Thursday, 14 May 2015

restless

photo by Jo Duck


My body and mind are restless.

The restlessness is only at ease when I’m on the edge; of where I’m comfortable and satisfied, of what I thought I knew – ah, discovery! The edge and beyond - full of boundless possibility.

I’ve been dancing in The Australian Ballet, my original nest, for just over 12 years. Time, time … the mean, surreptitious sidling past of that clock. At this stage of my career, the momentum of continual growth and stimulation is crucial to thrive, therefore imperative in my fulfilment and happiness. Dancing the coveted role of Giselle on my hometown stage at the Sydney Opera House - where my ballet dreams began all those years ago - in front of my family, husband, both ballet teachers and friends, felt like an ideal time to end this chapter. For me, good things come in pairs - my first immersion as Odette in the Swan Lake of Graeme Murphy’s imagining, also in Sydney, was earlier this year. I had been waiting 11 years to dance that role. Encouraged by the promise of the glorious reward of delayed gratification, I had no idea that both dances would be quite so overwhelmingly magical.

So here I was, invigorated by two treasured experiences and a period of immense growth. Could it get any better than this? Yes, I knew it could. Could it get better for me here, at The Australian Ballet? I felt in my heart that it may not; that I valued different things in the art form. I asked for answers to find that out for sure, and thus transpired the final catalyst for my departure.

My heart’s compass is inextricably attuned to my restless body and mind. Feeling comfortable in creative work breeds homogeneity and complacency, and without enough outlet to incite the bold push away from that, is in danger of warping into a poisonous manifestation of negativity. And so, the survival mechanism kicks in, and we go through the motions - unquestioning cogs. Existing, not living. A sensitive person can fight that looming force only so much. My heart, open upwards, tells me that it is time to dare. Life in art is propelled by questioning, not safety.


Much to treasure, much gained, much yet to learn.

6 comments:

  1. Dear Juliet, your desire to be the best you can be - not only as a dancer but as a human being - comes through so passionately in your dancing. It gives you the ability to touch people's hearts from the stage and embody the music in a way that is breathtaking, beautiful and rare. You have an added dimension to your dancing that sets you apart from other dancers and places you amongst the truly great dance artistes of the stage. I feel the Australian Ballet did not fully grasp what you could offer and, frankly, I was stunned to read that rather than announcing your promotion to Principal, you were instead leaving the company. And I get it - to feel stifled is to stagnate - like a butterfly with clipped wings that is forced to confine its expressiveness to the ground. While I am devastated that we will no longer see you dance in The Australian Ballet, I fully understand that you need to fly, fly as high as you can. I truly hope you reach the heights you so richly deserve, and look forward to one day seeing you dance again, and saying to my daughter "There, there she is. She's the one I have told you about!"

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    1. What beautiful, beautiful thoughts, Robyn. I am so deeply touched that you have responded in such a way to my dancing, and could share it in turn. It's one of my favourite parts of dance - the dialogue it initiates. I love your butterfly analogy, and am happy to tell you that my wings are continuing to fly - in a different rhythm, and in a different atmosphere. Thank you always for your support; it is truly felt.

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  2. This must have been a difficult decision for you, but one that I admire. Sometimes it can be so hard to follow that gut instinct and your heart, but in the end you end up learning and growing so much as a person. I have no doubt that your artistry will blossom wherever you land! Chookas for your new venture, Juliet. xo

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    1. Thank you very much, Jenni. Your support and belief really means a lot.

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  3. It looks just amazing,.
    i really like your dancing,
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