Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Before we get to the videos, a little one sided discussion.  This was sparked by both some conversations with some young dancers at the Fatheim workshop in North Carolina and some things we were talking about in my intermediate class on Monday.  By "young" or "baby" dancer, I mean dancers who have been dancing for less than a couple of years. 

Any type of performance art is scary, to both newbies and old pros.  This is especially true of dance - I teach and choreograph dance so that your shoulders are back, arms are out, head is up and chest is open.   But from a purely animal standpoint, that very stance is vulnerable, you're exposing all your delicate soft spots and even your heart to people.  When we do this, we are opening ourselves up and we all are afraid of what feedback we may be getting.  I actually find feedback from other people the easiest to deal with, either it is valid and from someone I respect as knowing their stuff or if is from someone clueless and I can blow it off.  The clueless are easy to deal with, since I know their comments come with no knowledge of what is right or how challenging even simple dance is.

What is harder to deal with is making yourself vulnerable to your own feedback.  I find that this is what stops most of us in our tracks.  We put so much pressure on ourselves to be "perfect" (whatever that means) that we forget what is important.  What is important is the doing, the fact that we are dancing at all.  We tend to compare ourselves to others and sometimes in our dance classes, we end up comparing ourselves to people with more talent or a stronger dance background.  A 3 or 6 month dancer, no matter how much western dance training they have, will never have the dance ability of someone with years of experience.  Your body is still internalizing the moves and the ability to do them effortlessly.  Add to that the fact that many of us are still figuring out who we are as a dancer or as a person and we can easily tell ourselves we aren't "good enough."  Unless you are getting paid to dance or performing on a juried workshop stage, there is no "good enough" standard you have to reach, it is in your head.  And your head makes things so much bigger than they really are.

One of my favorite former students struggled with learning technique and choreography.  Her first few solos, it was obvious she was terrified and she struggled.  But every show she got a little better, she kept working, practicing and pushing herself.  We all loved watching her grow as a dancer through those performances.   We sometimes are afraid that we will disappoint our class or troupemates, but that is the beauty of dancing in groups, there is always someone there to support you.  Every dancer will have a bad performance at some point and your classmates will step in and support you, just like you support them.  My troupe is an example of this and it especially hits home when the person have a bad night is me.  Yep, I am my worst enemy and luckily my dance partner in crime (Mahsati) and my husband will snap me out of it.  What I am trying to say is that we are all in this together and if you are dancing, you can't let down your classmates.  Why?  Because you are doing the work, doing the dancing, doing what you can, and you are doing what I expect.  Notice, I didn't say doing your best because some days that just isn't going to happen, but what will happen will be enough.  Brene Brown in "Gifts of Imperfection" points out that we need to remind ourselves that "I am enough."   Enough for what you ask?  Enough for everything you need right now, if we constantly wait to be perfect, we will never get anywhere.

That turned into a mini rant.   Now go digest it.  While you do that I'm going to sit here and try to take my own advice - I'm totally guilty of letting my fear of not being good enough stop me from doing lots of things....... Thoughts on all this?  Message me :)

Beginners video is on last week's post.  Your goal, practice the dance 5 times before I see you again.

Intermediates - video is below, both the 95% version and the 100% version.  Try to practice with either 3-5 times before next Monday.  We will spend about 45 minutes of class each of the next 4 classes working on the dance.  In other words - you will be doing it in your sleep when I get done with you.  Feel free to ask for me to breakdown sections before or during class.

Rebecca found this breakdown of how to bellyroll she wanted to share



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