I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words.
~Ruth St. Denis
When I was little(er), my parents signed me up for beginning ballet and tap classes. I vividly remember the two numbers we performed at our recital: “I am a Koala Bear” (tap) and “We are Dancing Poodles” (ballet). There’s video evidence out there somewhere.
One of my greatest regrets in life is that I didn’t continue to dance. In fact, I all but stopped. The closest I got when I was a little older was gymnastics class. And when I was older yet, musical theatre.
The first show I auditioned for after college was “Threads of Hope,” written by Spartanburg natives Bob Showalter and Ed Connelly, directed by Jimm Cox and performed by the USC Upstate Shoestring Playters. I didn’t even intend to audition at first, I was just there for moral support for mi madre. But the director asked, in quite a loud voice, “why aren’t you auditioning for my show?” So I did. Sure, I could pull out a random song to sing a cappella, but the dance audition was something I wasn’t expecting. Much to my surprise, I was cast as a Primary Dancer. Primary Dancer? Me? The extent of my training was first position and shuffle-ball-change. But I did it. And I loved it.
As the years went by, I got cast in shows with increasingly more difficult dancing, and was regularly pulled to the front of the group. Sometimes, I was the example: “Come, we dance!” Thanks, Carlos. The most dificult stage dancing I ever did was when I was cast as Demeter in CATS. The Jellicle Ball was insane, and while it totally kicked my butt and left me out of breath, heart racing, it made me feel completely alive.
Some time later I signed up for an adult dance class. It met once a week for 8 or 10 weeks and was taught by the amazing April Schaefer. And, while I wasn’t the best, I was near the top of the class.
Season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance is gearing up and it brings back that little feeling of regret. Oh how much I regret not continuing to take dance lessons. Because watching other people move like that, like they’ve been dancing their entire lives, brings me to tears.
I’m a bit partial to Contemporary dance, mostly because it’s so emotional. It’s feeling the music with your entire body. It’s ecstacy and pain and guilt and regret and joy and sorrow and love all expressed by the movements of a body.
Oh how I wish I could do that.
I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance. ~Friedrich Nietzsche