Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dance Me

"Show me slowly what I only know the limits of, and dance me to the end of love..."
~Dance Me To the End of Love by The Civil Wars

I realized on my way home from dance tonight that I was feeling such a way I've never felt before about anything else, anybody, any place, any thing... really truly passionate. On my way to the studio I'm energized and fluttery, during dance I'm entirely unaware of my cognition, and on my way home I kick into depression mode and the countdown to the next lesson begins. I am pretty smart when it comes to using my head - I can think critically, I can conceptualize abstract notions, and oh. man. can. I. analyze. ;) But dance is the one and only activity in which I have ever engaged that I have been able to move from my head and into my body. My mind gets a respite while I embody this other element of my being. It almost even feels like this spiritual force in my life.

There's an old home video (actually it was taped almost exactly 21 years ago to date) when I was 3 years old at my sister's 5th birthday party. My dad took the video camera around and asked each of us there what we wanted to be when we grew up. In a very matter-of-fact tone of voice, my babyish and confident self quickly responded that I wanted to be a "mommy or a ballerina." Well, I'm confident one day I'll be a mommy, and I'm fascinated that I knew I wanted to dance since that early in my life . I can recall during elementary school years turning on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and dancing in my living room in front of the windows longing for some famous talent agent to pass by my suburban, residential street in Skokie, IL and see this cute little 6 year-old-girl dancing who he knew he had to hire and make into a famous professional dancer :) Ha, well, not much has changed...

I've spent this past month dancing with a really talented ballroom dancer who's been training me to get ready for my first ballroom dance competition, which is actually just one week from tomorrow (aaaahhhh!!!!). This is suuuuch a dream come true! I've been getting invaluable one-on-one training and feel like I'm in the best position in the world as a student. During my time at the studio and through conversations in passing I've learned a bit about dance instructors' jobs: They get the opportunity to teach (which I love!), compete professionally (which I imagine I might love even more), and travel while doing so (need I say more?).

So as I think about what kind of work I might want to do when I get back from my trip, working as a dance instructor looks like a pretty perfect option... however, there's a catch... I feel like there's this expectation set upon me by many people I love and value so much that I need to formally use my Masters degree in Human Development Counseling when I get back from my trip. One person in particular whose approval means a tremendous amount to me I know will be disappointed in me if I don't go that route. My intention in naming this is not to call anyone out nor do I mean any disrespect - it's not others' perspectives that pose a challenge to me, it's all about my ability to accept or reject those expectations. What a challenge!

I really do see a route for creating an opportunity to professionally fuse my interests in dance, counseling, education, and business. My college and graduate degrees provide me with such a strong foundation in the latter three areas, and perhaps teaching and pursuing dance at a professional level will give me better insight as to how I can combine this passion with other career interests. As I see it, my degree isn't going anywhere, I truly employ what I've learned from it every single day, and it's not only valuable if used in a formal community counseling setting.

One thing is certain - nobody who has made significant repairs in his or her world did so by doing things that had already been done. My ambitious life's mission is to leave this world a better place than when I entered it, hopefully while touching the lives of many. So, will I dance when I get back? Maybe. Will I go back to Nashville and pursue my license as a professional counselor? Maybe. Will I do something I've not yet imagined in a place I've never lived? It's possible. It'll be interesting to see how I feel in 9 months... And, as you ride these waves with me during my time overseas be forewarned that I'm likely to bounce between ideas as I explore my desires, my overall self, and my world. As such, I think I'm gonna go ahead and encourage you to gear less energy toward hearing what I say and more energy toward watching what I do ;)

All my love to each of you reading this...



  1. Abby,
    As a Structural Integration Therapist(read massage therapist with a lot of specific knowledge on body organization and movement) I have seen a lot of examples of functional integration and somatic training. In short Movement therapies, the best practitioners of these techniques have always had training in dance and psychology. As a fan of ballroom dance I classify it as a very valid somatic training which assists me in body awareness and control. In your ample free time(posted tongue in cheek) check out Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, Ashton movement patterning, and Gyrokenisis. These movement techniques may lead to others which are dance centered and allow you to live in both worlds, movement and thought. Hope you do/did well in competition. Have an awesome trip.

  2. The world is open to you and all the possibilities lie ahead, Abs. Your training, both in human development and dance will find a way to be integrated, I have no doubt, so that you will have both a fulfilling career and a meaningful life. You're right to keep open to opportunities. Movement Therapies even integrate the spiritual realm and, as you've already experienced, uplift the soul. There's time to see where your paths will take you, and the time best spent is keeping your eyes open to the sign posts along the way. N'siyyah Tovah. I love your very much.

  3. Oh hello Booger,

    I just read this - haven't read your other posts yet - and whoa. Ummm... you a smart little Booger.

    For reals though, I'm excited to read the blogs you post along your trip, and, you have actually convinced me to FINALLY start a blog of my own. Everyone asks me where they can find me on the Internets, but since I refer to the Internet as "the Internets" in a Borat voice you can see why I haven't had the wherewithal to begin said blog.

    Anyway, Ema said you're in Istanbul, and, on behalf of, well, just on my behalf, I want to thank you for calling her within the appropriately allotted time frame so the Istanbul Search and Rescue unit doesn't a) embarrass you, b) embarrass me, c) include our names and the names of everyone on the Mintz and Alexander family trees on the no-fly lists. Although my name might be on it now seeing as how I just googled "Istanbul police" to look for what their actual name is (e.g. "Tzahal"), and found nothing except articles about the terrorist crimes the Istanbul police are preventing/responding to; and what person in their right mind randomly searches information on the Istanbul police? Sigh...

    OK well have fun! When you find an Internets Cafe, use it.