The dancer’s mirror

I actually wanted to write about something else today but I was bitten by the inspiration bug last night and, as it’s Wednesday, I thought I would share it as midweek inspiration.

The inspiration bug that bit me has a name, Lorry, as well as an awesome blog called The 109th Bead. In her last post “My new little corner” Lorry described how a chance situation got her standing at a new spot at the barre in ballet class – the spot directly in front of the dreaded full body “fat mirror” (shudder…). I won’t give away the story in the post because I think it’s best you read it yourselves. But I will say that the experience that began with the horror of the full body “fat mirror” (shudder again) ended up being a positive lesson in self-acceptance.

It was the last paragraph of her post that really brought something home to me.

“…what if we begin to think that when we look in the mirror there are dancers looking back, not girls with tummies or thighs that we don’t like; that we begin to see ballet dancers moving and dancing instead of boys and girls that are just making believe.” – Lorry, The 109th Bead

As an adult dancer I often feel like I’m “faking it”, like I’m simply “not the real deal”. After all, who am I to call myself a “dancer”? Diana Vishneva can call herself a “dancer”, Polina Seminova can call herself a “dancer” – how can I place myself in their league? But I guess it’s not about placing oneself in their league. It’s about believing that I am a dancer in my own way and in my own right.

INT_the dancers mirror 1_2013

I spend hours practicing dance, reading about dance, watching dances on YouTube (my main procrastination tool). Despite all that, why do I still see a “girl who is just making believe”? And, most importantly, what would happen if I thought the opposite and allowed myself to see a “dancer looking back”?

A few hours after reading Lorry’s post, I tried an experiment. At ballet class, I voluntarily stood right in front of that horrible, dreaded full-length “fat-mirror” (I wonder why no one fought me for the spot). Before we began, I straightened myself up and repeated the words “you are a dancer”. It may sound like a complete cliché but it really helped. My teacher even noticed and complimented me on the height of my jumps! I can honestly say, it was one of the most satisfying classes I’ve had recently.

INT_the dancer's mirror_2013

So, thanks for the inspiration Lorry, you’ve helped me find a new pre-class mantra to recite and my own new little corner at the barre – smack in front of the lovely, full length “dancer’s mirror”.

4 thoughts on “The dancer’s mirror

  1. Very nice entry! This is something that I rarely think about but it is pretty important. I never view myself fully as a dancer, but maybe I should. I’ve done quite some dancing in my life and in my own place, time and right I AM a dancer because I DANCE!

    We have one studio that has fat mirrors as well… hate those.

  2. Thank you so much, Tochi! I remember a while back having a long discussion with several other adult dancers on Twitter about what we call ourselves. The result was that no one seemed all that comfortable with calling themselves a dancer without at least some kind of quantifier – adult dancer, adult beginning dancer, hobbyist dancer, etc. It was all very apologetic – I’m not REALLY a dancer, I just go to dance class… a lot. But we are dancers, we should own it and work it! Like you, when I’m not in class, I’m practicing dance, reading about dance, writing about dance, watching dance, thinking about dance – WE ARE DANCERS! You know what? I’m proud of us! Go dancers! 😀

    1. Hehehe, YAY for ALL dancers! I’m so proud of all of us too and I agree, we should not be apologetic, we should own it 😉
      And thanks to you again – the fat mirror has become my friend…who would have thought! 🙂

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