I would like to challenge your thoughts today. I would like to ask – who are you when you are NOT being ‘The Dancer’. Archetypes are, according to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, innate universal psychic dispositions that form the substrate from which the basic themes of human life emerge.* There are some obvious assumptions we can make about being the ‘Dancer’ archetype. Physically strong and flexible, dedicated, artistic, passionate, interested in the beauty and asthetics of daily life. It is second nature to us to feel comfortable in our physical body. Even the way we walk down the street identifies our strong Dancer archetype.
There are some ‘shadow’ elements to being a Dancer archetype as well. The ‘starving artist’ may play out through undervaluing the work you do, not feeling worthy to be successful, or potentially the opposite – pride – that money couldn’t possibly express the true value of what you do.**
Over the past year I have been working with the very talented Katie McRae of Archetypal Energies to help unravel the nature of some of my challenging patterns I play out. I was most interested to note that I had shared not only Dancer elements, but naturally Performer elements, Artist elements and most definitely Teacher elements. But of recent, I began to wonder who I am when I close the working door for the day. Who is Dale when she is not being Dale the Dancer? Who are you when you are NOT being The Dancer?
Our industry demands us to be present and working in it nearly 24 hours a day. For a true Dancer archetype that would actually be very fulfilling, but once you are fulfilled where to? And more importantly, did you allow yourself time and expression in other areas to know where to after dance? It’s not that dance ends or you walk away from it, although for some that acknowledges their completion. It is more that you have fulfilled the requirements of you as a dancer in this lifetime. From experience and from viewing my colleagues, it seems to happen in the early 30’s when the Dancer/Performer archetypes seem to have been indulged for most and the opportunity to look around at what else interests you is given a chance to be heard. Most of us stay within the industry, but a little of me wonders about how attached to our identity within the industry we are. That we have only known ourselves because of this industries recognition of us and our work in it. Think – Li Cunxin – Mao’s Last Dancer. He is now a stockbroker and yet he is a legend of the ballet world to this day. He is an example of being brave enough to leave when his experience was completed and fulfill other callings.
To wrap it up, friends, I guess what I’m proposing is that we all ask ourselves the question – Who am I when I’m NOT being The Dancer? What else excites me, challenges me, calls me? And perhaps you won’t be afraid to answer this knowing that it’s ok to move around in this world via many different aspects of yourself, not just dancer related – or perhaps that is exactly who you are to be this time! Have fun.
By Dale Pope