Sunday, April 26, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, All in a day ...

Experience teaches us the importance of being authentic as to who we are and knowing our subject matter, in your case - ballet.  

About 20 years ago when I first started speaking as a part of my work, I was invited to speak to a Mother Daughter's Brunch on Mother's Day. At first I freaked out and declined. (at the time too much trauma for me due to my mother's sudden death when I was a young teen) After much thought, I realized that this could be a part of my healing. I accepted the challenge.

I was told that the daughters would be teens and the Mom's  in their 40's and 50's. SO I prepared a 30 min talk about separation, growing pains, trust and memories and weaved together a nice discussion and a few exercises.

Preparing for the event was nerve wracking. I admit to being so afraid I would cry HUGE tears. Mother's Day was not my favorite day.

Mother's Day arrives and I show up all prepared. I walked in to the church basement and stopped dead i my tracks. I was speechless.  

The daughters were in their 40's and 50's and 60's and the Mom's in their 70's, 80's and 90's!

I was so programmed and glued to MY speech out of my own great fear, that I have to say it was probably one of the most difficult moments of my life. I had to ad lib the whole thing and it was not my best, I stuttered and stammered, yet I got thru it. I was so uncomfortable.

What I know now is that I prepare not only with words and WHAT my expert subject is, but also to for the audience, it is not about me. 

I could have told a moving story about my mother loss and tied it into how grateful they can be about having time together ... But I stood steadfast in my own drama of the moment.

My self-importance and inexperience got me in big trouble. My talk was for them - to move them, not about me ("OMG! I was given the wrong information, What can I do? I have nothing to say!) I could have made a joke and been more 'flexible.'

Being in dance (as in most positions) requires you to be in the moment and to shift away from what was and to what is called for now.  Controllables.  You know that things happen - injuries, life events, changes, etc ...

Many of us can say quite nicely what the controllables are and yet not want them to be so in the real world. 

All you can do, Janie, is the best you can do at any given moment.  The directors and instructors make decisions based on what they believe to be needed, not what you could be prepared for. 

Do you understand that? 

Being told the day before about being off time could have been a forgotten thought of yesterday.  They have so much on their minds.  I can venture with certainty  that thoughts race, especially before a performance.  When you discover that the performance is much bigger than you, that you are a part of a larger picture than you can truly be prepared to do the best you can.

Resistance of mind creates tension in the body.  That part of it is self imposed. It places you in a  position of being 'against' the company. Is that  who you are? (i do not think so)

Here is the good thing, Janie -- You have been there almost a year. You have realized some communication patterns in how they relate. Some good and some not so good.

Be ready. Just because someone says something to you does not make it true. This can be about your habits, weight, work ethic .........

How can you prepare yourself? How can you become more flexible in mind to become more adaptable in body?

Here is the question -- How does it serve you (to be resistive?)  

What if you could be more fluid, more adaptable, more open to change?  When things do change (and they do) you will be open to learning faster, being more present and even more 'presentable.' You just do it.

I know I rambled... however, I will read it over to make clarifications.

Controllables ...  YOU!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT
Performance Specialist

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