From Ballroom to Gymnastics: A Moment of Clarity

8 11 2010

Yesterday I was offered a unique opportunity to be part of establishing a new and – for the field – revolutionary dance curriculum. At the same time I was asked to join a soon-to-be-founded not for profit ballroom dance studio catering to children and the elderly, along with a teacher training course led by a brilliant instructor – who even offered to let us live on her property should we stay in town for the winter.

Though staying in Reno through the winter wasn’t ideal, I began entertaining ways to make it work.  However, after spending eight consecutive hours at the studio watching them debate the minutiae of syllabus technique (which was clearly very important and not minutiae to them), I realized that while ballroom is something that is fun for me, it is not something that I love.  My eyes light up and my entire being comes to life when I am around musical theater and Broadway.  The others in the room had that same reaction when they watched videos of ballroom dance performances, but for me ballroom is just another interesting thing to try.  This is how I know that – even though it was so flattering to be invited to be part of this exciting project – I need to tactfully turn down the offer while perhaps leaving my participation as an open possibility for the future.

I shouldn’t let myself default into committing time to opportunities that present themselves (however cool) rather than seeking out the opportunities that I am passionate about.  For example, my dad receives invitations to be part of tons of exciting (to him!) business projects and joint ventures, but pares down his participation to the most interesting and important ones.  I need to choose not necessarily the objectively coolest project, but what personally speaks to me the most.

Separately, I am thank G-d in good health, but as a dancer I am acutely aware of how important it is to take care of my knees since many dancers wear down the cartilage in their joints, eventually needing replacements.  Hopefully I was built well and to last, but assuming that no body can endure intense physical activity forever, one of my realizations is that I don’t want to spend my “knee mileage” on significantly advancing in ballroom or graciously dancing ten more salsa numbers with partners whom I have no interest in dancing with.  I want to save my knee mileage for gymnastics and the activities that matter most to me.

posted by ayo

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