My Photo
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a dancer with Minneapolis based James Sewell Ballet, a small, contemporary ballet company. I also choreograph independently.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


It continues to astound me that a dancer can continue to improve.

I remember when that first occcurred to me. Sometime in high school I realized that turning professional did not represent a dead stop, but in fact a new beginning, a new road of improving. While it’s true that in the ballet world there’s a relatively limited time to accomplish the “big stuff”: major pas de deuxs, in big ballets, with all the tricks of the trade. But on a daily level, grappling with technique, line, form, there is always room to grow. A dancer must somehow find a way to love rehearsal. That’s where the improving happens, in leaps and bounds. Repetition of steps, ad infinitum it sometimes feels like, begets an integrity, a resoursefulness, that’s brought to the stage and, I swear, a spectator can tell.

Last week I watched James demonstrate a phrase. We learned it the day before and continued working on it, over and over, in the context of his new ballet. I was struck by his ease and beauty. At 45, he is, in many ways, at the top of his game. Just last season he performed a solo created almost fifteen years ago. He said that last year he danced it better than ever. It’s because he learned where to relax, where to conserve. Plus his body knew the niches of the dance that much more, fifteen years of knowlegde and practice more.

I feel this too in many ways. I feel my core more, even as I feel increasing back pain. My body is smart. It knows how to do things better and with ease. I can actually stand in first position without desperately gripping the barre, even after lunch.

As week two of the new season winds down, I write as I prepare my dinner after a day of nothing but carrots: a real one and some juice. Adrenaline courses through my veins and, behold, I look forward to rehearsal tomorrow!


Post a Comment

<< Home