Bitches Be Hatin’


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There is a beautiful woman who I met last year at Harvard. She started dancing late in life, but was very mature, intelligent, gifted and determined. She got a professional job within the second company of  the company of her dreams. (Second companies are like apprenticeships to the main company. Being in a second company, such as Boston Ballet II, is often a stepping stone into the main company.) Anyway, she got there and was appalled to find a toxic, competitive, petty environment. You know what they say: never meet your heros. She had gone there to deepen her experience of dance and to learn, only to discover that she was the one who needed to be the role model.

I have often heard the lament of Harvard students who, although extremely talented and capable of having professional dancing jobs, just don’t want to deal with the bullshit. They don’t want to be treated like children by a maniacal director. They don’t want to starve themselves thin. And they don’t want to deal with bitches that be hatin’.

I guess like any profession, dancing has its positives and negatives. Everyone who has made it to that point is hungry. Things can get nasty. But does it really have to be that way? Is dance just taking itself too damn seriously? I remember Judith Fugate, an awesome ballerina with New York City Ballet, bringing the energy of the studio back down to earth. She would remind us to relax. After all, it’s only ballet.

On the upside, I must say that there is a new generation of directors who aren’t crazy. One of the people I loved working with, and who has a reputation for being crazy in a good way, was Mark Morris. He treats his dancers with the utmost respect and if he has to call someone out, it is always to serve the truth that is in their best interest.

I’m sorry, but being a temperamental angst-ridden artist can no longer be used as an excuse to mistreat people. I always wanted the studio to feel like a temple. I liked to get to class extra early when everything was quiet and still. I had this idea that dancing was between me and God. Now who’s crazy? I bet, behind a veil of incense, even some temples have their fair share of bitches.

Jesus taught us to love.

Can you imagine what a revolutionary theory that must have been at the time–that we actually had to be taught to love our neighbor?

And then, he showed us how absolutely terrifying it can be. To love.

I look at the Jesus story as a myth. Like Oedipus, it creates a worst case scenario. It’s supposed to terrify us, because extreme terror and tragedy are effective means of pointing us in the right direction. So what will it be?

Maybe, like the wind, there is no final say in this matter. There is just the choice in this moment. And in this moment. And in this. Until, eventually enough momentum builds and reaches a critical mass.

And we grow up.

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One response to “Bitches Be Hatin’

  • natasha

    yoga and becoming a therapist were, and are to a certain extent, that for me; i was so disillusioned when i realized that not everyone who does yoga is pure and that not everyone who works in a helping profession is especially helpful- but it aint no thang, it doesn’t take away from the light it allows in, it tempers it so we aren’t blinded.
    good stuff, tai xx

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