To Dance Or Not To Be

One of the first things most people get to know about me, is that I am a dancer. It’s one of those most present, obvious things about me, apparently. NBI the dancer.

But I’m not taking dance classes anymore. I didn’t enroll myself, because of a few reasons. The first one, obviously, is that I believed I would be in Russia now. When I decided to stay, I only had one more week to enroll myself. But I also suddenly had to start my life in Belgium over again. The second reason is that I didn’t want to pay for a whole year while I could only attend classes for three months. And last but not least, they would be preparing a show, which I couldn’t take part in, because I will be abroad then.

Long story short, I’m currently not taking dance classes.

But how I miss it, how I miss it… Mentally, physically, I think I underestimated this. I don’t mind not getting up at 8 every Saturday morning, but that’s about the only bright side so far. I just really want to dance, I always feel the need to dance, but now I lack the space to properly do exercises. Every Saturday, every, every Saturday evening, I do dance in my room at home. It’s something. There is not enough space to do all the fun stuff though. No real jumping, no going from one side to the other while turning, no such things are possible.

There is also no good teacher who makes up new exercises, who corrects me, who makes good choreographies. What I do every Saturday evening is mainly to do something physical, to stay in shape a little, to not lose my technique and flexibility. Also, I do it to move. I still feel good when doing ballet exercises, even when space is limited.

I’ve come to realize that dancing makes me deal with things as well. It’s a form of meditation. You think of the music, the steps, all that, but you don’t really get the chance to think of the assignment you still have to do, that one thing you said to that person, what you still have to buy for dinner. And sometimes, when you’re really struggling with some issue, it helps to dance it out a little. Therapy in the dance studio. Yes, I know I’m getting cheesy.

I don’t just miss it mentally though. I’ve never had back aches so often, and I think I now where they come from : I move too little. The best cure for back aches so far for me, is to use my back, bend it, dance. It helps. Backs should be used often, and when you sit for too long, it will protest.

So you see, I’m made to dance. I’m not made to dance professionally, but my body screams for moving when I hear music. I still can’t go from point A to B without throwing in some arm movements or kicking legs. That’s what I’m made from still, that’s what I’m made for still. So I can’t wait to take dance classes again, to be in a dance studio again and to move, and to sweat, to feel elegant again.

I don’t want it. I just need it.

(To breathe, to feel, to know I’m alive – bonuspoint for anyone getting that Tool reference.)

Of course, no post on dance without a good video. This dance duet is so powerful, so beautiful, so heart crushing and impressive (all those lifts!). Warning: may beat you up mentally. But trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Is there something you cannot live without? What defines you for most people? Do you love dance? I promise not to hate on you if you don’t, however hard that will be 😉

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Good memories

Good memories rarely start with ‘And that day I decided to stay home and go to bed early’. So yesterday I was hesitating very hard, like I do nearly all the time about small decisions. (Give me a life changing decision and there you go – immediately I’ve made a choice! But coffee or tea causes me troubles…) I was really tired yesterday and today I had a long day of classes. So I was hesitating – would I go out with my brother or not? Of course rationally I knew I needed to stay home and sleep. But deep within (not that deep at all of course) I really wanted to go out one last time before entering the Finals Cage. Then my mother called me and when hearing upon my terrible dilemma, she said: YOLO!

Okay, she didn’t actually say that, it was more like ‘you’re only young once, just do it and if you’re tired tomorrow, then so be it’. Have I ever told you how cool my parents are? So then I decided that screw it, sleep is for the weak. And there I went, fully awake, straight to the bar where the booze was very cheap since they were open once more before the Finals and they needed to get rid of all their drinks. Luckily my brother and his friends didn’t mind me joining them. Later on that evening my best friend also gave in and showed up.

And there it all began. At first there weren’t even that many people. But along the way of course it got crowded as hell since the booze was cheap. We talked a bit, but as the music got louder and the people got more, there wasn’t much possibility to talk and we started dancing. The music was pretty good as well, and surprisingly I always want to dance when hearing good music! It became crowded, it became insanely hot, the floor was sticky. When kicking the floor with you feet, you could something splatter against your leg. Hmmm!

