RSS Feed

A room of past and present

I talk a great deal about my dance-afterlife. But what is great about expanding your horizons is that life is an accumulative experience, and the impact of living, both the good and bad,  stays with you . You bring what you learned from one experience to the next, and in a case like mine, you don’t easily “let go” and move on without looking back over your shoulder at the same time. Some elements of a person’s personality resonate and fester, and can’t be swept under a carpet, so they ooze out and manifest in tangible ways – sort of a reminder of who you were and deep down, probably always will be.

This is why I thought I’d show you our workout room in the house. It isn’t as large as a dance studio, but it is larger than what most people have for personal use. Currently, it is filled with equipment scattered in corners awaiting better organization and storage. We need to build a rack to hold the workout balls, etc… But still, this gives you a general idea of where we spend some time.    

This is a shot from the treadmill (which is NOT a device designed to hold folded laundry, despite what my friend Cory says). As you can see, we have a TV here so we can watch a movie or show while we walk (to keep us on the machine). The cabinet below is filled with workout DVD’s – everything from yoga and pump to pilates and ball workouts. Of course, Jessica’s workout DVD has a place of honor here.
 
 
When you walk into our workout space, you encounter a wall covered with dance shots and articles that give a pictorial history of our dance life. Denver calls it the wall of fame. I think for Mark it is the wall of shame, because whenever one of the burly construction cowboys steps in and sees him in tights, they can’t help but make a joke about it.  I happen to love this wall. When I am on the treadmill, these images are right before me. My mind wanders to the wonderful people and experiences I’ve been blessed to know during my dance journey. I have pictures from my years in New York (and my first teachers/mentors – forever on the wall as a way of honoring them), pictures from FLEX and pictures of a few of the students that meant so much to us. I can see pictures of my husband back when he was only a student, long before he became my partner in life. He was such a determined, hard working artist. There is the first article I ever sold to a magazine (about dance) and articles written about us and the programs we created. And all of it deserves recognition, because every facet of dance from the beginning is a part of who we are now.
 
When my parents visited last week, I thought they might make a derogatory comment about this wall, because they get aggravated by the way I continue to care about what happens to our school and the dancers in the aftermath of our leaving. They say dance is no longer our problem, and something is wrong with me because I seem to need to keep one toe in the water. Mark gets annoyed too, as if the fact that I care means I’m going to drag him back into a world that was so hard for us to break free from. It’s true, I ponder creative solutions to problems more than I should. But I don’t know why that would be threatening to anyone. No rule says once I shut a door I’m required to pretend I don’t care, when I do. Frankly, It would be disturbing if it was any easier to turn my back on dance and everything I cared about for so many years. It would mean I spent an awful lot of time on something that was, in fact, dispensable. I prefer knowing that I spent all that time, energy and put an emotional investment into something that still is (and forever will be) important in the big scheme. I’ve moved on, but still, I care about dance and our role in it.
  
Anyway, My mom saw the wall and said “I’m really glad you did this. It is lovely to see this part of you preserved, and nice to think you have remembrances of what you loved around you.”
I appreciated her understanding of these pictures and why I wanted to hang them.
Here’s the wall: I still have Westcoast Dance Project posters to hang  somewhere (WCDP was our non-profit regional dance company from ten years ago). They are special and deserve a place of honor too.
 
There are other pictures around the room too, but I can’t stand back enough to take a shot of the entire room in one swoop. The poster of Mark that hung for years in the FLEX lobby has a place of significance on one wall (Don’t pay attention to the loose balls and the steps and risers – we bought six steps, which is more than one household should need, except that Mark occasionally gives a step class to Denver, Dianne, and whomever else wants to get sweaty with us. Remember – the closest health club is a 50 minute drive.) 

The collage I made way back when I first decided to open FLEX (from old unwanted pix from New York) hangs above the treadmill. This picture has been on the wall of FLEX since the first day it opened – in fact, it was the only picture I could afford to hang (made it from scraps) for about two years. I remember I put it up just so my little new school looked “dancy” way back when. I smile when I see how young I was (and how old the poses and style of dance wear). But it is nice to remember that version of me, nevertheless. I was so passionate about the art. That fire burned hot for such a long time. It still smolders. Perhaps it always will. This collage represents so much to me – my New York years, my FLEX years and my history in general.


