No pain, hopefully no gain…

Let me start this with a disclaimer: K is old school and I love that about her. She’s tough, she expects hard work, and she’s chock full of amazing information about how the body works and how dancers should embody movement. She’s not afraid to tell it like it is. Coming from a more collaborative environment where everyone shared equal weight, created an ensemble hierarchy and gave criticism with sugar on top, working with K has had its challenges.

Mostly, it’s my issue to deal with, I know this.  Yet I find myself getting pouty and hurt like a small child from time to time.  I’m not sure if it’s me, or just the atmosphere that is created.  K’s work is designed for the kind of company I’ve been terrified of. Certain people get solos, others do not.  Some are cast in everything and featured like a blockbuster movie, some only in a few large group pieces.  This is not how I’m used to operating.  You would think that after four years, I’d get used to it.  But I haven’t.  I still feel sensitive to things.  Like the days when she seems to be dishing out glowing compliments to other dancers, but is still pushing me to “get stronger.”  And I have been working my ASS off to get there.  I completed a round of p90x, in the hopes that my new-found strength would either garner praise or at least make the remarks of my strength issues go away for a while.  But it didn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, K’s work is wicked tough.  It’s demanding, technically hard and  requires a heckofa lot of endurance and stamina.  And I love that.  It pushes me to work in a way that feels challenging, but proud of.  But is all of that hard work paying off?  Perhaps she’s just more conscious of my age then I am.  She’s not giving out any breaks just because I have birthed two kids and have the pelvis to prove it.  I DO know that I bring it at every rehearsal.  I don’t think I’ve ever marked anything unless it was absolutely necessary.  So why I’m still feeling like a disappointment, I’m not sure.

More importantly, why am I letting someone’s opinion of me and my dancing effect me so much?  Is that the nature of the artist, the need for approval?  Shouldn’t I be over that by this point in my career? As a dancer, it’s so psychological – sure it’s my dancing, but it’s also my body, my brain.  Somehow the hit is harder than if someone were to criticize my knitting, grammar, or even parenting on some level.  It’s how I look, how I move, and how I process things.  What a triple whammy!  No wonder so many ballet dancers are anorexic.  I have never danced in an environment like this, and I can see how it would be easy to get sucked in to that mindset.

In the end, I have to constantly remind myself that I’m doing this for ME, and if K likes it, than that is a bonus.  After having Mr. B, I came back to dancing a little more free, knowing that there were bigger things to focus on.  I seem to have lost that along the way.  And I need to stop comparing myself and what is or is not said to me with others.  If I’ve remembered one thing from all of my positivity crap, it is that I should not measure my success by others success or failure.  Right?  Right?

But just to show you want I’m talking about, let me give you this:  We’re trying on costumes that we wore in the last show, and the costumer tells some of us that she was told by K that someone had gained weight, but she didn’t know who, and that was why we were trying on costumes.  Shit.  Really?  So the six of us in the room start questioning whether it is one of us.  One dancer has come back from having her second baby and is still nursing (and looks FABULOUS) by the way.  The other two are guys who have clearly lost some weight, and then there’s me.  So I spent the rest of rehearsal thinking “wow, does she think I have gained weight?”  Then I reminded myself to breathe and enjoy…

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