“There’s something about sitting out…that makes me feel…like I’ve done something wrong. I hate to miss out.”
I hate sitting. Sitting out of ballet to observe cultivates the same feelings I experience driving a long distance alone—I’m focused and observing my surroundings, but my brain wanders to a million different places. There’s too much time to think – it’s a blessing and a curse.
Sadly, after a few successful months back to fully dancing and back on pointe, the reason I found myself sitting for part of class, yet again, is another ankle sprain. Not as bad as the ligament tear that started this snowballing of unfortunate events, but not necessarily a minor setback either. As the days pass and separate me from the dreaded, PTSD-filled moment I experienced last Wednesday (fell off my pointe shoe with a crack and, needless to say, it traumatized me quite a bit), things are already improving. But I am again limited by my body.
There’s something about sitting out of such a big portion of ballet class that makes me feel like I’m being punished. Like I’ve done something wrong. I know this is not the case, but it always pushes to the forefront of my mind. I know I am making a safe decision for my body, but I hate to miss out.
“The absolute worst part of sitting is the regret…I’m aware of the delicate balance…I know how fast it can disappear.”
On a pedagogical note, observing class is interesting to say the least. As a teacher and with an eye for clean technique, there is so much to notice and evaluate when watching the execution of others. I find myself wanting to apply certain corrections to myself, and thinking of what I would do technically to approach certain combinations, which steps I would indulge in artistically.
The absolute worst part of sitting is the regret. And that isn’t a feeling I experienced the few other times I’ve sat down in a class before. It’s new. Because ever since the mental flash I had back in September, and the weeks that passed until I could participate fully again, I’m aware of the delicate balance. The balance between operating fully and gracefully one minute, and then having something go wrong and damaging your body the next. I know how fast it can disappear – how you can feel on top of the world one moment, thinking only of what you can do better or how to display yourself artistically. The next day you’re back to square one-maxed out on ibuprofen, taped, braced, legwarmer-ed, trying to do at least a decent barre as best as you can.
I’ve been in this spot before, and I’ve preached about this already. Be grateful for everything you have. Every moment is a blessing. So if you’re sitting, stand up… (metaphorically, that is). Do the work, and fight the pain and the fear in order to make it better. It’ll make you even stronger, and you’ll know yourself better than you ever did before.