Growing up my dream was to be on So You Think You Can Dance. I longed to audition every time a new season came around (knowing full well I was no where near old enough). As the kid who got in trouble for playing music and dancing through the hallways of my homeschool co-op, I was desperate to be in a auditorium bursting with people who were like me! Plus, I knew I could make it. There was something deep inside of me that said, I can do this. I can compete. I can win.
A lot of things have happened between then and now. I don't have that dream anymore.
Don't get me wrong. My story isn't the stereotypical I-Had-A-Dream-Then-I-Saw-The-Light-And-Realized-Dance-Isn't-A-Moneymaking-Career BLAHBLAHBLAH. In fact, the opposite happened. I dance full-time now. But I realized it was in a way that I didn't expect.
The difference between my childhood dream of being on So You Think You Can Dance and living my dream of full-time dance has everything to do with WHY I dance. First, I took class to get better and refined my craft. Then, I started creating my own choreography and teaching it as a job. In turn, it ignited my passion for teaching, but even more so, my passion for dancers to be who they were meant to be. Finally, I realized that who they were meant to be was there all along. They were meant to dance in their identity. The Personal Kinetic Curriculum was born that day.
I connected my identity with dance and used that deadly combination as the driving force of my career. It also changed my view of shows like So You Think You Can Dance, World of Dance, America's Got Talent, etc.
I used to turn on the TV or watch clips on YouTube, and be inspire by incredible dancers. Now, all I see is unique passionate dancers, pouring their heart, minds, and souls out on stage. Why? For the approval of judges.
"You're better than all these judges combined! Why are you groveling at their feet!? " I would think to myself. They could start studios, companies, training facilities, theatre shows, ANYTHING! But instead they were earnestly thanking judges who said, they were good. Why? They were good before the judges said they were! At best, the judges are fellow artists who are on a journey to improve their craft as well. At worse, stagnate artist who are drunk off the power we give them. Neither is worth becoming their worshippers.
To be part of someone else's project. To get verbal affirmation. To be appreciated by a mentor or superior. These are all good things. But there is a silent identity crisis that must be rectified.
You are valuable before anyone says that you are. You have worth before you create anything. You are unique before you brand yourself. You are successful by simply being yourself.
When I see dancers throw themselves at the feet of a judges opinion, I see one king kneel before another. You do not need to earn their respect or recognition to deserve respect and recognition.
Kings do not kneel.
Live in motion, valuable artists