My roommate, who happens to be a triathlon competitor, asked me why whenever he sees me working out, it looks like I’m taking a nap. I have to admit that we dancers do spend a lot of time lying on the floor. Without getting defensive, I had to explain that it takes me about 45 minutes to “balance” my pelvis before I can move properly. I know it sounds half-obscene half-indulgent when I say it, but what I mean is this. The asymmetries of life pull on my bones. (Case in point, here I am sitting hunched over, legs-crossed at my computer. A moment to re-adjust.)
How do we undo life’s torques? Carefully, patiently. With micro-movements and intense awareness. I wish it weren’t so. But I do my time, nudging my sacrum a smidge this way, then that, making hints at lateral motion, then flex-ion or extension, knowing that this subtle, imperceptible work makes all the difference in being able to move fully without popping or tugging at ligaments or scraping down cartilage. I don’t want no artificial hip, ever!
The agonizingly frustrating thing about being a dancer is that you could spend all day every day working on physical skills and never arrive anywhere close to your aspirations. Or maybe this is the beauty part, that you can spend your life in pursuit of physical balance and never run out of a challenge.
As a choreographer, I sometimes wonder if my time is well-spent in this direction. Why not delegate the chore of maintaining the physical instrument to others? The “problem” is that my love of choreography comes out of a love of dancing. I can’t separate the two, yet. For me, inspiration is still physically motivated. Only after I’ve done the work–work that might look like napping–am I ready to dance and make dances.