sleeping beauty and related things

posted on: February 23, 2011


After a week of consuming projects and too little sleep, I joined my mother and sister at the Capitol Theatre for Ballet West's Sleeping Beauty (oh, irony). The night before, some friends and I saw our university's stellar dance team perform for the third year in a row. I grew up in that dance world. I forget that, and when I remember I almost don't believe it. I hear that world criticized a lot--the resulting body image issues, the materialism, the politics. And I did experience plenty of confusion and disappointment when I was a dancer; sometimes I think those fears and doubts may always be a part of me.

But I will always be grateful for dance. It taught me grace and silence. It taught me that I can work, even through pain. It taught me that I can achieve and I can be the best sometimes.

Dance taught me about my body too, but I didn't know it until now. Is that weird, that I didn't recognize my own body when I moved it like that everyday for thirteen years? I know that our bodies are miracles, they really are. We breathe and we memorize. We twist our ankles and pop our knees. Then, we heal and do it again. We stay up until 2 a.m. finishing portfolios and speed-reading novels, and in the morning our bodies pull something from somewhere and make it to class alive and alert. That is amazing.

But more, I know that our bodies are beautiful. Dancing is beautiful because the air reaches your very fingertips and you press your feet through wooden shoes into the floor, really feeling the floor, and let your neck pull as high as it will go. And your arms are so long you may just loose them and the music plays in your spine and your spleen and your spirit. Dancing is beautiful because your body knows, maybe more than any other part of you, how it is to be human. Your body offers movement and rhythm to your soul. I think that's why my body screams at the ballet--because pulling shoulders and battered toes are liberating, creative, and honest.

That is amazing.


For more on the ballet, Ann Marie summed it up beautifully here.

12 thought{s}:

  1. Beautiful.
    I, too, grew up dancing. I was never classically trained or anything too involved, it was just a hobby that last for about 12 years. I loved it.. but then for some reason I hated it. I felt the need to break out and do something else, so I quit. And to this day it is one of my biggest regrets.

    I totally agree about the things dance teaches you. It really is amazing.

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  2. I agree. Ballet made me hate my body, and then love it, then take care of it. I think dance really can teach you to love yourself.

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  3. You look beautiful in that picture! I've been wanting to see Sleeping Beauty... and Justin Beiber: Never Say Never.

    I like how you say everything. Everything. I danced until my sophomore year of high school, but the escape (and lessons) dancing can bring are truly amazing and beautiful. Just like you said.

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  4. from one once upon a time dancer to another: that post was beautiful in every single way. i missed dance already but goodness, now i reaaaalllly miss it.

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  5. beautiful description. that last paragraph really transported me. even though i've never danced ballet seriously - I felt like i had.

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  6. one time it was taking longer than expected.

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  7. and then it was like, oops it didn't work.

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  8. but then I was like MAKE IT WORK and since I was channeling Tim Gunn it actually worked.

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  9. brittany! my roomie stumbled upon your blog and asked me if i knew you because you went to london... its so adorable! love it and love you!

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  10. I love this- I would have loved to see Sleeping Beauty! And I love the way you describe our bodies, they really are amazing.

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  11. This was such a fun girls night out!

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