I have a secret. I have always wanted to be a dancer. When people would ask me that passion finding question — you know the one. “If you could live anywhere and do anything and money was no object, what would you do?” — I always answered, “I would be a dancer living in Switzerland.” Why Switzerland? I fell in love with the country when I visited there as a senior in high school. It was March, and the Alps were breathtakingly beautiful and covered with snow. I loved the feel of Zurich and Bern. It seemed a good fit for me. Language, schmanguage. (That’s surprisingly hard to say in light of how easy it was to type.)
The problem? Or shall we say problem”S”? They are myriad. I had never had any formal dance training. I was able to pick up a class here and there after college — swing, beginner jazz, a bit of modern, other ballroom classes. But proper dance technique was not/is not part of my muscular dictionary. At 21, my body kind of fell apart on me. It started with my lower back and moved to my knees in a matter of months. They have never worked well since, and I have dealt with chronic pain because of it. I am not built at all like a dancer. I have long – almost gangly – arms that have a hard time in most dance genres finding a graceful position. My center is quite high, and I am fairly thickly muscled thanks to my Finish heritage. (Think of all those Finish cross country skiers, and how they are built.) Thickly muscled and not very flexible by the way.
But I love to dance. I love to celebrate life and express myself by moving to the music. We dance at our house as much as we can. I have danced with my husband on many occasions. Specifically, there is something about flamenco dancing that calls to my spirit. The passion, the music, the rhythms, the movement — I get excited just picturing it in my head. I want to be a flamenco dancer — in Switzerland, of course.
So. . . what if the answer to that question — “If you could do anything, go anywhere and money was no object, what would you do? — simply isn’t feasible. Where does that leave my passion for it? My dream? There are a few answers to that that satisfy me quite deeply. One, dance to me is both the expression of the joy of life and the freedom of expressing everything else. Do I need to dance as a professional for this to occur? No. Would I be more articulate in my expression had I the trained body to go along with my heart? Yes. Two, sometimes your passions change, but more often than that, they simply take on or look to a different forum. My desire to dance professionally in Switzerland had some more universal elements as its heartbeat. I think the heartbeat was that I longed to be free, to express myself openly, to create beautiful things and to live in an environment that charmed me. And I think I’ve always wanted to tell stories — stories that matter and touch others.
And guess what? I am charmed by my environment everyday as my children laugh and play together, as I hear my toddler trying to express himself in his garbled language, as my five year old shares his latest view of the workings of the world around him, as my husband teases me out of a grumpy mood by appealing to my sense of humor. I do create beautiful things and express myself at the same time as I write my heart in this blog and the other works of fiction that I have taken on. I tell stories that matter in my writings and in my interaction with people that God has given me to encourage. And most gloriously of all, God has brought me to freedom. I feel like I have been steadily climbing out of a pit for the past fifteen years. And here I stand, outside of it, feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. I think it’s time to dance.