Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How Far I’ll Go

Hello Everyone!

As of late the news has been more depressing than usual. With the weather being cold, wet and rainy all over the DMV since the inauguration, it’s as though Heaven is angry as well. I’m trying not to become too depressed though, so here is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while now.

Last year I made the decision to begin learning dance again. I say “again” because in truth I’ve been dancing on and off for most of my adolescence even though I only took formal classes as a child. I’ve always secretly been obsessed with dance, especially ballet. One of my favorite cartoons was Angelina Ballerina and every Christmas I would faithfully watch the 1977 production of the Nutcracker with Mikhail Baryshinkov and Gelsey Kirkland on PBS.

I guess it was only natural I would learn to love ballet since my mom took it for many years before I was born, when I was five she finally took me to take classes at Towson University. However, I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I still wanted to learn but something about the class just did not sit well with me. Since I’ve always considered myself something of a freak I just thought it was not for me so I did not fuss when mom stopped taking me. Many years later though I came to understand why I did not fit in well with the other little girls and the class from listening to my mom’s story on why she decided to give up ballet.

It’s a sad reality but up until very recently there has not been much diversity in ballet. Girls of color or with curves tend not to fit in there well. Even when I watched ballet on tv all of the dancers seemed beyond reproach to me, making my feelings of being a freak stronger. By the time I felt ready to go back to ballet I was already pushing a C cup and any attempt for me to do so would just be vulgar. Overdevelopment was the same reason why my mom stopped ballet too; she was told she did not fit but her body was more suited for African dancing though. Sadly our time had passed.

However I could never fully forget my love for dancing and I tried to manifest it in different ways growing up, mainly through my writing and artwork (my principal OC is a ballerina) but in other ways too. I love eurodance and like to try to copy the dance moves of my fafotire artists and groups and I also like doing odottemitta in my free time as well. Sadly though due to some painful memories from my childhood and adolescence I haven’t yet felt comfortable dancing in front of other people or joining any classes or odottemitta groups.

Early last year though I was struck with a strong sense of inspiration and thought about wanting to do ballet again. But I’ve kept the thoughts to myself until just very recently because honestly I’ve been giving myself excuse after excuse on why it would be insulting for me to even try to dance ballet again. I’m too ugly to dance, too awkward, too big and overdeveloped. My skin is not pale enough, I have scoliosis. But they were all just excuses, honestly there is nothing really holding me back except my constant feeling of inferiority and fear of failure which has dictated nearly everything in my life. Since I’ve decided that enough is enough this year, what better way to kick start that attitude then with returning to something I have had buried in my heart for the last 15 years of my life?

And then I saw this video:

Skip to 17:43. Though this woman is probably more than double my size and it shows in some of her technique, it’s still incredible and I truthfully cried when I saw this. That this woman is still doing what she loves and is fulfilling her dream despite her size is amazing. And I never thought it possible for a girl her size to be able to do pointe work.

And this:

Now I know. Beyond any doubt in my mind now I know that I must start learning ballet again. And so I will, secretly since October I’ve been looking at many tutorials on YouTube and have been freshening up on the things I’ve learned in school, the five basic positions and afew other basics too. I think I’m now ready so next month I will begin the adult beginner ballet classes at either Baltimore Ballet or Towson University. I don’t which yet though.

It will be difficult, and it won’t be easy. My ultimate goal in this is to at the very least learn now to perform en pointe. That has honestly been my dream since I was five year old. That will take a lot of hard work I know, I’m giving myself three years minimum to get to that point. Understand I have neither desire nor illusions to be the next Isadora Duncan or Misty Coppeland, I’m now 25 and it’s too late for that. I could not dance professionally even if I wanted to. But I have learned that once you’ve found something you love truly, it will always be there with you. No matter how hard you try to bury it, there it is. My dream of dancing has always been with me even if in only the smallest voice inside my head. Now that I’ve decided to stop ignoring it, Heaven only knows how far I’ll go.

And now I am quoting Moana. You all get the point. End of entry.

Yours Jasmine

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