The nicest thing about this room is that we can go here and do a warm-up or workout privately. Sometimes we play music and dance. It is a space to work on choreography too – which is something we are going to need soon (We are going to give some master classes and set some competition dances in Sarasota in the fall, for a former student and friend who is opening a new school with our help.) We will want to prepare something really dynamic, so having a mirror and open space to play with in advance will be a great help. (And for those of you who are tweaked by this tidbit, I promise to give you more exciting information about what’s to come later this week.)  

Anyway, this is our workout room. Jessica Smith will be proud (and yes, dear, you are on that wall). You too, Jamie. And this is my open invitation to friends to come up and use our treadmill. We might even stage a little class. Why not? We do have a hot tub to soak the tired, old muscles that will no doubt balk at the effort.

Perhaps someday, I’ll want to turn this room into a library or something. But I doubt it. I may be sorry we hung mirrors, because who are we kidding,  the girl looking back at me isn’t getting any younger. But she is a familuar site, and she’s earned every laugh line and sore muscle earnstly. The mirror image of me may change on the surface, but that girl and I are still friends. I have looked at myself in lots of mirrors in lots of studios in my life. This may be the last studio I ever spend time in. I savor it for that reason.      

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

8 responses »

  1. Ginny, Can I come and workout with you? Your gym looks better than the ones I work out in. Love it!

    Like

    Reply
  2. Oh how wonderful it is to see these pictures! Not because they are of your impressive home gym/workout room (and I am proud-) but because of those pictures I have missed looking at so much! That dance collage of you from your NY days is burned in my memory! To this day just to catch a glimpse of it still inspires me. I looked to those pictures for insight and inspiration from age 8 to 18.. through numerous classes and rehersals, through the hours, days and years I got to spend in the studio, one look at those pictures was enough to remind me why I chose to be in that special place instead of all the other places I could have gone.. One look at those pictures and I remember thinking there is no place else I can be. Sorry.. waxing poetic here.. thos pixs just stirred up some major memories! Even though I can’t seem them, thank you for hanging them. Just to know they are still up makes me feel good 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  3. Sure you can come workout- and I’ll even keep quiet. It is another thing working out with Mark, however. He can’t resist shouting corrections at me even when we are in the room all alone. Makes me laugh (to myself). I think somedays he goes through dance teacher correction withdrawl – I am his release valve. Ah well, not like he isn’t an endless well of great and valuable information. And it is always a kick seeing him revert to teaching mode. I think, “I remember that guy.” Liked him too. It is nice to have  the dance-man visit on occation., even if it does mean I’ll be more sore the next day from the workout.  Come. We’ll do floor barre and groan in perfect unison. 

    Like

    Reply
  4. Jessica you always had a way with words. I was thinking the same thing about those pictures. Memories. So many good ones. I am glad you put those up to! Thank you Ginny:) I will take you up on working out. But I want you to talk. I miss the in 5 years where do you see yourself!

    Like

    Reply
  5. Ah yes – “In five years, where do you see yourself?”Do you think any of you are currently where you once predicted you’d be? You’ve probably all gone completely different directions. Doesn’t matter. What matters is moving forward.  There is still time for old ambitions, of course. The future is wide open . . . Make it count.

    Like

    Reply
  6. I’m where I’d thought I’d be…teaching English. I just never thought I’d have to grade so many shitty essays. Ick! I miss dance all the time, but I never thought I could make it in the dance world. I danced all right in class, but I don’t think my talent would have taken me too far. As for your workout room/dance studio…we’re dancing in that whether you want to or not when I come to visit. Get your tights out and George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” in the CD player. I ready to go….. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  7. Since I’ve let you correct me lately (blogs and writing stuff), I’ll take you up on that. About time to do some correcting myself right back at ya!

    Like

    Reply
  8. pure garcinia cambogia

    At the Heart of Ginny: A room of past and present

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: