On the Cutting Edge
The melody of our Mongolian dance “Chopsticks Zest” accompanies me in the background as I type this post. The rehearsal music is a constant reminder of the busy schedule we have ahead of us. In a week, we’ll be performing again at Washington’s Kennedy Center Opera House. But that’s not all I have to prepare for. In September, I’ll be competing in New Tang Dynasty Television’s International Classical Chinese Dance Competition, held in New York. These energy-consuming tasks have kept me busy every day from 6:30 in the morning until midnight.
Waking up is difficult when you know that what ensues is hard conditioning for the next 40 minutes, which wouldn’t be so bad if what followed afterwards wasn’t dance training for two hours. Followed by intense rehearsals. On top of that, these days I’m preparing my dance competition piece—a sword dance. Having never danced with a blade before, I’ve had to put in extra time practicing sword twirls and avoiding cutting myself.
Dancing with a sword is difficult and at times painful, as I’ve come to learn the hard way. In classical Chinese dance, you hold the sword with your index finger over the guard to keep the wrist loose. This allows for a wider range of motion, but at a price. So far, I’ve managed to nick off a piece flesh from the side of my finger and, due to constant rubbing against the sword guard, my pointer finger has become somewhat swollen. I’ve also slashed myself a couple times, leaving pretty red lines on my legs.
BUT, being a swordsman is great fun—I get to twirl swords around and look cool. I have also gained valuable experience as a dancer and learned how to coordinate my body with the sword so that everything looks natural and as one.
There is so little time, but so much to be done. Back to the dance floor.
August 18, 2010