Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Good Company

Hello everyone!  It is I!  Your local neighborhood diabetic ballerina.  I’m sorry for being a ghost lately.  As I’m sure you’re aware, finals week has swooped down upon me and all of my free time has been eaten up with studying for my classes and labs.  Anyways, I’m back!  I still have exams into next week but I thought I’d take a break and update you all on what’s going on with me!
I started dancing at a new company!  They’re a professional modern company called Sanspointe and if you’re interested you should check out their website Sanspointe .  I had an offer from them from last summer but due to my ankle surgery I couldn’t accept it...until now.
This is the first modern company I’ve ever worked with but I think it’s a healthier fit for me.  Trying to keep up with a full time ballet company as well as full time pre medical school classes was slowly killing me inside.  I just didn’t have the hours upon hours to spend on ensuring that I was perfectly on balance or was as skinny as possible.  I was certainly happy at Arova and they treated me well but I needed to explore a new avenue of dance.  We’re still on great terms and whenever I need to feed the ballet beast I can head back for classes, which I am so thankful to have.  

It’s exciting to learn to move differently.  I roll around on the floor, crash into other dancers, on purpose, do handstands and twist my body into shapes no one has ever seen before.  I don’t have to wear pointe shoes but my feet and knees are still sore from all of the floor work.  I love it though.  I even started weight lifting four weeks ago and it’s incredible how you drop body fat and strengthen your body.  If I wasn’t so terrified of looking too muscular when I was I classical dancer I would have started it long ago! 

Anyways, back to the diabetes.  I had to decide how I wanted to handle my diabetes.  Did I want to be “out of the closet” like I was at Arova Contemporary Ballet, or hide it like I was at Montgomery Ballet?  I decided a bit of both.  I didn’t want to be babied.  I didn’t want to have everything be blamed on my diabetes.  Sometimes I felt that if I had a bad day at my old company that diabetes would get the blame when really I was just having an off day.  Diabetes had far too much time on the stage.  I didn’t want diabetes to be the star of the show, I wanted to be the star!  I decided not to tell my artistic director unless there was an issue.  A choreographer who I had worked with when I was with Arova also works with Sanspointe and so I knew she knew of my BigD but I decided not to make a big deal out of it.
I took an old pair of “trashbag shorts” (dancers, you know what I’m talking about!) and cut a hole in one of the pockets.  I thread my tubing through and hid my pump from sight.  I left my dexcom on my bag at the side of the big, dark studio where it would still pick up readings but not constantly remind me of my malfunctioning pancreas.  I stayed relaxed and checked my blood sugar like I was having a sip of water.  My new artistic director treated me like an adult and didn’t make a big deal out of it.  My new dance colleagues were welcoming, supportive and most importantly, got to know my dancing and not my diabetes.
My first class with Sanspointe was filled with perfect blood sugars and even though I could feel my pump clunk on the floor as I rolled over my head, I felt as if I was diabetes free, even if it was only for a minute or two.  The studio we rehearse in is also made for performances so it felt like I was dancing on stage at the same time, a lovely feeling.  I danced so well that I was offered to perform in Sanspointe’s next show “The Golden Record”!  I am incredibly excited and will be posting pictures and videos in May.

I may be dancing modern movement, but ballet will always be in my heart.  I love my new company but most importantly I love that diabetes let me share the limelight.  I hope it continues to do so with every rehearsal and company class I take.
-Exit Stage Left

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