It is wonderful when people take up something as an adult that they have always wanted to do but for one reason or another couldn’t previously do. It is often that as a child they did not have the opportunity to follow an interest, probably because their family was busy raising them and their siblings and surviving life. The activity may be taken up as soon as we become a young adult and start making serious decisions about our life direction and where we want to spend our time and money. Sometimes, the activity can be taken up much later in life when the demands of children, mate, and work are in a different category of required input. Here are a few guidelines for those who take up dancing as an adult.
We are our body before we are a dancer. Have a serious look at the state of your body and gradually and deliberately turn it into a healthy and strong one. There is no doubt that one can do a great deal right into old age if one puts one’s mind to it consistently. Along the way of improving the general state of our body, we can also turn it specifically into a dancer’s body, as much as we are able to.
- Get your weight right. Look at what you eat. If it is not healthy and in harmony with your body type then change it. If that involves some mental work which it usually does then do the work. Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine are wonderful resources on the different body types and the food required for each.
- Look at the flexibility, fitness, and strength of your body even before you assess it as a dancer’s body. Learn how to improve the overall wellness of your body as a complete entity. This will probably involve doing outside-of-dance sessions in disciplines such as yoga or pilates or whatever interests you and improves your physical capabilities. If you enjoy the activity, you won’t notice the work your body is doing. My entire adult life, I have walked every day, often, several times a day. Sometimes, it has been with little children, often, with dogs. Regardless, I love to walk. It clears my mind. I love to walk in nature best. It is thinking time and also stillness time. Even if walking had no beneficial effects on the body, I would still do it. If we can find physical activities we sincerely enjoy then we will get the benefit to our body in a very easy way.
- Work on your injuries and illnesses. Most bodies accumulate various injuries and illnesses. Do something about yours. Don’t just ignore them. Find out how they got there and how you can get rid of them. Look into whatever professions improve your knowledge and the state of your wellbeing – naturopathy, medicine, physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, shiatsu, Chinese medicine, healing – each one has a wealth of information and wisdom to pass on to you and some of it will be exactly what you need. It’s a bit of an ongoing process because it seems no sooner do we master one body problem then another decides to make an appearance!
- While doing all of the above, also have your dance lessons. Go to the best people available to you. Go to teachers and classes that you genuinely enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it anymore or you find you are no longer learning what you need then go somewhere else. After all, your number one reason for dancing is enjoyment. So make sure you really do enjoy it.
- Don’t compete or compare with young, serious dancers or older, professional dancers. Their main path in life has been dance. They have probably been on it a long time. They dance every day. Let them be them and we’ll be us. Having said that, most people expect way too little of themselves. The body, mind, and spirit can do much more, at any age, than most people give it credit for. We can keep expanding our expectations while also not being sabotaged by unrealistic goals or jealous competitiveness. We can sincerely be grateful that everyone is present, bringing what they have. Our happiness is assisted not by the demise of another person but rather by the authentic fulfilment of each one’s individual potential. Such an attitude saves us many problems and worries. It also protects us from the competitive nature of others. The more our ego is present, the more material an enemy has to grab onto and manipulate. The more our attention is on achieving what is good for everyone then the more an enemy will have a difficult time pulling us down. Somehow, things will ultimately keep working in our favour.
This article is from Dance: A Spiritual Affair