**I wrote the following essay 2-1/2 years ago, as a note on FB. Just stumbled upon it and thought it was blog worthy. The video above is from my work with Mimoda Jazzo Gruppa, although I have…sadly… since left the company
As some of you may or may not know, I have been a dancer my entire life. Started when I was small….about 5 years old, I think….and just kept running with it. Straight on through a degree majoring in the art of it at the University of Alabama. Whew! You might think getting your Bachelor’s degree in dance was a picnic. I assure you, it was not. Worked my ass off. Lost both my parents while still in college, and graduated with a big fat, “WTF, am I gonna do now?” sign handed to me right along with my diploma. OH….I CAN TEACH….right. I’ll be honest. I hate teaching, and truly admire people who can do it, because I didn’t get that gene. A flaw, I know, but I get too effing frustrated trying to teach people how to do something that comes so naturally for me. Makes me madder than a wet hen when I run into a student who can’t do it, or worse, a dancer who can’t follow choreography. So what if I like to use “creative visualization” as tool for teaching dance steps? Get over it, and follow my instructions.
So I simply avoid the task. Problem solved.
Of course, I had grand dreams of dancing professionally, in a company….in New York. Didn’t know a soul there, and didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together to create enough friction to get there. Much less, money to live on until I could find a job to support my dancing habit. Without a support network to speak of, I was terrified to go. End of story? Not quite. A ray of hope shined through, and a friend who lived in Los Angeles, offered me a place to stay until I could get on my feet. So I decided that was God’s way of telling me that California would be my new home. After all, nothing left for me in Alabama, really.
My biggest fans had passed, landing front row seats in Heaven. Time for a new audience.
That was in June of 1996.
Cut to present day…I still reside in my “Land of Opportunity” aka Los Angeles. I’ve lived all over the city, from the beach to the Valley and several places in between. Met The Man a year into my residence here, played hard to get for 18 months, and then married him in 1999.
So what have I been “doing” for the past 10 years, you ask? Have I been dancing professionally? Um….no. Life took me in a different direction, and that aspiration got put on hold….for 3 excellent reasons. Their names are Sugar Bean, Butter Bean and Sweet Pea. But now, they are all in school, and I have a little time for myself each week. And life has once again begun to work in strange, yet exquisite ways. Which brings me to this…..
At 37 years old, after giving birth to 3 babies and being largely absent from dance class for 10 years, I decided to audition for a new dance company, and I was accepted. My goal of being in a professional company…checked off the bucket list. YAY!! I posted about this a week ago, and was elated over it for 48 hours. Then I made the very difficult decision to turn down the invitation to join. For reasons I won’t get into here. Suffice to say, I settled into the reality that simply being asked was good enough for me. Although, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about calling the artistic director, claiming a momentary lapse of reason, and groveling until he let me join.
But…..remember…..my life works in strange ways.
The phone rang yesterday, and it was his assistant calling. To invite me to rehearsal. Guess they are still hashing out the details of who’s in, and who’s out…..and I got a reprieve. A second chance without asking. I was speechless, and it’s hard to render me speechless. Lol.
Anyway, I am chalking it up to divine intervention. God is trying to tell me something. He opened a window because I needed a way out, after someone else shut the doors. I closed the window because of a draft. Thought it was locked, but now He has thrown me the key.
I’m not stupid. I have my first rehearsal from 5pm to 9pm tonight.
Oh, and here’s something my sister wrote about me, I think is pretty relevant to this story. Enjoy
TINY DANCER by Shane Jackson
She captured the hearts of many; a hard life up ahead.
Found her heart was broken, her parents both were dead.
She dug deep into her soul, the strength she found within,
With high hopes and her tears, her journey did begin.
I stood there pleading loudly, “Please sweetheart stay with me.”
But I knew deep inside that, I was not what she needs.
So on my knees I prayed hard, “Dear God, please wrap her soul.
Protect my precious sister, on the road she chose so cold.”
Today the years have flown past, on each we’ve leaned quite hard.
Though loss of memory plagues us, our pain seems now afar.
She told me of a story, that brought her heart so near.
Each time she entered God’s House, out of nowhere tears appeared.
This tiny dancer sparks up and beams a sun filled glow,
To anybody she sees, and everywhere she goes.
To her family, and 3 children now, she plays the role of life.
God’s work upon this dancer, leaves you knowing God’s great might.
If ever you seem troubled, or feel your load to much to bear,
Remember the Tiny Dancer, who faced life’s utmost dare.
He’ll never leave you lonely; He’ll never stray away.
If you continue praying,
You’ll dance like her one day.