7 March 2010


Acrobats, Sydney, 1930s, from State Library of NSW Collection.

Being brave for me isn't about extreme things, like jumping from very high places. It's the small but consistently scary things that I tend to write on a list and then ignore from that moment on. One of those things was to go and do a dance class again. I've been getting the timetable for at least six months and diligently reading it every week, but that's about it. On Saturday I finally went, but I have to say it was like getting a three year old out the door. A million excuses and an inability to find anything, especially my tracksuit pants.

In one of my other lives I was a dancer, and did it professionally for a while. When I stopped I decided it was because I preferred telling other people what to do (ie choreographing and directing) but the biggest reason was that performing made me just too anxious. To go back into class - and it's been ten years at least - was for me about seeing if I still loved doing it, just for myself, without any of the other stuff. The performing stuff. To see if I could still do it, for a start. To see if my legs would hold out. And my dodgy back. And my old gammy hips that were not designed for the places they have been pushed. Today my legs are two very stiff unbending planks of wood, and something in my Achilles tendon is squeaking, and I'm hauling myself around wondering if I am having some kind of mid-life crisis. But I did it, and for a while there it was slightly exhilarating. Nobody laughed loudly and shrieked, 'Oh my God, you are so old!' Nobody offered to show me the way to the seniors' chair dancing class. Nobody cared, really. And that was good.

Talking about brave, it's this week's theme at Illustration Friday. Something to replace Thing-a-day, and keep the momentum going, I hope. It's a weekly illustration project, which will allow a bit more time to finish things. And will I be going back to class? Ask me in a few days, when I can walk again.

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