I’m not actually, I’m just quoting an episode of ‘So you think you can Dance – US’ that I saw about a year ago. I was watching it with my Dad and we watched all these fabulous Dancers burst through double doors into a foyer, waving a slip around in the air, going absolutely bonkers with excitement, screaming ‘I’m going to Las Vegas’. I turned to my Dad and said – “Why don’t we do that here? Why aren’t we allowed to shamelessly celebrate our achievements?”. Dad agreed with me and felt that we should be able to, especially in the Arts, when we are consistently fighting the odds!
This concept came up again recently when I was filling in for a friend at a Dance School in Hornsby. I wanted to see whether or not the young dancers in my class had the ability to embrace their talent, or would prefer to take the back seat in order not to ruffle any feathers or be seen as arrogant. Nobody likes a big talker, smooth walker or a poppy on the rise right? I came up with my own, I have to admit – ‘strange’ test. I put some music on and I asked everyone to dance around as if they were at a party. A class of about 20 talented teens immediately became the most uncoordinated individuals I have ever seen. An unco dance jig ensued where people just bounced around kicking one foot out after another – and no, I’m not talking about shuffling. This was like watching the Irish in a Balmain pub on St Patrick’s Day. I let the kids know (after I did my best impersonation which instigated a great deal of laughter) and I asked them this – ‘Do you think that professional swimmers go to the Beach and pretend to drown to fit in with everyone else? Why then as dancers, is it important to hide what you do best?’
I got where it was coming from. I spent a lot of my teen years fearing the same schoolyard criticism, or rather avoiding hearing more of the awful stuff all the girls would say under their breath as they passed me in the hallway. Being a teenager can suck but I feel like this is the age habits begin in terms of your confidence surrounding your creativity. Pursuing a career in the Arts can be called ‘unrealistic’ and you risk growing into an adult that can’t answer the typical question of “What do you do?” without apologizing for what it is that you actually love!
We all want to be liked but at what cost? I wish when I was a teen, someone told me to be who you are and not hide away out of fear of unwanted attention.
It took me way too long to finally realize this and now, I want to encourage everyone I know that is passionate about the Arts to embrace it! Embrace failing, succeeding, creating, learning, growing, getting frustrated…..Don’t allow yourself to be mediocre to make everyday life easier. Expect the criticism and sometimes the lack of support from people you expected it from most and when it happens, push harder. Tell everyone about your small wins and scream louder about the big ones! Celebrate!
Next time your friend shares a win with you – celebrate it. Make it okay for them to maybe jump up and down and ‘go to Las Vegas’. High fives are underrated and I’m all for bringing back the Lleyton Hewitt “C’monnnnnnnn!!”.
If you’ve had a small or a big win lately and you’re brave enough to share it – do it here on the Blog! Or go crazy and status it on Facebook! I think it’s time to make it okay to go to Las Vegas and allow The Arts as a Community to garner the focus and positive attention it deserves!