It has finally become possible for me to return to my regular life. I say this with both a sense of exhausted relief and also a deep twinge of sadness. For the last week I unexpectedly re-entered a world I thought was long lost to me, a community and lifestyle to which I once closely belonged but now feels as though it was not my history but more life a past life.
I found myself last Sunday looking at the coming seven days with awe, confusion and definite excitement. Somehow I had been hired to perform at a gala dinner dance and also two days later take part in my university dance club fundraiser spectacular. These two performances meant that starting Monday morning I could expect to be on top of attending my usual college classes, completing assignments and keeping up with work also participating in 3-6 hours of rehearsals a day, every day for the dance events. It is fair to say that for a very long time this was completely normal for me. The idea of returning to this work load, pressure and intensity I could wrap my mind around, plan and coordinate but physically what kind of toll it would take on me this I couldn’t prepare for. What lay in store for me?
Three years ago I left this part of me behind, this hyper driven dancer, this intensely competitive, always active, adrenaline junky became only a figure in a memory, an image in a photo, a sore spot in my heart. Leaving something so rooted in your being behind, a part of you so driving and powerful, passionate and all consuming is indescribably painful. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this loss but now as I re-entered my past and once again became who I was old emotions and buried thoughts resurfaced.
I completely surrendered to dance during this week, it was my all, my focus and I really reveled and thrived as I danced. I know I am capable and when I commit to something, giving it my all I am truly happiest. These two performances were incredible opportunities that I could not pass up and am so glad I took part in.
Firstly on Friday February 7th I found myself in Cork City Hall performing for the Cork Chamber of Commerce annual gala. Just being in City Hall was breathtaking, the extravagance, the vastness of the venue and opulence of the setting created an atmosphere of palpable expectation for the performance. There was such a luxurious feel to the whole experience I couldn’t help but be inspired and absorb a little confidence from some of the attendees who oozed self esteem in spades.
After a quick rehearsal I entered hair and make-up, yes like the ‘for one night only’ celebrity I imagined myself as I was transformed by a beauty team to become a sparkling 50s pin-up dance star. It was a special experience, one where I felt important and dare I say, beautiful. How can a girl not feel like one in a million when people fuss over just you, create a costume to your specifications and make you feel your absolute best to encourage you to perform on top of your game.
I always get nervous prior to a performance and this daunting experience of dancing between tables in three ballrooms altogether seating 1200 with all eyes on you was no different. However once I entered the first room and heard the song, saw smiling excited faces, I took a deep breath and danced in the moment for myself. Afterwards I can honestly say I felt the happiest I ever have post performance, it went as well as could have been hoped and I just felt blissful, relieved and myself. The dancer self I spend most of the year denying but for those few minutes allowed everyone to see.
After resting a little on Saturday, Sunday morning appeared very quickly. I arrived at the theatre at 10am February 9th to begin a day of rehearsals, breaking only for dinner then running straight into the show. Unlike Fridays performance this was an amateur club show, during which I would perform in three dances and help out where needed. The atmosphere this time was a lot more frantic but also with this came and elevated sense of excitement and anticipation. There were a were hiccups along the way but with family and friends in the audience I danced and loved every moment.
These two shows and the whole week in general reminded me of what I am capable of and also that when you have a passion and talent for something no matter how neglected you may leave it that special part of you, that outlet will always remain with you. It couldn’t be separated no matter what attempt was made or how long it has been left unattended. I LOVED every second of being a dancer for a week again, the bruises, the exhaustion, the heightened emotions and surges in adrenaline. For me it felt right and was a much needed escape. This week was so outside the norm of my life these days and by no means a reflection of a typical week for me. Opportunities arose and I ceased them and I am so glad I did. Now I return to my more routine and academic life but count myself lucky to have such a polarizing personality and hobby that makes me happy. Being active is exhilarating and performing encourages me.
I suppose coming away for this out of the ordinary week I have reaffirmed who I know myself to be but also I have reminded myself that although I do not have as much time as I would like to dancer right now, dancing is not going anywhere it is something I will always be able to do, it is a part of me. Remember that no matter what your outlet, passion, hobby may be it is yours. You might feel like too much time has past and that you are out of practice, old and achy but pull that piece of your past back out, distract yourself by surrendering completely to it and you’ll be reminded why you loved it. Being able to feel joy in your life is a blessing, accept it, embrace it and know you have the power to bring joy to yourself and to others through your gifts. When I’m having a bad day, dark moment or lost feeling I dance. Find what frees your spirit and hold onto it. We all need to take care of ourselves and the best way to do that is not to take things so seriously, just be yourself and let yourself feel.