We often as artists take for granted the support that is extended to us. Sometimes we even feel entitled to support. I have realised that no one is entitled to anything. We are not even entitled to dance. It is a gift and must be treasured and revered. It may leave us one day and we must cherish and thank every moment that we are allowed to have it with us.
We feel sometimes that we must not take support. That we need to try to do things by ourselves. This is something that I have felt many times. But Ia��ve realised through the years that when you have a family that stands by you and helps you through your journey as an artist, it is invaluable. You accept the support graciously without expecting it.
I have many times taken my support for granted, especially from my parents, brother and now my husband. But I have grown to understand that they have extended themselves to make this possible for me. They have gone out of their way to help me be an artist. Stood by my choices, respected my constant unavailability, and put up with my preoccupied mind.
My parents have obviously seen me grow into a dancer. My father always offering a kind word, my mother offering the critical eye. I believe that the values they instilled in me have carried me through this. My father stood as a silent example of dedication and persistence. I saw him wake up every morning at 5:30 am to go play sports. A practice that he still keeps up at 67. I feel that my motivation to wake up at 4:30 am or 5:00 am everyday and keep going comes from him. My mother, a vocal and tireless embodiment of will power and determination. She doggedly drove into my mind that we can make of our lives what we choose to.
They made the possibility of dance being a profession available to me.A�They created that choice and repeatedly told me that it was a path that I could embark on. If it was not for them, I would never have considered the option. I was very academically driven in school and I did not dream of a life without books and academia. I do have books now. But books of a different sort. I would have been in pure science or architecture if not for my parents. My family directed me in the opposite direction to most other families. I was ready to go to undergraduate school in Architecture and Pure Science. My Parents told me to think about whether that was what I really wanted and told me to give dance a chance. I am not sure what I would have become if not for my parents. Perhaps I would never have known the joy that this offers. By not knowing, I would have been satisfied with the choice that I made. Who knows!
My brother was more of an emotional support through the years. There were times when I felt extremely alone. Times when I felt like dancing was the worst choice. Times when I felt like I wasna��t good enough. My brother helped me through those times. Patient, caring,A�willing to listen. He told me a�?Your success of failure doesna��t define you. You are separate from that.a�? I dona��t think he even remembers telling me that. But I do. It has made me separate myself repeatedly from what I do. I do what I need to. I work tirelessly, endlessly, incessantly. But when things dona��t go as anticipated I have grown less and less affected by the outcome.
One of my most important critical eyes growing up, was my younger cousin. She would watch repeatedly, my rehearsals, my new choreography, my new ideas. Her comments were dry, direct, critical and honest. I am thankful for having her around when I was younger. Even now, when I stage a production, I anticipate her response. I feel she has grown mellow over the years. A�My husband now extends the same support and critique. He demands and expects nothing from me on a daily basis. Allowing me to invest fully in my art. He is present when I need him. Listens when I rant. Is patient when I am absent minded, preoccupied and unavailable. To have a spouse that doesn’t demand from you, your constant presence; a spouse that doesn’t make you guilty over your absence and incessant travel is something that is a blessing in itself. In addition to that, a supportive family and spouse is more than I can ask for.
My family as a whole have been instrumental in my becoming a dancer. I cannot even list the ways in which I have been supported by them. There are too many. I only know that nothing would have been possible without them.
So if someone is willing to support you, accept the support. Ia��m not sure there exists a a�?self madea�? man in this world. Everyone has had help from someone. We dona��t need to demand the help. I try to the maximum extent to be self-sufficient. I think most people see me as a very independent woman. I certainly am very independent. But if I have a family that is ready to help and stand by me. Prepared to help me with dry cleaning my costumes, or with food for my dancers, or just with anything at all. I am not going to refuse it. I am going to thank them for being there. Thank my good fortune for having a supportive family……….and just a�?DANCEa�?