Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Dance Recital

I have not been that nervous in years...

I mentioned in past blog posts my love of dancing and how I used to make up tons of dances and dance around EVERYWHERE. But its been years since I did any of that in front of people. About 18 years I believe. I always had that nervous excitement before a performance, but never pure terror. Just excitement to show everyone what I could do. The product of hours of practice and sometimes pain (any idea how much your toes and the arch of your feet hurt after hours of dancing? or how your ankles and calf muscles feel like they are ready to explode?) But this past Saturday, that "nervous excitement" was more pure terror. Saturday morning I woke up excited to go to rehearsal and step on stage again. I sat through the usual guidelines of a recital and last minute schedules and watched each number practice on the stage. I went backstage to stretch and practice a couple of steps of our jazz dance to Shut Up & Drive. 4 months of learning choreography and a solid week of practice at the studio every night the week of the recital (I actually loved being in a studio every night practicing!), I felt good about my dance. And then I stepped up on that stage with my 4 fellow dancers and my stomach dropped. My feet wouldn't turn, the floor had no slickness for my jazz shoes to effortlessly turn as I had on that SAME floor in the studio just the day before. In fact, I had to change jazz shoes that week because it was TOO slick and my turns were out of control, but today oh no-the floor had no slickness, it was like turning in mud.  I stepped off the back of the stage once (giving me a mini heart attack) and had to do a leap off the side almost into the curtain. I missed several steps and felt paralyzed by the bright lights. That was a feeling I don't ever remember having before. I may not have always nailed my past dance routines perfectly but I got as close as possible. This was terrible. I wanted to cry at how much I messed up. WHY was I doing this?!?!

I went home and practice some more, over and over. I tried to relax and get ready, putting on my sparkly costume and tights with my lovely stage makeup. I tried to remind myself that "A bad rehearsal means a good performance!" I KNEW the steps, and I knew I could do it.  My stomach was in knots as I arrived back at the venue and counted down the dances in front of me. I lined up with my group again and that terror gripped me again. But also, that excitement was finally there. It was a tiny flame but it was there and with a deep breath I walked up the steps and took my place on the stage waiting for Rihanna to start her engine! I didn't fall off the stage, my shoes seemed to find the slick spots to make the turns and I made to the second to last 8 count before I missed one step but I quickly got my place back and managed to hit the final pose on the exact right spot. It was over and I had done it. Conquered my fear and got on that stage and gave a decent performance. And watching the video of the performance I realized I made every count right on and didn't miss anything except that one step. I am actually very proud of how well I did for not dancing for so many years (besides Zumba or dancing with my girlfriends at a club).

That exhilaration of performing is still in my soul. I love dance so much, and I've missed it these past several years. I'm so happy I have found a place to dance in my little town and can't wait to continue this fall. I had so much support and encouragement from my friends and family and without that support I don't know if I could have made it. But I did. And I loved every single terrifying second of it and can't wait to be in the studio again this fall.  I even got some beautiful roses afterwards from 2 friends! This summer I need to get back into yoga, continue to stretch and condition to be even better this fall. The love of dance is still there and is ready to grow again. I have a goal and I'm working towards it with every day in the studio, every moment I stretch and every exercise I do to strengthen my body to leap and turn. You are never too old to reach for a new dream or stir up an old one. I'm proud of my dedication to reach my dream later in life. I will keep working towards being a better dancer and teaching dance one day.

Post dance with my biggest fan! you can see a bit of my sparkly costume peeking out

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