Stage + Studio, A Louisville Ballet Blog: “January” by Annie Honebrink

January is a bittersweet month.  Sweet because it is my birth month—and Christmas always goes until my birthday. Bitter because Christmas ends—and Christmas is magic. January is a Goodbye and a Hello. Time to reflect; time to look forward. January is sledding down the trusty old hill even though the grass is still poking through the white blanket, shrieking like we are still seven years old. January is Netflix marathons in sweatpants, and two-year-olds in doctor’s robes wrapping me in ace bandages, and hot chocolate cupped between red hands. January is lists and lists and more lists. To do; to don’t; to try; to save; to give. January is picking up the pen and searching for the words again. January is New—and New is an adventure. Sometimes adventures are risky.  And sometimes goodbyes can hurt. So can pointe shoes. And grand battements. And I want to stay inside the warm, safe memories—but life continues on, and eventually I realize that it’s better to join in than stand on the side. It’s easy to fall into that trap. To be a bystander. Forget to breathe. Forget to sing.  

Ballet can be hard to start back up in January. Stuffing feet back into pointe shoes that somehow feel too small; contorting legs back into places they don’t want to be; fighting to relax arms when every muscle in the body is on hyper drive; cramming choreography back into the brain and clogging up the holes from which it slowly leaked out. But gradually the nuts and bolts in my brain and body start to click together, and before I know it I am chugging along as before. Encouraging smiles and tight welcome home hugs fill the studio. The magic of Nutcracker has faded away, but the excitement and anticipation of New trickles in. It awakens those dormant parts, and the wheels start turning once more. Funny how Home can take on so many forms. Sometimes home is plastic yellow sleds, or the embrace of one you love, or a soothing mug of hot chocolate. But other times home is tight-fitting pointe shoes and sore muscles. It feels good to be home.   

January is crisp, clear air and endless tomorrows.  

January is possibility.