Letting Go (and the Paul Taylor Dance Company)

I usually spend my Tuesday nights rehearsing with the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, but after a great concert this past weekend, we decided to take the week off. I have a regular Tuesday night babysitter so that my ability to go to rehearsal is not dependent on my husband’s work and travel schedule. So rather than canceling, I decided to use the time to knock another item off that List of 100 Dreams.

I’d been meaning to see more dance performances. So I got a last minute ticket to the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s show at NY City Center. Parts were silly, but parts were intensely beautiful — moments when you wonder how the human body can move that way, moments both ecstatic and sublime.

And moments, incidentally, that did not involve me being up on stage. While this might be a surprise to many people who know me, for a few years, dance was actually on my list of potential career choices. I’ve never had a ballerina’s body, but I taught modern dance for a while as a teenager and did some choreography as well. I loved the idea of coming up with a dance in my head and then seeing it staged in a frothy mix of costumes, movement and music.

But there is only room for so much in life. I drifted away from dance as I devoted more time to academics in order to get into college. As you spend less time doing things, eventually you lose the skills that make a professional path possible. I decided I liked singing better to feed my performing urge, and while choreography creates more of a spectacle, I do get the chance to create something new every day. Hey, I write for a living.

So at this point, I have made my peace with the fact that dancing will never play a significant role in my 168 hours. I will go to the occasional show and enjoy it. But much of the time stress people experience stems from thinking they should be doing things that they are not. Better to accept that you are not going to do them, and focus on the things that you will.

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