I still watch Dance Moms whenever I have a spare moment. I always have to pause it though to take a deep breath because of all the cat fights – but when the screen switches to the actual rehearsing and dancing, the quasi-anxiety attack I got (from the Moms) is worth it.
I stopped dancing six years ago now, but I remember stupid things like how to do a port de bras and a developpe. A few weeks ago, I decided to stop by a ballet studio to take a class, and it was exactly as how I remembered it. The effort of my brain in trying to remember the French terms, the effort of my muscles in recalling the order by which to move, the effort of my face in trying to remain peaceful and serene. “Light like a feather!” the instructor cried. I was just happy that my worldly mind was melting away as I swooped down (gracefully) with my back and my hand as if to catch some big lump of air.
When I dance, I waver along the lines of self-consciousness and body-consciousness. The first, is utterly distracting. I think not only about how strange I must look with my hair slicked back, but also about the math and science problems I could never get right. Body-consciousness, on the other hand, is always informed by the instructor who is always judging your posture, your face, your gracefulness. I think it’s almost impossible to constantly retain your balance once you’ve sucked in your stomach and derrière, held your neck taller, and fitted your ribcage onto the greater weight of your body. Most people fall over, but most instructors don’t care.
The two, the self- and body-, start to sway into the infinite melody of the never-ending room. A fight for control that never ends.