In this week’s Stage + Studio, Louisville Ballet’s “Studio Connections” takes center stage as dancer Annie Honebrink reflects on the relationship between music and emotion.
Sometimes the hard times are easier to write than the good. Because when my heart is breaking, when my soul is twisting—I have to release the songs inside. Because sometimes my heart turns to strings—the long mournful kind. The deep, powerful kind. Desolate. Desponded. Dejected. Because sometimes life falls apart. And the strings crescendo. And sometimes life moves in slow motion. A slow, aching, woeful symphony. And sometimes the light fades. And the world burns. And the bright blue sky mocks me and smiles are taunts and up is down and left is right and the bitterness trickles in, seeps into the places in my heart I didn’t even know existed. And then the crescendo dies. And I feel nothing. I am nothing. But the strings keep pulling. Eternally. Because I see no end to this symphony of pain.
Sometimes the good times are harder to write than the bad. Because when my heart is soaring, when my soul is rejoicing—I want to keep the songs inside. Because sometimes the music is joy. And I want to hold onto each and every note. Store them away, protect them. And I don’t even realize it, but the song does leak out—in my smile, in my light.
I love Studio Connections because we can feel and see all of the songs. Everyone in the audience will have the opportunity to connect with at least one of the pieces in this grouping of ballets. Cold Virtues sings of agony and sorrow. Spring Waters sings of abandon and blissful freedom. La Bayadère is achingly beautiful—the type of beauty that the heart yearns for but can never grasp. Swan Lake’s Act III Pas de Deux is deceit and cunning and lust. Coppélia’s Act III Pas de Deux is joy and contentment. The list goes on. I am reminded how fortunate I am as a dancer to have the opportunity to sing these songs. And hear them. That in those times when my soul cries out painful melodies, I have a refuge in which to turn. That when my heart is full of joy, I have a way to share that joy with the world. And I know that I am acting, but I think that this art form forces me to unlock parts of myself that I would otherwise never find. It forces me to listen to those songs inside even when—especially when—it would feel better to lock them away. I am reminded how fortunate I am as a dancer to have the opportunity to share these songs. Because there will be those in the audience who can see no end to their symphonies of pain. And I can help give them understanding. Give them a respite. Give them hope. And I know this because I have been in the audience. I have felt the healing power of art. I have spent nights dancing and singing in my bedroom after a performance. Sometimes life sends us flying in the clouds, and other times it sinks us to the bottom of the pit. And maybe it isn’t so much about what song is playing, but rather what we do with the cords we have been given. And what we are becoming. Because I wouldn’t be who I am without those broken moments. Because I wouldn’t know the height of my joy without those moments of misery. Writing, for me, is like translating emotion. Some emotions just don’t have words. And sometimes that is okay.