Updated: Apr 7, 2020
The idea for this came from something that has been in the forefront of my focus in the past couple of months. Transition. I am in a bit of a life transition -- like most people I have made big shifts in my life and they always turn out to be the "on button" for accelerated learning and growth. I hope that this one will prove to be that as well.
I noticed a lovely correlation between this - life transitions to ballet transitions.
My current transition is a career change. I've gone from full time flight attendant plus side gigs, to those side gigs being my only gig. I have committed fully to being self employed - writing and illustrating books, etsy shop and value investing. Those are now the primary money makers in my life. I don't get to rely on the big corporate boss for security anymore.
What does this have to do with ballet?
Funny you should ask...I danced for a million years and then taught and choreographed. I am still as obsessed with dance as I ever was even though I am no longer in daily classes or performing. The discipline of that repeated ritual -- from plie to grand allegro -- snuck in some useful tools to use outside the dance studio.
My niece is also a dancer. She's in that glorious hard work, focused and goal oriented space that the discipline of dance gives you. She recently asked me to coach her in a variation that she had chosen for her first competition. It was a very ambitious variation -- one of the black swan variations from Swan Lake. When my mother (also a former dancer) and I arrived to work through the variation she had really done well. All of the difficult movements (and this variation requires a lot of strength) had been worked and worked and were really coming along. However, it is the transitions between those "wow" movements that separate the men from the boys (or the swans from the pigeons in this case.)
Graceful transition is not easy
As she went from power move to power move -- with strength, grace and keeping in character I noticed some lack of attention to the thread of movements that linked the "wow" movement -- the transition steps. That thread takes the piece from a series of movements in a disconnected row to a continual phrase. The truly proficient dancer keeps the energy and artistry in the "throw away" steps. You don't feel like you are watching an exercise, but rather a cohesive expressive moment.
What does this have to do with life's transitions?
Life also has clunky, awkward moments between the big power moves.
Staying focused on who you are and why you're doing what you're doing as you go from one of life's chapters to another makes the transition less awkward. It becomes more than something you simply need to live through, but something that contains valuable effort, work and growth. I am currently trying to remind myself not just to get through this slow patch as I build my audience, customer base and portfolio. This vulnerable moment when I am still building momentum is not a"throw away" step. This is the time to beautifully thread my last career into my next keeping it a unified expression -- a step in the choreography that I'm creating with my life.
How I spend my time now that I don't fly anymore