.

The toughest part of knowing I wasn't going wasn't the not going part (hell, it was my first Audition for Ailey anything! My first purely modern dance audition!). That part I understood. No, the hardest part probably came with what my modern teacher told me a week after the audition - that in her opinion, I had been the proverbial "this close." If I hadn't been injured. If I had looked up more. If I hadn't made that mistake going across the floor.

If. If. If. If. . . almost. I think if I had walked into the audition and bombed, I'd have at least been forced to look in the mirror and say "Shit ain't for you, sweetie. Shoot lower." Or maybe "You blew that. Thank heaven you're a freshmen, and we don't have to try and find your sloppy butt a job!"

Instead,I looked in the mirror and saw the bright red of my mom's grading pen, from when I was a kid. That bright red ink across my forehead, spelling the word "If."

Because I was "this close." That's a frustrating place to be - the looser of the Super Bowl, the fourth place sprinter, the alternate for a show with a lead that never ever gets sick.

At the same time, it's inspiring because you know what I discovered? I can do better. I can be better. I was not, am not, ready - and it was hardly as though I was alone in not going this summer - there were certainly dancers I admire who, for whatever reason, were not selected.

I think maybe, this "almost" was the best thing that ever happened to me. I know what I need to do -

Make my body into an Ailey dancer's body.

Immerse myself in modern technique like a fish immerses itself in the ocean.

Look the hell up when I dance. I'm good - there is no reason for me to look at the floor like I'm ashamed.

Most of all, I need to heal. Need to allow my "deeply traumatized," (in the words of the physical therapist's new intern) body time to repair itself, and give it offerings of ice and ibuprofen.

So here's to this summer: I'm going to cheer for my girls when I stretch, miss them while I ice and imagine next summer, maybe together in the city, when my body is well and strong.

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