It's been 2 years and 8 months since my last dance class. In June, it will be three years since my last recital.
Gone are the days when I could bend over and touch my toes whenever I pleased. Today, I needed a good 20 minute warm-up before I could put my hands flat on the floor again.
I can still hold an arabesque for ages, but I can't bring my leg half as high as I used to.
I have to think for a minute before I recall certain French ballet terms.
My splits and straddles are horri-bad now.
Let us forget that I could ever do a halfway decent ponche.
I don't practice triple pirouettes and side leaps when I'm alone in the aisles at work anymore.
I do tap in my sneakers when I'm standing at my register with nothing to do, or at home in my socks when I'm in front of the oven and the cookies are just about done.
The grace and rhythm I developed over the course of 12 years continues to be my best party trick. I am second to none at Dance Central, and my moves on the wedding reception dance floor are as bon-diggidy as ever. (Also, that's the first time I've ever had to spell that word.)
Quiet piano music still triggers my legs to assume one of the five basic positions.
I can't listen to any music at all when I write. The urge to choreograph is still too great.
My husband's eyes still glaze over when I start ranting about the "soulless, uninspired" routines of the dancers on TV. At least I'm not holding back jealous tears anymore.
That said, when I visited home back in December, I had to leave my old dance studio much sooner than I wanted to. Watching the Monday night ballet class go over the same combinations to the same songs just about killed me.
When I'm not doing the equivalent of pulling a former fiancee's ring out of a hidden compartment in my dresser drawer, like I did in December, I don't actually feel the pain that intensely anymore. I'm capable of looking back on it with humor and something that might one day be maturity as well.
The journey isn't over yet though. Dragons don't die easily, and this dance thing is a heckuva beastie. I can't just say it's all in the past and move on any more than a village can return to normal life when the Heroes stop the Dragon from burning crops and kidnapping virgins. New crops need to be planted, and ashes are a fine fertilizer. The virgin demographic needs to be restored to a proper level, so the Virtuous Knights ought to set about deflowering the Fair Maidens they rescued.
Yes, ridding the town of virgins is a curious solution to a lack of virgins, but it's also the only solution. True wisdom is found when one not just accepts, but embraces life's paradoxes!
To any concerned, I'm just taking a metaphor much farther than I should. I am not announcing a pregnancy.