My dance teacher is the producer of an annual dance festival here in town. This year was the 14th year for Bailando Dance Festival, but the first year for me to attend. Last year I was out of town for work the weekend they had it. This year they wanted to take my gallbladder on the first day of master classes. I had them change it, I didn’t want to miss it again.
I’m sure I’ll have a few different posts of different things I learned from the various classes and performances of the festival, but this one I want to write about what the adjudicators said after the first night of performances.
There were three adjudicators; Erin Reck, Irene Ko, and Paula Garza. The first night, some of the performances were less than stellar. Lacking here and there in various areas, but there were ones, of course, that stood out and were really impressive. This night also had more variety of styles of dance, including a belly dance as the finale. Not everyone stayed for the adjudication, but I wanted to hear what they had to say about the dance our IDT girls were in and my friend Sarah G choreographed. As they went through each dance in order, everyone respectfully stayed in their seats until all of them were finished–it’s the respectful thing to do–except for one company. They were the second to last dance, and instead of waiting for the simple commentary of the final dance, the entire company (which was quite large) got up and left.
The sound of the chair seats snapping as they all stood was extreme loud and distracting, not to mention the shuffling feet and rustling of clothing. More than one person turned around in awe that someone could be so rude.
Honestly, it was their loss.
None of the adjudicators were experts in the field of belly dancing, but that didn’t matter. What stood out was resounding and impossible to overlook.
These ladies were able to draw in their audiences and keep their attention not by showing off skin or swishing their hips, but instead by their passion for the dance style. Each one of them was having so much fun, that it radiated off the stage and captivated the audience. It didn’t matter if they got everything exactly correct or not, no one could see it past their passion.
This spoke volumes to me, especially with the advanced holiday showcase dance coming around, and being the understudy of sorts. It makes me nervous, because I know that I don’t “look like a dancer.” I am not gifted with a natural grace or charisma when it comes to this. Even though I am now twenty-five years old, I still find myself rather nervous and insecure, especially when it comes to new styles of dance. I’d love to try a modern/contemporary or lyrical class, but I have no knowledge of it, and fear that I would just pick up right where I left off as an eleven year old–awkward and laughed at.
But, that shouldn’t matter to me. What should matter is that I just love to dance. I love to move, to express, to release everything through a variation of steps.
And honestly, that will shine through, even if my technique is lacking.
This shouldn’t be an excuse to be lax on my technique, but it should be a comfort to know that passion counts for something.
Does that make sense?
I sure hope so.
Because it really meant a lot to me, to my heart.


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