Embracing vulnerability in dance is something that I have learned to love. It has given me great confidence in how I perform in the studio, on stage, and how I carry about myself in my everyday life. It has also taught me great lessons (and continues to) about being fearless and being myself in any environment I am in. Dance has also taught me to be comfortable with my vulnerabilities. As dancers and artists, I think that we are naturally vulnerable and we are not aware of it at all times. We constantly put ourselves out there because we are showing our passion for something, but what we are doing at the same time is exposing our vulnerabilities to the world; our viewers, our audiences, our followers.
I personally love channeling my vulnerabilities and using them as a foot-stool for my movements or my choreography. I think being remote this semester and taking dance classes online increased my self-awareness and put my vulnerabilities even more out there, in ways I could not even imagine. It’s nerve-wracking being one of the only dancers on Zoom and having everyone just watch you at points during a class. It should feel normal, but at some moments it just didn’t and I had to develop ways to just be okay with it and push through.
As with many things in life, and many things throughout this semester, I had to take a deep breath and take on the challenges head-on. It’s not something I like to do… I like to remain comfortable in my zone, in my little bubble, but I simply couldn’t. Like many challenges I face, I embraced them and found ways to let that vulnerability help me instead of pushing me behind. I challenged myself to ignore the fact that I was on camera.
I did this in many ways such as facing various fronts rather than only my camera as my front or even just minimizing my camera screen to where I don’t have to see myself every time I looked. These subtle changes eased my nervousness and made me feel comfortable with myself in the studio alone and as a remote student with peers watching me as well.
Channeling my vulnerability in these situations encouraged me to just let go a little bit more when I dance and to purposefully not pay attention to who was watching and when.
I also acknowledge that I felt more vulnerable because I was not there physically. Since I was not physically present in the dance studio, I was not getting the same results and technical improvements as I normally would, and that is something I had to accept and workaround. I felt a bit hopeless and lost at times… why am I even dancing? But I went on anyway. Many days, I left the studio feeling like such a drag, but there were many times as well that I would exit smiling, feeling like I took a normal class, and learned many new movements and techniques. It felt normal in this ‘new normal’ and that made me happy.
I think that those lessons have helped me to break my shell a bit more when it comes to my dancing and how I present myself in the studio and on-stage again soon. It developed a new characteristic in me to dance a little bit more out of my comfort zone and be okay with it because at the end of the day my movement is strictly unique to me.
Vulnerability is just a stepping-stone into discovering yourself in the dance studio and as you step outside of the studio as well. It has helped me to hone in on what makes me ME when I move and gives me a purpose for each of my movements and different movement qualities. Being aware that I am vulnerable in a certain moment helps me to deepen the meaning of why I am here, why am I dancing in such a way? What is my goal for this? Having those thoughts helped me to accept these vulnerabilities and use them as a powerful tool instead of a perceived weakness. Vulnerability makes you stronger once you accept it to be powerful and that has been so life-changing to me when I dance and when I live my life outside of dance.
I challenge you to identify those vulnerabilities of yours and think about how you can make them an asset to your life instead. How can they help you push you forward instead of pulling you back?