I, like many others, am an aspiring dancer. I train at a college where I receive classes every day in different dance styles, acting and musical theatre singing. When I went on holiday this February half term to visit my friend chalet hosting (Morzine, France), I decided to have ago at two days of skiing. I have never been skiing before, despite that many people around me, including my parents, have experienced this incredible sport. I however, never really had the opportunity or the confidence to be able to also experience it.
I was very nervous before going out. Yes I thought I would have the required strength, but skiing can be dangerous. Hearing a first person story from a man, while I was tipsy at a new year party, about how he (while skiing) became part of a snow ball avalanche while rolling down the mountain, which followed by him falling off and landing lower down the mountain where he was lucky to survive, didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
Yes I was scared at times when skiing, but there were a few golden moments when I felt extremely relaxed and free. The views were not only spectacular, but it’s one of few sports where you have as much fun falling over and going wrong as you can when it goes right. So overall I loved it and would definitely go again for longer.
I also surprisingly, learnt a lot about myself and developed skills that I need for dancing.
Yes, I developed skills for dancing. I always thought my dancing ability would help skiing – my strong core and legs and good sense of balance etc. (reasons why skiers should dance to improve these), but it has impacted my dancing. Every dancer has specific things they need to focus on, for me it’s not letting tension I have when I hold myself be seen in my upper body. In other words, I need to be able to look calm while still staying strong.
After a while on the nursery slopes and swiftly moving on to the blue slopes, my instructor yelled:
rather a lot, which at the time I didn’t really understand. I sent myself down the slope where I very quickly went out of control and belly flopped forward. Despite being a bit afraid and feeling like a liability for everyone else, I got up and kept trying.
The following day I woke up. My friend asked me if I ached at all. My arms were really stiff but my legs felt fine. She said this was because while skiing I tensed up my arms and upper body. I presumed I did this because I was pretty scared, especially when I thought I was going to lose control and ski off Piste into oblivion. So I tensed and squeezed every muscle like crazy hoping that would do the trick in helping me regain control. My friend told me that the tensing technique wasn’t and isn’t effective, which annoyed me a tad because I was pretty good at that. I needed to keep my lower body strong, my weight forwards on my toes while my upper body stayed relaxed. I did this that second day, and it transformed my skiing technique. I managed to isolate my muscles and relax my upper body, something my dance teachers have been trying to get me to do for years. Yes it can still be improved but it was so much better!
I made that improvement because you can’t faff about with skiing. You have the pressure of sliding full pelt down a slope, so you HAVE to rely on your body and abilities and not hold back. Holding back usually involved me leaning backwards with the hope I would magically stop or slow down. In reality I kept skiing faster, nearly taking people out in my path.
That is the meaning of the phrase “send it” – give it everything you’ve got, don’t hold back and rely on your ability. You have to be calm and enjoy what you’re doing and then hopefully you will experience some golden moments. This is an attitude I will be taking from the slope to the studio, where I know I sometimes just need to “send it” and enjoy and embrace the hurdles I face.