Dancers put a lot of time, energy and passion into their dancing. That dedication often spills over into other areas of our lives: we approach many other things in life with that same spirit of staying the course, without a thought to the direction we’re going.
When we’ve put so much on the line, it can be difficult to admit to ourselves, or others, that we are heading in the wrong direction. Our commitment is so complete, that there is little space for doubt or re-evaluation. When we do see the problem, a stubbornness can set in that says, “I came this far; I can’t turn back now.”
I had an experience like this while dancing professionally. While I had a natural facility for ballet and the technique often looked right on my body, it wasn’t always coming from a place of understanding. A good example was my alignment in allegro: when I was moving quickly, my knees were rarely over my toes, so that when I landed from jumps, I was often rolling in on my ankles and twisting my knees. It was very slight, but I knew it was happening.
Sometimes, the ballet master would point it out. I remember thinking on many occasions that I should really do something about that, but it seemed daunting. How was I going to slow down long enough to fix the alignment in my lower legs? Where would I begin?
In my mind, I had missed the window for fixing old problems – now I was a professional and had to keep moving forward. I told myself, “I can’t regress now, I’ve come too far.”
It wasn’t until I got a stress fracture that I understood the full effect of my stubbornness. I had been going further and further down a wrong road, and refused to admit it. Had I taken the time to investigate my alignment with a PT or a teacher, I might not have given myself the fracture.
“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn around.”
I’m sharing this little phrase with you as a reminder that we have never gone so far in the wrong direction that we can’t turn around. We can always choose to take a new direction in our training, our habits, and our thinking.
Also, moving in the wrong direction has consequences: it takes us further from our goals. In some cases, like mine, our goals are brought to a standstill for a while. So, even if turning around feels like a setback, face that with the same determination you have in your dancing. Slowing down in order to reorient yourself in the right direction is well worth the effort.