500 words on 9am starts

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Rome, Italy- the last day of the European adventure.

I wouldn’t typically classify myself as a lazy person. I just like sleeping. Getting eight hours of quality sleep time is high priority, and ensuring that I actually fulfil this is a constant struggle.

Living less than five minutes away from Northern really doesn’t help. I can roll out of bed at 8, eat breakfast, get dressed, scroll through social media and be in the studio warming up before half eight (if I so desired). Yet, time always feels a little bit tight. The temptation to just lay in bed for a little bit longer is always too much, I am seduced by the cosy warmth of my ikea bed and kingsize duvet. Even though most nights I do get 8+ hours of regenerating sleep why am I not bouncing out of bed?

My bed is a happy place, where I feel no pressure, no judgement just comfort and warmth. The epitome of the comfort zone is indeed your bed. When you don’t want to face the world, where better to hole up? Bundled up in blankets, a cup of tea by my side and the entire Netflix catalogue, why would I ever want to move? I like sleeping, and cocooning myself in quilts, but I don’t think this qualifies as being lazy. True to form this reading week has been almost entirely devoted to getting reacquainted with my bed back home in Suffolk, and I have ‘no regrets’ (to shamelessly quote Dappy).

Dance UK recently ran a competition #dancersneedrest to encourage dancers to explore the merits of enjoying a sit down and putting up those dancing feet. In theory, I know that we should all listen to this, but when it comes down to it we all know that dancers like to push themselves. Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually we are striving to better ourselves. To hone our technique, explore new creative ideas to challenge what is possible, and this more times than not means compromising on those lovely sit downs and lazy days in bed. With the rigidity of dance school training you get into a routine of waking up, getting to the studio and preparing yourself for a full day of training. Then going home, eating, procrastinating for a little bit and then crashing in bed before doing it all over again. Fatboy Slim had eat, sleep, rave repeat. Dancers have eat, sleep, dance, repeat with barely any time for anything else.

So, where’s the time to actually rest? The sleep that we do is enough to rebuild energy sources for the next day, but not to completely rejuvenate. It’s kinda like charging your phone to 50% each night and running it down through the day. When do you get to charge right up to the big 100?

That’s why I’m changing reading week’s name to resting week. This doesn’t mean that I’m advocating sleeping for seven days solid, but doing other productive activities to let our dancing bodies and minds take a little vacation from dance training. Because, ultimately dancers do need to rest even if we think we don’t need to.

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