I’m in the middle of rehearsal, literally in the pause between one movement and the next, and all I want to do is cry. This, I think, is my snapping point. I am tired of everything being such a struggle. I am tired of not having years (a lifetime, really) of muscle memory on which I can rely. I am tired of music not making sense and tired of my body not doing what I tell it.
I kick the stupid piece of fabric at the end of my jarik, the bit dragging on the ground between my legs, and I tell myself that a costume should change nothing. How many times have I done this dance? In my living room, computer on the table where I eat dinner, trying to mirror the moves on the screen; in the hallways of hostels in Thailand; in the mirror, trying to get my hips to move the way they’re supposed to, trying not to drag my foot, trying to internalize corrections the first time. Onstage.
I’ve performed this dance. I’ve performed this dance more than once. I’ve performed this dance when there were only four girls onstage. There is no excuse for my clumsiness tonight and that only makes me more frustrated.
I can’t hold it all in my head. The blocking, the formation of girls on the floor (now you go forward, now back). The technique that still feels unnatural, pain in the small of my back, plié further except it’s not called a plié. Facing the back, facing the front, the music telling me nothing. The interplay of Indonesian and Javanese and English, all the words clashing together in my head, confusing me. Just give me movement (except tonight even movement betrays me).