Dance Like No One Is Watching

Anette Adams Dance School, Bristol

Anette Adams Dance School, Bristol, Aisha Top left aged six.

As Aisha pursues her dream of becoming a professional performer, she looks back at where the obsession came from.

The rock. That rock feeling, when you can feel it twisting in your stomach, it’s there because you know you’re lying to yourself. Lying that this is ok, how you’re feeling is fine and that your situation is bearable…

It’s there because you know you’re lying to yourself…

When actually where you want to be is over there.

I recently realised why I felt that rock feeling, why I’ve been making myself miserable, and it’s largely because I have not been following my true passion. So I decided to change things. I made the decision to chase my dream, and the result has been amazing. Heartbreaking yes, terrifying  sure, but oh-so-relieving…

I have accepted that what I want to strive for is to be a professional dancer. This is what I have wanted for a very long time, but I haven’t allowed myself to accept that dream until recently.

Growing up I was surrounded by very talented dancers who I would always compare myself to, in classes, workshops, or in the hallway just messing about before class. I wasn’t good enough and so I shouldn’t even try…so I didn’t.

I wasn’t good enough and So I shouldn’t even try…so I didn’t.

I was always taller than my classmates and would go into school feeling more disconnected from my limbs, than any other human imaginable (but to be honest looking back now, I wasn’t even that tall…LOL oh well, years of anxiety and despair misplaced, whoops..)

Anyway, I can remember looking down at my long legs and thinking:

1. What the hell am I meant to do with these?

And 2. Oh God…

It sounds dramatic to you but being tall and feeling awkward and uncoordinated really bothered me. Especially when I was surrounded by small-boned, petit dancers who could glide across the studio like nobody’s business.

So to distract myself I tried investing in a ‘thing’ that I knew I was one of the best at…

So to distract myself I tried investing in a ‘thing’ that I knew I was one of the best at, which was acting, something I knew I could be visually ‘better’ than someone else at. So I went along with this and I did some pretty cool things with acting. I did drama and theatre studies ‘A’ level, I got into the National Youth Theatre, I even auditioned for drama school’s.

But I knew in my heart of hearts it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. But to audition for dance school or dance academies, oh no no no, the thought of not being the best, the thought of looking stupid, or simply the thought of not being good enough. Was the scariest thing, so I allowed the voice in my head to convince myself, for years, that I wasn’t good enough and that I could still live with myself and not chase it.

But this year, In April 2016, (I can even give you the exact date and time I had my epiphany) Sunday afternoon, me, café, *cliché, hot a sun streaming through the windows…after discussing thoroughly with my friend my regrets about giving up on myself, and my dancing and what plan I need to take, to get me to where I want to be, I said the words ‘maybe I should do a course…’ And at that exact moment, Jill Scott’s ‘Golden’ song started playing…so not only is this one of my favourite songs since I was seven, but it has been a song I have always listened to uplift my spirits and remind myself of all the amazing opportunities I can offer myself, if I choose to.

To remind myself of all the amazing opportunity’s I can offer myself, if I choose too.

And I know in my gut, that, that song and what it meant to me, was not a coincidence, because.. the café were playing some other relatively good tunes before, but why would ‘Golden’ come on as soon as I mention my lifelong dreams and ambitions? Huh? Answer me that logic…It was a message from the universe gods.
So since that day, I’ve been taking one day at a time and having the attitude of doing my best each day, a bit at a time…

Having an inner-monologue that I want/need this commitment and training, both physically and mentally has been life-changing to be honest. I’ve changed the way I approach each day, I’m aware of my thoughts, my shadow voices, the voices on my bad days that tell me I should just give up, I’m not good enough, I’m too old, there are people with better technique…and the list goes on and on

I’ve changed the way I approach each day, I’m aware of my thoughts, my shadow voices, the voices on my bad days that tell me I should just give up,

… but understanding what I want has helped me to grasp my awareness of insecurity and the false ‘safety’ mode that can prevent us all from fulfilling what we want, taking risks that will inevitably help boost our confidence and strengthen us in the long run, even if it makes us feel really vulnerable at the time.

Like, for me… going to a dance class where I don’t know anyone, or worse going to a dance class where I do know people and feeling pressure to perform well, all that pressure comes from my self-esteem and me of course. But from being more aware I know in time that the voices will subside and re-arise again, as all cycles do, but that’s part of it…and that’s okay because I’m more prepared this time around, one day at a time…

‘I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire me and not terrify me…’ Tracee Ellis Ross

So I told you mine now tell me yours… What’s your dream?  

Let us know @Rifemag on Facebook & Twitter with the hashtag  #Livinglikeitsgolden

How about heading over to HYPE Dance to bust a move


Practice The Greatest Dance Moves Of All Time at home.

More by this author:

‘Beyonce’s Lemonade And My Black Body’

‘Dessert Island Discs: If Food Be The Music Of Food, Eat On’

‘Three Animations With Uplifting Life Messages’

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