Over the years I’ve run into a fair few international dance teachers/ choreographers at various conventions and festivals. There have been times when I was taken aback when conversations meandered into recommendations for classes… I would hear “My class is amazing, you should really come and take it. You would love it”. The old me would walk away open-mouthed, wondering where they got the confidence and how to take this kind of comment. It always seemed ego-centric to me, although I have always shied away from self-promotion of any description.
So something occurred to me. Something HUGE as far as I’m concerned, this one smacked me in the back of the head a few months ago. It occurred to me that these people don’t necessarily see themselves as better than I am, they simply believe in the power of being themselves. They believe that what they have to offer the world is worth hearing, they believe in sharing it. One step further: Believing that you have something unique to offer does not mean that you believe another does not.
As I said to some students the other day, putting yourself at the front of the class for example is not a commentary on anyone else in the room. I’ve noted in some of my classes that should a student step up and stand at the front of the class many of the others exchange looks, looks that speak loudly about what they think of people who choose to position themselves at the front you know? I would urge those giving these ‘looks’ to consider that standing at the front may simply say that you back yourself. That you are willing to own that who you are is going to go into what you do, no holds barred. That you are open, ready and poised to take in and then give back what you can. Unfortunately the tendency is often to see some sort of threat when somebody presents themselves in this way and convert this into a need to put them down or comment on their choices.
Being ready to own your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses and ultimately let yourself shine regardless does not mean that you have the intention of extinguishing another’s light. Shining is often catching I’ve noticed. When it comes from comfort in your own skin, rather than a need to get attention, that energy, commitment and focus is contagious. If you shine, so can the person next to you. That’s entirely up to them.
I suspect this is where some students struggle, it can be easier to comment on how somebody else chooses to behave, conduct themselves in or take class rather than take a look at yourself. In the case of the teachers/ choreographers I met and talked about a few paragraphs ago- they felt strongly enough about who they were to tell me about it. In reality it was no reflection on me at all, it was an invitation for me to do the same for myself.
It’s fine to know of course that others support you, sing your praises and have your back, we all have those people in our lives who cheer us on. But how’s this for a ‘way out’ suggestion… How bout you BACK YOURSELF?
Believing that you are Extraordinary doesn’t mean that you believe you are better than anyone else. It just means that you realise that you ARE Extraordinary. So is everyone else.
This article was written by new DanceLife contributor JOANNE BOLDEN – profile coming soon!!