Head Down Thumbs Up, by 2018 Graduate

*Turns on radio*

“3rd year oh yeah, 3rd year golly gosh, oh yeah 3rd year, oh no 3rd year, fuck my life 3rd year, oh yeah yeah, doopdy doo, fuck, mhhmmmmm yeah 3rd year.”

That familiar song we have all heard on the radio. Yes, it is catchy and incredibly original. Like Beethoven can bloody, *fart sound with mouth* bloody do one. Well…3rd year is (from my experience) just like that fart sound I just made with my bu…mouth. My mouth. On my face. It’s interrupting, jarring, a little awkward, hopefully very funny (hopefully, hopefully, hopefully) and it smells really bad because mouth breath can be sometimes as bad as that other kind of breath.

Someone said something to me recently about never wanting to take the training wheels off. Much to many peoples disappointment (or in fact the exact opposite) your training wheels are still firmly on your metaphorical bike. Or your real one, in which case get a grip of yourself. I’m not saying it’s a breeze. But you do end up with a lot of free time (subject to change, soz BA 1+2) and looking back on it, I’m not truly sure how I spent that time. A storm of magnums, tea, beer, sun cream, chocolate and literally staring at a wall rips its way across my mind. If postgrads or MA’s are your thing you have until about March/April when, generally speaking, most people have received their “YAY or NAY”. If jobs are your thing then they just come about whenever and it feels like the first bit of “this is 100% up to me whether I pursue this or not” which is obvious I know, but can still feel strange.

Considering that you enter into 3rd year after two years training prior, there can be the self-made expectation of finality. That this is it and you’re done. Auditions are at least 5 months away and you need to be ready. But you’re not finished yet. You have not completed your final year, there is still a years worth of information your bodymind (big ups Fabiano) hasn’t received yet. You look around and other people seem more “finished” compared to others or yourself. What does “finished” feel like? Well, every dancer I have come across repeats that same inspiring yet fear-provoking message “you’re never actually finished”. Well, shit. Great, in 1st year that didn’t bother me, but now? Yeah that does. And before I write anything else, and I really am writing this as I go, I don’t know anymore (probably) than anyone else. I know “things” now that some people might not yet and I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving this Game Of Thrones-esque saga on a rose-tinted “I don’t have a clue by the way” paragraph at the end…but that’s by the by.

Bouncing swiftly back to “you’re never finished”, that’s quite an uncomfortable feeling I think. Feeling uncomfortable is horrible, and you’re told to find pleasure in it, which is possible for sure after a while at least. Turning unease into ease, into a cool collected manner of sorts – riding a wave of flaming Sambuca on a toothpick sized surfboard whilst sipping a martini and practicing you’re sick as fuck coffee art at the same time. It’s cool though, to find a continuous balancing act of not feeling like your feet are on the cozy earth but you are effectively maintaining yourself as you barrel towards some unknown destination. Surely, if every dancer I have come across repeats in different words the essence of “you’re never comfortable, truly” then they can’t be feeling amazing all the time? Unless they’re being hypocritical then I suppose they have been learning to live with uncertainty? Enduring uncomfortable sensations for extended periods of time? So is that just becoming better at balancing? Cruising atop the flaming Sambuca? If you like Sambuca then choose something else but you get my point so don’t kick up a fuss about it.

Of course, flaming Sambuca doesn’t last forever. The flame goes out. You weakly lift the glass to your lips. The aroma slam-dunks itself into your nostrils. Its fine. You wretch. No its not. You drink it anyway. Nice one. Other jobs seem to have less flaming Sambuca involved. Less “unknown” about them, which then maybe makes the rest of your life a little more “known”. Maybe not. Dancers feel lost, or unsure about what they are doing. I have met people studying English who have said the same. Office workers; bar staff, parents who have been unsure about what they’re doing with themselves.

The grass isn’t always greener, sure, that much we know but it’s easy to forget. Our patch of grass could have gone brown and next doors remaining lush (Ned Flanders, fuck you) but it’ll look crap sooner or later, for a bit. Mood shifts, and we are often not sure why, goals change because we now value something else and grass goes brown because who cares its everywhere. Things need to change to keep balance and that’s uncomfortable, and you will find ways to deal with feeling uncomfortable but it might not get rid of the feeling of being uncomfortable…it might not even slightly diminish it. Realizing that being cool with feeling uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you feel good about it. It’s balancing. Surfing it. Its enduring it, but not in a negative way but a positive way. Have you seen Eddie The Eagle?  He endures some proper-shit, nasty non-beleiving people all around him but he still does some mad ski jumps and meets Hugh Jackman. Hugh. Jackman. The Wolverine. Just incase you didn’t know. Enduring can feel awful, but that’s it I reckon. You know it’s hard and you don’t feel good but you endure it. Stoic in a sense – like recently mentioned Eddie in his own simple way.

– 2018 Graduate


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