For about the last 4 years, I had envisioned what it would be like to share dance with the world through TEDx. It had been my biggest dream to date, something to aspire to, dream about, and have consume my thoughts of the ways in which dance could be shared through TEDx to make a difference for the world.
It bothered me that we are not raised to cultivate a relationship to our body in school and university. It troubled me that our organization of society values brilliance located in the mind and doesn't acknowledge that intelligence of our bodies, even though we spend our entire lives living inside of them.
Rewind to Saturday November 14, 2015. I'm standing backstage at TEDxVancouver at Rogers Arena, trying my best to ground myself but also weary about the fact that I am just about to realize my biggest dream to date. How did I get there? We'll call it standing in living my dreams fulfilled, sharing my dreams with people and participating in a year long program called the Team Management and Leadership Program.
All of these aspects combined led me to that moment and next time your in town, email me and we'll go out for coffee and I'll explain in great detail how those events got me to standing backstage. But for now, I'm going to share about that moment backstage and the creation of the solo I performed for 3,000+ people.
The theme of this TEDx was Identity and the producer that hired me asked me to create an emotive solo about the essence of the human spirit. Human spirit? That was an interesting feat, even for someone like me who thrives on creating abstraction out of concrete everyday norms. So two weeks before the performance, I took the time to notice people. On the bus, on the street, in coffee shops, out with friends on a weekend night, teaching dance class. I took the time to notice what makes up the essence of who we are. It's an interesting idea, it is in many ways something intangible. We are as one of my teachers likes to say "A sack of bones walking around on this earth for a period of time."
I began to notice what the essence of myself was. Laughter. Exhaustion. Fear. Happiness. Repression. Love. A myriad of sensations. And a body that holds a lifetime of experiences and memories. So this was my launch point for creating this solo. When I look back at my performance I see that the choreography incorporates a number of essences of my work, there is the essence of my Giraffe duet - Ruminate, characteristics of my witches piece - Femme Fatales, disintegrations of my choreography for other dancers on pieces about memory and being a ghost revisiting your life. The performance in many ways was a sum up of the work that I believe makes me be the artist that I am.
So standing backstage, being given the 5 minute warning to my performance and the moment before my biggest dream to date was realized, I understood that fear was present. What do I do after I realize my biggest dream? What if there is nothing after this moment? What if I don't know what's bigger than this?
And then it hit me, waiting on stage, the lights out, inside the cauldron, realizing that no one knew I was inside there except the musicians and the Directors of TEDx. It hit me that all there is in life is a moment. And you either take it, or you don't. And when you take it, you actually have no idea what could happen next, the power is in giving in to the moment, giving into life and seeing where it can take you that you likely may not have ever expected.
There was no emptiness after the performance. The fear dissipated and I realized that all there was to do next was create the opportunity for another moment. I saw that what holds us back most in life is the fear of actually realizing what it is we most desire. The fear of actually achieving it is greater than the pay off of being able to say we are working really hard towards it.
Thank you TEDxVancouver for the opportunity to realize my biggest fear and conquer my biggest dream.