For more than thirty years now I have danced. I have stepped to the barre to repeat the same exercises over and over again like a mantra, working the floor beneath me as a worry stone, over and over again. In my younger days I suffered, tormented by the mirror, self doubt, the pressures to be better, stronger, slimmer. Now, though my jumps are lower and my leg not quite so high, I find inside myself a centering and calm so crisp and clear that I turn more easily and perch for long periods in my balances. It is a trade off and an irony, it seems, that at just the moment we gain our grace we begin to lose our vigor. I, for one, am glad for it. What I have lost in youthful athleticism I have gained in presence and expression. I am no longer tormented, no longer concerned with rank or virtuosity. Now, I dance from the inside out and feel my soul stretch beyond the reaches of my fingers, grateful for the dance.