Repairing my Relationship to Dance
Over the past five years, the idea of a ::dun dun DUN:: dance call would have me quaking in my boots. "I'm so awkward," "I can never remember the steps," or "But I'm a mover" would echo through my brain as I'd swallow my pride and slap on a smile while cowering in the back row of the dance studio. When I thought about dancing, the second word that popped up in my mind was "ultimate-humiliation." Yes, a hyphenate. That's how great my fear was.
The reality is that if you want to be a professional in the musical theater field, you can't be afraid to dance. You can't hide behind an "Actor-Singer" label. Even if you only have a singing track, you will need to move about the stage gracefully, and most of the time they have a "mover" call for that.
I am tired of loosing jobs because of my lack of skills. Nothing is worse than hearing, "Well your voice is great, but you struggled at the dance call. Try again in a few years." (Quote from a casting director.)
I am tired of leaving a dance call, knowing that that is the reason for my not booking the job. I'm tired of getting to the halfway point in a dance audition and knowing that I don't have the focus to remember the combination. I'm tired of being afraid to move.
Unfortunately for me, I dropped out of ballet and tap at the ripe age of 4 years old, citing uncomfortable dance outfits as my primary reason. My degree program in college did not require me to take dance, and my background in dance is limited to cutting a rug at a dozen-or-so Bar Mitzvahs.
I am not letting this be my excuse any longer. Since I plan on having a long and successful career in the musical theater, I need to learn to live with dancing. Daresay, I'm trying to love it.
It hasn't been easy, but I've put myself on a personal mission to become less awkward. I signed up for a workstudy at a local dance studio, and in exchange I have access to unlimited classes. Although at first I felt like leaving the classes in tears, I'm slowly getting better, day by day. I'm almost...looking forward to class. I almost...felt graceful in yesterday's ballet class. Almost.
Finding a safe place to practice any craft is a necessity, so when it is audition time, there will be no need for feelings of self-doubt or shame. Only a chance to shake what your mamma gave you.
(Look: I'm sort of dancing! Image courtesy of Dennis Deloria)