It was my first time at the more challenging Sydney Dance Company tap class today and I had a fantastic time. It was pretty hard to keep up and I got badly lost in the middle of the class, but it is so enjoyable to be challenged like this. Maybe one day this class will make me good enough to dance like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain.
However the best part of the class wasn’t the complicated dance moves or the wonderful jazz music we dance to. It was one of our warm ups. We stood in a circle and took it in turns to do times steps (a times step is very short 8 beat routine that is rhythmically simple but looks pretty complicated and awesome). As we started I thought this sounded like a pretty ordinary activity. But as the times step jumped from person to person I realised how amazing it was to hear the unique tones of everyone’s dancing. Each person’s sound was shaped by so many things: how new their shoes were, their brand of shoes, their weight, how much they jumped around, their ankle strength, their sense of rhythym, and ultimately the way that they interpreted the music. Even though we all performed an indentical step (aside from the few that did some fantastic improvising) every person performed it differently.
This realisation was ground breaking for me, because up until now my attitude towards others in the class has been shaped by jealousy and insecurity – how do I compare to them and how can I dance to look better than them? Today it hit home that everyone dances differently and I actually took pleasure watching the talents of the people around me, instead of feeling threatened by them. This new way of thinking is so much better!