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Musings on m
y life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A recent discovery:

I love to dance.

Onstage.

In public.

The funny thing is that, like many singers, for years I dreaded the idea that I might have to dance onstage. I'd never been afraid of being athletic in a swimming pool or when I was horseback riding, but on dry land on my own two legs? In my mind's eye, all I could envision as a dancer was the most elegant of pencil-slim, infinitely flexible ballerinas - a sort of cross between Margo Fonteyn, Iman and Elastigirl - which just made my efforts at graceful movement feel more like one of the dancing hippos from Fantasia than anything recognisable as dance.

I just did my best to get through the movement and dance classes in my training; I didn't mind the movement part as such, but always felt slow at learning the actual dance steps, and not really sure what I LOOKED like which made me self-conscious. I did it, but as more of an obligation than a pleasure, often making the excuses born of insecurity to wriggle out of it at times. But many shows quite simply require the singers to perform the dances that are in the score and at some point it became a kind of "do or die" with no escape if I wanted to do the role (which I invariably did!).

And I've noticed that, over the years as I've repeatedly had to jump in and just DANCE as part of my professional commitment to a role, it's not only become easier, but also more enjoyable, and I'm discovering that I truly enjoy formalised, choreographed, dancing. And in this current show - with enough choreography to make me have to think and work at it a little - I've finally come to terms with the admission that I can create a character through formalised movement as well as the natural physical expression that goes with singing and acting; I'm not "a dancer", but I can move and use the body as another item in my collection of expressive tools.

I'll never be a willowy ballerina and am unlikely ever to master anything more significant than Opera Singer Dancing (or maybe some basic ballroom), but I do know that not only have I finally made my peace with it, but I actually ENJOY it. It's fun!

Now if only I could find some really, really comfortable dancing shoes....

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