Off-balance is something that dancers strive not to be…
Last week, my professor told us, “Dancers are taught to be on balance, so when we are off-balance we get scared.” It consistently blows my mind how much dancing influences my life outside of the studio.
That idea has been on my mind frequently this week.
I am off-balance. Not literally, but mentally. This semester is finally getting to the point where it is physically & mentally exhausting and the work continually keeps piling up. I feel like I have no clarity of mind and I am just numb to it all at the moment. However, I am happy that I can acknowledge it and share it with you all who read these and will read this, but the struggle has been REAL. I even found myself in a knot when it came to dancing or even coming up with ideas for choreography. It is messy!
I absolutely love the analogy of balance. Personally, I like to have a lot of balance in my life. Balance with my time, my work, my social life, my money… literally almost everything has to be a balance in this life if you think about it. Some people do well with it and some people don’t. I complete this thought by thinking about balance in dance.
I adore ballet, especially pointe. Balance is key. Dancers have to focus on so many parts of their bodies in order to achieve sustained balance and overall strength when they are in that balance. Some factors that influence balance are focus, engagement, placement, and core. Over time these balances become sort of natural to us because we get into the habit of putting our bodies in these balanced and precise states. Balance is what we know, so when our bodies are off-balanced, it just doesn’t feel right.
There is distinct power when balanced. You feel lifted and sustained. I recall some extraordinary moments in balance be it during practice or on the big stage. On the contrary, there is also a distinct feeling when one is off-balance… a sense of defeat, trial, and error, and yearning to improve. I trained a bit more classically, so I embraced ballet any chance growing up taking dance classes.
Taking a modern class or a contemporary class always seemed like an extra challenge for me because I mentally and physically trained myself to be upright, extended, and tall. I re-learned weird shapes, groundedness, manipulated my body in a variety of ways, and let go during movement. Not gonna lie- it was HARD, and it still is! I constantly have to speak to my body when it moves. (Not literally of course but in my head!)
Now, coming back to this life analogy and balance. Personally, I do not have everything figured out right now. To be honest, I feel like I am a mess since I am so used to having things in my life properly “balanced.” I think society has taught me to always be in a hurry that I feel like I am hopelessly rushing at this point. I am swamped with work, rehearsals, choreography, homework & assignments, time with friends, time for myself, time with my boyfriend… the list goes on and on and on!
It truly seems never-ending at times and it continues to overwhelm me.
With this, I feel off-balance. I feel as though I am not doing anything correctly in my life; like I am not moving forward, and honestly, I get scared. I worry about my next steps for literally everything.
I think that this similar comparison relates to how I dance (and probably to other dancers as well)… the fear to be off-balance. Fear to push those boundaries of balance- to try things that are out of our comfort zone. But one of the many things that I absolutely love about dancing is about pushing those exact boundaries. It’s an interesting dilemma that I am in and especially happy that I can share this right now.
Being off-balance does not mean it is the end of the world. It also does not mean you shouldn’t be scared. It’s okay to not know where life (or your body) is going to take you for its next step in your journey (or a dance).
Especially as dancers, I find it important for us to realize the relationship dancing has on our everyday lives and how it impacts us in perspectives we never see until we really look into it such as the idea of balance.
Just as being off-balance in the studio is uncomfortable for me at times, I am now getting to appreciate times in life when I am off-balance, like now. I am figuring it out one step at a time and I just have to accept the uncomfortable and enjoy the ride.
I encourage you to also realize where in your life feels off-balance right now. Accept it, embrace it, and enjoy it!