I remember thinking “I look forward to being a dancer in my 30’s”.
Photo credit: Jason Salvesburg
That was nearly a decade ago.
Here I am, a 33 year old dancer.
It’s as good, if not better, than I had hoped.
I am more confident and calm and yet I try harder and am more demanding of myself than ever before.
My 33 year old body has a history; the hamstring that tore a dozen years ago will never be the same again, sometimes my wrists hurt really bad seemingly out of nowhere, I had a freak injury to my right shoulder a while ago that gives me grief. My 33 year old body is also lighter, less fatigued, and at least as flexible as it has always been.
In many ways I feel like I’ve arrived. I no longer feel like I have to prove myself in every dance situation. At this point I am what I am, more open to growing and changing than ever but also acutely aware of my strengths (balance, focus, and literally muscular strength) and my weaknesses (I’ve never been a very technical dancer, my dynamic range is limited, I am not particularly flexible, my extension isn’t really very good).
photo credit: Brian Rimel
Sometimes my strengths are also my weaknesses; I am very grounded and my movement tends to be soft and performed with ease. I like the way I move because I move the way that feels good to my body, however sometimes this is not the quality a choreographer is looking for.
During my first two and a half decades of dancing I was resistant to changing the way moved. I was insecure and stubborn and felt like a choreographer should value me for me and that asking me to do things differently was basically saying that I wasn’t doing a good job. I’m not proud, this is not an awesome approach to constructive criticism. These days I have more confidence in the value of my ability and talent while also recognizing that it can be fun and interesting to have people give you feedback, challenge you, and push you out of your comfort zone.
Of course, art merely imitates life. All these things are just a reflection of growing up, of becoming an adult, of adapting to new challenges, of being willing to allow for change.
Now I get to look forward to being a dancer in my 40’s!! 😉