The Barre is Now My Kitchen Counter

So my students often hear me talk about how the eyebrows are the most underrated part of the body. When you are dancing, all you have to do is lift your eyebrows and immediately you look more engaged in what you are doing. But lately, I feel like my eyebrows are stuck at the very top of my forehead from just trying to make decisions and answer questions that I don’t have any of the answers to, from worrying about what’s going on around us, from the news reports that don’t stop coming, from trying to stay positive when it feels like we are stripped from the community around us and we don’t know when all of this will stop. This is the middle of COVID-19.

But then it makes me so proud of the community we HAVE built around us. The community of friends I have. The community of dancers I get to see grow and that support each other daily. The clients at Pure Barre I see commit to themselves in the midst of our busy lives. The family that I have around me.

But then I am sad because we cannot be together. Because I don’t know when we will be again.

Then, I am honored that other dance teachers come to me wondering about what plans we have for our studio. I am touched that they think enough of me to ask. But honestly? My answer is that we are taking it day by day. We are stepping one foot in front of the other because we need the normalcy as much as our students do. And we are managing, but we are treading new territory and I am trying to choose that that is exciting and full of possibility over strange and weird.

Because that’s about all my heart can take. I hate seeing my students away from their best friends. I hate not being able to be their haven at the end of a day. I hate not watching them move and grow. I hate not being able to see my seniors in high school have the most special end of their year.

But then I am grateful for Zoom and Instagram and Social Media. I am grateful for dancers being able to still dance at home, and still move and connect and see each other.

But then I hurt because it’s so hard to read body language. To be able to connect individually. To teach online is so much harder than it is person. But it’s worth it, and teaching online makes me feel so much better, I just miss the energy of all of us being and creating in one room.

But then how lucky that we are creating. Artists– dancers, musicians, singers, painters– we are offering light in this very strange world into the home of so many individuals.

And I realize, I’m not on the front lines of this horrible thing. I am not in medicine and I cannot even BEGIN to express my gratitude towards those that are taking care of us. That are helping us, that are making sure we can keep on when this is all over. That are seeing the true horrors of what is happening….

I write this from the perspective of a dance teacher, but we are all going through this in our own individual lives. Brides that have canceled their weddings. Babies born without the father in the room. But also, families that are in their yards playing with chalk and actually having dinners together.

and what I am truly trying to say by this whole thing is that I know I am in a constant state of back and forth in my emotions. and I don’t think I’m alone in this. One moment, I am grateful for the chance to slow down and spend time with my fiance. Grateful for the opportunity to move and dance no matter where I am. Then sad to not have all the answers for my kids that ask me about what’s happening. Why are they stuck at home? Why can’t we be together? But then grateful to have shared a skill with so many students that they can find solace in their homes too.

We are stuck at home. We are not on the battlefield (and I’m not in the hospitals). But we have feelings and they are valid and they are real.

So…

These back and forths are for a purpose. I believe we all feel them. It’s what makes us human. Grateful, sad, empathetic, anxious. We are meant to feel all the things. It’s what makes me believe we will come out stronger. I think about the day we can be in the studio together. In class like normal. And it will ALL mean so much more. We will make this world a better place, because we went through this struggle together. And we will eventually raise our eyebrows… stunned at the art that came out of us.

**Side note: watching Elton John’s Live At Home Concert right now and THIS is why we have to keep on! ARTS. THE ARTS. Also, the things tonight have given me big, big updated dreams for next year’s production. Get excited dancers! We will be back. and we WILL be better.

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