There was once a time when I hated dance.
I never really wanted to admit it to myself but I hated it.
There was a time when I looked at this freeing vibrant special gift and couldn't figure out how to make it give me joy anymore. I would turn it upside down and try to shake out its magic. I would scream at it until my throat was raw. I would whisper to coax it home to me. But alas, it stayed stubborn as can be. It wouldn't tell me why it's shoulder had become cold.
It's not like it happened all at once, but slowly and nearly imperceptibly it had become a heavy bag I had to lag by my side.
A couple of times I had thought to myself, "Perhaps I should set this load down for a time and try something new. Something... lighter."
But I couldn't.
Heaven knows I NEVER will.
Something inside me can't let it go.
Even when my health forces me to step back, I still hold onto it with both hands.
Because, while before dance and I were struggling talking about deep concerns and joy, suddenly I no longer had my dear friend to have even surface conversations with.
As frustrated as I had been with it before, now I was really broken.
This is how I figured out where the magic was hiding.
The magic of art hides when your purpose is to honor and fulfill your own ego. When it stops being about how to navigate your emotions or to help your audience feel less alone... you forfeit the right to enchantment.
When I stepped back, I saw why I never have been, and why I never will be able to let it go.
Contrary to my young ego's belief, the purpose of God placing this passion in me wasn't to receive confidence through the worlds adulation. If it was, I would never reach that elusive point, because none of us can ever truly "make it."
As we have talked about in previous posts, our talents and skills that we seek to develop are given to us for the express purpose of forwarding the the Lords work.
In other words, as Elder Bednar once said, "It is good to be good, but it is better to be good for something."
As I have stepped back from my passion and truly lived life beyond my art, I have found something to dance about. I have found experiences that are relatable to my audience. I have found that the joy of performing is something I need, not for praise, but for the opportunity to try to make someones day a little easier. Teaching and seeing the sparkle of the stage light up a young dancers eyes has been unbelievably gratifying. Using my art for its purpose, and not only to win a prize has in some miraculous way made me a stronger dancer.
This is because the selfless dancer, is the most powerful dancer.
In Juliards 109th Commencement Speech, Joyce DiDonato said,
"The truth is, you have signed up for a life of service by going into the Arts. And the life-altering results of that service in other people’s lives will NEVER disappear as fame unquestionably will. You are here to serve the words, the director, the melody, the author, the chord progression, the choreographer ~ but above all and most importantly, with every breath, step, and stroke of the keyboard, you are here to serve humanity."
It has been such a gift to find that now what I do feels important.
It feels worthwhile.
I love it again.
So artists everywhere,
Remember why you do what you do.
And go serve humanity.