So there I stood, soaking in sweat, with something splattering against my legs and dancing like a fool. I felt awesome. Can you think of anything better than that? It was the best place I could have been at that moment. I used to go out hoping I would meet new people, but now that’s no longer the aim. I want to go out and dance and jump around like a fool until I’m sweaty and sticky and my legs hurt. If I meet new people, cool, but if not, also cool. There’s also come a point where I no longer care how I look when I dance. I don’t want to know either, because it might look ridiculous, but who cares? I’ll be gone last year, and at least I’m having a good time. You know, there are also those people who are just bouncing all night long while looking extremely bored. What’s the point of going out then? I may look like a fool, but you can’t say I’m not liking what I’m doing. Bored is not a word to describe me when going out.

Then I went to the DJ to ask for a song, which he searched for, found and promised to play next. I wanted to declare my love for him at that point. How often do you get that? A DJ who immediately plays the song you asked for? Then everything got even brighter. Not literally of course. As usually I had said to not stay for longer then two hours. As usually I failed. Like I always say though, when it’s fun you have to stay!

Good memories rarely end with ‘And then I woke up completely full of energy and ready for many classes’. I had yolo’ed a little too much, but after a power nap I was fully charged and ready for the day again. And hey, now I’ve got the great memory of an awesome DJ, good music and dancing until I could almost feel the sweat dripping down.

I could do this every day.

The World’s a Stage

With the exams currently happening and a lack of sleep, my emotional balance is a bit off sometimes. Mostly I’m just tired and sick of learning, but I know from experience that everything can become a huge drama if you don’t hold yourself back. And often, mostly before an oral exam I worry for, I tell myself one should always maintain one’s dignity and self-control. Like the exam is a stage, you’re going up, smile and wave, and if you need to breakdown, do it backstage.

If there’s one thing you learn from dancing, it’s to keep going no matter what’s hurting, no matter how tired you are. Unfortunately this virtue mostly only exists in me when I’m in a dance class, and not so much when I’m studying. Though I must say I have become pretty good at smiling and waving when I actually really want to cry. I used to take the test when I was really angry, then I’d go to a mirror and smile as charming as possible.

But the same counts for physical pain. I remember hitting someone during my last show and it hurt like hell even weeks later on (poor me). What to do what to do? Easy – you smile and that’s it. The world is a stage and even when you hit someone, or someone hits you, you have to smile and keep going. I know it’s easier when you’re really on stage and there’s music playing, but in the end you’ll be the one curtsying elegantly, so you win.

Ballet has this really good tool to help you train this ability. They’re called pointe shoes and make you dance on your toes. Really on them? Yes, on top of your toes. Is that uncomfortable? What do you think, darling? It’s not the most comfortable thing ever, no, but when you have the right shoes and they have been molded a bit, it’s actually not as bad as you might imagine. I had my first pair of pointe shoes when I was 13, but I didn’t have class, so I trained a bit by myself. They got too small, but I still kept using them. This year though, my teacher decided we would have pointe class, so now I’ve got a new pair which really supports my feet and look great.

Me is happy!

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Am I a ballerina now?

Getting pointe shoes is a big step for every dancer. It’s like a dream coming through – even if that dream kills your toes. It’s the cherry on the cake. Because really, pointes give a kind of magic you can never really get without them. They make you look so light you can just dance on your toes like it’s nothing, while in fact it needs year of training. Also, in ballet lines are very important. When you’re not on pointe, your line always gets broken by your toes sticking out. Eech.

020 - kopieFor those wondering, it are Blochs serenades. For others wondering, that’s the door to my room. I don’t think the floor is real wood, but it is very cosy.
Now, where was I? As you can see lines keep going in these. Together with the ribbons showing off how small and nice your ankles are – I must admit I like slender ankles – it makes you look very elegant, perhaps fragile, while in fact you are really strong, especially in the legs, and your toes probably look bruised and battered. But you know, it’s all about illusions, as you might remember.

