“Break a leg” as it were

When I was a dance student, the discipline was truly grinding. “To dance is to live!” was my mantra. I was usually there at least a half-hour before class in order to centre myself, and warm up carefully, but more importantly, to place myself in the zone of creativity far from outside worries and the madding crowd.

Injury never stopped me from attending class. I tore my meniscus and had knee surgery. It was a very hot, humid summer and I had no air-conditioning. I was in a cast from ankle to thigh for six long weeks and during most of that period I hobbled to class by public transit on crutches, and watched and learned. That setback actually contributed to my future teaching skills. Not only did it provide me with the opportunity to observe the other students and their individual issues, but also to understand how to structure a class, give positive feedback and develop technical exercises. This forced inactivity was truly a blessing is painful disguise.

Passion for the art was behind it all: the more obstacles, the deeper the love and the commitment. And that doesn’t mean I wasn’t restless, frustrated, and often very discouraged, but I wouldn’t let it rule me. Indeed, all these things only fueled me to keep dancing.

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