Practice like you are the worst, dance like you are the best
I adapted that one a bit to suit but it feels particularly appropriate this week. (I have told you that I’ve got whole collection of these now) I certainly have the first one down but the second is somewhat elusive. But it is my goal for this last week before Showcase. I will be in the studio every night this week closing with three lessons on Friday – one with each instructor. Realistically, I know there is no major improvement coming so this is really just about locking things down and getting more into my comfort zone. That will also give me the time to work on the mindshift necessary to give myself credit for what I am able to do.
There are times when I wish I could totally banish those inner demons but I would settle for a more uneasy truce with them. Truth is that there is good side to them. I heard once from a old dance coach that he preferred students who had a bit of self-doubt because you can’t teach someone who thinks they already know everything. All my fears, insecurities, and doubt are what drive me to improve. It is what forces me to keep coming back to the studio to keep working to keep pushing. While part of me gives in to them from time to time, there is another part of me that always wants to keep fighting them. One that wants to nail a performance and tell the little suckers inside my head to f off.
In some ways, those demons are a great power source but it comes with a certain amount of danger. It is like a nuclear reactor which provides a lot of power but it messing with stuff that is incredibly dangerous. You need a whole team of techs around to monitor and control it to make sure it does the good that you want. And, if it ever gets out of hand, well then you’ve got Chernobyl. Funny, but I can picture a little team of techs in lab coats and clipboards running around inside my head and then all screaming “get out, its going to blow” when the core implodes and I let the demons take control.
I’ve done some semi-competitive sports in my time – I suppose we all have. When I was younger and in a different town, we had a softball team that played in the city league. There was always something special about game days. Stepping out on the field for the first time. I was the first baseman so doing the little warm up throws which was just to take the edge off and get you into the right frame. I was never the best but I always played with confidence. I never worried about making an out or messing up. I wanted every at bat and I wanted people to be on base when I came up.
So things are going to wrong this week. I’m known for making mistakes on easy steps the closer we get to an event. It will happen. But I have to turn my mind off and just trust that my body knows what it is doing. But things that go wrong this week don’t negate the hours of practice. They don’t make me a bad dancer. They don’t take away from what I’ve achieved. I’m going to bottle those little demons up because Showcase is what I’ve been working for and it is my time to shine. I’ve earned it with all the work and I’m going to take it.
Two little random notes from last week:
1. We were doing the Argentine Tango and there was a particularly slow song on and I guess I changed my timing for certain parts of the dance. What we do is mostly slows which works unless the song is really slow so I put in a couple of quicks. It was not intentional. Some part of my autonomic dance mind took over and told me to do something different. The Body Double only told me this after the fact. Why is this important? Well it is a sign that I can turn my mind off and just feel the music. It is like Luke Skywalker just starting to figure out how to harness the power of the force. So I changed timing but stayed within the confines of the dance and didn’t get off time all without even being aware I was doing it. Again, it is a baby step but if I’ve tapped into it once, I can tap into it again.
2. At party, there is a young lady (probably 15-16) who is taking dance lessons. I think she’s into musical theater at school so this just naturally fits. Well the group class was a hustle although they called it “party time” so they could deviate from the syllabus and just teach some weird stuff. She ended up being my main partner for the group which was cool until the end where 3 of 3 decided we should end it with a dip. Which meant she had to wrap her arms around my neck to hold on so I could execute said dip where she ended up balance on my leg with my arm around her. On the whole, it was an age appropriate move but I started worrying more about accidental inappropriate touching because that would really go wrong in this case. She was a better sport about it than I was. Don’t worry, it all went off just fine. She did stay for party as well even though all of the guys she danced with at group and party are old enough to be her father (or perhaps even grandfather in a couple of cases).
Oh yes, Thursday is rehearsal day. The party will feature those of us doing solos at Showcase getting an opportunity to try them out in front of an audience. Should be a fun week.