(or perhaps better titled: how to avoid being in my blog...)
So, as of last week, I'm offering a second workshop now at Tribal Fest 11 - it's a brand new workshop debuting there called "Shimmies: Sassy to Sizzling!" - which was spawned from the fact that I have noticed a lot students, especially more Tribal/Tribal Fusion ones, having trouble getting a variety of shimmies, and rarely include them in their performances, or if they do, they don't incorporate them successfully in relation to their music. Anyway, upon announcing this new development, someone said to me, "oh, I wish it was another topic, I'm not very good at shimmies." (and yes, I did warn them where this conversation would end up, but I promised not to say who..)
So let me get this straight, you know you're bad at something, but you don't want to take a workshop that would help you get a better understanding of it? I wish I could say this was the first time I heard something like this in the dance community, but it's not. And it's not the same thing of saying, "Ok, I've studied X-style for a good amount of time, and it's not for me" or "I have an injury that prevents me from doing X.") Instead, it's saying "I'm not good at doing X, and I'm afraid to do it for fear of looking bad."
Folks, the point of taking workshops isn't to do stuff you're really good at. Rather the exact opposite. They're about finding your weak spots, engaging areas you don't know much about, expanding your horizons,deepening your knowledge, and making your weaknesses your strengths. And you won't know what these things are unless you try, nor can you get better at them until you seek a solution. And you're not going to look totally awesome doing it - rather the opposite. This is one of those weird situations where, if you feel like a moron in class, chances are, you're on your way to becoming brilliant (eventually). After you continue to practice it, of course. Some of my most favorite/best moves started off as moves I had a lot of problems with, and if you ask around, I'm sure you'll find many other professionals feel the same way.
And sometimes, you just need a new voice telling you how to do something. Someone else may have a better way of explaining or breaking down a move or technique than what you've been exposed to before. And don't assume that just because someone is "big name", that they know everything there is about all things, or are "the one true path." If you only study from one group of people/knowledge area, you're closing yourself off to a wider range of knowledge and perspectives. Or look at it this way - picture yourself as an elephant, walking trunk to tail in a line of elephants, the only perspective you're getting to get is the elephant butt in front of you. Don't be a cenophobe - try something new!
I think part of the problem is that culturally, there's been a switch in mentality in the last 10-20 years in how we approach challenges - in that they should be removed/avoided, because they may cause people to feel bad about themselves. (and I'm generalizing here, but you get the idea, because if you're a parent or teacher now, you've experienced it.) When in fact, it's the challenges that make for stronger, quicker-thinking, problem-solving personalities. And challenges make for better, more diverse dancers.