Lately I've been floating on this nostalgic sensation, remorseful over this time period even though it isn't over. I simply cannot put into words how grateful I am to have the opportunity to be a dancer again. Comebacks are not easy, but I'm trying to soak in every moment along the way.
That said, my thoughts are out to those who have recently left the field. I've just gotten news that a good and dear friend, plagued with injury, and frustrated by countless rounds of physical therapy, is hanging up the boots and moving on to academic endeavors. "It just sucks, ending it this way," she said. Oh trust me, I know that story all too well. And then there's the dancer who is spending the next six years of his life in jail. Can you imagine? From one of the largest, and most prestigious stages in the world, to a tiny jail cell (I'm not defending his actions; it's just unfathomable to me to be cooped up like that). For another I know, it's her first season out of contemporary dance, and the sting of not being in a performance is beginning to settle in. There are lots of these stories, I'm sure. The field proved too wearing or, maybe age, injury, politics or family got in the way. Or it was just time to be done performing, because we can't do this forever.
Or probably, even more common, there's the high school or collegiate dancers who have begun to realize that their time is done. The reality of life outside of dance has hit: I'm going to keep dance in my life, as they say, but in a different way. And just like that, the routine performances fade away.
So yes, there's the monotony of Nutcrackers, or having a disagreeable work schedule, the pain and perpetual fatigue and the loneliness. But, when you are coaching the up-and-comings later down the road, or when you have kids and grandkids, or maybe when you have completely moved on to something else, you will be able to look fondly upon this time and pass down your legacy -- the time when you were completely immersed in your art, an opportunity that we all know is so, so rare. Soak it all in, dancers. Just like the season, it could be gone before you know it.