It always amazes me how, even on the worst days, a ballet class can always clear the mind. The world is chaotic and confusing, the house payment is due, another rejection letter arrived, you're tired, anxious, stressed... and then you go to class.
It starts with the simplest of movements, basic bending, turning, shaping your body in time with the music, reminding your muscles where they belong, giving both the mind and body a set task to perform. I find I am never more single-minded than when I am dancing. Even when I write, there are distractions, thoughts that steal in to rob me of motivation, of confidence, of drive. Dancing is different. Thoughts come, but they only drift on the surface. They don't matter. They don't linger. They are petty things. All that matters is the next jump, the next turn. Yes, I stumble, fall short. There is physical pain, there is the effort of reaching for a perfection that is never attained. But there is also the rush of feeling your body working, of achieving something which, though not perfection, is more than you attained before. There is the exultation you feel at the height of a jump, when, for just a moment, you feel like you can fly. And, best of all, when you perform, there is that second of silence. The dance has ended, the music stopped, and there is just a breath of silence before the applause begins. That is best of all.