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All I Ever Needed….

June 30, 2010

‘All I ever needed….was the the music….and the mirror….and a chance to dance for you.’ – A Chorus Line

The other day I watched Every Little Step. A documentary on the auditioning process for the revival of A Chorus Line. This was my first musical ever. Originally released in 1975 my parents had the soundtrack on an 8 track when I was growing up. I danced and lip synced and sang all the songs as a child. I knew what a box step was before I was even taught what a box step was.  Babysitters would look at me weird when I would dance with a fan and do back bends instead of bounce around a room like other kids.

When I was in kindergarten my mom enrolled me in ballet classes and pulled me out so I could go to religion class instead because I was obviously stiff as a board when I was in class.  She had me make the choice but she also kept pushing that dance wouldn’t go anywhere. Religion and my relationship to god was always.

I was always very emotional when I watched dance or anything on stage or screen. I cried after Flashdance, Footloose, Singing in the Rain, even Xanadu. I cried during the Nutcracker when my mother took me as a child. It all moved me. I saw a performance of the Tallis Scholars in college and during one song turned to a friend of mine telling them to make it stop because they were breaking my heart.  A saw the movie version of A Chorus Line and was a little upset that some songs were changed or removed completely, but it still triggered the same memories.  I stood on the stage of CATS in dance shoes and felt a sensation that I can barely express without tears. I went to college dreaming of Broadway and Carnegie Hall.  Even when I was living in NYC I still thought, “hey! I can do theater and dance and sing and…” then this reality hits. Sure I did theater. Off-Off Broadway and I even stage-managed a show and got paid. I’ve even done 4 performances in a chorus at Carnegie Hall and in Prague and St. Petersburg Russia.

Now this isn’t some “see I’m accomplished” post. Actually it’s quite the opposite. When I was in high school my yearbook said I was most likely to win a Tony by the time I was 25. Here I am….turning 37 and no where near a stage of any kind.

I dance now. Something I keep fighting to keep in my life. Even considered going to school full-time for it recently yet something stopped me. The gremlin’s pointing out my age, my size, my financial situation and yet it still looms over me as something I want. That dance is still something that I do for love and want to share.

So where is this going? While watching the documentary and watching these dancers go through the process (8 months of auditions) it had me thinking alot about what they do and why they do it. I saw alot of myself in them. The passion, the need to do what they do. Also what was hitting me was the concept of the role of Cassie. That unless she had a mirror she did not know how to relate to herself. She needed it for verification of self.  So this is what really got me the most because I started seeing the combination of not just my dance but my needs to serve.

I’ve never been a fan of the mirror when it comes to my dance. I find that I become more hesitant with it. I feel more scrutinized and I place alot more pressure on myself. Like the bar becomes much higher. There is a sense of fear. Of uncertainty. I have actually stopped going to dance classes because of the mirror in the past. A fear that I have slowly been attacking over time, but there is still this want and need of acceptance that is there. Acceptance from my peers, those that I love and are near and dear to me. I want to be good enough.

There’s a large part of me where I feel the same way with my service. Since I am far away from my Sir I constantly seek his acknowledgment and acceptance.  He becomes my mirror and I hold alot of what I do up to him and look for an answer.  I realized that I have always been like this. That my service and submission means nothing to me without some sort of acknowledgment.  That I need the pat on the head or feedback or I feel like it is empty.

Maybe that is why I create. Why I write, teach and dance. That deep down all I really want is to be told that I am good at something.

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