002It might be due to the many years of practice in the too small pointe shoes, but I’m actually quite okay in them. I managed to do a double pirouette already, I am able to do some rather inelegant fouettés, and the hops Giselle does across the stage (hops on pointe indeed!), I should be able to do those too. Though of course I only practised everything in my room. In our dance class we’re doing the obligatory exercises to strengthen your feet and ankles, but I’m not patient enough – I actually want to dance in them!

Now the only thing left to do for me, is to be ‘discovered’ by a ballet company and become the ruling star there. I feel like I’m getting closer already… But above all I get to learn to stand on my toes and smile though they feel a bit crushed. However much they get to hurt, you just keep going because it looks good and is fun somehow, and in the end you will get to curtsy, just like you deserve.

018If you’re wondering now whether it was all just an excuse to show you my feet in pointe shoes, well, it totally was.

Dance Day # 7: Explosions

It seems like we’re finally getting the spring we’ve been waiting for! At last we can go for a drink during the evening and sit outside without nearly freezing to death. We’ve got this square in front of the building where we’ve got most of our classes, so every hour we are free, we go and sit there. Sometimes with French fries. That’s a very good life, believe me. That’s what spring should be like. And then I’d just want to dance around like Natalia Osipova, explosively, cheerfully, just really happy with everything and jumping like gravity is a joke. She’s a stunning dancer who can make it seem as if she’s made out of energy, and she can totally bring a smile to your face.

No next time I’m sitting on the square in the sun, I’ll seriously consider getting up and dancing around. Until I decide that just lying down with closed eyes is fun as well, that is ;).

 

The quality isn’t the best, but it’s so powerful and the tune stays in your head forever. I want that tambourine as well, and then I’d totally be going los. *tinkle jingle jangle*

 

And o, that fancy dress… Perhaps it has secret wings nailed onto it or something. She jumps higher than a real eighties mohawk. But that’s something for another post.

What does the sun makes you want to do? Lay back with a cocktail or jumping around because finally-it-has-come-omg-omg?

Dance Day # 3: Every four years, sadness

The Games are over, we all sob and cry because of this loss. Suddenly there’s too much time to do other stuff. Something is not right – where’s the Aquatic Centre gone? Why can’t we see rhythmic gymnastics anymore? Where’s the hymns?
We all feel how it hurts, how clueless life has become. Fortunately, there are ways to get over your grief. Try to make a painting that shows your grief, talk with a psychologist, or dance around the house or street randomly. Nothing can cure wounds as much as random dancing. Trust me. Have you ever got the feeling you should dance to this or that song? Never resist that urge. Never ever just sit down while actually you want to move like a fool.

There’s one song that always makes me jump up and go insane. You might remember this group playing at the opening ceremony of our deplored Games. They didn’t play this song, and that’s just a shame.

Need an example to see what random dancing can be like? Here you go – Lykke Li dancing around a restaurant to fight off sadness. Her dress is amazing by the way. I don’t love this song in particular, but I like the video. It’s really artistic and beautiful.

Dance the pain away, people. You’ll see it works.

Want to see more Dance Days? It has its own category – check on the right!

Random Dance

After all, this is Random Female Blog, and it should contain some random dancing. Like… Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance. It’s a company, founded in 1992 and with a curriculum companiae to have respect for.
Here’s a clip of their show ‘Far’, which I will see in April. It seems to be modern, but with a obvious classical base. That, in fact, is not new at all, but never change a winning team.

For the ones who want a background, a behind the scenes: watch this.

The Ultimate Dancing

A new season of SYTYCD started on the Dutch and Flemish TV-stations. Dancing programs are booming here, you have SYTYCD, The Ultimate Dance Battle, you had Dancing with Stars and Stars on the Dance Floor etc.
When the program is about dancing (and not about famous people who learn to dance) you mostly get funny, great or touching moments. Like Isabelle Beernaert’s choreographies, they are mostly strong because of the true-harted emotions, and this one is my favourite of her. Just a piano and a voice (Adele’s powerful voice) work most of the time. Add the really good dancers and blend with colours: Someone Like You.