So on Wednesday, I dressed as a dark Rey from Star Wars and went to the dance social at Dance With Me. People saw me all spiffy and decided I was performing at the social. “You’re doing a spotlight!” One of my new friends, Maria said: “About time! Finally!” And I had to repeat myself several times, “No, guys. I’m just dressed up nice. I’m not performing tonight." I thought it was funny and I told my instructor, Johnny. “Everyone thinks I’m doing a spotlight!” And he looks at me and said, “Let’s do one! Do you want to do the tango?” And I freaked out. “No. No. No.”
So we didn’t do a spotlight but he did drag me on the floor later for a tango, which I spazzed out on, and afterwards he asked, “What’s wrong with you?!”
And I said, “Performance anxiety.”
“We’re not even performing!”
I mean, he thought we weren’t performing, but at DWM, there are almost always more people talking and watching, then dancing. Probably because they serve wine and cheese.
Anyways, I came home, and talked with my husband, who does professional theatre. We talked about the arts and performance and I’m like, “Why can’t I just dance for the sake of dancing. Why can’t you do improv, for the sake of doing improv?” And he replied, “Because improv is a performative art!”
The next evening, I’m at Fred Astaire, my old studio that I’ve only been to twice in the last month because they moved far away. Dillon and I were working on the studio’s waltz open, and another instructor, Ryan watched us and said, “You guys should perform this tonight, at the party.”
The universe had lined up a similar choice again. Performing half-baked work that I wasn’t comfortable with, and a partner I hadn’t seen much in a while.
This time I said, “Okay.”
So I performed at the social with Dillon. I immediately fucked up my arms in the first measures, which caused me to smile really big, and which I think made Dillon smile, so we didn’t have serious Waltz faces. It was a short performance, and I had fun.
I think I experience pressure and expectations differently between the two studios.