I’m going to Las Vegas!

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!



  1. To start with,

    I thought I was the only person to still use the term,”Unco”!!

    Without sounding rude, I don’t know if that’s showing my age or yours?!!

    But in response to your blog to which I’m not trying to blow wind up your proverbial, I do agree but in saying that, is life really that simple? Will we gain that instant gratification we so surely desire? Will the masses applaud our achievements? Are we setting ourselves up to be knocked down. After all we live in a society that almost seems to relish in that other great Australian past time they call the, “Tall poppy syndrome”.

    Build em up so we can bring em down!

    We taught to look out for the quite achievers. The ones who no matter what, stick at it, fight through it, battle past it, move forward and don’t let anyone or anything get in their way. The ones who for what ever reason, don’t feel the need to make a big song and dance. So there lies another one of modern societies dilemmas. Do we burst through the doors and scream out loud or do we keep pushing forward with our down?

    I think it’s good to celebrate our achievements and support one another but I never want to fall into the trap of readying on my lorals. Embrace life and all the opportunities that it has to give. Never stop, never believe your not worth, strive for excellence and above all,”Embrace every opportunity that comes your way”.

    I’m a firm believer in an old saying my Dad used to say to me,”For every door that closes, another will surely open”!

    I consider myself to be very lucky in life! I’m alive!

    1. Thank you for responding Paul!
      I’m not advocating approval seeking. Quite the oposite. I believe in order to celebrate the small wins, you may indeed ruffle some feathers – so be it!
      ‘Are we setting ourselves up to be knocked down’ – It’s that very fear that paralyses too many from even attempting to achieve their dreams.
      There are plenty of quiet achievers and kudos to them but why, if you’re not quiet must you be silenced?
      “For every door that closes another will surely open” – I agree, to an extent. Sometimes people are lucky. The rest of us may not have the doorman opening that door, the key in our pocket or even a view of the door. I’m all for bashing a great big hole in the wall and making your own door. Lemons and Lemonade….Once you’ve done that – Hit up Las Vegas!!! 🙂

      1. Kristy,

        I dont believe we need doorman to open doors for us, rather we should be creating our own opportunities. It’s being brave enough to embrace that change, that fear of the unknown and to face that criticism or fear that’s the key. It’s that in which we learn.

        I more than agree that we should celebrate our achievements, besides what’s life without a little joy and satisfaction. I guess I have to admit, sometimes I’m not good at that.

        Two people came to mind when I was thinking about your blog. Firstly Oprah. Now don’t get me wrong I’m no talk show junky!! But I admire the lady for who she is, where she came from, what she had to battle and the person she became. She very much has that,”I’m going to Vagas”, approach to life! People love it too, it’s infectious and joyful! Why wouldn’t you want to be like that?!

        The other person that came to mind was the late Steve Jobs. Innivativive, bright and visionary beyond belief. Incontrast he was a very private man.

        I’m just trying to demostrate the different approaches we can take.
        Anyway I enjoyed reading your blog, some very interesting thoughts there!

        I think I might just go to Vegas now!!

  2. You want to be shameless? It’s a strange proclamation for you to make. I guess you could be shy on the inside, but even then you’re doing better than most people; pretty much everyone turns into jelly under the gaze of a camera. The prospect of putting their thoughts on the sinternet makes many people uneasy too.

    Shame is biological, surely. Children do it instinctively to keep from being dominated by the gifted. The smart kids are geeks, the pretty kids are bimbos or sluts, the artistic kids are weirdos, whatever. Anyone who has something special is slapped down for it, taught to hide it. Sporting talent tends to be praised but the athletic kids tend to be strong and fast so it’s best not to pick on them.

    It makes sense in a way. Taken to its extreme, these talents would mutate people into different species. Animals ostracize those that don’t/can’t/won’t/ fit into the group.

    So understand that those girls in the hall were being controlled by their instinct. They were unthinkingly jealous, right down to the DNA. It’s not something that can go away. Too much wealth, too much power, too much beauty, too much confidence, will always attract negative attention. The more positive you are, the more negative attention comes with it.

    Even being shameless is a rare and positive thing that will bring more negativity.

    Kinda like the streets of glitzy Las Vegas, mired in drug dealers and prostitutes. So many sad desperate people living there.
    Every rose has its thorn. That’s the meaning of life right? Well, it got Bill and Ted into heaven so I guess it’ll do.

  3. Part of it is social norms – it is a mark of social maladaption if you can’t read a situation and act appropriately. For dancers it may be that in a social dance situation it is appropriate that they just dance, rather than bust out a tightly choreographed number of mindnumbing awesomeness.
    As per your swimming example, a/ most ppl don’t drown and b it would be inappropriate for a professional swimmer to go to the local pool, hop in the recreational lane and then bust out a world record.

    I disagree with the idea that we dont celebrate wins. Seriously? People post about a satisfying bowel motion on twitter. Facebook is awash with the minutaie of life. We focus too much on externalising. Everything is public and awash with people vying for attention.
    sure it feels nice that my purchase of nude heels is greeted with 131 likes and virtual squeals of delight. But really i think that we do too much promotion, too much externalising.
    We should instead focus on giving, with no mind for ourselves, or our rewards. The act of doing what we love, with focus, with love and with perfection is its own reward. It is the opposite of much of todays culture where we do things in the hope of getting external acknowledgement. It is, perhaps, a more eastern philosophy grounded in taoism or buddhism or yogic thinking and I think a more satisfying way of living. Particularly as an artist – it is important to do what we do because we believe in it. No one else might, it may be unfashionable and it is important that we can keep ourselves going without the need to ‘go to vegas’ or high five. This is my philosophy and the one i impart to my students/anyone who’ll listen.

    (course i’m not going to begrudge anyone going to vegas. good for you. maybe i’m just bitter that my work is unlikely to go to vegas. Berlin maybe.)

  4. I’m so glad to have received such amazing responses on this topic. I agree with all of you. Yes Puddles, we definitely need to be creating for ourselves and ourselves first and I too realise the extent of which people externalize and proclaim in great detail every boring facet of their life on both Facebook and Twitter.
    I’m not so much saying that the artists of the world should get out there and be the next Kardashian like figures. I guess what I was trying to express was the notion that, believing in one’s self is imperative and allowing yourself to celebrate yor achievements is even more important. Even if it is with your best friend over Beers at the pub. You definitely don’t have to tell the whole world if you don’t want to! Oh and of course people aren’t drowning at the Beach all over the place – the exaggeration was for comedic impact. But it did get them thinking.
    I really like what God (contributor) had to say about instinct and the differnet groups at school, nature and in life in general. It is interesting that you said “the more positive you are, the more negative attention comes with it”. I always find it funny when people so often negatively comment about someone else “that girl is just so happy, I can’t stand her”. I guess you’re bang on there.
    All I was really apprealing for is that the Footy boys are entitled to celebrate a win at the pub. Getting that commission, staging a play, winning a role…They’re our version of winning a footy match and just like we would congratulate our sporty friends on a win and understand how important it is – the same should be done for our creative friends. I guess I’m calling for more community. Maybe I’m being too positive and people will now hate me for it! And Puddles, Berlin in my opinion would be way cooler than Las Vegas 🙂

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