What Drives You To Dance?

August 15, 2013
Driven to Dance photo

CPYB student Abby Jayne DeAngelo receiving instruction from guest teacher, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and celebrated Balanchine muse, Merrill Ashley.

It’s that thing

It’s that thing that never allows you to give up.

It’s that thing that never allows you to give up and helps you bounce back after a fall or injury.

It’s that thing that never allows you to give up, helps you bounce back after an injury, and sets you back in motion after a very challenging audition.

I once described dance as my air. Not having it was like suffocating. The love of dance can’t be described as a noun or even a verb. The human eye can’t see it. It is powerful though. It squashes what some would see as the negatives: the sacrifices, multiple hours of practice, demand on the body, weight restrictions, and pain management. And yet, you remain compelled to dance!

What is IT?

In my dance life, IT = RETURN. This return presents itself in many forms — individual accomplishments, performing on stage (a personal fav), the applause and the accolades (another personal fav), a feeling of purpose and meaning, a form of expression.

Sometimes as dancers we may find our drive waning a bit. It is impossible to maintain that high level of drive at all times; there are bound to be bumps along the way. Perhaps casting has been posted and our name was not up for the role we had hoped for or even worse, missing! Possibly we’ve gotten frustrated trying to tackle challenging choreography or some tricky combination that has us hung up. Maybe the mind and body are overtired and needing a break — total system overload!

What can we do to get that drive back? When this moment would occur for me, it was time to dust myself off and rally. I would adjust my focus and revisit my goals. I would think about the return I hoped to receive. Simply put, reprogram my thinking!

What drives you to dance?

I recently caught up with two passionate CPYB students to learn what drives them. Here are some thoughts from Abby Jayne DeAngelo and Julian Esteban Duque; two young people driven by their hope of being part of the next generation of professional dancers.

For Abby Jayne it’s a feeling of achievement, the desire to rise to the top — to be the best she can be, and wanting to set a positive example for younger students.

Julian described IT as wanting to be the best, to constantly improve, because when it comes down to it there’s no perfectly executed dance. The fact that he had a late start in ballet pushes him to work even harder. And, tucked in the middle is the desire to make his family proud.

Clearly there is no right or wrong answer to this question. I’m just thrilled that people ARE driven to dance. The world would be a lot less beautiful and magical without it. So, what about you? Fill in the blank: I’m driven to dance by…

Writer’s Note: CPYB alumnus Julian Esteban Duque is now in his first season dancing with Tulsa Ballet II.

 

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