Today, I did something I hate doing: I skipped a class, and one of my favourites, too. My little aches and pains were just bothering me too much today. I usually just do my best to power through, working to my current limitations and trying not to push myself, but I knew that if I went to my pointe class I would make it all worse.
But that wasn’t the entire reason I decided to stay home. I needed a good sulk, too. I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged lately with ballet, with dance in general (and with life in general, too, but that’s another blog post entirely). Last Thursday, I celebrated my 100th class at my current dance studio, and it felt wonderful. I was worried I would be let down by it… that my 100th class would feel no different to my very 1st class. It was an Advanced Beginner/Elementary level class, which I’ve been taking in addition to the studio’s Beginner, Basics, and Intro to Pointe classes for a few months now — I love the challenge the Elementary class gives me, because I am still in that awkward not-quite-beginner/not-quite-intermediate stage of my re-introduction to ballet.
Back to the point*, though. My 100th class was amazing. I felt like I had made progress, rather than just doing well enough and not looking helpless and ridiculous, but progress is such a fluctuating thing in dance. Some days it’s there, some days it isn’t. In Friday night’s classes, I found myself split: in Lyrical, I felt helpless until I watched the video of our choreo at the end of class and realised I hadn’t done quite as poorly as I’d thought; in Ballet Basics (taken in my pointe shoes), I tried my best not to let my mood seep into my performance, but it may have done just that. I did as well as I ever do, I guess, which should be well enough, but I walked out of there feeling like something was lacking. I’m too hard on myself, and I expect too much of myself, and get discouraged when I feel like I’m slipping backwards or not moving forward at all when it comes to marking my progress level.
So I took today off, and I sulked a little, and I nursed my aching hamstring, knee, and shoulder. And I worried that these aches and pains will never go away, that they’ll just get worse and my dancing won’t get any better. And I resolved to make an appointment to get a doctor’s advice on the more annoying aches, even though I’m secretly a little terrified of hearing, “You need to stop dancing.”
Because at this point, I’m not sure I ever could. Good or bad, encouraged or discouraged, dance has become so much of my life that I’m not sure how I’d function without it.
*Yes, I had that typed as “Back to the pointe” and didn’t realise it until I was proofing the post. If there were ever an indication that ballet has taken over my life…