Thursday, October 11, 2007

Deca Dancing Decisions

So about a month ago, a slip of the tongue at Friday Night Waltz resulted in me telling Merry I'd audition for Decadance. Never one to go back on my word, I started thinking more about it, and realized that if I wanted to join any dance group these days, Deca would be the one. I've had a lot of fun, the last couple years in particular, watching all the fun and creative stuff they come up with. So I went out for the first auditions on Oct. 3rd. For the record, this is the first thing I've auditioned for since VB Opening in 2001-2002, and probably the first ever that was entirely of my own free will (as opposed to following someone else there).

The auditions were actually surprisingly fun. Aside from just dancing with a lot of nice people, we also got to learn the beginnings of two choreographies: Swing It and Go-Go, which is a routine that never fails to make me happy. So I made callbacks and was there again last night for round two. We got to learn more of those choreographies (harder parts) and also did some of those "convey a randomly selected emotion through dancing" exercises. (Which, by the way, drive me nuts. Musician that I am and actor that I'm not, I can kind of work various emotions into arbitrary dances, but not into arbitrary music. Argh.) Anyway, it was all challenging and interesting, and that took us into the decision phase of things, for me as well as them.

On the pro side of joining Decadance is, obviously, their dancing. I especially love the fact that they happily blend whatever styles they can get their hands on. If I got to join, I'd have a chance both to polish things like swing and waltz, and to take a shot at a bunch of styles I haven't done before. Learning choreographies also just inherently appeals to me because the range of stuff you can do with it is different than in pure social dancing. And after getting more experience doing group choreographies, I might even like to start choreographing stuff myself. I've been needing more creative outlets recently. Dancing aside, I also think it would be nice to just be part of a group like that, and have that kind of an extended family.

High on the con side, though, is the fact that I'm not a performer. There's a sense in which Decadance is purely a performance/entertainment group, even more so than specifically a dance group, and a lot of people thrive on that and do it well. Personally, I have nothing against performing, and I don't think I even get terribly bad stage fright (from my limited experience in this kind of thing). I even agree that it's fun sometimes. But it's not something I need the way some people do, and it takes a significant effort to try to project myself out to an audience, even just at the level of auditions. So net result over the long term would be a drain on me, psychologically and emotionally. To adapt a quote from James Thurber, no other thing can be less what it is not than a Graham can (excepting pigeons, of course). That's how I feel when I try acting of any sort, which includes trying to really "project" my dancing.

Even with all that, though, the balance between yes and no is very, very close, and this could still be something I could find ways to have fun with. Unfortunately, there's also the additional issue of commitment to consider. Between rehearsals and performances, Deca would take up all my currently allotted dancing time, and probably cut into other stuff, especially if I still wanted to go out social dancing or taking classes. Also, the current state of my life, for reasons I don't want to get into here, has me feeling like a lot of things are very uncertain and up in the air, which makes me reluctant to give a full year's promise to something like this that I would want to take very seriously. There's a lot of balance that I need to get figured out, which needs to happen gradually, letting everything settle into place together. A large, immediate commitment like joining a performance group would be throwing that process considerably out of whack.

The net result of all this is that I didn't sleep much last night. Then this morning I saw a Decadance email in my inbox, and heard a little voice in my head hoping they'd turn me down and take the burden of the decision off of me. That was the final gut check I needed to convince me that the balance was tipped. So when I read the email and saw that they were very kindly inviting me to join, I responded and respectfully declined. That said, I still love the group, and I'm very grateful even just for the auditioning experience, and for the vote of confidence expressed by their offer. Major congratulations go out to everyone who does join, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with this year.

To end on a happy note, really, just watch the Go-Go video :-)


cristie said...

Dancing with pillowfights - I love it! Have you seen this video? We just watched it in the Human Evolution class I'm TAing for:

The actual dance of protein synthesis starts at 3:10. :)

It sounds like you made the right choice about the dance group - sometimes those gut reactions tell you all you need to know. And at least you can still enjoy watching them dance!

Saoili said...

Wow, that can't have been an easy decision. Congratulations both on getting offered the place and on having the courage to realise you shouldn't take it. I'd really love to do something like that (I very much am a performer), any idea if there's anything similar over here?

Lacey said...

I agree with you completely -- Deca is the one group I would want to dance with (I even tried, back in sophomore year when I didn't have enough social dance under my belt to make it), but, despite many years of dancing out with various morris groups, I am also not a performer, and most of the time feel pretty silly trying to "project" myself to an audience.

I am very proud that you were offered a place in the group, but also very proud of you for following your gut. And thanks for posting the video -- Deca can always make me smile. :)

Tandava said...

Cristie - Is that what happens when the entire modern dance dept decides to take biology in the same semester? It's hilarious. I also like how YouTube files it under "Howto & DIY."

Sorcha - I wish I knew of some sort of DecaDublin, but alas, no. Maybe "someone" needs to start one?

Lacey - I still think they should have taken you, but oh well. We can both not be in it together.


Lisa E. said...

What a happy video! I think I'll to bookmark this video for down days...