dance again…nope, it’s not just one of my favorite JLo songs; it’s what i’m trying to do with my life right now. that being said, maybe i should start at the beginning. my name is joanna. but my friends know me as “The Dancer…or wait, isn’t she a yogi now?” yeah, these titles have been a little in flux lately. but then again, so has my life. i danced tirelessly, furiously, passionately from the age of five until the age of twenty-two, which means the last year/year and a half of my life was spent NOT dancing. if math’s not your thing (and let’s be real–i’m guessing most of you who are reading this are artists…math is NONE of our things), i’m twenty-three now. i spent seventeen years of my life training extensively in technical ballet, modern, and jazz–three of those years at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. and i’ll be honest, those years of pushing myself past my perceived limits inspired me immensely…and then burned me right out. the “tirelessly, furiously” part began to wear me thin (both figuratively and literally), and i started to wonder if the “passionately” part was still even in me at all. and that was the hardest part for me to reconcile, because for those seventeen years i ate, slept, and breathed dance. it was all i knew, and all i ever wanted to know. i saw myself ONLY graduating from a conservatory college dance program, and then getting accepted into my dream company. that was the life i envisioned, and nothing else. i was madly in love with dance…and there lay the problem. it drove me mad. in my own eyes i was never good enough, skinny enough, flexible enough, technical enough…sensing a pattern here? i began to buckle under the pressure of being The Dancer, but feeling like i never quite measured up as one. don’t get me wrong, my dancing years weren’t all mentally torturous; dancing is truly something that i crave to my core. my body yearns to move. so the time i took off–it wasn’t always the breath of fresh air i hoped it would be. who was i if i wasn’t a dancer anymore? is this a mistake? do i just need to toughen up a little? as i sit here writing this now, i realize that what happened this past year happened for a reason, but it took me some time to reach that mindset. here’s what helped: yoga. during my break i became a certified yoga teacher, and that’s when i realized you don’t have to be just one thing in your life. i don’t have to be only a dancer, i can also be a yoga teacher, and who the hell knows what else. yoga brought me back to myself…my best self. and now that i’m here, solid and grounded, i’m ready to go somewhere else. somewhere all too familiar, but somewhere extremely foreign at the same time: i’m ready to dance again. which brings me to the point of this blog. i’m not typically one to shout my little successes and failures from the mountain tops of social media, but this blog will hold me accountable, and keep me honest. honesty has been a hard thing for me this past year or so; i feel like i’ve done quite a bit of hiding. when people would ask me if i’m still dancing, i’d quickly reply, “of course! always dancing!” buuut that was a big fat lie. and i realized it wasn’t so much my friends, family, and teachers i was hiding from–i was hiding from myself, and the reality of change. it’s a brutal one. so, here’s what i’m proposing to myself: one year. one year to get my ass in gear and whip it back into dancing shape. i give myself one year to dance again. and on january sixteenth, 2014, we’ll see where i’m at. i’m not certain what my end goal is–whether i’ll try auditioning, dancing professionally again, choreographing…all i know is it’s time for me to get back in the saddle, and reclaim a part of me i haven’t seen for awhile.