Saturday, July 10, 2010

My next level - Thursday, December 10, 2009

Well, I don’t quite know where to start on this blog… Should I start chronologically of the series of events or of how my thoughts came to me. I think that I’ll go with the latter.

Last night, I was reading my book on making choreographies. And that’s when the whole thing hit me.

I’ve been reluctant to read those types of books before. I don’t know. It didn’t feel right. More like I wasn’t sure that I was ‘worthy’ of them. Super silly, I know! But still… Actually, more accurately, it’s more like I wasn’t artist enough to be worthy of reading these books. That’s a silly thought that has been plaguing me for way too long. I see people around me who are so much more artistic than me and the comparison made me feel extremely inferior. I’ve been around too many naturally gifted people…

In an interesting twist on an old saying, I realized today that I’ve been following one of my favorite advice without realizing it (up until now, obviously): “Fake it ‘til you feel it!”

Last year, when I decided to go ahead and take the Golden Opportunity, part of the description by Ariellah was talking about taking your dance to the next level. That’s exactly what I wanted to do at the time… and I still think that it’s what I want now… I think that, at this point, ‘the next level’ is a moving target that is increasingly higher… and that’s fine… that’s what it’s supposed to be. But I digress… the point that I’m trying to make is that, at the time, ‘the next level’ was a very nebulous concept… it was definitely something that I was yearning for, craving for (and still do, btw… I’m not exactly at the level that I want to be… will I ever be? Digression again!) but I didn’t have the faintest idea of what it would be.

Pretty much, all of this year, I’ve been moving along on this ‘next level’… many workshops were striving for that… other workshops with Ariellah... the intensive with Mira Betz… the weekend with Rachel Brice…

Technically, I’m much better than I was last year (and I wasn’t bad to begin with). My body is stronger despite a little set back when I re-injured my ankle (it’s doing mighty fine now, thankfully). My choreographies and performances are improving quite a bit. There is still a struggle around showing emotions on stage but it’s always improving so I’m hoping that time will do its magic (along with some self-help , of course) and it will solve itself on its own.

I also started teaching a performance practicum class to some of my students. When Kat approached me with the idea, I thought that it was ludicrous. I didn’t think that I had earned enough stripes nor that I was high level enough to teach anyone about performing, especially since I’m still struggling myself. But she was the voice of reason and made me realize that I do have a lot of experience and information to share and that, while it’s not perfect and I’m still a work in progress (and will always be, of course), I do have plenty to offer. And, yes, mostly what I teach is stuff that I wish someone would have told me… but some of that needs to be experienced.

All that hesitancy aside, I learned so much about my own vision of things and my own thought process by having to explain it to someone else, that it was a great learning experience for me too! It thoroughly highlighted where I’m at and, since I know where I started from, how much I’ve improved.

Yet a piece was missing…

And reading that simple little paragraph in that choreography book and looking back at my whole attitude on everything recently has made me realized that I’m finally feeling it… What is ‘it’? I’m finally taking myself seriously as a professional dance artist whose focus is on belly dance. I prefer to voice it that way and it’s a whole topic for another blog as to why that way and not just ‘professional belly dancer.’ (And note to self: I fully understand that my vision on this may change in the future. Ha!)

Interestingly, others have taken me more seriously than I had… it’s VERY typical of me. It would be a long story as to how it always happens but let’s just leave it at that. Everyone but me has taken myself seriously… my tribe sisters first… my students… Jeff always has… heck, even Tempest and Ariellah have taken me more seriously than I have!

I’ve faked it… and faked it… I’ve done the exercise like Stuart Smalley of telling myself repeatedly personal affirmation. Trying not to giggle was a struggle at first.

What has helped the most, I think, is Ariellah’s advice to just dance. She was damn right, of course. But, seriously, I’m obviously an overthinker and someone who internalizes things. She told me to stop worrying about that and just dance. So whenever I feel an artistic angst come on (as in “I’m not artist enough”), I dance. Whenever I question something, I dance. If I’m at work and can’t dance in my cube, I’ll put on some music and lose myself in it. And I don’t judge the dancing. It’s just dancing for the sake of dancing. It’s impressively helpful. Interesting stuff has come out. I remembered some good old stuff that I used to do in modern dancing. There’s a lyrical quality that is coming out that wasn’t there before. I’ve noticed lately that my posture is getting extremely good and that my upper body and lower body are VERY separated (that's also thanks to pilates).

Instead of words for certain moves, it’s sounds or just movements that pop in my head. My yoga mentor would say that it’s a refinement of ‘thoughts.’ And it is.

I’ve also realized a few minutes ago what Jennifer Rose (who has always had so many helpful tips) was meaning when she said that it was like I just needed to push through a certain door, plateau, barrier, call it whatever, and I would realize what I wanted to… and I think that it’s it: I just needed to believe that I AM an artist and that I’m real serious about it.

I’ve always been serious about my dance… but not so much about being an artist... that was a foolish notion. And therein lies my next level. And I’m not faking anymore… I’m feelin’ it!
Posted by Celeste at 5:21 PM 1 comments:
Raqdoll said...
Celeste - you're totally good enough, smart enough and doggonit, people DO like you :-)

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