We are all aware of Pointe magazine’s regular feature of looking inside of dancer’s dance bags, yes? It’s one of my favorite articles every month because I’m nosey but also because I’m always interested in the thoughts and experiences that are revealed by the things that people carry – it’s the anthropologist in me. Not to make you all paranoid or anything but what you carry around is an indicator to who you are and how you got this way. What we carry with us physically are our lagging indicators, if you will. I haven’t been back to dance class in a while. I’ve been doing home barre and home floor barre but various issues both physical and emotional and the presence of some life stuffs (like having to take my beloved little cat to the emergency hospital for emergency surgery!!!) have prevented my return to regular class. Ballet is never very far from me though and I picked up my copy of Eric Franklin’s Conditioning for Dance off the shelf the other day. I had ordered this book from Amazon quite a while back and on initial perusal, I didn’t really love it all that much. I didn’t send it back though thinking that in the future it might prove to be more useful. That’s a regular action for me – if I don’t like something at first, I’m usually open to another chance. It’s proving to be quite a good book and I’m definitely got some amount of interest in the Franklin method. Not sure where that will go but for now, the book is helpful in my recovery. As is my way, sometimes I read something and the author’s intent goes right out the window and a new thought strikes me. And so it was when I read a line in the Franklin book that spoke of the “mental dance bag.” Holy cow. What is in my mental dance bag right now? Well, my physical dance bag is almost empty. It’s sits abandoned on a shelf in my home office. There is a rescue inhaler and some stray hair elastics in the side pocket. There is a brand new pair of never used Grishko flatties, a baking soda anti-stinky disk, and my ballet class notebook. And my mental dance bag? I think it may be packed to the gills with fear, doubt, uncertainty, sadness, de-motivation, and a big ol’gray rain cloud of poopy-pants feelings. Ever watch a little kid walk around with poopy pants? Awful. They stink and they know it; they are miserable, uncomfortable, and no one wants to play with a kid who has poopy pants so there is definitely a feeling of isolation for the poopy pants kid. And there is no way around poopy pants, you just have to face the poopy pants head on! Once it’s over, well… life is better but, good grief, you have to get through a whole ordeal of dealing with the poopy pants in order to get back to the good life. Makes a poopy pants person just want to lie down and cry. I think my mental dance bag is so full of bad poopy-pants feelings that it’s weighing me down in every way possible. It’s high time to clean out that bag so that I can get back to filling my actual dance bag with all the fun stuff of dance class – pretty leotards, pink tights, swirly dance skirts, new dance shoes, colorful warmies, and puffy booties. I hope there are only good things in your mental dance bag but now might be a good time to check. Let’s all throw out those crummy things that we might be carrying around and holding us back from all the joy that dance should be. Time to clean out those bags, dancers!!!
~All will be well. Let’s dance.