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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Dance in October

(I published a version of this earlier tonight, but now have edited it, as I felt it was unfair to some of the people involved).

In October, 2016, I participated in a choreography for Halloween that I instinctively knew, before joining up, that I did not want to be in, but felt I could not back out of. It was to be something in which no one could smile, which is damn near impossible for me onstage. I can do this during slow songs--keep a soft, serene look on my face--but I was supposed to look fierce, could not muster it, and it shows. I felt also very uncomfortable in a costume that I designed to try and look nice on me, but which really did not look good on my body. I think it was one of the worst performances I ever gave. I clearly felt very uncomfortable in my skin, and I looked sad, not mysterious.

I have an image that routinely pops into my head during dance classes, and once in a while, during performances.It is a scene from "60 Minutes" many years ago (I have searched for the episode but cannot find the name). It involved older, wealthy women participating in ballroom dance events with young men as dance partners; there was some controversy about the young men taking financial advantage of the rich women, who paid them for dance and other "services". The image that pops into my mind is one of the women strolling out on the dance floor with her dance partner. She was dressed in a flowing white gown and had an arrogant expression. The music they were using for the dance sounded like Musak, and, just as the woman took her partner/gigolo's arm, she gave a kick that at the time, I laughed at. I am sure she was in reality quite a good dancer...not everyone can kick like that in dance--but she looked ridiculous to me.

And that very image recurs many, many times for me when I dance; I think I am as embarrassing and bogus of a dancer as the woman in that news segment. The Musak runs through my head, the image of the white-gowned woman kicking out as her male escort looks on with an expression that says he knows she's a fool and out of place on the dance floor. And then I have to push away the inner voice that says I am like this woman who cannot dance and is making a fool of herself. I have similar negative "tapes" for any creative endeavor that I do...except for fiber arts, incredibly.

Sadly, watching myself lumber around the dance floor in a choreography I clearly did not like, that old image came up for me. I wish I could banish it.

Not participating in anything I instinctively know will make me feel bad about myself is the first step, I think.