Beauty In Silence

Space.

If there is one thing I miss while in quarantine, it is space to move. Like most dancers in the world right now, I am confined to my 7×11 room with a portable barre. A makeshift studio. I am grateful for this small space, even though my body longs for the expansive studios I used to soar in not too long ago. I miss feeling free.

I have been enjoying my time taking virtual classes and teaching on online platforms. These experiences give me energy and inspiration during these uncertain times. My heart still mourns canceled performances and postponed opportunities. For weeks, I felt the heaviness of disappointment and found it difficult to keep the tears in when the notes of my favorite ballets would play through my speakers.

I have tried to keep bringing myself back to the present and focus on what I can still do, zooming-in on weaknesses I usually don’t have too much time to sit with. Taking a good look at what I need to physically improve upon and discovering exercises to help me reach these goals. These have kept me moving but nothing could really heal the sadness I felt not just for myself, but for the world.

I took time to dig deeper into how I was feeling. To embrace the sadness and loss and put these emotions into perspective. Everyone has lost something. Many have lost far more. What came from this new awareness was the realization that I was missing something. I’ve been so focused on keeping myself physically moving that I overlooked the kind of mental strengthening I also needed to be dedicating time to. Of course, continuing my physical training is important… But I often ask myself, why? Why is this still important to me?

In the silence, fear seems to grow louder. Uncertainty swarms my mind like hornets around a beehive. Negative thoughts are sticky in my mind like wet concrete. I know that if I dwell in such fearful thinking, it will harden around me and  only become more difficult to break free of. Thoughts of hopelessness knock on the door of my brain like unwanted yet expected guests. They bring along with them their friends of doubt, anxiety, criticism, desperation…. These guests walk through my mind with their dirty shoes… Disrespectfully invading what should be my sanctuary.

I have had more time to notice these “guests.” I’ve found myself feeling restless and distracted by them. Ballet class used to be an essential part of my day. It was my time every day to prepare my body for the work ahead. Why did trying to do ballet class at home feel so foreign? A time that used to make me feel focused only left me more distracted and afraid. It felt different and reminded me of the old experience of taking class that I long for and miss.

Without having the goal of preparing my body for rehearsals and upcoming performances, I needed to define a new purpose to train at home.

I needed a bigger purpose than just to “stay in shape”or simply to feel relevant in the dance community. The answer came to me after weeks of reflection.

It was that I should continue dancing out of love, not out of fear.

It was now my choice to dedicate my time to dancing, not out of habit or for how it looks on social media, but simply for the reason that dancing brings me closer to myself. Dancing is something that brings me great joy.

Doing ballet everyday isn’t necessary right now for rehearsals or performances. It isn’t part of my life for any outward experience. Ballet is something I choose to spend my time doing  now because it feels like home. It is my time to go inwards. To put my mind in my muscles and my eyes on my soul. It is a safe space to create and move and enhance who I am — not just physically but also emotionally.

The experience of having to “tune-in” to a different frequency. Like a radio. We have the ability to turn the volume down on stations we don’t like or learn how to change channels all together. We raise our frequency to music that moves us to change.

Ballet is physically difficult but it is more intense on the mind. Having to be present to our bodies and keep moving while carrying the weight of our sadness, fear, anger and criticism. Every day, ballet teaches me. It teaches me to be creative. To dance because it makes me happy. To release the need to please or be validated. To transform my fear into strength. To continue improving, no matter how difficult. It teaches me the value of my time and to be more conscious about how I use it. It shows me the power of my own energy and to decide what type of energy I embody. Above all, ballet teaches me to go inward and create beauty in silence.

If we can create anything right now, let it be the beauty of our souls.

Let us take time to breathe for those who cannot.

The greatest gift we can give our world at this time is the gift of our inner peace.

Change the channel — then channel peace.