The Calm AFTER The Storm

The dust has settled and a few days have passed since the 2016 Flamenco Louisville Student Showcase. Months and months of preparation, learning choreography, practicing and practicing some more, deciding on costuming, and dreaming of bad-ass por fiesta’s has come and gone. The calm after the storm has nestled in and taken root. I can now gather my thoughts and write about the experience.

It was an awesome show; all the students did a great job, our talented live musicians were glorious, and the house was packed with everyone’s family and friends sharing our important day!  This was my fourth year participating in the student showcase and with it, came more numbers than I have ever done before. Seven! Oddly enough, although I was still anxious and nervous, I noticed I was in a much different emotional place than in past showcases. I felt more in control of my fears and exponentially more confident.

I imagine this is the normal course of progression; being capable of doing more. After a recent conversation with a fellow student, I ponder that philosophy, and wonder about something. The self-deprecating inner voice- AKA- The Hamster, as one of my teachers affectionately refers to it- that lived so comfortably in my head during years one, two and three, the hamster that would spit out tormenting thoughts just as I was learning something new, the hamster, whose voice of doubt within the walls of my psyche was boisterous and unforgiving…where did the voice go? What has become of my hamster?

After careful thought, I have reached a simple conclusion. She has gone nowhere. She still resides within the chaotic city of my brain. She still pokes at me when I need her to the least. What has changed, however, is the energy I allow her to have. As my skill and confidence increase, the hamsters life-force weakens. As my physical aggression when dancing grows, hers dwindles. When my voice is stronger and more passionate than Miss Hamster, she withdraws. I know she is still lurking because once in a while I feel greedy hamster breath down the back of my neck, urging me to freeze. I resist.

The hamster in my head may never completely go away. In some strange way, I am ok with that. I believe it will keep me focused and persistent in my continued quest for improvement. I have a long way to go, but I have also come a long way. My nerves are still painfully intact when a performance is approaching, but over time I have learned how to ease that into the positive energy I need to leave everything on the dance floor.

An interesting thing happened when I arrived home after the showcase was over. It is something that has never happened before. I was filled with so much excitement and energy that I actually said aloud, “I want to do it all over again. Right now!” I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t relieved it was over, I wasn’t ready for a break from the recent stormy flamenco months. I wanted more! This tells me that, without even noticing it, I am in a vastly different flamenco mentality than ever before. It also tells me one other thing;

Miss Hamster- your days are numbered!

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