This essay is an excerpt from the upcoming paperback edition of my book of essays, Hiking the Horizontal
As I advance through my sixties, people are curious about my experience now that I am reaching the age of many of the older dancers with whom I’ve worked over the course of my career. I am curious too.
Sometimes I step off a curb and I think I am leaping again.
Sometimes when I picture my back curving it feels like I am dancing at summer camp.
Occasionally, if I put on the right shoes (for some reason mostly the plastic jellies), I can walk at a certain pace and put pressure on the ground in a certain way, and I really believe I can do all those steps and figures and phrases I used to do.
Or if I am in rehearsal and see an opportunity in front of me, a way for one dancer to touch another or a move that could happen between them, I am shocked—when I insert myself to demonstrate—that I can’t actually do it.
In fact I am astonished.
I think this must be what a phantom limb is like. The feeling is more real that reality. I am not sad or confused. I try to savor the experience. And who knows, maybe I did it after all.