Writings

My life as a dancer part 3


continuing...
My life as a dancer part 3
So, I jumped. From the formal dance education of the Ballet academy of to the anarchy of the New York dance scene. I think, the most significant jump of my life. After saying my goodbyes to the good old safe, I landed in the cities of cities and as soon as I set foot in this giant metropole I knew I was home, the enormity and anonymity of NY suited me perfectly. For the first time in my life I didn't feel so different because here feeling different was the norm, so I fit right in. It was the beginning of an education that turned out to be the greatest learning experience of my life in the most glorious high rising university on earth.
The city at that time had substituted the upbeat optimism of the 80s with grunge, alternative rock and a whole X Generation of quiet protesters , whose contribution to the revolution was oversized tattoos, piercings and getting fucked up in the grimy bars on the Lower east side. To me that spelled out a distinct flavour of possibility and danger. Here I could exhale the homogenous monotony of Sweden and finally provide the God and the Dog within with a proper playing field. A community of excess, where the air of expensive tastes and lifestyles shared space with the pungent smell of garbage and the unwashed bodies of all those lost homeless souls eating from it.
The eccentricity of the many different ethnicities fighting for identity and loudly claiming space, produced butterflies in my stomach. It felt electric and I was petrified and exhilarated at the same time. I had traversed the great Atlantic in search for adventure, extraordinary experience and new unexplored ways of expressing dance and already from the get go NY delivered.

I tried and tested all the variety of dance classes the many studios had to offer. Followed Sr Max from uptown to downtown, took every class he taught and was eventually rewarded by getting a part in one of his performances, which for me felt like the reason for me being there had been fullfilled. I met dancers from all over the world and realized that in the end 'making it' as a dancer was not a matter of having the perfect body or the pretty lines but about how much you wanted it. Saw dancers that had never had the luxury of recieving a formal education kick some serious ass, by simply being so hungry for it that nothing would stand in their way. The lucky few that managed to live off of their art were a very small percentage, most dancers, as well as actors, writers and other enhtusiasts of the arts had other bread winning occupations on the side, but although almost everyone was working long uncomfortable hours in between classes and unpaid rehearsals, doing jobs that had very little to do with why you were there, nobody really complained. Everyone was happy just being part of this great melting pot and whether you made your living with your passion or by changing diapers on the children of the wealthy, what counted was those moments in the studio when you for a few hours were living your dream. The beauty of sweating your ass off to the music of 5,6,7,8 magically erased all signs of fatigue.
Although the city is overcrowded with people from all walks of life, it can easily become a very solitary existence since almost everyone has to struggle to just stay afloat, and in the beginning I too, felt the lack of close relationships but then I met my NY family: Guido, Jacky and Sita. I had the fortune of being friends with Charlotta Överholm, one of the most talented, resilient artists I have ever come in contact with. She was dancing with a company, led by a charismatic Italian choreographer called Guido Tuveri and through him, my life in the city changed from being a quest for recognition to become the beginning of my Yoga journey. I did not know it at the time but the seed for what I am now living was planted by that crazy, beautiful, larger than life little man from Sardinia.

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