As I was in class today getting my music ready for warmup, my kids were reviewing what we cleaned last class (hallelu!) As they got to a section of choreo that’s been giving them problems, one dancer turned to another as she finished marking the sequence and said, “You know Bryan wouldn’t accept that!” The other dancer nodded and said “I know, you’re right…” and proceeded to do it again in a manner that I would approve. I had to excuse myself to the next room where I nearly died laughing on the floor!!! Thank the Lord these babies know my standards!
A while back as a colleague and I were talking about a company we work for, the topic of conversation moved from our usual dance-related musings to our availability for some upcoming gigs. Our boss is a generous and understanding man who cut his teeth in the corporate world and then transitioned to the artistic one, but he doesn’t often understand the life of artists and people in non-corporate fields. A week or so before, I sent my schedule of availability to the corporate office which included all dates I could accept gigs as well as dates that I couldn’t. It just so happened that this year I was unavailable for a gig that I usually make myself available for and my boss was highly disappointed. He took it upon himself to go ask my colleague, “Why is Bryan not available for this event? He usually works it. He’s not doing anything new and he doesn’t have a real job, so I don’t understand why he’s not available!”
I’ll admit, when I heard this, I was low-key offended. “A real job?!”, I thought to myself – “what on Earth am I out here doing everyday and night?! Playing?!” After I settled my nerves about the shade of it all, it got me thinking, “Is a dance career a “REAL” career?” Why wouldn’t it be? For those of us in this career path, there’s no other answer but YES. We throw our bodies around rehearsing and performing, tax our minds planning and codifying lessons, shrink our wallets training and keeping up with what’s next…sounds like a career to me! Although that’s my reality, I wanted to get the consensus from the other side, from people who aren’t dancers or in the arts industry. Flip the page to see what I found…
RELAX. RELATE. RELEASE.
This dancelife does not quit y’all. After a full Monday through Thursday of taking and teaching classes, creating choreography, and a performance or two, I’m damn near beat. As much as I love it, the fatigue in my bones, muscles, tendons, and joints all want to take a looong break in my very comfortable bed. Then comes Friday. The end of my week is punctuated with company class and rehearsal for dancEnlight, one of the two modern companies that I dance with. I drag my physical body out of bed, toss some food down my gullet, throw on an eclectic array of dance clothing, jump in the car, battle traffic and time, arrive at the studio, say hello, and try to warmup – all that is before class begins. Class itself isn’t that bad – some stretching, tendus, battements, a lovely adagio, some really nice movement across the floor, wrapped up with a big leaps and girthy movement. Sweaty and smiling, my favorite part of class comes when the chill music plays and we take the floor for cool down.
As a dancer, many of us have a love/hate relationship with our bodies. We want better feet, longer legs, smaller chests, better flexibility. We often love what our bodies help us to achieve and revel in its strengths, but it’s the weaknesses that we focus on. We spend hours looking in the mirror repeating exercise after exercise, trying to reach the ideal, but aren’t always taught that it’s unattainable. For the passionate perfectionists out there like myself, that’s a hard pill to swallow. That pursuit of perfection starts us on a journey that can force us to create unhealthy habits that can sometimes lead us down a dangerous path. Though the folly of our youth (and often this industry) may tell us otherwise, in time many of us learn to love and embrace our imperfections just as much as our strengths. Here’s my story. so far.
Once again, I must apologize for neglecting my precious blog. I tried to keep up, but life had me running in 14 different directions; something had to give. Unfortunately, we haven’t chatted in a while and we have lots to catch up on. So flip the page and let’s talk.