For years, some or all of my children have been involved in modern dance. At 9, #1 Son was in a play with some choreography (as a dancing raccoon with a Bart Simpson personality), and he liked the choreographer a lot. When we learned that she was opening her own dance studio, he was among her first students. For quite a few years, all three children danced there, and the student show in late spring was a much-anticipated event in our family life. Many of the compositions still stand out in my mind, as do some of the costumes and at least one dreadful wardrobe malfunction The Princess would rather forget.
#1 Son retired after 11th grade, and his brother stopped after that year, too. At the time I was sad, but a little relieved, since we were going to the studio four or five days a week, at the same time I was beginning my ministry. The Princess went on for one more season, then winnowed dancing out of her busy schedule. But last fall, after our doctor diagnosed her with tension headaches and recommended yoga, I said, “How would you like to start dancing again?” The next Tuesday, she was back in class.
This week her class danced on the stage where the show will take place on Sunday afternoon. The parking is iffy around the City By the Sea Performing Arts Center, so I picked her up at school and drove directly downtown. We were there early and walked in as an adult dancer was on the stage. There is a whole dance festival this weekend, including dancers from two colleges, a different program each night, with the student show wrapping up the festival on Sunday. Her teacher greeted us and invited us in to watch while the adult dancer did her piece for the lighting designer.
I have to say I have never before seen a dancer like Sarah McCormick (at center in the picture below).
For years I have watched my children and thought, “If I had known dancing could be like that, I would have wanted to do it myself.” I envy their freedom in flinging themselves around, running and leaping, expressing whatever it is that goes on inside them, simply being in their bodies.
The Princess and I sat in the dark and watched her perform. Sarah’s dance was intriguing, more contained, compelling. I’m not sure what she meant by it, but I do know what I received. Watching her dance was a gift. We don’t have to be pencil people to be expressive with our bodies. Thank you, Sarah. Thank you.
As we left after class, The Princess said, “Mom, since I started dancing again, I haven’t had one headache.”