Strangely enough, I used the image of a snake shedding her skin in an email last night, and then an hour later I pulled the "death" card, which in the super-Marin-County-style Voyager deck has a photo of a snake shedding (as well as some other non-Rider-Waite-approved things, like an African mask and a bird doing something, well, digestive).
The interpretation? Shed what is dead.
The question? Should I stay with the troupe, or seek other learning/performing opportunities?
You may have noticed that I haven't talked about the troupe lately, or indeed about dancing at all. There's a reason; I've been struggling with my relationship with the troupe, dancing, and my teacher. It's been painful, in part because I didn't want to face some things, like the idea that it might be best for me to leave. I can be such a pit bull sometimes that even when it's clear to everyone around me (including casual friends, strangers, and the guy who takes my drycleaning) that I need to let go of something, I can't. Can't get my jaw unlocked.
But I think I've learned what I can from this chapter, and it's time for me to move on. The whole story is both complex and dull; the short answer is that I don't feel like I really ever got a good footing, the longer one that there is a chemistry problem that I would have to contort myself too much to solve. And the point was to be beautiful and fluid, hot with rhythm and life, not cold and stiff and miserable. Which, well, I am. About dancing, which has traditionally been one of the very best things in and about my life, the most essential, since I was a pre-teen staying up late to spin and caper in the living room to New Wave music until I collapsed panting to the dove-gray carpet. And before that, actually; my aunt recently told me that as a little girl, I wouldn't dance without a particular hat, but when I had that hat on, I was unstoppable.
I may speak at greater length about why I'm doing this, later; I may not. But leaving now, just as the troupe is heading into a period of intense activity, could open up a lot of time to explore other things. I just found a studio in the East Bay that offers the most extensive range of tango classes I've seen yet in the area. Another bellydance teacher with whom I used to study is beginning a ten-week class series next week that looks good. A flamenco teacher I liked at a workshop a couple of years ago has started teaching again, after a long hiatus; I loved her approach then, and like it even more now that I've had a chance to study with another flamenca who didn't break things down nearly as carefully. I'm even starting to poke at the idea of going back to the dojo and getting my damn black belt, as much to prove to myself that I can finish what I start as anything else. Even if it means I need to cut my nice long clickety-clickety fingernails down again.
Exciting but sad. I've been with this troupe two years, this teacher three. We have put a lot into each other. And I freely admit that as much as I want to perform, I'm terrified that no other (interesting) troupe will have me, that in leaving one of the coolest troupes in the country, I am damning myself to a future of bad gaudy costumes and RenFest performances, or even, god help me, this (alert observers will note that I've posted this before, but this is a different version, the whole song, and I dare you to watch the whole thing. In fact, I will send a prize to the first reader who can prove to my satisfaction that they watched the whole thing).
But I'm willing to risk it, if it means I might take joy from motion again, the new skin beneath the old shiny and smooth.