Here we are at that magical time of year when gifts are exchanged with wishes of peace on earth and the hope of a better new year to come. What a difficult year it’s been and not just politically. I have geared too many ballet classes around the music of singers who have passed on – an adagio to Prince’s Sometimes in Snows in April stands out, one among several great musicians who are gone (David Bowie, George Michael). We’ve lost several amazing actors too – just on Monday I was watching Singing in the Rain with my mother and marveling at the lovely Debbie Reynolds. This year has also been a very difficult year for many of us personally as well.
Then recently at a friend’s suggestion, I read an amazing book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl in which he talks about his experiences surviving brutal Nazi concentration camps, how he survived, and why others did not. He explains how the torturous conditions became bearable only when one found meaning outside of oneself – when he could focus on his love for his wife, or work to recreate his manuscript that had been confiscated. Only then, by focusing on and reaching for something beyond himself, could he bear his own suffering. If you have never read this book, give yourself this gift!
I found great solace and hope in his book, not just for my life, but for ballet as well. (Dance is life after all). As much as Ballet is about the body and the physical, and can be very difficult, it is also very much about the mind – what we perceive to be our limitations, versus what we imagine is possible.
What I wish for us all in the new year is that we Believe. That we leave in 2016 the doubts, the “I’ll never get my leg high”, the “I’m not a jumper”, the “I’ll never be flexible”, letting all of that go. Instead, I wish for us to take hold of our dreams, like grasping the string of a giant magic red balloon. At first dangling, then embracing, and finally steering our dreams like we own them, and that they may be realized. That we greet each pirouette or pas de chat with a deep knowing that we are fully capable of the execution always focusing on the bigger picture even while we hone our skills more finely one at a time. It scares me to do this too – it feels safer to hang on to the familiar crutches of self-deprecation. But the adventures of 2017 are as yet unchartered territory. Dare yourself to believe it is all possible, and have a very Happy New Year.
Feel free to ‘like’ or comment or share this post if you liked it. Join me for ballet on Tuesday, 7-8 pm. 380 Broadway, buzzer #5. $10.