The Young Years
I attended ballet aged five, but soon quit after tiring of the repetitiveness and a budding issue with authority. I moved on to a passion for horses and riding, and apart from a few awkward slowdances at middle school dances I didn’t think much of dancing. As I got a bit older I discovered MTV and music videos. I would be mesmerised by teams of Colgate-smile teenagers moving in synchronised patterns to twinkly 90s tunes. When a certain pop-sensation bobbed around to her first hit, I was hooked. My passion for dancing returned with a force when for my 10th birthday I received what was both Britney’s and my first, ever CD album (her first launching a huge career, mine ending up in a charity bin several years later).
I started high school, and many of my new classmates already had about 8-years of dance lessons behind them. It was not a rare to spot a couple of best friends performing an impromptu routine during our school discos, in between the “Best Hair” award and the highlight of the night; Candy Rain (A bored chaperon chucks candy into a crowd of sweaty 12 year olds, an activity which seems very unhygienic looking back). I longed for this, shutting myself in my room trying to move like in those videos, and create my own routines to hopefully share with a close classmate of my own some day. My interest for riding faded somewhat, and finally I got to take up dance class!
In a Class of My Own
Crippling shyness prevented me from making friends among the group of younger girls, so I began avoiding lessons. This caused me to fall behind and feel useless and more shy, thus leading to me avoiding even more lessons. Until finally I quit. I probably wasn’t very missed towards the end; when I wasn’t missing a step or tripping myself up I was nervously crying over any critique I got. Truly a model pupil! The years passed, I grew a lot more confident, overcame most of my anxiety and nerves and dared to try different dance classes again. I even tried couples swing dancing with some friends last summer. I wish 12 year old me could see me. I giggled as I spun around the wrong way, apologizing profusely when I stepped on my partners toes and despite all these mistakes I truly enjoyed myself! I actually enjoyed all these classes (except for cheerleading at uni, where it was too much about fake S.M.I.L.E.S! for my liking.) But none of them felt right. It was always taken a bit too serious and I have found I enjoy dancing the most when it is free. What classes have given me are new ways to express that freedom.
Sergei actually has a very interesting background. Made to take gymnastics and dance by his mother at a young age he developed a tremendous talent for ballet. As a young man he struggled with having his entire life governed by other people and eventually left the British Royal Ballet despite being the youngest principle dancer, which was of course a huge shock in the dance world. I saw an interview with him years ago, and it is fantastic to see this man still performing but hopefully now with more freedom and expressing what seems lika a pure love for his craft. Seeing Sergei’s dancing in the video above brought back the urge to let everything flow out through movement.
Perhaps it is time for another late night dance off with myself..