Photo courtesy of Lilie's.
I'm calling Drake University home this week again. "Ashlyn, there is a Bucksbaum Lecture speaker tonight named Twyla Tharp. Would you want to go?" You serious, Clark? Absofreakinlutely. I studied classical ballet for more than half my life. It's my heart and soul. Lehsgo, y'all.
She's short. And curt. And brilliant. She talked about creativity, and I was enthralled. Espeacially with two quotes:
"Dancers are wonderous creatures. They are silent forces of great beauty.
They hold deep faith with most impossible suggestions.
And at their best, they'll run through walls for you."
(Yes, snaps-in-a-Z-formation, I know I got that quote verbatim. Holla journalism majors. Couldn't be more true to life--I may not stand at the barre six days a week anymore, but do NOT tell me "impossible." Don't say that to a dancer. Relics of dance still haunt me, and that fierce-faith determination will always be with me.)
ANYWAY, then Twyla said this:
"All dancers have a right side or a left side. And I won't let them change my choreography to suit that. For two reasons. First, it's dishonorable to the architecture of the choreography. And secondly, they never learn about themselves."
Do you see that?! We have a right side. Or a left side. Me? I was always a leftie: higher developé, deeper penché, faster fouettés. Hated the right. I'd furiously scowl in the mirror at that right leg, push it deeper, demand more of it. "Stallings. Get OUT of the mirror." Okay, okay, okay. Fine. I really gotta sleep in a right split tonight...
So I'd try to do everything on the left.
But if that wasn't the choreography, I was screwed. But you can't force things. My ballet master would lean back in his chair. "Go. Plie. No, right foot front." "Foye, just lemme triple left once first for fun." (Silence. Foye raises his eyebrows at me. I should add there is zero room for disrespect in ballet.) "Ashlyn? Um, NO. Right foot. Now. Plie."
From Giselle. Ah, the glory days. For the dancers looking at my feet: They're bad. I know. But dangit I could act.
So I'd sigh. Sweat soaked leotard. Me. Mirror. And Foye. Who'd then start phrases like this: "Easy, killa. You can't force it, Stallings. Let your neck go. Left shoulder in faster. Easy. Don't force it. Let it happen."
Let it happen.
Let it happen because it's disrespectful to God's life-dance-choreography to ask to do the left side. Because maybe He wants to show me I can do the right side.
When Twyla spoke those words last night, God smiled and looked at me to see if I'd heard Him. I laughed with tears in my eyes and told Him I did. I'm the girl who kinda forces things. Relationships. Perfection. The job I'm trying to line up for post-ADPi land.
Read this in Jesus Calling last week, and I can't get it outta my head:
"Stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today's agenda. If it isn't, release it into My care and go on about today's duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time."
- Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
Don't force it, baby girl. Don't force it. Accept one day at a time.
p.s. In other news, I bought her book because I wanted to meet Twyla. And get her autograph. And she wrote my name. :)