You sit at your desk, staring blankly at the wall. A voice echoes in the distance but you don’t really listen to it. The voice repeats, sometimes three times before you realize it’s a friend trying to get your attention. “Are you okay?” they ask. Of course you are; you just blanked out for a minute. Your mind just shut off without your express permission. So yes, you are okay… but not really. You were running on auto-pilot. Just going through the motions because you’ve been there a million times before and you don’t have to (or no longer want to) think through it again.
I’ve been lucky enough to go through school for a second time. My “work” is my love; so in that sense, it’s not really work anymore. But if you’re not careful, even the thing that you love can become your job or your “I have to,” if you’re not careful. You’ve heard the stories of kids that were pushed too hard in sports. They lose their love of the game and it’s not fun for them anymore. I never want to have that feeling especially with dance as my life supporting career. These days I came pretty close. I was in a funk doing a lot of projects this semester that “I had to do” for a grade. I keep thinking about things that I was learning from every other genre except the one that I came from. It was hard to sit and listen to people talk about the greats and the classics from an alien world. I wanted to talk about my greats and classics. I wanted to name drop from the hip hop timeline and take on new challenges instead of drooling over archaic techniques.
But I have to finish paying my dues just like everybody else.
So how do I keep my head? I have to fight that auto-pilot. I have to keep close to my roots and freestyle. I need to remember to cypher with my hip hop peers and get lost in the sound. Have to keep my relationship with dance fresh. Even in technique class, it’s all about the mindset. If there is no challenge waiting for me then I have to find one. As long as everyday is interesting I won’t fall out of love with dance.