"Do I dare disturb the universe?"
~T.S. Eliot

Friday, June 24, 2011

"This is why we fight.."

This is our last weekend, here at the kibbutz. My feelings are so bittersweet. I had a rough week of dancing (explanation below), so in some ways I am SO ready for a little break. In other ways, I am so sad to leave this amazing, beautiful place. I have also just begun to grow closer with certain friends here, and am so frustrated and sad to leave when friendships are just blooming.
We decided to dress silly for our last modern class...
So, this post has a bit of a different vibe to it, but this past week was really hard for me. I'll explain why...I've realized some things about dance; if ever I said things were hard here, it was not the hardest. This past week I woke up to many things, but also faced even harder challenges than ever before. My emotions go up and down like I'm a teenager again, and one minute I feel confident, and the next, my ego truly lacking.

I won't go into too many specifics, but mostly all these thoughts and feelings are coming from casting choices....what I'm dancing in or not dancing in for the final show, which is in just a few days. I hate drama that comes out of these experiences...You never know what directors are looking for when they cast various parts. I am currently understudying or in the "second cast" for a couple parts that I'd really like to be able to perform more. Specifically, I am referring to the what we call the "mattress" section of the piece called "Screen Saver." I'm pretty sure I wrote about learning this piece before. It is the most physically challenging piece of choreography I have ever learned, and it's incredibly exhausting to do. Ever since we learned it though, I've had this strong desire to conquer this, and to be able to not just get all the way through it, stamina-wise, but to perform it. I had been rehearsing with a couple fellow dancers as a kind of second cast, but I still don't know if I'll get put in the final show or not (though I know I shouldn't fixate on it so much, it really shouldn't matter if I perform or not...). It's frustrating, still, because I've worked so hard and have given this truly all I have. An incredibly wonderful classmate let me run the piece in her place during tech the other day. Mika has told me how far I've come with it, and that I should be proud at how it has transformed in just a few weeks. Still, the second half is a bit weak, and I let my exhaustion show through, which I can understand to be true.

We recently had final conferences about our progress, and so much of what I heard was positive, encouraging about my growth and where I'm going from here, and positive about what I high note I'm finishing on. I was so happy to hear all this, but the casting seems incongruous. Some of my best friends here and I have shared mutual feelings, and we sometimes wonder why we chose the arts as our field, when it lends itself to so much emotional and personal exhaustion. Things like casting should not be personal, but of course we cannot take every decision as a compliment or blow. Everyone says to think of large experiences like these five months as a journey of opportunities, learning, and successes, and not think of the final performance as a culmination of everything we've learned, but just a small piece of it. Abra, my friend from home who did the last program told me that casting really doesn't matter so much as that I should give my parts that I am performing everything that I have; even if it's less stage time than I wish, I can make every moment count. (For example, I have this solo I love in the piece of Matz Ek Gizelle we are doing, where I get to share a long hug with Albert, then wake up to what a womanizer he is, push him away and grand-battement kick him. It's split-cast, but I'll be doing this part in two shows--It's just a really fun applause-moment, and I savor it every time.) I am trying to think this way, but, it's hard. I really wanted to able to conquer the "mattresses," and by that I mean, getting all the way through the piece without collapsing because of lack of cardio stamina, or my quads giving out. Because of all the work I have put into rehearsing, inside and outside of scheduled rehearsal time, I have been able to accomplish this. It's been really amazing, when I think about it, to consider my journey of progress, and realize how I can actually DO this thing now, when I couldn't get through it before. But somehow, that's not enough for me. I feel like I haven't truly conquered it unless my director will put me on stage....So this battle is what I've been fighting all week. It's tough, and it's taken a toll on me. In some ways I wish I could let it all go, and just enjoy these last few days. In other ways, I know that I am a fighter, and that nothing has ever just been handed to me. This battle is something I was meant to fight, whatever the outcome may be. (My theme song lately has been The Decemberists' "This is Why We Fight." SUCH a powerful, amazing song!

Today at the beach
On a happier note, I have been able to take my mind off this and my aching muscles by hanging out with great friends this weekend. Last night I had a BBQ/picnic with some friends, then watched Harry Potter 6, and continued to laugh the night away until we were giddy. Tonight I revisited the classic Center Stage with a friend. I also went into Nahariya and spent time lounging at the beach, closing my eyes and listening to the waves. I also swam for a few minutes, though the waves were choppy and the shore rocky. Nature, relaxation time, memorable experiences with friends...it reminded me to take a step back from this show that it is not the end-all-be-all of my time here, and that what I've learned goes beyond the stage.

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