Being an Artist is Sacred
Today was the first day back to ballet after a great holiday break- but I did not have a typical first day back.
It all started about two days ago.
After saying my goodbyes to all my friends and family, I was gearing up for a great flight back to Austin on Saturday afternoon. Well, the weather had other plans for me. There was a snow storm coming into Boston on Saturday and my flight was cancelled. I went to the airport to reschedule the next flight or see if I could get onto a later flight. All the flights were cancelled for Saturday and all the flights were sold out on Sunday. The earliest flight I could take was today, Monday, at 5:45 AM in the morning.
There was two problems with this delay.
1. I broke rule 2 in my rulebook. I had a romantic, goodbye breakfast with my parents before my original flight and I was back in the car with them only a few minutes later. I also showed up to church on Sunday and people looked at me with a lot of quizzical looks and rightly so.
2. The bigger problem was the fact that I had to get up at 3 AM, which is 2 AM in Austin, to travel all morning to get to Austin. From the airport I dropped off my luggage and picked up some ballet clothes and went to rehearsal. My mind was literally fried. I tried my best, but my eyes were glazed over like a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
Conversely, there was also two upsides with this delay.
1. I was able to have an extra 36 hours with family and friends in Boston. It was actually fun getting to see people just one, last time.
2. Although I am tired, the weather in Austin is incredible right now. I am so happy to get out of the cold and snow. Hello sunshine and 60 degree weather.
Tomorrow I will be sore and jet lagged, but I am excited to be back at dance and doing what I love. I am incredibly proud to be an artist, and even more so after watching the Golden Globes last night.
Let's talk Meryl Streep.
This is the biggest topic coming out of last night's awards show celebrating the best of American Television and Film. Meryl Streep won the Cecil B. DeMille award. She had an acceptance speech that has been retweeted and shared thousands of times in the last 24 hours.
I am not here to talk politics, I am here to talk about being an artist.
NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT VIOLA DAVIS' SPEECH-
Viola Davis introduced Meryl Streep.
Viola said two things that stuck out to me.
1. "You make me proud to be an artist. You make me feel that what I have in me — my body, my face, my age — is enough."
2. Streep makes the "most heroic characters vulnerable, the most known familiar, the most despised relatable."
What Streep does on screen is incredible. The way she transforms into a character makes the character so real. Streep goes to a place inside herself that very few artists go. She is able to share real, genuine moments on the screen. Seeing that makes me proud to be an artist. She has taken her artform and medium to another level. She has redefined greatness within her field. You cannot argue that... and if you do not agree with me, we need to have an extended conversation. You can only admire another artist's work. Seeing what Meryl Streep does on and off the screen should inspire anyone to work hard. She gives everything to every role she is given.
Do I give all that I have with every role that I am given?
Seeing her being honored last night made me question my work as an artist in a healthy way. I want to do more and give my whole self to all that I do, day in and day out.
This brings me to what Meryl Streep said in her speech.
"So an actor's only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like, and there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work."
She nailed the definition of what is the purpose of an artist. This definition transcends all mediums of art- painting, dance, music - all mediums. This was a great reminder of why I do what I do. I dance to bring people to a place in their world that they can feel an emotion maybe never felt. I can connect with people who are different than me through a common emotion or state of being via the art that I am displaying.
"One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something, you know, we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, 'Isn't it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?' Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight. As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, 'Take your broken heart. Make it into art.' Thank you, friend."
Being an artist is an ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE! I freaking dance as a job! HOLY MOLY- that idea makes me so happy. I cannot stop smiling just thinking and writing about this! I can take my experiences, good and bad, and make art. I can connect to people I never would have been able to connect with because of art and dance.
So although I am tired and beat up, I am SO excited to get back to dance because what Meryl Streep talked about in terms of being an artist is beautiful. Being an artist is sacred and as an artist, I need to protect the beauty of art through hard work, vulnerability, and being genuine.