Over the course of AVS, I have been experiencing a moderate amount of “dance funk” – but instead of riding the waves and suffering through the lows, I’ve been trying to find the triggers which cause me to be frustrated, unhappy, or upset when dancing. While I don’t think I’ve found the solution, I have identified a few of the problems moments.
Some examples of situations which stress me out:
- During competitions, especially in the spotlight.
- Dancing with amazing dancers – especially to particularly fast music with people I do not know well or have not danced with before (if you’re not good at reading between the lines: this generally refers to dancing with instructors)
- Performing a choreography.
- Struggling with certain technical concepts as a follow (there are a few right now).
- What I feel is unjust praise for my dancing (usually after comps).
However, I’ve also noticed that certain similar situations are no challenge, and are often extremely enjoyable:
- Silly competitions, like the Jill and Jill in which I danced with the lovely Emma.
- Jam circles. Especially the absurd ones, like the impromptu jam circle in which everyone danced on one foot, and I swiveled like a flamingo. Think about it.
- Dancing with amazing dancers who are friends, no matter how fast the music.
- Performing the Tranky Doo (even if everyone is watching me ‘cause they don’t know it).
- Leading and solo movement.
I think the theme here is a certain amount of pressure I am putting on my own dancing to “be awesome.” I am aware that a large portion of this is in my own head. Now, if I only got upset after competitions, I would smack myself upside the head and tell my stupid ego to suck it up, because I am well aware I have a long way to go before I am ever the amazing dancer I want to be. Being unsuccessful in comps is a good reality check, and I love the feedback I’ve gotten from the comps at AVS.
No – far more concerning is the stress I have felt when receiving praise for my dancing. I am not sure what about this praise should make me so upset, as it should be a positive experience. Regardless, every time I receive a “Great job!” or “I love watching you dance!” after an experience in which I feel I could have done better, I feel an overwhelming and terrifying weight sitting on my chest. I often have to find a curtain behind which to hide, or corner in which to sit alone for a few minutes.
The good news is that I do not hate dancing; in fact, quite the opposite. I have immensely enjoyed taking classes as a lead this week, and the solo jazz class with Mikey absolutely blew my mind. And any situation in which the pressure is low is incredible – especially dancing with friends or doing absurd things.
As a result of these realizations, I am going to take a short break from dancing, starting after Hot Jam tomorrow (gotta tell Michelle I won’t be around for a bit to teach lessons & all). I am going to step back and remind myself that there is no pressure to be amazing – the goal is to have fun, and I can only do myself a disservice if I get stressed about “being awesome.” This is something I tell each and every beginner I teach, yet it is advice which I am struggling very hard to take myself.
When I come back, I’m going to focus on the aspects of dancing which I truly enjoy. I think that enjoying being a follow and enjoying the aspect of putting work into my following will follow naturally when I’m ready.