I would guess that there are some people who make a decision and don’t look back because they are confident they did the right thing. Me, not so much. I do go back over things a time or two and there is that small part of me that wishes I could do the routines because it would have been cool. But most of me is convinced that I made the right decision.
Much of this comes back to whole introvert thing. Yes, when I’ve done Showcases, I do enjoy the performing aspect of it. But there is also the freak out that happens before because in the studio I’m the introvert. When I find performance mode, I’m fine. What I think I’ve learned is that performance mode depends on having what I perceive as a safe atmosphere.
There is nothing wrong with Studio B but I’ve mentioned before that it doesn’t feel like “my” studio. That’s a little silly because they are all nice people and studios like having dancers so it isn’t that anyone has made me feel unwelcome. It is just that it has been hard for me to establish any sort of real connection with anyone at the studio. Mindy only teaches there from time to time. They have other instructors, but like most independent studios, they kind of rotate in and out. Bottom line is that without a real connection, it is easy for me to feel like an outsider. I’ve had a lot of experience feeling that way and it sucks. I know that this is more me than anything at Studio B but it is still there.
And, I’ve been spoiled by the Famous Franchise. They go out of their way to create a fun environment. At times it is over the top and forced fun but you get to know the other students just a little. It is hard not to even for a committed introvert like myself. So you see a bunch of dance friends and studio instructors who always seem happy to see you and it just feels like home.
There is a big difference between the Showcases at the two places. The Famous Franchise makes a whole day out of it so you have all the heats and solos and all kinds of activity. But what it is also does is create a shared experience. Like I mentioned above, these are your dance friends. You’ve watched them struggle in the studio right alongside you. You’ve seen their routines grow from the start to a mostly finished product and now you get to see it live. But, because you have a connection to these people, you root for them more than you would for someone you don’t know as well. And, when you’ve done a few, you start to know the students and instructors from the other studios. Despite the nerves, it creates an environment that feels more supportive and safe and easier to get into performance mode.
To be clear, everyone at Studio B has been supportive. The times I’ve walked off the floor after doing a routine, I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments and high fives from the instructors. But the atmosphere at Studio B is just different. I don’t mean for this to come off sounding bad but it is a little more like a recital than an actual competition. People bring their family and friends to show off what they’ve learned. There is nothing wrong with that except that I’m bringing Hilde which always kind of makes me feel more like an outsider.
Random aside but I think Studio B would have been a place to take my Mom and Dad. They talked about coming to a Famous Franchise Showcase but it would have made for a long day and I don’t think my Dad would have been able to sit through the whole thing. Never really thought about Studio B but that would have been a better atmosphere. I think my Mom would have enjoyed seeing me dance.
I should also mention that many of the other student routines are much more formal. So you get a lot of standard Fox Trot and Waltz. And that’s not a bad thing but it creates a different atmosphere when we are doing fun dances like Hustle or like the West Coast Swing I did before. In a way, it feels out of place among the more “serious” dances.
If there weren’t other things going on right now, I probably could have put all this behind me and just gone out and done both routines. But it just wasn’t in the cards.
I think for me also what I need to do is take more control of my dancing. I’ve kind of been like a leaf drifting in the current of a stream. Just happy to go aimlessly where the water goes but not really in control of events. And that’s been true at both Studio B and the Famous Franchise. So I need to just figure out what I want to do with the skill set I’ve got. And reducing my exposure will give me some time to figure that out.