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and i danced

liz lamoreux

I started ballet at 4 and danced until I was 12. Flowing, moving, breathing, up on the toes, deep bends at the knee, launching the body into the air in a spin. I loved it. There were reasons why I stopped (a story for another time). Initially, I was drawn to yoga because the movements in yoga postures connected me to the dancer I was as a child. Every now and then in a yoga class someone will comment on my arms and how I move them like a ballerina. I chuckle (it really does come out like a chuckle) because I am amazed that person could see a ballerina inside this body, so distant from that time of point shoes and dreams of becoming someone I am not.

I have been teaching yoga at a new studio in my town for the last few weeks. It is so new that my classes are not always full and sometimes I sit there waiting for one student, please just one student, to show up. And every now and then, I am there alone. Often my thoughts are negative when this happens. I am upset because I want to teach. I want students! My ego gets involved.
Yesterday, I found myself sitting calmly in the studio, waiting. I was substituting for another teacher who teaches two classes back to back. No one came to the first class so I had quite a bit of time to sit with myself. I had on the music I use during class. I stood up to get something to read, and this movement of getting up shifted my attention to the music. I began to move.

I point my toes out in front of me, lift my leg up high. Spin in a pirouette. Let myself feel my body come up on my toes, move quickly, bend, leap across the room. Spin again and again. Bring the foot to the knee then back out to the side. Reach the arms up to the sky and come back on the toes. I became the ballerina inside me. I found her again. I wasn't just connected to a distant memory in the mind but to the memory in the body. And I danced.

Letting go of the attachment of "needing students" to show up for class. Letting go of the shame that this body can't move like a ballerina anymore. Realizing that it can. Finding the space to move, breath, connect deeper within. Allowing myself this time for me. The students will come when they are ready.

And a student came to the later class. And another came to my noon class today. And after the noon class, I danced again. Welcome back.

"Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery."
Martha Graham