To me, dancing has always been pretty tame. The teaching, the performing, the competing; it didn't rate high on the fear factor scale.
The G and I have had a lovely reputation for being "clean", "technically sound", and "classic" as professional dancers.
Tired of holding our teacups with our pinkies up, we tried different coaches, found a couple we clicked with, got new choreography, and found something new... The Danger Zone.
[There are some very cool, very un-PC people who won't be able to read "danger zone" without thinking of this...]
That's right. We jumped right out of the Comfort Zone and into the Danger Zone.
Before, the literal majority of our routines were syllabus steps. Look, I can even list them out for you.
Now? I don't know... Things happen.
Our Smooth routines were especially frightening. So much connection and shape and sway and awesomeness and difficulty. I left most practices feeling like I had gotten in way over my head.
But the big local competition was around the corner and we had to get over ourselves. We had worked on doing something new, so what were we waiting for? Perfection? A bunch of strangers in the audience? An "OK, go" from the dance gods?
Yeah, we were going to be dancing in front of our students, peers, mentors, and the whole Twin Cities dance community. You know, our market... the people we want to come to our studio and think we know what we're doing.
Yeah, we had made finals every single year we had danced together (and me, with my first partner, for a few years before that).
Yeah, before this, we had generally felt quite confident stepping onto the floor.
But no, none of that was guaranteed this time.
We knew it might be ugly, or weird. We knew we might have a few moments of greatness. We knew it wouldn't be perfect. We knew it would be different and moving toward something better. We knew some judges wouldn't like it. We hoped some judges would see what we're trying. We knew people would beat us. We knew we would feel awesome trying our new stuff.
So that's what we did. We danced. We screwed up. We had fun. We got to semi-finals from a quarter-final. We count it as a success.
What does it take to get out of the Comfort Zone? My priest actually summed it up nicely last Sunday, "Deliberation. Decision. Promptness." Make those pros and cons lists, do your research, talk to people. Decide what it is that you want. And go do it.
Getting out of my Comfort Zone was terrifying. Duh. Getting to the Danger Zone took some balls, humility, and hard work.
So, let's do it again.
Three years ago: Dictionary of Dance, in which I define things.