Hello again, from the other side of the pond! I haven't written in a while, mostly because it seems whatever to say lately pales to my adventures abroad. But here I am, fresh to the States again, and I find myself a little lost. More driven and determined than ever, but unsure of what I'm driving at. I have more choices than ever, and while that's a good thing, it's a bit overwhelming.
Auditions has been my focus over the past few weeks, but the economy is struggling, and so are us dancers. The few companies that are looking to hire new dancers are often not hiring women at this time, and if they are, are barely paying. It's really too bad, because I feel like if the economic situation were not so desperate, I would have a dance job by now. When I graduated from school in 2009, my classmates and I made jokes like "Good luck in the worst economy the country has seen in decades!" and "Way to add to the unemployment rate!" But it's not exactly a joke anymore....However, I feel SO incredibly lucky that AthletiCo, the physical therapy clinic at which I worked prior to moving to Israel, has welcomed me back with open arms. It's an excellent job, and my knowledge I gained from working there was really what kept me relatively injury-free in Israel. I'm also so lucky I got my dancing feet in the door of my former high school, and now have the good fortune to be the go-to-dance-sub, have already been asked to teach master classes, and will hopefully continue doing after school programming. Last year, I really found myself loving teaching, and I'm really excited to continue working with high school students. They are enthusiastic about dancing, receptive to learning, and overall really great kids.
With these two main part-time gigs though--working in the field of physical therapy, and teaching--I've been confronted with my long-time questions of going back to school. I've been interested in PT for a long time, but all PT programs are now Doctorate programs now (MPTs have become obsolete). Without many (or any) prerequisites done, and a full 3 years of school, becoming a full-fledged physical therapist is a tough row to hoe. I am now starting to consider PT Assistant (PTA) programs, which are 2 years and with fewer prereqs. At least at AthletiCo, PTAs do pretty much everything that PTs do except they can't make initial evaluations. I know I also would like to get a teaching certificate at some point (probably in English, because so few programs certify in Dance), so that I could actually be hired at a school rather than just sub and do after school programming. ::sigh:: I wish I could *snap* my fingers and have these degrees. (But alas, even Hermione didn't have a spell for instant graduation.) I think that I have figured out my dream post-dancing job. I would love to work at a high school acting as a liason between the fine arts (and dance teacher) and athletic department (and athletic trainer) as a dance teacher/PTA. Sounds like a dream. What school will have the money to hire me? I'll have to show them that my skills are valuable, versatile, and completely worth it. :-)
Anyway, that's in the future. I'm in the now. Or rather, should be. My heart is still in Israel, and I miss Kibbutz Gaaton more than ever. I miss the studio, with its tall, wide windows that looked out to the Galilee. The birds that would fly inside and temporarily distract us all from our pliés and tendus. The goofy pianist who transitioned from Mendelsohn to Led Zeppelin to Disney. The garden outside my doorstep, where lemongrass, lemon verbena, and sage grew. Asking my neighbor if I could borrow a cup of sugar (yes, literally). Or a fruit squeezer. Or a spatula. Sipping a frozen coffee at the café, while shyly flirting with the guy who worked there (for whom I harbored a secret...or perhaps not-so-secret...crush), our words getting lost in translation. Listening to Mika's inspirational speeches about dancing and life. Buying salted cashews, fresh mint, and dripping strawberries from a market. Floating in the Mediterranean.
All of that is behind me now, but I conjure the images in moments when I know I'm losing touch. I came out of the program so confident, so strong (physically and mentally), a quicker and more focused learner, and with a renewed passion for dance. My title of this entry says "Lama kacha?" which translates to "Why like this?" We made fun of this common Israeli phrase, because it sounds silly, translated, but it's used to contemplate an unfortunate situation. So I'm finding myself asking, now that I've returned, why is it like this, and not like this? Because times are still tough. Because, as I said in another post, I have never had anything just handed to me. Because I knew I would have to fight.