2018 was a year for no regrets. I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone with no excuses, no reservations, just determination and joy. Therefore, the first week of 2018 I did something I have never done before; I signed up for tap class. Tap was something I had been avoiding for YEARS. After 24 years of dance experience, hundreds of shows and auditions I felt like tap was simply a lost skill. I felt like since I had never taken tap before, it was too late to start now and that I would simply get by without it. I don’t know if it was my ego, the fear of being bad at a style of dance or what, but the longer I kept avoiding tap class and the more auditions I would “shuffle” through the tap combo I knew that it was not a lost skill, and the only way for me to get better at this would be to get my ASS in class. SO.. 2018 I decided to sign up and make this happen.
I have often been told that “Staying in your lane” is where most of the artists and dancers have found their “success”. Although, all of these years later and with so many small successes and hurdles, I can truly say that not one single job has used the exact same skills and if I was just doing the same ballet/contemporary work that I did in Idaho I know that I would be limiting my career but most importantly I would not be happy. The dance “umbrella” I work under has grown many branches and flourished in ways I never thought were possible through the commercial dance world and I truly believe without my roots grounded in my ballet technique I would not be the dancer I am today. Now, 24 years later my branches continue to grow and I am so grateful for each and every opportunity.
—Tangent Over—- WHY TAP NOW?
I’ve finally started tap now, because it was about freaking time! Also the awesome beginner tap class at Hollywood Dance Center started a new session. It couldn’t have been better. I’m now 4 lessons in and even though I’ve had over 10,000 hours of class technique etc I am learning something for the first time and its a fascinating feeling the “beginners mindset” .
I have found that tapping into the beginners mindset has translated into my real life in so many ways.
- Focus on One Thing: Being a beginner again has removed any pre mediative thoughts I have had about tap and helps me focus truly on one single thing. Getting this dang shuffle. Its a clear open mind and is the best feeling.
- Repetition: It has reminded me the importance and magic of repitition. Repeating each step over and over gaining the muscle memory has been super beneficial, and has translated into small habits that I am using in my daily life.
- Understanding my limits: One surprising lesson that I’ve learned that I hadn’t anticipated was that even after 24 years of dance training, a new skill takes time and even though I can ‘Flub” through combos I simply just don’t know certain steps. Knowing and understanding my limits. Keeping it simple so I can learn the steps for real has been both frustrating and helpful at the same time and being nice to myself throughout has been hard.
- Stick to structure: My mind is pretty much everywhere most of the time. (Currently playing HQ while writing this) So forcing myself to keep the 2 classes a week schedule has been super helpful for my improvement. Also, it has helped stay on track for work emails, blog posts, reading etc
Overall, finally signing up and taking tap has been a challenge. I am definitely not good yet but I have improved and I am way better than before. Baby steps, kind self talk and consistency will help and beginning again in a new way has been so satisfying and I am proud of myself for signing up.
Try something new. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and reap the many benefits of being a beginner again