As a dance educator and choreographer, I’m always thinking about transitions. Dance technique is full of transitional movements that make all the difference: that perfect preparation before the pirouette, that luxurious undercurve in the triplet, that sublime chasse into the leap. I know these transitions are crucial; proper execution of them distinguishes the novice dancer from accomplished, the student from the professional.
Sometimes I find it harder to acknowledge the importance of transitions in my life outside the studio. I feel like I am in a season of transition right now, and it’s not easy. My baby is becoming a toddler, in some ways all at once and in some ways gradually, almost unrecognizably. One minute he’s mastering a brand new skill without help, and the next he’s clinging desperately to my side, “Mama, Mama.” My own goals are shifting, I’m finding myself less fulfilled by an over-scheduled existence and constant chasing of career accomplishments. At the same time, I love what I do and I’m not entirely sure what my life would be without the hustle that comes with it.
It’s hard to be in this in-between, this transitional moment. When does my son needs to be indulged like the baby he still is, and when he needs to be encouraged to grow, to explore, to find his independence like the little man he will soon be? How can I break the cycle of rushing into new ideas and projects without first discerning if they complement my goals? These are not easy questions to answer, and I look forward to the moment when I have the answers figured out. But just as I encourage my students to not to rush into the next flashy trick or technical element in their choreography, I need to learn to honor the transitional moments in my own life.
Transitions matter, they help us navigate through both choreography and through seasons of life. It is in the transitional moments that we are the most vulnerable, but also the most able to find true growth. There’s no point in faking a pirouette preparation, as it will only result in a sloppy turn. The same is true in life. It is only by going through the transitional moments with thoughtfulness, attention, and grace, that we will find true fulfillment on the other side.