Gilded Serpent presents...
Temporal Dance Oracle
When an instructor
teaches in a mostly private lesson format, as I do, she finds herself
periodically becoming a familiar and convenient person who is available
to lend an immediate and sympathetic ear. Before long, unless you
are prepared, you will have become what Bert Balladine has occasionally
called me, "A stand-up psychiatrist." (He is alluding to the role
of a stand-up comic, because we dance teachers usually have no formal
credentials in psychiatric therapy, just a knack for good timing
and an off-beat sense of humor). The role is seductive because sometimes
other people's problems seem so clear and easily solvable.
of my dance students confides in me that she should probably leave
dance and dance lessons for a while in order to "get some space" and
to iron out her personal problems with another member of the dance
dance related disputes become overpowering, I believe, because
dance is such an emotionally charged activity.
It is so emotionally
charged that it can become a magnet for people who are insecure in
one or more parts of their lives and who enter the field of dance
in an attempt to become stronger through performing on stage. Oriental
dance seems to be especially attractive because of its obvious ties
to the feminine mystic.
what the dancer's problem is, it is best for dance teachers
to encourage dancers and dance students to find their own answers.
I have given them
answers that generally look like the advice I have given, as an example,
below. If you have a problem that seems insufferable and unsolvable,
or you have a student who does, try the following steps and see if
it doesn't help both of you out of a potentially loaded situation
before you are tempted to become a low-fee un-credentialed faux therapist.
Beneath my tongue-in-cheek words, lies the power of positive action
and self-help in which I confidently believe:
To you, my dear
the problem you have recently confided in me concerning your new dance
If I had any good
advice for anyone at all,
advise myself to stay out of other people's emotional
Taking a break
from dance is not going to solve your problem; it will only put conflicts
have been through a dump truck load of emotional troubles in my own
life and have never taken a break from my dance. I can share with
you that dance has been my emotional outlet as well as my savior,
in many regards, with the exception of a few physical illnesses that
have occasionally stolen the wind from my sails.
makes, and risks loosing, many friends throughout a lifetime of dance.
Also, everyone has many dreams and desires, throughout all the years
surrounding one's dance activities.
My own experience
is that the old adage is true:
you go; there you are!"
The adage means
to me that all that you, or anyone, experiences in dance will have
to be experienced anywhere else to which you imagine that you might
escape from your personal life lessons, no matter what
you are doing or where you are. You face your lesson here and now,
or the same one tends to rear up again and again like an unruly stallion... whatever your
personal concerns and struggles may involve. Solve your conflicts
and problems through dance now or it will be back in your next career
dear dancer, here is your do-it-yourself therapy:
today and repose beside any body of moving water. Next, pose yourself
in a classic position that seems to you to be receptive.
2. Gaze out at
the water's movement as you define your problem. Moving water has
a calming effect and is symbolic of growth and change.
3. To provide focus
for your thoughts, describe your problem as if it were an interesting
story on one clean piece of plain, blank paper. Circle or underline
the words that indicate how you felt in the story; if there are none,
you are denigrating your right to feel anything.
4. When you are
finished describing your problem fully, sob and feel sorry for yourself
no more than three minutes longer. Any more than this very short
time of indulgence encourages more sorrow into your life as it wears
a treacherous path through the middle of your heart!
5. When you believe
that you have defined the worst heartache of your problem correctly,
crumple the paper around a stone and throw it into the water with
force, determination, and the fierce finality of a Kabuki Dancer.
down your goal as you now define it.
Suck in your breath (and your anger and disappointment) and think
of a comfortable plan of action to get what you really want and/or
need from your dance.
8. Write down
the first three logical steps of a realistic plan of action to begin
to reach for your goal.
9. Post your list
for these first three steps on your refrigerator door with a cute
magnet when you get home. Cross out each of the steps you have identified as
you complete them, and add one new step to the bottom
of the list.
make your new start today:
to a friendly café and order espresso or an exotic tea and watch all
the people interact with one another.
11. Do not prolong
this particular problem by discussing it with anyone, ever again
12. Do not share
your plan of action with anyone, either. Others will only muck up
your plan and your determination with their own desires, and their
image of the person you have been--not what you want to accomplish
or who you wish to become.
13. Trust yourself. Your
heart already suspects your best answers; you are the only human who
is privy to that information and has any power to go after the prizes
that will fulfill your life.
So here is
my lone and only piece of good advice for you:
flexible in your goals as you learn and grow older. You will either
grow with them as they, and you, change, or they will doom you to believing
that you are, and will always be, a failure; then sadly, your
last thoughts for your whole life may become, "I could have, would
have, should have.." Personally, I am currently trying to live my own
life by the following advice from Goethe: "Whatever you can dream
you can do, or believe you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power,
and magic in it."
Your Temporal Oracle
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