“The smart ones [dancers] know where to look when things get rough, it isn’t there [feelings that life is unfair], it’s here…[at the barre.]
No matter what happened in class, in performance last week or five minutes ago, if you come back here [to the barre], you’ll be home.”
-Juliette Simon in Center Stage [emphasis mine]
19 years after it’s 2000 debut, Center Stage is back! The original is on Netflix and I watched last weekend.
In 2000, I was in college, majoring economics and minoring in dance and I’d watch the movie over and over. (my former college roommate and her now husband/then boyfriend still remind me occasionally, that I’d watch that movie “all the time.” ). On semester breaks, I would watch this movie with my sister and we would replay the funny parts. So this movie brings back great memories.
If you are an adult ballerina, I suspect you may also be a fan of the movie, but for anyone who doesn’t remember this movie, it’s about a group of young dancers from various backgrounds who enroll at the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York City. The film explores the issues and difficulties in the world of professional dance, and how each individual copes with the stresses.
Ok, so back to the reason for this post. Watching the movie after I conceptualized and started working on this blog reminded me of my “why”. Only after hearing Juliette tell Eva that she must return to the barre when all seems lost, did I fully understand the dual meaning of this blog. Although our adult community– older dancers who dance because they love it, may have left the barre for different reasons, we all have returned because ultimately it’s home.
But even if the barre doesn’t feel like home quite yet, because you’ve been gone for a while and things are…well… rusty… stick around. Come back to this weekly blog for inspiration, encouragement, and information geared towards older dancers. As a non-professional/ non-beginner adult dancer, it’s hard to know how to jump back in. There’s a rhythm to it…just like double dutch. For a long time, I felt like I was standing in front of the ropes trying to finding the opening.
So for those of you who haven’t come back to the barre–now is the time. You won’t regret it! Some of my best days, especially after a long workday, are when I nail something in ballet class (a triple pirouette, or an arabesque–when you squint, that looks pretty darn good.)
Taking time to get back to the barre will build your esteem and the joy you’ll feel will flow into other parts of your life–promise! My ability to focus on my highly technical/no room for error-day job is better because I get back to the barre. I am also a better person, wife, and mother, because I take time to nurture a part of me that will never ever go away. With me, you’ll never have to justify your hard work and dedication as an adult dancer–once a dancer, always a dancer. I get it!
When my life seems unfair and completely out of control; when I feel inadequate and like I’m not doing “life” right; when I feel crappy because I’ve compared myself to yet another Instagramer’s perfect-looking life, I can go back to the barre to overrule all of my negative self talk. I must get back to the barre because it’s where my heart is… it’s home.
So let’s get back to the barre—together, I promise with some effort and encouragement it’ll start to feel like home.
XX Amber Genise