Nothing of greatness has ever been accomplished in a comfort zone.
“Noooooooo…. Ahhhh!!!!!!!” *crash*
It happened in slow motion. My leader caught my right leg and stepped back juuust ever so slightly off, and promptly decided the safest course of action was to be a pillow for my fall. My friend and I turned into a graceful pile during a practica, both of our first falls. We laughed at our ridiculousness, stood up and got back to it. But after he profusely apologized, I said “no risk, no reward. If we never fall we aren’t trying hard enough.” No blood was drawn so I wasn’t particularly upset. But it did make me realize that I should have fallen more by this point. Maybe I had and don’t remember. Which means I haven’t fallen enough.
We care so much about what other people think of our dancing that we attempt to be perfect all of the time. But nothing truly great is ever accomplished in a comfort zone. Falling, making mistakes is a sign of doing. Without pushing ourselves to the point of risk, we stay stagnant. It is how I have seen people dancing exactly the same way all of these years.
Trying weird, out of the box moves and falling is exactly how I want to spend a practica. Creating, and providing a safe space for my leader to experiment. I understand the apologies (I am constantly saying “sorry” when I lead myself, so I am guilty too), but I also want them to feel like they can take the risk. Try the step. I trust myself to be able to protect myself from something too crazy (most of the time), so I try to make my leader feel like he has permission to try something new.
I would like to say that I had some revelation about self confidence, and not caring about what other people think. But it was a process. A realization that every moment I thought about what other people are thinking was a moment I was taking my focus off of my partner. I’m not dancing for the people watching, I’m dancing for me.
Taking off my glasses helped. I loose detail after 6 inches away from my eyes. But I can see where my partner is, and where other people dancing near us are. However, everyone on the perimeter fades. I have artificially placed myself in a self absorbed bubble. I can’t see people watching, and it feels great.
I hope everyone finds the peace they need to feel free enough to fall. After all, “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
– Stephen McCranie