Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What a Feeling

Dearest Readers,

Yesterday I got to sit in on auditions for a youth dance piece that is a part of an upcoming project I'm working on. About 20 kids showed up and gave it everything they had. It was a fantastic thing to watch.

I've written before about my dream of being a dancer. When I was a kid that was wanted I wanted to be when I grew up. I was obsessed with the movies Fame and Flashdance and I would spend hours practicing dance routines.

Somewhere along the way I developed the dis-ease of perfectionism, which told me, "If you can't be the best, don't play the game." I wasn't the best. I gave up dancing and I gave up the dream.

When I watched those kids yesterday, picking up really challenging choreography taught to them by a pro from NYC with big credits behind her, following her moves, one after the other, listening and learning from body memory, focusing 100%, I knew why I'd become a writer.

Granted, I am a performer. I do play on the stage and screen but I am convinced I made the right decision because I simply cannot pick up choreography. At least not that darn fast.

A few years back I took a jazz class and I was the best in the class because I was 20 years younger than everyone else. It was a class for older ladies. I was able to pick up the choreography because the teacher had to go over it 462 times.

It was super impressive to see these talented youth pick up each sequence after seeing it only one or two times. I'm sure for a dancer this is a no-brainer but for me it's a feat of incredible proportions.

Not every one of those kids is going to make the cut. At one point I saw a girl crying because she wanted it so badly and she was trying so hard and the pressure was so high. Her emotional state was as fragile as could be and she was biting her lip to fight the tears back. That's the kind of pressure I backed away from. The possibility for rejection was too great.

Since I am heading the project I gave a little speech before and after. I asked everyone to be his/herself. I encouraged them all not to take it personally if they didn't get a call back. I said, "Have fun!" It was my greatest desire for each of them to have a great time and to let go of the outcome as best they could.

Letting go of the outcome. It's one of the most challenging things to do. It is something I have to continually practice, every day. As I heard myself saying it yesterday I thought, "These words are as much for me as they are for all of you."

I don't regret not pursuing my dream of being a dancer and I'm grateful to be recovering from the merciless taskmastering of perfectionism. I got to see my dream alive in the faces of those kids yesterday. And I pray each one of them follows their own.

Inspiring Message of the Day: If I can't be the best I will still play the game. I will put myself out there and give it all I've got, surrendering the outcome and enjoying the process to the best of my ability.

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