“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”–Criss Jami**
Every time we perform dance in front of an audience, we make ourselves vulnerable. I know this full well from experience, but it was still a revelation to hear this truism recently from the gifted teacher I’ve been training with.
Soon after her comment, I was living the vulnerability repeatedly in rehearsal, in class and onstage, in front of my talented peers or my mentor in rehearsal or a concert audience. Before going on each time, I feasted on some version of the familiar, tumultuous stew of fear (or terror), nausea, trembling, uncertainty, dread, coaxing, and, ultimately, commitment.
I wish I could get to that last part–the commitment part–with less of the other stuff :). But I realize in writing this that at least I am more frequently, and sometimes even joyfully, reaching the point where I am “all in” on revealing myself when I dance.
Because, of course, we can hold back when we perform, just as we so often do in life. The point, or my job, is not to hold back. Rather it is to put everything I’ve got out there in my dancing. Sure, the hard work, skill, passion, artistry. But also the weaknesses, mistakes, uncertainty, flaws…and heart.
Paradoxically, this opening up can be terrifying, liberating and thrilling at the same time. It’s being fully alive.
I realize now that this practice in being vulnerable is a main reason why I am so hooked on dancing. Because it invites me to engage regularly in what one needs to do to live a vibrant life: to commit to an ongoing process of opening up and, ideally, growing. As Brene Brown so sagely observed, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” Dig those ingredients of vitality!
And, perhaps because we pioneer into our own frontiers of possibility when we reveal ourselves, we engage in the ineffable (yes, that is one of my all-time fave words and experiences:)). Or, as Theodore Roethke put it, “[t]hose who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.” Yeah, baby.
**Special thanks to the lovely sorceress Angie at http://www.amagicd.blogspot.com for bringing to my attention these inspiring quotes.