Sunday, June 19, 2011

So I Know I Can't Dance

We are several weeks into the rehearsal process for All Shook Up. Despite my fears of singing in public, I've enjoyed the singing aspect of this experience. See, I do enjoy singing, but I've always been really self-conscious about singing in front of others. Alone, I love to rock out in my car or sing along with Rock Band on my Wii. Slowly but surely over the course of the past few weeks, I've gained little nuggets of confidence in myself and my ability to sing. I'll likely never be ready for a killer solo onstage, but singing with a group is pretty cool.

The problem for me is the little aspect of a musical that I sort of forgot about when I decided to audition -- dancing. Um, dancing kind of sucks. It's not that I lack rhythm. I've got rhythm. I do. What I lack is coordination. I struggle to get my hands and feet to go where they need to go when they need to go there. Factor in the fact that I am nearly 40 and struggling to get into some semblance of shape, and it's been a rough couple of rehearsals trying to grapevine and stomp and clap when I'm supposed to. Thank God I'm in the back row!

This process, though, has given me significantly deeper empathy. Every winter and spring, I ask a group of high school kids to get up on stage and perform. Sometimes, I make them dance. Every year, I get a couple kids who are not thrilled with the idea of dancing, who struggle with the whole concept, and every year, I get frustrated. "What's so hard about this?" I think to myself. Oh, what a fool I have been. Does this mean that I won't make kids dance anymore? Of course not. Going through this experience has taught me the importance of following through and working at something that does not naturally come easy to me. And if I can do this, so can my kids, but I'll couch it all much kinder and not roll my eyes when they tell me they can't dance.
After all, it's not that they (and I) CAN'T dance. It's just they they (and I) are not very good at it.

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