Monday, May 18, 2015

Life, the universe, and everything

Last week was a little bitty whirlwind slice of life, death, and nearly everything in between.

I don't like writing too much about the future on my blog, protective of my family's security, but the past is over and done, and often fair game.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and a decent day for all of us.

On Monday, one of our friends from church passed away suddenly. We knew he had been in the hospital, but on Sunday he had seemed to be recovering. And then he was gone.

I knew in January that I would be job-searching, and was open to moving. I would very much like to get back to Houston--some day. I feel like that's where I was able to really be my best self, and to be respected for who I am. But I'm starting to wonder how much of it is just wishing to go back. I don't think I would stay settled in Houston now. Maybe another few years, and then move on again.

Here, there has been too much... some of it is just pressure to be quiet, conform, be smaller... I'm not sure whether it's the whole town, or just that I hadn't quite found the right fit yet. But there are things I would miss if we left, and this dance studio is one of them.



My ballet instructor wanted commitment for the recital in January. In adult classes, recital is optional.

The reality is that I've been in performing arts for at least 25 years. I know that when I commit to a performance, there are very few acceptable reasons for not showing up -- and a planned cross-country move is not "unexpected."

My jazz instructor was -- jazzy -- about it. Aware of the situation, and willing to work with me as long as possible. I continued to go to both classes while basics were still being taught, and for a time could fill in for absent classmates. But at the end of March, when I thought I might be moving soon, the time came for me to let my classmates focus on the recital. I dropped both classes.

Last week, on Monday, my Jazz teacher asked me to come back. Another classmate dropped out unexpectedly, two weeks before recital. I'm obviously still in town, and had learned over half the dance already.

So I went to class on Monday, stayed after with my classmates to run through it a few more times, and our teacher recorded the steps so I could watch the video. I spent some time every day watching the videos and practicing the steps.

On Tuesday, I started reading through The First 90 Days.

Wednesday was our friend's memorial, and I sang with the choir. I think that's a first for me. I know some of my friends in music have written on Facebook about singing at funerals.

Friday was the dress rehearsal, and I while there were a few obvious mistakes (kicking the wrong leg, for one), I kept up with my class.

Saturday was the dance recital, an inspirational-but-stressful day full of activities. I fixed my major mistakes, and feel like I did well in the performance. (There are always going to be new things to learn, refinements to perfect moves, etc. I enjoy learning, and am good with that refinement.)

I'm thinking I should create a performing arts CV at some point, just to see what it looks like. Add it to my portfolio, mostly as a conversation piece.

I've wondered, sometimes, at what point one can all oneself a martial artist, a dancer, a musician, a speaker of a language? One class? Three months? A year? Several years? At mastery?

When one is eligible to run for president before ever beginning dance, the "recreational" track is the expected course... even though I have watched quite senior dancers perform on TV. A quick search brought up this:

Meet 100-Year-Old Dancer Eileen Kramer, One Of The Oldest Choreographers In The World

I'm an engineer, so recreational dance is fine by me. Still, pulling off my part of the recital performance? I think I can call myself a dancer now.