The Stuff of Dreams

Dancer1

 

Last night I dreamed I was a dancer still. My hair was peppered as it is now. But my body was lithe and moving in ways it used to thirty-some years ago. The interesting thing is that my dream was not of a recital or a performance. I was in the studio. Hand on the barre, trying not to grip it too tightly. Perspiration running down my forehead. Piano music I’ve heard so many times. Lengthened spine. Turned out hips and feet. Worn leotard and tights. The smell of a dance studio. The barre exercises. The floor exercises.

Plie, tendu, ronde-de-jambe, repeat.

Glissade, assemble, pas-de-chat, repeat.

So many years from childhood to young adult spent in wood-floored, mirror-walled rooms. So many memories. So many hours. I remember only a few performances. But the studio work is as vibrant in my memory as if it were yesterday. I woke from my dream amazed at how real it was. And I thought:

At the end of our days, perhaps it is not the accolades, performances, exhibits or published work which will stand out in our minds. Perhaps it will be the daily practice, the rehearsals, the sketching and drawing, the trials and errors, the repetitive work of being creative. In the wee hours of early morning light, I thought that this is what I want in 2014: to show up to the page, the sketchbook, the drawing table, the needles and hook. I want to have my hand on the barre every day, and try not to grip it too tightly. I want to perspire in the effort of practice for practice sake. I want to revel in the music, smells, and movement all around me. I want to take it all in moving gracefully through my days.  I want to be disciplined in and to enjoy the repetition of everyday life, of practice, of good work. I want to trust that this work I do in the studio will prepare me for the challenge ahead.

Here’s to 2014–A Year to Dance in the Studio!

Plie, tendu, ronde-de-jambe, repeat.

Glissade, assemble, pas-de-chat, repeat.

 Note on the above painting: There is a way of using watercolor almost straight out of the tube. I learned this from Skip Lawrence at a workshop years ago in Boone at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff. Very fun technique!