It is 3:30 in the morning and I am cozied up by the fireplace, coffee in hand, awakened by this singular question that continues to buzz through my mind.
If you could create anything you want, what would that be?
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
Truly- if you could create anything you want- design your life, what would you create?
Do you feel that your dream is possible?
Do you feel that you are worthy of this dream?
As a former dance studio owner turned life coach for studio owners, I now share my insights and experience with others with the intent to inspire other studio owners and teachers. I can relate to the hardships that come along with running a dance studio and teaching dance. I can also relate to the great joy that the business holds.
I started my studio when I was 21 years of age and had to grow up in my business while learning how to manage the world as a young woman.
Looking back, I miss the good ol' days. The days before social media, when the world felt like an open slate. I could be, do and CREATE anything that I wanted; As an Aquarius, that freedom sang to my soul. I had no idea what other people were doing and what life was "supposed" to look like. I just did what was intuitively right for me, allowing myself to stay curious about my own unfolding; There was no pressure, no doubt and no comparing.
I experienced the world. I danced through life so differently.
Free. Creative. Authentically Me.
In the classroom, I choreographed whatever was presently calling me. The work sparked from an in-the-moment joyful unfolding of movement. There was no judgment if it was cool, trendy or even good. I did not worry if something "failed." Some competition pieces did amazing and some were total disasters, but I did not care. I honored and craved for creativity. I enjoyed the process of using my intuition and vision to bring forth what was in my mind to the classroom or stage. It was wildly fulfilling.
The dancers were on board too. That also played a role in the overall satisfaction of the process. The time together in the studio did not hold interference from the social trends of the outside world. The dancers were game for anything because they were still experiencing dance and creating it for themselves as well. There were not "celebrity" convention kids who they wanted to emulate. There was not a style that everyone wanted to do or a look that needed to be achieved. Every studio, nationwide, was vastly different, holding their own flare and vibe. You could see the difference from State to State; East Coast versus West Coast, North versus South. The dance studio world was diverse. Witnessing it was fascinating and so inspiring. It's noteworthy to mention that you would have to wait for your National Showbiz VHS tapes to arrive in the mail to even see what was happening in the dance world. I find that scenario slightly comical as it is juxtaposed with how we receive information now; Everything is too instant.
I may have revealed my age with that last comment, but it is true! Attending national competitions was more about experiencing and becoming inspired by other studios than it was about winning. It was a yearly opportunity to observe where dance is going. It was like New York fashion week, but in the summer and with dance.
With the start of Facebook and the rise of Instagram, I could feel my creativity diminishing along with the overall "vibe" from which the studio was built upon. The more success that was gained, the less room for "creative failure" there was. Where there was once a studio that prided itself on being fun and different, there now stood a studio that needed to maintain a reputation and falling into the "keeping up with the Jone's" mentality.
Slowly the tide of the current trends, popularity, and reputation swept away the freedom of creativity and the ability to make changes within the business. Social media influenced what the studio looked like, what choreographers were brought in, what steps the dancers were doing, what style of dance needed to be taught, what the costumes looked like...etc.
I had been shifted to a dimension that held me captive, prohibiting the intuitive nature of creating movement. I felt that I was a slave to the demand of the dancers and constantly needed to satisfy their craving for what was "cool."
I began to lose my creative voice.
Instead of the free-flowing ability of the movement to take form, it was now guided by external pressures. I found myself emulating other choreographers, creating dances that possessed the elements of what was "needed" to score well, etc. The work was no longer satisfying because it was not authentically mine. I was plagued with needing everything I did to meet the expectations of others as well as keeping up with the reputation that we built.
Loads of self-doubt and self-criticism began to dance its way into my reality. My own light was fading; I am NOW just beginning to find the courage to live authentically again.
The freedom to create has been stifled for so long and in the process of creating anything new, I still feel the pressures of social media. I feel the insecurities that not enough "likes" or "followers" brings. It's a whole new level of what "success" looks like. I get it!
But if YOU could CREATE anything you wanted, what would you create?
Would you take a chance on creating that piece even if it doesn't go over well?
Would you take the risk of cutting back on competitions and allowing more time for student choreography, community events or stage performances?
Would you be courageous enough to take a night off and go for happy hour with friends or maybe hire a teacher to help at the competitions relieving you of needing to be there the entire time?
If you could CREATE anything you wanted, what would you create?
We teach what we need to learn and I, too, am learning how to create my world the way I use too before social media. I am learning how to find the courage again to create at the risk of failure. I am learning to follow my intuition and vision once again.
Will you join me?
Inner Work Play
In your journal, reflect upon the following questions. Allow your imagination to soar. Observe any emotions that may arise.
If you could create anything in your life, what would you create?
What may be holding you back from creating that vision?
What do you want your studio to look like?
What do you want your studio to feel like?
What changes do you want to make that you are afraid to make?