Marina: “How to Dance as Much as You Want, Tip #18: Stop Dancing for a Bit, and Do Something Else”

15 12 2008

When I first started taking dance classes, I took ALL the dance classes. I was 28, and had never really learned to dance, so these classes were like crack and a nice, long drink of water, all at once. I wallowed in the abundance of dance, I frolicked like a mermaid through the unending sea of it. I mean, DANCE, right?

But about a year and a half into it, as I was preparing for my first recital at school, I became aware of the need to come up for air. Also, I was getting shin splints.

I learned the hard way that what seems like a paradox really works: by strategically not dancing, you can keep on dancing! Don’t let preventable injury, overwork, or stress sideline you. Take time off when you need, for different reasons:

– Dance is exercise, and like all forms of exercise, you can overwork. Even the hardest-core performers should take at least a couple days away from it each week. If you must move some every day, try mixing it up with different forms of movement: yoga, or volleyball, or yo-yos.

– Dance is mental, and like all forms of, um, mental, you can get obsessive and stressed from concentrating too hard. If you are in the middle of a class or rehearsal and you feel yourself going to a Bad Bad Place because you are getting lost or confused, yes, you can bulldozer through. Or you can STOP, just for a moment, just for a drink of water or a wipe of the sweaty brow.

– Dance is art, and like all forms of art, it benefits from hybridization. Keep that dance alive with non-dance things: paintings and garage sales and cooking and kids’ music and learning a new language. You did that stuff before you started dancing, right? And enjoyed it? Well, keep it up. Because frankly, your inner artiste needs to get out more.

– Dance is spiritual, and like all forms of spirituality, it can be pushed to fanatical extremes. Give it a rest, get into your body in some other way, gardening or walking or swimming or building sand castles. Not everything, or even most things, need to express the Deep Hidden Truths of the Soul. Even if they actually do.

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Coqette: “Dr. Sketchy’s is Making Me Effin’ Crazy”

2 12 2008

So tonight, in case you are somehow unaware, I am the artist’s model for Dr. Sketchy. (Details about the event are in the Upcoming Performances tab up top, or just one post below this one on the main page.) I’m modeling solo, because the organizer is trial-running a night-time version (usually it’s Sunday afternoons), and she was worried about the attendance, yadda yadda, only one model in case there’s no $.

I am not worried about the $. Spoiler alert: dancers generally don’t get paid very well. I am not even worried about sitting still for that long; I’m exhausted today, so if anything, I may end up taking a 20-minute nap on stage and start drooling. Sexass.

What I am worried about is going up there alone. Not because I don’t like being on stage by myself – I totally, totally like it, probably in a Secretly Very Revealing About Her Psyche way – but because I don’t like that I can’t move. If I can’t move, I can’t see how my jokes are going over with the entire crowd. I can’t make eye contact and charm people. I can’t say something and gradually smile while I say it, which is up there with, “nodding your head while talking,” in the list of ways to get people to subconsciously like you.

You’re reading this going, “Damn, Coquette tries too hard.” Maybe I do. But I don’t think so, because if you’re saying it, you probably already like me, and if you like me, then it’s probably because I’ve already charmed the hell out of you. Which is what I’m supposed to do – I’m a self-promoting performer. And it’s also what I’m supposed to do because, aside from the actual sketching, I sort of *am* the event…or more accurately, I’m the Key Prop. And if the Key Prop is a wet blanket, then it’s going to be a loooong 2.5 hours.

This was going to be the usual, “Hey! Event! Tonight!” excitement building post, and I would love to do that. But my mother is in town tonight (and will be at Dr. Sketchy’s — everyone come out and say hi to my mom! …yeah, still sounds weird), and today has been kind of awful on all fronts. Pretty much the last thing I feel capable of doing is being sexy and wonderful in front of strangers, but that would be why they call it acting.

So if you read this blog and you come out tonight (which you should – there will be Christmas music, because I’m unashamedly That Girl), think of yourself as getting the back-stage pass into my brain. And please feel free to come say hi and tell me if I’m faking it well or not. 🙂