On every blog I’ve ever hosted I have posted the following article, written in 2007, while studying dance at Grossmont College…..
PASSION PEP TALK
Last night I dreamed I could fly! I was at school in dance class when I discovered the secret of how to fly!
If you’re like a lot of people these days then you know what I mean when I say “feeing the squeeze”. You can relate because that’s where you are in life. Everything is moving so fast you can’t remember where you’ve been, much less figure out where you want to go. A tiny voice inside you, it whispers about long lost passion; about freedom, art and love. But somehow you find yourself always in the spectator seat, not up on the stage; not donning sure feathers.
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you can live your passion; you can find wings to rise above all the troubles in this world. Every human being is given a creative soul at birth and can learn how to tap it. The bad news is you’ll probably have to give something up in order to gain your freedom.
You know what I’m talking about, right?—friends and loved ones who don’t believe in art, only money. Give them up. Leave them behind. Dust off your feet and move on. “Let the dead bury the dead. For what will you give in exchange for your soul?” Are you willing to go to your grave having forsaken your creative dreams for other’s lugubrious agendas? Not me!
Perhaps you’ll need to sacrifice part of your income to free up time for yourself—time to get in touch with your core; your innermost of inner self; that red-hot button deep inside you that when pushed, you feel like a kid again. That’s the place I’m talking about enlivening. But you’ll never do that sitting in front of the T.V., or spending all your free nights going to the movies!
Come on now, can’t you see the waste in such doings? These applauded activities are more than overrated, they are downright destructive to the creative nature; serving only to block flow; killing the inspirational muse.
Get yourself out to a dance class, there’s the ticket right there; the spark which lights the flame. Why sit and watch “So You Think You Can Dance”—I keep hearing about this television show but I don’t watch T.V., too busy dancing for myself—you can be dancing for yourself!
The world is filled with passionate, award-winning dancers who have spent their lives devoted to their art. They can be found teaching their craft in studios, colleges and universities right in your own neighborhood.
Personally, I prefer study at a local Community College. For $20 dollars per unit I take a 16 week, 1.5 unit class that meets twice a week, taught by an instructor with a Master in Fine Arts degree, whose previous experience was dancing on Broadway! Listen up, that’s less than a latte´ per class!
And don’t say: “I’m too old”, that’s all in your head. The older you are, well, all the more reason to keep yourself active and engaged. And no one is going to criticize you or look at you sideways if you’re double or triple the age of the kids on the floor—no way! They’re going to admire you for having the guts to get out there and move your bones and try your best to master the steps.
And the instructor, if you find good ones, like I have at my school, they will hold your hand, guiding you across the floor; they’ll put their arm around you, helping you when your feet get tangled.
A lot of beginner dancers give up early on because they don’t realize that dancing is not as easy as it looks. They feel the rhythm inside themselves; they love music, so they sign up for a class. But after they get in the class and find it to be something that really needs to be worked at, they give up and say: “I can’t dance”.
That could have been my fate, if it weren’t for a now dear friend of mine. When I first began Israeli Folk Dancing—twelve years ago (September 27th, 1995)—I did more sitting than dancing. Sitting, pouting and feeling discouraged.
It was at an Arthur Murray studio in San Diego. My Folk Dance teacher and her husband owned the studio then and we went to classes on Sunday nights. I had been attending for few weeks but still was tripping over my feet. I’ll never forget one night in particular, for he must have read my mind. There I was sitting out, watching the advanced dancers with envy as they floated around the floor; thinking that I’d never get it, when Emil came over to me, put his hand on my shoulder and with his big, exuberant smile said: “Don’t worry! Keep coming every week and in 6 months you’ll be an expert!” And you know what, he was right! Well maybe I wasn’t an expert, but at least I could dance all night without stumbling through the choreographies.
I wonder how many potential dancers, who wind-up giving in to fear and frustration, could be rescued from the side-lines if only there were more encouraging souls like my friend Emil?
So I guess you could say that this article you’re reading, and a big part of my personal life’s mission and purpose, lies in my desire to do the same thing for you that Emil did for me.
You know, they say in Zimbabwe If You Can Walk You Can Dance. What they didn’t say however, is that you can neither walk nor dance if you’re sitting on your butt in front of the T.V., computer or video games! But maybe that’s because in Zimbabwe, they don’t have the screens to tie them to a chair?!