Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution
Someone I loved had a life creed that was quite simple: you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Like so many simple ideas it’s hard to execute. It takes a real acceptance that we can control who we are, what we do what and what we contribute to any given situation. I now actively think of this saying in my quest to stay in the present moment and be a positive force in this world. This is sometimes harder to achieve than I would like.
Friday night rehearsal was one of those times. It had been a long week; my body exhausted and I had quite a few grueling conversations trying to fix some little problems my mother was having. It was one of those weeks where everything was harder than it should have been, took longer than expected and had few if any results to show for my efforts. I was not too excited to rehearse, had contemplated cancelling, but I fueled myself on some Cadbury mini eggs prepared to "fake it tilI I make it."
I arrived at spotlight and pretended to rehearse Ellie and Corey. Mostly I just lounged on the floor and watched them dance and bring back sections of older pieces they had forgotten. Half hour later, two duets back together and ready to be polished... Not bad for lounging. Time came for full company rehearsal; the younger dancers had a break for a quick bite after more than two hours of ballet and pointe class; they were ready to go. I was ready to be done. But with the Congo show in three weeks, and next week off for vacation, it was time to power on... time for more chocolate, and an attitude adjustment.
And in one of those delightful and rare gifts from the universe, no powering on was necessary. The dancers made it easy. Eight young girls,11-14, all worked together and made my night. We have been spacing and re-spacing pieces almost constantly as the lives of my dancers change. Roles in plays, select choirs, injuries, too much homework, and a happy pregnancy have kept all our repertory fluid and fresh with changing casts and numbers of dancers. On Friday night we finally got to the last piece all the young dancers were doing. It was a dance that originated with twelve, reduced to ten for our October Congo. In December I kept most of the dance but changed the music and we were down to nine. Well, here we are for March Congo show, down to eight dancers, and giving the piece a new feel. But I was not worried, the girls were clear on the choreography and it was only a one dancer difference, how bad could be.
Bad, annoyingly and tediously bad. The spacing was a mess. Unbalanced and odd looking.... A weird three vs five ratio that left gaping holes in the most noticeably places. Someone would have to step up and do the dance almost completely to the other side. This is a dancing nightmare; muscle memory is strong.
To reverse everything takes a constant effort, and with only three weeks to performance, and a vacation coming up, no easy task.
Well, Ella (in sea green in photos and video) stepped up and was just amazing. Everything I asked of her was answered with an “okay “and a real smile. And then, all the other girls lifted their level; self correcting spacing and really concentrating on what they were doing so Ella would have a clearer idea of where to be and what direction to go in. What could taken hours, become mind- numbingingly grueling, was just a small blip. We finished with the dance so quickly we even had time for a few run throughs of another piece. What had started as my headachy reluctance to be in the studio ended as a fun and successful night; everyone feeling like we would be ready for our show, and that we had earned our week of vacation. And once again, I left Spotlight feeling so grateful for the gift of all these company dancers; young and older:), who help bring my dances to life.
It takes a lot for a piece to become a dance. Yes, it takes technique and talent. Turns, leaps and sustained balance do not just happen; they require hours of intense and focused work. But sometime what it takes is dancers willing to change, putting ego and personal comfort level away. Sometime the real ability is the one that smiles and says okay. And this, is what I have seen in the past two weeks. One Rebecca B. is pregnant, and my other Rebecca B. steps in and learns a crucial part in our full company piece, (not to mention designing a new costume for all the young dancers in a newly revamped piece, where the old costumes have been long outgrown.) Callie, our youngest member acting as a swing understudy and learning yet another new part. A rehearsal on Valentine’s night had some dancers missing their school dance. Not to mention the colds, and flus knocking so many down but not out. These Dancers are making sacrifices to put in all this time. These dancers have lifted me up.
What could have been just another cold Friday night rehearsal, was something a little extra. It was a reminder of how we can all make a difference. I was so tempted to cancel rehearsal, but I stepped up. My dancers did so much more. They reminded me once again that we can be part of the problem or part of the solution. We can use all the talents we have; physical prowess, generosity, patience, or just the willingness to carry on to make this world a better place. Part of the problem or part of the solution... I know what my dancers are. P.S. - Happy February vacation week to all, and look at this crazy little talent Ella has (video above).