At that same moment, “Billie Jean” filled the silence of the practice room. We all quickly returned to our positions and waited for the right moment to start all over again. Our teacher made the dance look so easy when she was demonstrating it herself. Her movements flowed naturally with the rhythm of the music. Her eyes filled with fierceness and confidence while she looked at herself in the mirror. She embraced her body. every step was carefully crafted, in tune with the melody and sound.
Her dancing enchanted me.
Once she finished the demonstration, she told us, ”It’s your time to shine!” Over the course of four months, we practiced week after week as we prepared for our final performance: A real performance with an actual audience. That thought of standing onstage in front of a cheering crowd gave me instant stage fright.
In the beginning, we felt motivated and energized even after hours of dancing. We’d even grab drinks together after rehearsal and evaluate our own mistakes from the sessions.
However, after a couple of weeks, our movements weren’t the same as usual. What was once graceful and vigorous now lacked energy and care. Some of my classmates no longer cared about the performance; others no longer felt motivated to improve their dancing abilities. So why did we continue practicing if we didn’t even plan to finish it?
Because dancing is about feeling enchanted in the moment, not looking for magic in the unknown future.
Dancing as well as the teacher was an impossible goal. But I still used the course as a chance to start improving – even if it meant that I started at the very bottom. I’d never danced in my life, so it was only natural to view myself as a newbie. After all, I was a beginner… and I still am.
My goal seemed simple, but it was difficult to actually accomplish: enchanting others while losing myself in the art of dancing.
And the only shot I’d have for reaching that goal was to perform for an audience. The performance was how I motivated myself during endless rehearsals – over and over again. I didn’t pressure myself to perfect the choreography. I let that pressure move through my body instead, until I no longer saw myself in the mirror memorizing steps but actually dancing to the music, becoming my own dancing queen… a newbie dancing queen, of course.
On the day of the performance, I had a flashback to the way my teacher’s movements enchanted me that first day. Holding on to that flashback, I entered the stage and reaped what I’d sown. I couldn’t see the audience through the bright the spotlights . It was all dark around us, which made me less nervous. I only focused on my body, my mind, and the music. My mind was empty; I lost myself in the dance.