Scars and multiple unforgettable injuries have been thickened my timid heart throughout the years of living. I still remember the first battle, after I’d luckily gone through the pre-selection, I was standing on a spot where two large spotlights cast on the basketball playground indoor. My heart was beating like a working defibrillator, mixing with high doses of adrenaline threading through my body.
That caused the sweats trickling down my limbs, from the back to hips, then dribbled on my thighs, curling toward my calves. The invisible pressure from the audience was enormous to me. But on the surface, I looked calm and ready. My mind was thoughtless as I dropped down my set within one minute.
Fizzling legs were kicking up and down while my whole body was rolling back and forth on the ground, I hurriedly finished my round and went back to where I was standing. Dizzy, I was panting for oxygen. That one minute, I gave it all in, squeezing all of my available fibre and energy into it, at one point, I opened the deep cage of a monster inside me. A chihuahua monster to be precise.
My opponent did not wait for me. He sharply threw a backdrop to the centre and the silent crowd broke into shrill, followed exciting shout out and cheers. He confidently circled the edge to take up the applaud. The look on his face, like a titanic lion in the forest, trailing its prey. Poor thing, His mischievous smile said it all. He danced along with his smoothest set, flowing inside the high post. The light that casting on me was fading away, as if myself in the event.
Walked out from the building, I took a deep breath and exhaled it.
Competitions were like a drug that gave me a sense of intensity. I loved it. However the reality was always harder than what it seemed to be. I’d travelled to other continents to keep up my dream, but I ended up working in a cafe for years. Without money to meet my basic needs, the wild hope would become deranged nonsense when I’d become a homeless cursing about the social systems, on how the unfair treatment does to a true artist. Even though that was an extreme point of view to strain myself to work diligently, I had gained divergent experience outside of the dance culture. But as an idiom always says, you can’t have your cake and eat it.
The growing passions had got strewn, sat in a dark place faintly. My initiation was not concentrated on my body, so injuries ruptured. I was a wretch indeed. Terror ached on every nerve, I turned my back from my own body. In the end, I asked myself one more time, ‘How much do I like dancing?’ It struck me like a sinking rock, pulling me down to a formidable thought of failure. I looked to a mirror; the once solid muscles had gone, instead, inflexibility clutched to those red tissues, which flagging like flat tyres. If I were waiting in a bus stop with a line of seniors, the overall picture would be typical and homely. Moreover, what if I lose again?
A lot of disruptive changes in everyday life and losing battles fixed my vision narrowly. I thought I was done.
Till the hand grasp from my crewmates, they reached into the bottom of the hole that I was in. They were as if angels stumbled upon my eyes. Years apart they had skilled their dancing techniques onto different levels. Combining with different dance styles, at that moment, I finally realised that dance has no form, really. Just like a child, do what you love.
I’ve come to a realisation that all these years of hardships were a test to me; if I really love what I do? It’s the work life and daily problems hid my inner child in a black closet, like many other dancers. The one true passionate child that loves to try and experiment anything. So I let him out again.
Upon reflecting the past what I’ve learnt all these years of working in an operative kitchen. The answer was preparation. Putting up a large beetroot cooking pot, stirring herbal soups, making aioli source and much more in a limited time of every day, the prep lists were rather frenetic. Peeling a basket of potatoes in thirty minutes was an entry level. Weekdays required my thoughts and energy to prep for weekends, the peak days when ravenous customers walked in and gorged up our foods before we ran out stocks again, the prepping cycle had been continued.
As the enlightenment goes on, I integrate this prepping concept into my dancing, in which, I treat everything as a practice opportunity and preparation is necessary. In other words, if I have to do push-ups as you asked me to do so, I’d do it. It’s because I’ve already been doing push-ups when you’re not around. I’m equipped. In one life, the only enemy is oneself and there is no winning or losing. With these concepts, ones will not fear anything. They can be applied in all areas besides dancing. It’s the mentality makes ones powerful.
If you ask me what will I do in a battle? I’ll enjoy every single moment of it.