Dancing Outside of the Box
I’ve had thoughts churning in my head for days now. If I’m honest, they’ve been swirling for a few weeks, perhaps even a year. I’ve been waiting for them to align, to settle, to “behave” before giving them permission to travel from my mind to my mouth. But it seems as though they’re pushing to make the journey from my thought world to my shared world with you, and so I have chosen to let them.
Last year, I began my Year of the Uncomfortable. (Read about how it came to life here, if you’d like.) I’ve absolutely loved it, grown from it, and feel wonderful about the outcomes it has brought to my artistic—and everyday—life.
Reflecting specifically on my #ITChallenge project, I have seen three areas of growth:
- Comfort: I’ve grown more comfortable with improvising in random places in front of strangers. Some strangers have ended up being my videographer for a few challenges. Others have paused and watched, intrigued. A few have stared at me for a moment, wondering what in the world is going on. And this makes me smile. It’s become an unapologetic way of bringing art to life for those least expecting it. I adore the spontaneity.
- Problem-Solving: There’s always at least one major challenge each week with this project. That’s why it’s called the Improv Thursday Challenge. This project has never been about doing the coolest or fanciest moves. It’s been about showing that dance can happen literally anywhere. And it’s been about putting myself in a weird situation and figuring it out. Such as:
- These steps are SUPER narrow. Figure it out.
- There’s a radiator here. Figure it out.
- I’m only on this elevator for 6 floors. Figure it out.
- I’ve used every danceable space in my apartment already. Figure it out.
- I’m wearing snow boots and standing in 8 inches of snow. Figure it out.
- Confidence: I’ve become more confident with sharing my creations with you. Before this project, I wasn’t sure if people would be too interested in seeing weekly snippets of me dancing. But you proved me wrong. I’ve had friends and family tell me they wait to see where I’ll choose to dance each week. I’ve been told they look forward to it. And, I’ve had a few extremely special conversations—which I hold extremely near and dear—during which I was told that the project inspired someone. As an artist, there are not many compliments I consider better than this.
The only problem with continuing this project is #1 listed above. Comfort. I’ve become too comfortable and therefore no longer feel a pang of awkward which I have to work through. And while I deemed this past year my Year of the Uncomfortable, I don’t want to stop pushing my own boundaries once that year is up. I want to find new ways to be uncomfortable, work through them, and in the midst of all of it expand who I am and what I’m capable of. So while I believe I’ll revisit the #ITChallenge now and then (and it’s not ending QUITE yet!), I am starting to plan a new project that I will focus my thoughts and movement on more.
I have a few ideas of what this will look like. And this is where my aforementioned jumbled thoughts come in. Some of these ideas I’d like to let brew a bit longer before sharing. For others, I’d love to welcome your input:
- What did you enjoy about the #ITChallenge?
- What’s something you would’ve liked to have seen during the #ITChallenge?
- Share 3 words or less that you feel encapsulate art.
I have a lot of exciting plans for what’s to come, a lot of things up my sleeves. I have stories to tell and boundaries to push and boxes to think—and dance—outside of. I can’t wait to work all of this out and share it with you. Until then, let’s continue to love and support art, while we love and support each other.