I used to hate performing.
Right at the beginning, when my teacher would scream at us backstage and force us to be at the theatre at 8am for an 8pm performance, I hated it. I hated the terror of challenging choreography and not feeling ready and worrying about my pointe shoes and forgetting the steps.
And then I changed schools. And I stopped dancing in pointe shoes. And I started doing my own choreography. And everything changed.
My favourite memories of performing are stepping onto the stage to dance my own solo and Knowing that my dance and my story were powerful, that I could fill that entire theatre with my energy, and that my heart and the hearts of my audience were about to have a conversation.
I can’t adequately describe what that feeling is like. At the time I described it like “having the audience in the palm of my hand,” but that sounds like manipulation. It wasn’t. It was secrets whispered from my heart to theirs, opening a window to my soul and knowing that they would peek in and be touched by what they saw.
I mention this because this project, this Delicious Dance-a-thon, has brought me closer to that feeling than anything has in years. It’s different, because my dances are improvised, because I can use editing to put the dance together, and because I don’t have the same space-sharing connection as I did in the theatre, but…I don’t know…it feels the same.
It’s reawakening things in me: knowledge of my body’s power, new appreciation of the way I move, a love of the person on the screen (instead of my traditional horror of seeing myself dance on video). And it’s changing me: inviting me to push a little more, lean into my discomfort, try something new, play.
I didn’t realize until this project just how limited I had made myself: dancing my own little dance, making it beautiful—yes—but creating that beauty within the limits of “well, I can’t move farther than this because I’ll hurt myself and I’ll stop dancing altogether.” Every day getting sorer and tighter and more terrified to move. Every day feeling that powerful, connected dancer slipping farther away.
These videos are helping me to push past those limits, trust myself a little more, step out a little farther. They are helping me to take back that power I thought I’d lost, that connection and blossoming energy that made my heart ache with longing whenever I thought about it.
Today’s music has two layers: the cello and the marimba. I tried dancing to each part separately. I was originally going to edit the “best bits” together into one video…but I found that they wouldn’t fit. They wanted to be shared separately, just as they were created.
And I think this works, because it shows two different ways to step outside of a comfort zone:
The cello, smooth and emotional, feels much more home-y to me. During this dance, I pushed myself to move a little bigger, shift a little more often. I pushed to my edge by more fully inhabiting the dance.
The marimba, on the other hand, frenetic and unceasing, is a foreign land to me. It’s not a dance I typically do. I stepped outside of my comfort zone even attempting to put this on film. And it was exhausting. You can watch me get tired during the course of the video. For a while, I debated whether to share this take at all. But you know what? those first 20-30 seconds? I adore them. They made the entire exercise worth it. They opened up a new layer of self-trust and opportunity for movement. They make me believe in myself just that little bit more.
Thank you for reading this, for watching these videos, for leaving your comments. You are part of this healing, this blossoming. You are part of it, and I am so incredibly grateful to you.