As I sit here writing this, I’m watching my boys (ages 3 and 1) playing in the living room. They are roaring like dinosaurs and catching the sunlight projected onto the rug. For a moment there is peace. Peace? I should be moving and doing one of the many million, billion things I need to do: plan classes, work on programming, cut music, choreograph, laundry, clean the house, start dinner.
I am a mother who is the co-director of a youth dance company, teaches several nights a week at different studios and is about to choreograph a huge musical for a regional theater. So how is it all going to happen? I ask myself this question every day, and the answer is, quite simply, I don’t know! What I do know is this: It is going to happen one way or another, and going with the flow is my only way of surviving.
Rumbauskas and her 1-year-old. Photo by Carolyn Moffatt, courtesy of Rumbauskas
Balance. That is a word we dancers can relate to.
When I am teaching, I talk a lot about oppositional energy. In a pirouette, for example, you have energy drilling down into the ground through the foot you’re turning on, while you simultaneously have energy pulling up out of that standing leg. This opposition creates tension, and tension creates balance. This tension, however, cannot be nervous or high strung. It is cool. It is collected. Yes, you are engaging muscles and actively working, but if there is no release and no relaxation, you cannot spot your head. You will not sail around in those rotations. Your pirouette will fail.
I have found that to balance the mommy madness and dance, I must let go. I must find the calm through all the chaos.
Since becoming a parent, I have changed as a dancer, but not in a negative way. I am learning to be more creative and spontaneous. My new priorities have made me a stronger, driven leader, as well as a more compassionate teacher.
And then there is the greatest gift of all: being a dancing mama and passing it on. My older son just took his first ballet class. It is exciting and weird and emotional to watch my baby doing the thing that I know so well.
Photo courtesy of Rumbauskas
I will do my best to let it be his passion (and not mine) and let him decide for himself if he wants to continue. Whether for a year, an entire career, or just as an audience member, dance will touch my boys’ lives, and that is something I will always hold dear.
OK, let the madness resume!