I’m currently reading a memoir called Wild by Cheryl Strayed, who takes the reader along the Pacific Crest Trail, as she describes her experience hiking it by herself in 1995. I’m taking my time with the book. I’m really taking in her story, studying her mindset as if it’s an artisanal piece with exquisite detail, and trying to reactivate my rusty imagination while she describes the highs and lows of being on the trail. I feel like embarking on this dance adventure (and documenting it via a blog) is like Cheryl’s first steps on the trail. I’m a little nervous, the twins, fear and self-doubt, are pulling me to the side, convincing me to analyze the decision more. “You haven’t danced for some time, why are you getting involved with it again?” “What if you can’t dance anymore?” “Just stick to learning dances you’re comfortable with”, “I don’t know if I will make a good teacher’s assistant?” “What if I don’t work well with the kids?” “Maybe I should wait awhile before I do something like this.” Hiking the PCT was a big decision for Cheryl, and in a way so is this dance adventure, because I am 1) getting involved with something I thought I would never do again (in any way) and 2) trying to get over my fear of being seen. Despite all her regrets and doubts, Cheryl knew in her heart the only way was forward, even if that meant facing the unknown and making mistakes. So I told the twins to kick rocks and let me do my thing. If I have second thoughts, struggle with something , stumble and fall, I’ll be like Cheryl on the trail, falling forward.
I tend to think about my life within the context of nature, landscapes and animals. I have an idea of this journey ahead of me since I have danced before, but I’m sure I will grow in unexpected ways as a volunteer and learn more about dance in general. My first steps were meeting the other teachers and teacher assistants at the Dance to Unite orientation in late September. I will assist Mehrnoush, who teaches belly dance to fifth and sixth graders at Entrada Academy in the Bronx (whoo belly dance!)
Well I technically just lied. I took my first few steps earlier this year when I found Dance to Unite on meetup, but I didn’t come back to it until around May or June. I contacted Galit Adani, the Founder and Executive Director, and from there we met once or twice. I found myself at a summer party fundraiser for the organization at Nirvana Lounge, where one of the new teachers, Vaishali Sinha performed an Indian classical dance called Kathak. It was beautiful. I loved her costume and the music and I was sitting with my friends, wishing I could see the performance all over again.
* heaves a heavy and thick “Once Upon a Time” television show-like book of “Simone’s Life” on the table, flips to the middle to a blank page…first class is October 2!! Stayed tuned*