Still Dancing To The Same Tunes

Still Dancing To The Same Tunes

I like to think I’ve changed in the last four years. I’ve been through a lot, grown up a lot; I’ve got qualifications to my name and a couple of poetry collections under my belt. I write better novels than I did in 2010. I do ballet, not Irish dancing. Yep, I used to be a competitive Irish dancer, for those who haven’t been around this blog long enough to remember that. It was a strange period of my life. Glitter, dresses, and sock glue.

Sock glue’s awesome, though, so I don’t regret that bit.

This was me at my last feis in around February 2011.
This was me at my last feis in around February 2011.

But four years ago, around about the time that I started this blog, I went to see Lord of the Dance at the O2. I’d been phenomenally excited for ages beforehand, and it was a dream come true. LotD was my main inspiration to get into Irish dance in the first place, so to see it live rather than on a VHS we bought for 50p in a charity shop seemed incredible.

And since then, all the shows I’ve been to, pretty much, have been ballet. Things like Manon or The Firebird or Le Corsaire. For the last few years it’s been something of a tradition that I go to a ballet for my birthday, and it’s been awesome. One year, there happened to be a school trip to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty actually on my birthday, so I grabbed at the chance.

About an hour ago I bought myself a ticket to see Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games in London next week, and I have to say, the level of excitement I’m feeling suggests I really haven’t changed at all in four years. I’d hoped to go with Charley, but because trains are cruelly expensive, it looks like I’m going on my own to a midweek matinee. Is that a weird thing to do? I suppose it’s a bit sad, going to the theatre on one’s own, but hey, no reason not to. It’s not like you can have a conversation during a show, and when it’s a matinee I don’t have to worry about getting home on my own in the dark.

I’m also pretty sure my seat is in the front row, despite being the cheapest available, so I don’t know what the view’s gonna be like but man, I’m excited. It’s pretty cool being further away, like I was last time, because you can see all the formations that the dancers are making. Being in the front row means you’re limited in what you can see, which is probably why it’s cheaper. At the same time, been there and done that when it comes to being so far away I was using binoculars to see the stage. Give me a bit of front row action this time.

Oh look, I came first. Mostly because I was the only person in that dance. Ah, the joys of being the only fourteen-year-old beginner...
Oh look, I came first. Mostly because I was the only person in that dance. Ah, the joys of being the only fourteen-year-old beginner…

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about how much I’ve changed and I realise that I’m thinking about it wrong. I know I can’t always add interests without losing others — I’d end up with even less time to sleep. Moving on always requires leaving something else behind, and for me ballet replaced rather than augmented Irish dancing. There are several clear before-and-after moments in my life, and when I find myself regressing to the ‘before’ I’m always baffled.

But this is how I was in 2010, I think. The Miriam who went to see Lord of the Dance had long hair and very painful shin splints and was writing for NaNoWriMo 2010. She wanted to do a degree in folk music and dance at Limerick and was dead set against the idea of going to Oxbridge. She wasn’t me.

And it’s true, because that me wasn’t me. That doesn’t mean I’m not her.

All my younger selves are still inside me somewhere. I might not like them much; I might think they’re complete idiots. I spend a lot of time reprimanding myself for bad decisions or for letting go of a friendship that I should’ve held onto. But they still form part of the person I am today, and I’ve become this version of me because of all the mistakes and obsessions and decisions those younger selves made.

Fangirling over a show that inspired two of my early novels (honestly, you could probably call them Lord of the Dance fan fic if you wanted to, though they had more independent world-building than most AUs tend to) doesn’t mean I’m ignoring four years of personal character development, which is how I like to think of life experience. I’ll be coming to this show from a totally different angle, watching it from the perspective of someone who has had their “I want to be in Lord of the Dance” phase and moved on from it.

Because let’s face it — my morning routine involves putting my wrist joints back in place before I try to push myself up to get out of bed. It’s not like I’m cut out for a career in dance when I’m this broken.

So yes, I am tremendously excited. As soon as I bought the ticket, I phoned Mother Person to inform her that I was going to the show (on my larry, because that’s how I roll) and that it looked like I had front row tickets (a mixed blessing, but a pretty positive mixed one, since at least I don’t have to worry about tall people in front of me).

I’m taking four years of growth and I am using them to do exactly the same thing as I did four years ago: go and see a show, freak out, and probably write a blog post about it. You know, that post still gets hits. Crazy, huh?

Man, I’m looking forward to it so much that I can hardly concentrate on tidying my room. Although that might just be because I hate tidying and therefore anything can distract me enough to blog instead of filing. (My filing system resembles Bernard Black’s; if you don’t get that reference, go on Netflix right now and watch Black Books because it is mad quality.)

I look forward to reviewing it for you, too. :)

Although I'm not a big fan of the poster design with the ridiculously over-sexualised female dancer in the middle. Blergh.
Although I’m not a big fan of the poster design with the ridiculously over-sexualised female dancer in the middle. Blergh.

4 thoughts on “Still Dancing To The Same Tunes

  1. “All my younger selves are still inside me somewhere.” <– too true. I actually (okay this is very less inspiring than yours) found myself rewatching childhood cartoons the other day and relieving my passion about animals and saving forests. SAVING FORESTS! Admirable 12 year old me. Whereas 20 year old me has an aversion to animals of all sorts (I am allergic to them, so there's that.) I also think it's incredibly hard to let things go. *sigh* I sometimes really miss the violin. I ditched it for the cello, but there's something sleek and missable about the violin. But I digress. ;)

    I'm looking forward to your review on the dance and I hope you have a good time!! I remember watching this on video yeeeears ago. My older sister was very into Irish Dancing (just, like, home-taught stuff) and we'd dance on friday nights and eat brownie. Good times. ;)

    1. I remember the few weeks between watching it for the first time and starting Irish dance lessons (I was persistent and organised and managed to start within a couple of months, ha ha), I was dancing like a maniac to the soundtrack. The last time I stayed with my grandparents before my grandad got too sick for me to stay with them, I was dancing in their living room, even though there’s hardly any space, and my grandad was like, “Where did you learn to do that?” and I had to admit I just made it up from the video. Unfortunately, he never actually got to see me dance after I had lessons, as far as I remember. Weirdly, though, one of my competitions was on the site of my grandma’s secondary school (which was bombed in the war), and in the road on which she grew up. Crazy, huh?

  2. I just … that woman’s spine is just … “improbable” is not the word. There is a literal S bend in that silhouette and that gives me the heebies.

    In other news, I hope you enjoy the show!

    As for the childhood stuff – nobody likes to look back at who they were, I know, but it’s only through being those people that we can move on and become better people – like the people we are now. Or so one would hope, anyway. You never know.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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