There is always an end in the distant future. It is almost 11pm. Classes are over, exams have been finished papers written. A thunderstorm is raging outside and I am trapped in the library , soaked completely wet and too scared to walk back to my dorm.
I haven’t written, danced or lived much during the past few months except for the routine things of classes, homework, dinner and lunch, a TV flick caught here or there. The truth is, all I have wanted to do is cocoon myself from the world. Endings, death, goodbyes, loss have all been present and at times I have felt at a loss. Loss of what to do or what to turn to. Dance, the ever healing presence of music and moving bodies, became a burden. So I stopped, slowed down, let time run around me like a river washing over.
Martha Graham once remarked,
”A dancer, more than any other human being,
dies two deaths:
the first, the physical when the powerfully trained body
will no longer respond as you would wish.
After all, I choreographed for myself.
I never choreographed what I could not do.
I changed steps in Medea and other ballets to
accommodate the change.
But I knew. And it haunted me.
I only wanted to dance.”
Her words have often been with me during this spring. I imagined the burden of knowing that one day the body will no longer be a fine tuned instrument. I imagined the coming of that realisation, that end.
I also imagined a world beyond my obsession with ballet. The mirrors that reflect all that beauty also reflect all of that which is vile and undesirable, both in the body and in the mind. I have sought escape from that.
I have been away from ballet for nearly two months. I have looked at my pink satin slippers lying on the floor, week after week untouched. I have put on weight again, so that black leotard will have to stay hidden.
And yet in one of the insomniac moments, I pine to live in the moment’s dream, extend myself if you will beyond the everyday, breathe and exhale the music.
Because moments are not everlasting.