The truth about performing when you are not a professional.
It is, what it is.
(The adult peasants gather before the show. “Hey Prince, Heeeey!”)
These are my pictures to show that I was there and that it happened. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to have the experience. As someone who always preferred to be stage crew, to have the awakening so late in life and have any opportunity to be in a ballet production not once but twice is truly incredible.
(Eyana and I practice longing eyes hoping for the Prince to look at us.)
I do it because I enjoy it, I really do. I have this unique life after the doldrums of my work day that not a lot of people get or will ever get to do. When people ask how my weekend was at the water cooler, I get to say, “The performance of Copellia I danced in was really fun. We danced well.”
I do it because every time is something totally new. I am always surprised. Life while I’m doing this is never dull. We aren’t making art, we are making an experience, that is, what it is.
So what is it? Like the peasants in the chorus, vying for the attention of the prince, guess what, you can swish your skirts around all you want, but the prince aint looking at any of you. He only wants the lady in the tutu. The real tutu. The prima tutu. To put that in context, adult and teen dancers on stage look out, the only people in the audience are the parents of the children in the 3 to 5 age ballet group. And those little ones are the ones we are currently trying not to kick in the head while we Piqué spin.
The audience doesn’t care if you missed your queue, your spot, or your turn. They will only care about what you are dancing if you actually do kick their kid in the head. Just please get off the stage with out kicking the adorable saint of a child quickly so they can see their kid in the sweet moment of snow flake special stardom and get the hell out of there into the comfort of their home so they can eat. (And in perfect honesty, some of those special snowflake kids were the best thing that happened on stage. Possibility of them doing something actually choreographed, 50%.)
We all want it to be the best thing in the world and for everything and every one to go right but it can’t and they won’t. To put in maximum effort and get maximum return is not the norm in this amateur world. In fact if you put in maximum effort, the realistic expectation should be, minimum return. You did your best and that’s the only thing you can be responsible for. There is no reason to be unreasonable about anything…
…because you can’t be responsible for the two people who decided to drop out at the last moment or for the decisions that get made or for people who come through when they shouldn’t. (And I mean that in both a good and bad way.) You can’t be responsible for the people who cry or can’t control their nerves in a constructive way or people who didn’t practice enough to remember the steps or their place on the stage…
You can’t take it seriously, you just can’t, the gossip fodder alone is just too tasty. In this crucible you have to take the good from where you can. The unexpected friendships that happen (the people who show up and represent for themselves are the people who you can count on in life), the opportunity granted (for some this is a second chance or a dream fulfilled), the moment of completion, the feeling of accomplishment and the individual growth that make us better people.
It is, what it is. Let it be good. Let it be great.