Balancing life as a dancer has never been easy. We tend to have this sacrificial attitude for our art. Nothing and no one is going to stand in our way of achieving in our art. I am not exceptional in this. I love and hate this dichotomy because it drives me to achievement and breeds obsession.
Dance is tiring. It is a physical art form and will always be. Leaving the floor without sensing fatigue leaves me dissatisfied. I want to give my all every chance I hit the floor. When in the studio for hours on end, it can be difficult to maintain that level to fulfill this goal. I seek improvement in my art everyday.
When I leave the studio, my brain is often still mulling. I believe in visualization. I believe in thinking through my movement and seeing with my thought what I could do better. That mind and body connectivity has proven tremendously helpful in achieving quickly. I spend travel time listening to the music I am currently studying. I want to have the song memorized. I want to learn it’s nuances so that choreography can best reflect what the music speaks. When I have time to be still, I go over the choreography in my head and my muscles fire thinking about the music. It’s practicing without the extra physical exertion at the end of an exerted day.
At the end of my day, my brain can still be so entangled in dance that unwinding becomes a challenge. This is where striving for balance becomes so important. It’s easy for me to want to push my limits, push through fatigue – mental, emotional, and physical – but if I don’t take a break, it can be detrimental to my health in all ways. I believe this lack of balance is what breeds our issues with body image, mental illness, and eating disorders. When we can’t let go, obsession can take over our life.
Finding my unwind button has been a major endeavour. I still have to work at it daily. I have to remind myself that rest is as important as work. Giving my mind and body the opportunity to let go gives both time to heal from the abuse that I put them through. Without the physical break, physical breakdown is inevitable no matter how mentally tough I am.
I find that after a holiday away from dance, I come back strengthened in my technique and drive. Things that I couldn’t wrap my mind around now are easy. There is a fear of loss of kinesthetic intelligence by taking a break each time I book a holiday. This is especially true when I start a new project or partnership before a break. However, I am happily reminded on my return of the benefit of my holiday in keeping me strong mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am looking forward to the amazing adventure I have planned for the December break and hope that you all take the opportunity to let your body and mind heal as well.