After the big show, there is a lot of ruminating, revisiting, self-discovery and awareness increasing that happens.
Amongst the organizers, it involves some nachos and shots accompanying complaints about things out of our control and ideas to improve things within our control.
Amongst the performers, there is self-congratulation and self-flagellation over what-ifs, could-have-beens and moments of glorious, “I did it”s. And the chattering of many voices over how beautiful the other dancers were, how great each others bits were and general participation in the wonderful “mutual admiration club”. It is all good. It is all part of the process.
Sometimes called De-toxing, sometimes called the Post Mortem, the “after party” gatherings, that consist of a small group that will include the organizer and a few select volunteers and participants from the evening, serve to remind us that we are all in it together and no matter how we did on stage, we are all there for each other.
Can a dancer perform 4 times in one night and survive? Yes. Can that same dancer learn 4 different routines perfectly and perform them all with accuracy and grace with less than 6 weeks to learn them? Maybe. Should she? Maybe not.
It becomes a question of choice- or does it?
Peer pressure plays a role for sure. All of the other students are performing – of course she is too! Expectations and the idea of our own personal reputation also play a role – I can do it! I am a _______ [ insert: advanced student, professional, teacher] therefore I have to do it!
But here is our reality: are you a full time dancer or a part time dancer? If you are a full time dancer, teacher, performer, choreographer, etc. and are making a living at it, then yes, by all means you should be able to put on a varied and exciting show of multiple acts and know them all perfectly with or without others on stage with you.
If you have an unrelated day job, teach part time, perform even less often than you teach, and actually want a social life beyond your work and your hobby, then maybe you can cut yourself a break. NO one will mind, no one will care if you say “NO” to that extra routine. Or if they do care briefly, they’ll get over it.
Two years ago I had to come to terms with what was becoming my mantra: “I cannot do everything”. I was overworked, underpaid, and stressed on a daily basis. How has this changed – I am not as overworked. Still occasionally underpaid, but I am working on that. And I have begun to choose my options more carefully.
No one is saying that I have it all figured out – I don’t. I have good friends who are there to help when I need them. I have a fabulous Husband who supports my choices. And I try to make my choices based on what will be good for me, and good for those around me, in the best ways I can.
Time passes after each event, giving it some perspective and less emotional attachment. If we can live in the moment, just that little bit more often, we can allow ourselves the chance to make mistakes, and learn from them. Or do things perfectly and be graciously appreciative of that moment. But they are all moments which will pass – the happy and the sad; the powerful and the weak, the profound and the pathetic.
But it’s all good in the long run…
Sometimes you have to just curl up and sigh….
And sometimes you need to take it all in stride….