Saturday, November 8, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Mistakes

There was a little girl who was seven years old who took ballet. It was her recital. She stood on the stage with her class, the music started and the teacher in the wings lead the class to dance a piece that was not theirs! This seven year old girl stood her ground. She did not move from her mark and  we watched her motioning to the teacher that she was doing the wrong piece. Finally after about thirty seconds the teacher realized her mistake, stopped and restarted.  It makes for a memorable 'human' experience.

Janie, you have to know and accept that 'things' will happen during a performance. Once you accept that, then you are more able move with the snags. It is unpredictable, Uncertain and yet probable. ALTHOUGH EVERYONE IS DOING THEIR BEST.

It might make for a good discussion to ask others what kinds of things have happened and how did they handle them.

Audience members show great empathy and care when things happen so it is not really about them.  Your job is to be well rehearsed and ready for performance! (and that includes responding to incidence.) 

If you 'react,' here is what you can do ... Review in your mind, what you could have done differently. Practice the 'emotional' correction several times.  What you will notice that this gives you the vision to be creative in your solutions.  Each situation  calls for a different response. Sometimes it may be that you must stand still until you are notified. Maybe you know you must get out of the way. 

Catch your breath by deliberately putting your attention on it. Breath a couple of times at that higher rate and then gradually slow it down.  You will recover more quickly and be ready to continue with the performance.

Apologize. If necessary make an apology to the appropriate folks if you  make a mistake. Taking ownership and showing accountability speaks very loud of your integrity.

You certainly do not want to go into a performance worried about something happening, yet it is the nature of the beast. Things can go awry. Yet, a concerted effort to stay focused, to help if you can, manage yourself - cause the show will eventually go on.

What do you think you could have done differently?

Part of the maturation of being a dance professional as I guess it is for any type of work is responsibility and accountability.

It sounds to me as if you did a nice job, yet it also sounds like there can be some tweaking you can do to build your inner mental muscle.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

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