It happened again today.
There I am at the end of the line, going by myself. I am the only non-company dancer, or former professional dancer who also teaches. Their eyes are on me. So is Mr. O, the artistic director.
We were sort of free-lancing it at the end of class. Big jumps, our choice.
Saute, fi-e, glissade, assemble’ (and beating the assemble’ while in the air), that was my chosen combination. It’s a safe combination, one I know I can do.
Just before I took off … a thought hits my mind … Oh God, now they’re going to see how bad I suck.
I don’t think I did that badly, although I fear I might have bent my knees a couple of times doing the saute (cardinal sin to do in front Mr. O). It didn’t feel perfect. I know my feet weren’t shaped properly coming down in the assemble’. And I don’t think I entirely hit the music right.
You know I envy the young gun-company male dancer in the class who recently signed a contract with a company in South Carolina. When it’s just him, that’s the way he wants it. He likes to soar through the air. He wants all eyes on him.
But me, if I go alone, or if I lead a group and I’m first, the confidence level drops, I don’t jump as high, I don’t do steps nearly as well. I do them timidly, even if I know them and have done them 1,000 times (and if Mr. or Mrs. O are watching me, the level drops even further).
I tried to work on it some today. But doing something by myself made me confront the demon even more.
Usually, during the summer, when our teachers rotate teaching the open classes that I take. I’ll try to pick something specific, something tangible, like trying to perfect double pirouettes (my eternal goal).
But this summer, I think I need to put a premium on trying to dance with more confidence, and maybe work on those situations when I am going by myself, or when I lead a group, especially a group of dancers less experienced than myself.