Writings

My life as a dancer part 1


I have spent a big portion of my life dancing, worked professionally with it for most of my adult life and am still doing it, not professionally but with the same love
My life as a dancer part 1
My relationship with dance has been one of those that have been smiled upon by the gods of kind fortune and coincidence. It happened almost by fluke, form the way I started to how I later came to work with it. I got started when I was 3 or 4, as a kind of a therapy. My parents were worried for me because I was simply too active couldn't be still for one second, I was lucky I grew up in the seventies, when a child was still allowed to be a bit hyper and dispaly unusual personal quirks, if I had been a child today I would probably be given one of these alphabet diagnoses and spent my life trying to regulate my Retalin. Especially since I had that history of throwing fits and destroying my room. Instead in the sweet seventies, when my concerned parents asked if there was anything they could do to tame this energy monster, the prescripition they were given was more physical activity, why not, for example, dancing...So, my mom teamed up with the neighbour and I ended up going with the neighbours girls to a kiddie dance class in the basement of a church or something. For those first few years I suppose it was mainly butterflies, frogs and handclaps, but eventually we changed to a more formal dance school and started in something they in Sweden they called 'Freedance' which mainly meant that it was not Ballet and not Jazz, but something or anything in between. The teacher was awesome, I still remember her fondly, her name was Camilla and she used to once a month or so do improvisation with us, basically she put on some moving instrumental music, my favourite was 'Ravel's Bolero', and dimmed the lights. In the studio they had some blue and red spotlights that together with the moving suggestive rythm of Bolero transformed the studio in to a mystical wonderland where I could be anything and anyone. I remember feeling completely lost in the music and loving the feeling. I loved it so much that when the neighbour girls lost interest I, to my parents great surprise decided to keep going. As I have mentioned before, I was incredibly insecure and the times in the dressing room before class was unbearable without the safety of my neighbours so the fact that I decided to stay on was actually a surprise to me as well. At some point I switched dance schools to one in the city, where i started dancing 'Disco',. This sweet teacher Camilla actually called my parents to make sure that I hadn't quit, she must have seen already then how much I was loving it and that perhaps I already then had the seed of talent. And Disco dance, oh boy, was I sold. Dancing to Michael Jackson with my unitard, wristbands and bandana was all I had ever dreamt of. I started going twice a week, and together with another girl that also had dance as her favourite hobby, even taught some of those disco moves to some of the other girls in my school. At that time I didn't even know that dancer was a job, I had seen Fame and Footloose and all that but that was in the US of A and felt about as remote and surreal to me as stepping through the looking glass and in to the television.
When the time came to choose a more career oriented schooling I was 15 going on 16. I could do pretty much whatever I wanted, was a straight A student, so at that point I could pick and choose.
Already back then, freedom of choice was overwhelming, and this one in particular paralyzed me with it's sense of gravity. It was my whole life we were talking about here, this was a choice that would define me for years to come. I knew that I wanted to go away from the suburban scenario, away from parents and friends. Toyed with the idea of going to Australia to study english for a while, but then I had one fateful meeting with my guidance councelor. In the midst of me rambling on about the benfit of doing this versus the opportunity of that, she asked me: 'But Jenny, since you can do whatever you want, isn't there something you really like or even love to do?' Every kid should have a guidance lady like that. Someone who has the balls to rise above economics and should and ask the kid what they love to do. Seriously, I think our world would be a better place if that was a question that was prioritized.
What did I love to do, well at that time as pleasant as I thought languages and literature was they didn't really captivate me to the point that I would use Love in the same sentence as one of the two subjects. So far, the only thing I really got a kick out of and perhaps could say I loved, was disco dancing. Now this is when Sweden once again stands out as an example in the respect and fairness they show their youth. If those words had been uttered by a straight A student in any other country it would have been brushed off as a joke, but in the Sweden that still existed in the eighties, it caused this wonder of a guidance councellor to start looking through her papers to see if there was anything remotely related to Disco dance that I could apply for.
There was. A relatively new education was available to apply for, On the curriculum was Ballet, Jazz, and Modern dance. Plus the other mandatory subjects that would allow me to rethink if I turned out to be a complete clutz, I think the admission procedure was that they counted one third of your 'högstadie', ending grades and then there was an audition. My first one! I was shitting in my pants when I went to try out, but there was one more sweet incentive for me, that possibly strengthened my determination so much that I went through the nervosity and aced the audition. The school was located in another city so if I got in I could start my life as an almost independent.

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