Moving is the essence of life and by motions, we can identify whether someone is still alive or dying or simply dead.
In the world of dancing, you’ll have to see plenty of motions, coming up and down, moving left and right, swirling, tumbling, stomping, gasping. One may take a break but rarely does a dancer remains silent and still for too long a time. Especially when it is time to perform on stage.
For weeks, these young budding future professional dancers haven’t seemed to give up easily when it comes to going through the painful process of creation. The clock strikes 9 pm and some young men and women in their twenties still move without stopping.
I am no professional dancer, or even an aspiring one. I was involved in the dance performance simply because I was expected to add some yogic flavor to it. I could be exploring the motions as much as I wanted to. Nothing to lose if I made any mistakes during the performance, but I would rather not anyway.
A girl, who happened to be the choreographer, made me move in such a sequence I found it hard to memorize. Someone can be flexible but he is not necessarily able to dance like a pro. And that was exactly what I felt. The way these dancers moved their bodies simply didn’t resemble the way a yogi like me moved.
The next challenge arose when I was demanded to add some typical dancing movements in my yogic sequence. I, who is not really keen to memorize a series of movements (it even took me quite a while to memorize sun salutation A and B plus the breathin techniques back then), now was obliged to dance. Yet, I thanked my choreographer for acknowledging my non-dancing background by letting me move freely as long as I moved slowly and artistically and esthetically before the audience. “Just explore,”she told me. Suddenly, I likened the word ‘explore’ to ‘freedom’. A huge relief indeed because I hate to move under strict instructions (with yoga instructions as the exceptions. Double standard, I know).
That night, we rehearsed and everyone sweated, I didn’t. I moved but I didn’t sweat as profusely. That was because I had to perform only about 30 seconds. And I can’t tell you how much I thanked the photographer for that. Had she assigned me to dance much longer, maybe I would have given up it all.
As a writer and yogi, I found similarities between dancing and writing and yoga. One of them is the pursuit of perfection through repetition. Writing, as I once heard, can be defined as rewriting processes. To produce great works for readers, a writer needs to rewrite, again and again and again. John Green cannot agree more on this. It applies to yoga, too! I almost fainted out of accumulated boredom and pressure when my yoga guru made us all repeat the materials and cues and sequences. We got too tired, dead tired even, but he didn’t even consider making it all a bit loose in the process. A torment required to discipline the mind and body? I cannot say for sure but one thing I know for sure, I stop learning under overwhelming pressure. Yes, I break and don’t make it at times. But I stop condemning myself for being so weak and undisciplined. I once came to realization that whenever I study with a little or no pressure, I achieve better.
However, I seem to have to admit that in some aspects of life, one needs to have much more rigid sets of rules to discipline oneself. And that is not easy. It is what we call total commitment; neglecting everything and focusing on only one thing. Here, in the performance I learn that the hard way.