In the midst of rehearsal last week (for NY’s Got Talent) with my dance partner Ben, we sat down to review a video of what we had just done.
After spending 4 weeks creating and refining this 4-minute dance piece, it was finally really coming together.
Ben said to me, “I think we have an act!”
I agreed and we both acknowledged how fun and soul-fulfilling the entire process had been.
“Do you think it will land with other people? Will they like it?” I asked.
After a beat, Ben said (as I thought the same thing to myself), “I don’t really care if they do or not.”
That about summed it up.
In that moment, we felt such immense gratitude for the magical creative process and how nourishing and inspiring it was, that it really didn’t matter what an outside judge thought. We were having so. much. fun. And that was enough.
Fast forward a week or so to this past Wednesday, roughly 2 hours before showtime.
This is me in a Periscope confessional, freaking out about how terrible I thought it was going to be:
I couldn’t shake the funk I was in. It was like my brain switched into the mode where everything sucks and it’s the end of the world because no one will understand what we are doing and it won’t fit in and I just feel so raw and exposed to be sharing something I created with the world in this way and blah blah.
Even though I intellectually knew that it was my inner critical voice talking, the despair still felt so real.
I felt this was worth mentioning here on the blog, because often you only get to see the final product of what artists are creating. It can be misleading to think that everybody who makes work or performs something is totally confident in what they’re doing and never has doubts.
From my perspective as a creativity coach, I’ve seen so many clients come to me who have been creatively paralyzed for YEARS because of these fears, sometimes not even realizing that it’s this very fear of being judged that is the thing holding them back from doing what they really want to do. (It’s more easy to blame it on the fact that work and life are just so busy and there’s no time anymore for creativity, am I right?!)
If I was in a workshop or a 1-1 session with you, I’d ask you more about your own creative dreams and take you through a process of identifying your fears and moving through them, but alas, this is a blog post, so I’ll continue with my story in hopes that it helps you out.
Here are the steps I took after the moments of heavy-duty doubting and despair -
(which I highly recommend for the next time you’re in a similar funk!)
I got a pep talk from a friend.
I took a dance break in a bathroom stall.
We then launched into a run-through of the show with all the acts, which also helped immensely because I got out of my own narrow-minded view that it was all about me. I was in tears hearing my fellow contestants sing and juggle frisbees so beautifully.
And then the audience arrived, the show began, and it was finally our time to go on stage, the last act of the show. Once again, I had returned to that place of joy and we were ready to rock.
This is what happened:
I really had the time of my life.
I don’t know if there was ever a time where I felt more like myself on stage.
The cherry on top was getting to talk more about my mission and about the work I want to continue creating - not just for me, but for the dancers out there who are craving a space like this in which they can be themselves and dance their dance, too.
It all comes full circle.
So, the story is far from over. Semi-Finals are next week and I have to come up with a whole new act for that (and probably go through a similar process again of feeling like it’s crap and then getting judged with the risk that it might just be crap in their eyes).
In the bigger picture outside of this competition, the journey is just unfolding.
And here’s where you come in -
There is work to be done and dance opportunities to be created.
And I don’t want to go forward in it alone.
I want you to join me.
I want the dancers and creators who feel that calling deep down in their heart and soul, regardless of if you’ve had the courage yet to return to it.
I want the fears and the tears and the magical moments of surrender.
I want the DANCE. The kind of dance that moves you deeply.
Like I mentioned at the show, my You Can Dance Again program was created for this purpose. To bring re-emerging dancers together and provide a safe space for you to find your rhythm once again, explore your movement, collaborate and connect with amazing people, and create awesome things.
Even if you didn’t make the cut at that audition years ago,
Even if you stopped taking lessons because of more practical life events,
Even if someone once told you your body type was not “ideal” for dancing,
Doesn’t mean you can’t dance.
You CAN dance again.
If you have that calling deep in your soul to dance,
If you also don’t want to go about it alone,
If you recognize the value in guidance from someone who’s been there,
I invite you into a special opportunity with me.
Today doors officially open to the next round of my You Can Dance Again program, and this year I sense it’s going to be the most powerful one yet.
It combines really meaningful inner exploration with pure joy and fun.
It’s about connecting to parts of you that have been hidden or yet undiscovered, and then making something with them.
It’s about dance. Your dance. The way YOU dance. The way you WANT to dance. The way you don’t even know you’re capable of dancing yet.
Before you click through to read all about it, a few things you should know:
If you register before this coming Monday night 4/11, you’ll save $100 on the cost of the program. It’s a special incentive because I wanted to make it easy for you to say yes and make space for dance NOW - not later, once you do the million other things on your to-do list.
There’s an option to participate in the virtual/online version as well as the in-person in NYC version. This means, it doesn’t matter where you live - this dance program is accessible to you. People in the virtual programs in the past have made huge steps in their dancing life because of the support and guidance given here.
This program in particular is for women and female-identified people (or those wanting to explore their feminine side). Not all of my dance programs are women-only, but this one is. If you’re a manly dude and you want to dance, my partner Ben might have something for you.
Got it? Great!
Click through here for all the details and to claim your spot: http://jessgrippo.com/popgoddessdance/
And remember -
The scariest part - with any creative venture - is taking the first step. Once you commit, the ride begins and you realize that it was totally worth facing your fears because of the magic that comes from it.
to dancing your dance,