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The Three Ds

Dancing, Drawing, and Dreaming

I think it’s a good day when I’ve done all three.  And, today’s been a good day.

On Wednesday, I received a couple of DVDs I ordered from MusicWorks — Al Gilbert’s Tap Technique Syllabuses for Levels 4 & 5. I still have my original records (those old-fashioned vinyl LPs) from when I started taking classes with McDonald Wilson Dance Academy and then transferred to Allan Cozzubbo Academy of Dance. I’ve made pretty good use of them over the last few years, remembering basically everything for the first 3 levels, but as I’m going through the level 4 exercises, there are a few steps that aren’t so fresh and clear in my mind. It’s very helpful to have a visual reference, along with the written instructions.

I think it’s going to be particularly useful when I’m ready to do Tap 5 again, because I was only able to attend classes for the first year of the two-year program. Up to that point, each level had been covered in a single year. For each level, we were required to pass the oral and performance exam before advancing to the next. The dance exams were multi-school, multi-discipline, area-wide, annual events, with a panel of examiners that included Al Gilbert.

As I’m writing about the exams, it brings back memories of being in the classroom, both nervous and rather awed that I was standing in front of Al Gilbert, the “Pied Piper of Dance” himself, answering his questions about step definitions and going through the full syllabus — which meant performing all the barre and center floor exercises from that year. It was a pretty big deal. A really great experience and an encouraging memory. Still have my report cards, too, with his comments and signature. Very special to me.

Returning to the topic of today and the 3 Ds . . . I spent some time in my home dance studio (aka the kitchen/dining room) running through my Tap 4 barre exercises this afternoon. Afterwards, I went upstairs to my table to draw. I’ve been learning the Five Pencil Method, taught by artist/illustrator Darrel Tank. His images are incredibly dimensional and engaging. I would love to be able to capture that level of emotion and detail in my drawings.

This afternoon I immersed myself in the process of creating a consistent tapered stroke, the key/foundational element of his style, and his “patches” exercise. It’s coming, and with some more practice, I think I just might get it.

And then to dream, exercising the courage to envision, to clarify heart’s desires, to seek ways around obstacles — real and fabricated, to move beyond wishing, wanting and waiting. To see if there’s something(s) I can/need to do to help make it happen. To cherish the dream, however small, outlandish, silly, or unlikely it may appear to be at the moment. To accept that others may not be able to see the possibilities, the value, right away (or ever) and to choose to move forward even in the face of unconscious or purposeful sabotage. To remember that I have my own personal preferences, likes/dislikes, and to allow, even encourage, others to enjoy the same freedom.

I haven’t liked or appreciated every single painting, song, flavour, or person, for that matter, that I’ve come across in my life — why should everyone have to like everything about me, my art, my cooking, my writing, my whatever, in order for me to experience joy, hope, contentment, love, confidence, and the sweetness of desire accomplished? Is it reasonable? No, of course not. It’s not fair, it’s not respectful of others, it’s not respectful of myself, it’s too demanding, and there’s so much fear wrapped up in it.

To dream is to dare to love, to be vulnerable, to dwell in the truth, to be honest. It’s always a good day when we’re willing to do that.

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