Wednesday, June 08, 2005
I want to be a dancer
When I was a little girl, my mother used to play over and over again the Violin Concerto of Beethoven, I remember that my first improvised dance steps began there. It was Oistrakh playing, if I well remember.
As every child, I dreamed to become an astronaut or a fireman/woman or a dancer. My parents found this to be very cute.
The first dream to go away was about extinguishing fires, years later I gave up on being an astronaut, but the dream of becoming a dancer stayed. Not so cute anymore for my parents though.
Their argument was logical. They were artists themselves and they wanted for their daughter a more secure career, even becoming a musician was better than a dancer.
Dancers at the end had been at the bottom of the artistic list for ages. But I continued my dream. Yes I became a dancer. And I was proud of myself to have endured, competition and diets.
Working in a theatre is like living in another planet, because it IS another planet. I was proud of having a good job. At the end I could show to my parents that I could have a secure job, if I was careful enough not to break a knee.
But to the outside world, my profession was dubious. There were the people that asked me: “which is your profession?” or “what do you do?” (Funny I always feel like answering: I breathe). Of course I would proudly say: “I am a dancer”. So people would insist: “I mean what do you do for a living? “. “I am a dancer” I would gently repeat. “No, no, which is your career?”………they couldn’t understand that dancing was my profession. As many governments can’t understand this either.
Then I met the people that thought I worked in a cabaret, with feathers and high heels, entertaining the male eye. When I would try to explain, with my rehearsed patience that I was a “professional dancer” not a stripper. They used to change conversation, as if I was lying.
Today I am still a dancer, but I principally create dance-theatre pieces.. Today some people that ask me: “which is your profession” and I say: “I am a choreographer”,. react with a tiny pause and a lack of focus in their eyes especially if they are from the tax office. I realize they don’t know what a choreographer means, so they don’t ask.
Many times I imagine it has to sound to their ears something like “Photographer” or “Cartographer”
When at last my mother accepted the choice of my profession, she was happy that I was a ballet dancer. Many years later, when I had become a “Cartographer”, she was unhappy. “Daughter”- she would say with a sight- “Do people like your crazy choreographies?” She never could understand how I could have switched from Ballet to completely avant-garde. I stopped sending her videos of my work and also I stopped making money with my art.
But this doesn’t discourage me. I still think I made the right decision. I prefer to watch the astronauts in TV and I always feel that it would be too claustrophobic the trip for me anyway. And also impossible to dance.