Recently the thought came to me that I’m a thinker on dance. I do a great deal of thinking about dance and the inner workings of dance. Sometimes, or quite often, I find myself thinking about dance rather than actually dancing. I can’t call myself a scholar, though, and I’ve just begun to formulate my thoughts. Simply put, academic thinking doesn’t feel as personally meaningful to me in my analysis of the world and where I fit into it. In other words, what have I experienced and felt in regards to dance? What have I observed and reacted to?
These thoughts regarding my own experience came up for me very strongly after I sent out the first Newsletter on my dance site. There, I spoke about my struggle with dance as an unattainable goal, a state of perfection. Soon after my longtime friend from India who was my senior at Kalakshetra responded with some discomfort. She felt weird, she said, about what she read as a veiled criticism against our Alma mater. She was shocked that I -who was well-loved by all the teachers and students alike – should come forth with anything but praise and a sense of joy about my experience. She, and other friends in my immediate circle, had been less integrated than I was, less at the inner core of people who had gotten the “stamp of approval” so to say. And yes, her words evoked a flood of lovely memories: dancing, sweating and dancing more. But ultimately, here I am confronted with the dichotomy between my internal experience and the external reality. Externally I was dancing well and receiving approval from my surroundings, internally I was convinced I’m not a dancer.
This has been an ongoing theme in my life, and the very reason why I am increasingly identifying with being a thinker in the field of dance and personal growth; on one hand, I was always in the top-ten amongst my peers and received regular encouragement both through my grades as well as personal words from my teachers and peers; on the other hand, there was this inner conviction, this inner discomfort, stopping me at every move, paralyzing the flow of my heart. I think of this as my inner conviction about myself, which stubbornly remains at the forefront of my beliefs regardless of the feedback I receive from the external world. Indeed, I would often marvel (and still do) at someone’s courage to take on the challenge of the stage with such confidence and zest. Had I been in there place, I knew, I would have gone through the motions, perhaps executed them quite well, but internally I would be battling a silence, a deafening paralysis.
This inner battle has certainly left me with the question, is dance for me? But really, that would be like asking, is LIFE for me? Because this pattern is at work in all the areas of my life, wanting and not wanting with equal force. With dance (life), a part of me is insisting on moving, and another part, equally strong is resisting that very impulse! If you recognize yourself in any of this, I encourage you to join me in my meditation on where both of these impulses are located, where are they coming from? Why this insistence? Why this resistance?