We spent the last several months working with parents at St. Regis School toward perfecting their dancing abilities so they could perform at a gala fundraiser styled after Dancing With the Stars. It was great fun and they said the most successful fundraiser they ever had – somewhere in the quarter of a million dollars raised region!
Before anyone competed, I sat down with them and talked about how they might feel throughout the process of preparing to perform on the parquet. I said in the beginning, they might feel nervous and excited.
After the second or third lesson, reality starts to hit and they panic. “Oh my gosh! I’m never going to get it, never going to understand it all.”
That happens frequently with our dance students who prepare to perform or compete. It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s to be expected. And if you know ahead of time that you’ll go through these emotions, you can weather the swells and dips of the process.
Then, I say, by the end, if you follow what your teacher tells you, you’ll be able to perform well and put on a great performance that will wow the crowd and make you feel fantastic. It happens every time – as long as students follow their instructor’s lead.
There are always those dance students who say, “No sweat, we’ll wait until the month before and learn it all.”
To that I say, “No way!” Learning to dance is a process and it can’t be rushed or short-cutted. Honestly. Take my word for it – and the word of those St. Regis parents who competed beautifully at their recent school fundraiser.
The truth is, you must work on the basics at the beginning and then polish your moves as you get near the performance time.
But wait, there’s more.
There’s an after-effect, too, and you must prepare for it.
After the fundraiser, several St. Regis parents came to me and said they had been so excited beforehand, and the feeling of performing was so exhilarating, that they were not prepared for the feelings afterward. The feelings of deflation, of sadness almost, because all that energy and excitement that propelled them to prepare and work hard was done. It was over in the blink of an eye.
That Sunday feeling, you know?
Once you reach a goal, you have to set your next goal if you want to weather the emotional dips and swells. Rather than dwell in depression post-performance, many of the St. Regis dancers signed up to continue their regular lessons here at Fred Astaire and prepare for a dance competition, another performance, more opportunities ahead.
This world of dance can be a fantastic place to push your limits and find new friends. Just keep going – it never gets old or boring!