You don’t always have to do your best

What?! Say that again? This is not something you hear too often…to be honest this is something that I only heard once in my life and it stayed with me. This is a story that I don’t remember telling anyone else. Have you ever had the impression that certain people appeared in your life with a “purpose”?

Now I see how this might sound far-fetched and self-centred and it probably is, but there are certain conversations that you have with these people that are almost strangers that stay with you for years. These are the conversations that make something “click” in your mind.

I am telling you about that time, that only time when I was told that I don’t always have to do my best. There is a catch to this phrase of course, but before we get to that, I need to give you some background info.

Background – going back in time

A few years ago, if my blonde mind can calculate well we are looking at 5 years ago, I was just admitted into the University of Arts in my hometown. Right before that, I studied Environmental Sciences in a bigger town that is around 2 hours away from home and in parallel worked at a Dance Company in the same town.

Like all transitions, things get unpredictable, we still hold on to old ideals and in my case, I thought that my new Uni of Arts will leave me as much time for myself as the other Uni did. Because of this, I continued working with the Dance Company from 2 hours away from home. Let me explain: this meant that Monday to Friday I would go to courses in my hometown. On Friday, because the system was nice like that, we only had half day of courses so by 1pm, I was free like a bird.

By 2pm I would be on a bus and by 5pm in the studio, rehearsing. I loved my schedule! I was on a high! I did exactly what I wanted to do my entire life – dancing all day. So Friday afternoon, Saturday all day and Sunday until midday, I was in rehearsals and Sunday evening, back on the bus and then at home, ready for another week of Uni.

Does it sound like I am complaining? I am totally not! I loved what I was doing and how I was doing things it’s just…it turns out, even if you do something you love, apparently you get tired…that if you’re human like me.

A clock is ticking

I kept it up for a few months, September to December to be exact and right before Christmas we had the show at the National Opera – still love that place! Everybody loved the show, but I felt like it was a failure. Why? I was so freakin’ tired, I did not give it my best.

After a show, everybody is on a high so we would hug and congratulate each other right behind the big red curtain, still on stage. This time, the show was a bit more complex: we had the dancing part, but there was also a really well know Soprana singing and two Tango musicians who were in charge of the live music. The thing is, these 3 departments did not really rehearse together until the last week when we had access to the big stage at the National Opera so we didn’t know each other that well.

However, putting on a show together, going through the nausea before, the adrenaline boost, the enthusiasm – the catharsis – brings people together (I almost added like any other traumatic experience but then I remembered that this was my passion).

The words that you don’t expect hearing

This is when I got to hug the Soprana who made my whole body vibrate with the pleasure of listening to her…and then she asked me how I liked the show.

When somebody asks you this, it is a bit of a tricky one. You see, what we feel from the stage might be completely different from what you feel from the audience. There is a theory that says that if the show is constructed well, even if the artists that are putting on the show are not really feeling they are giving it their best, the audience will still enjoy it.

From being on the stage, we immediately feel it if somebody has low energy and is dragging the show down. You might call me crazy after this, but we feel if the audience is low energy and can even feel the switch when they start enjoying what they see. Ok, before you call me coockoo – I will go back to answering the question.

You don’t always have to do your best, but…

What the Soprana really asked me was “how did I feel about my performance in the show and of how the energy flow was”…just not in that many words. And that is when I started telling her that I don’t understand why, because there was nothing that any of us did wrong, but I did not feel like this was a good show. I did not do my best.

Now the answer: queue the Ta-da-da-da! It’s been a few years since then but the answer went like this: “You don’t always have to do your best. The trick is to rehearse and improve your art so much that even when you don’t do your best – it is still amazing”

Mind-blown!

do your best / dancer life / national opera / london / miss casual / editorial / london blogger
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do your best / dancer life / national opera / london / miss casual / editorial / london blogger
do your best / dancer life / national opera / london / miss casual / editorial / london blogger

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How I started dancing professionally

This is another one of those posts that I am writing for you as much as I am writing it for myself, one from my own memory luggage. It bring me pure joy to reminisce about the times when I was dancing and I am still surprised how well the pieces have just put themselves together. It will not be one of those “The Secret” stories where you visualise it every morning and one day it happens, that’s the weird thing about my story. I visualised it once, but I worked for it as if it will happen without me forcing it to do so.

Why I stopped dancing

Starting from the end, two years ago when I moved to London, I gave up dancing. It was one of the most difficult decisions to make. My instinct knew that it was the right decision, but it took me almost two years to mention dancing and not start crying. The hardest thing for my mind to comprehend was that I invested so much time in this passion (since I was 10), that it made it hard for me to be subjective and actually acknowledge that just dancing was not enough for me.

That is the things about dreams, isn’t it? If you can not imagine yourself doing it for your entire life, than it becomes a nightmare. I mentioned this before, but for me dancing, it took so much of my time that it kept me from pursuing fashion related hobbies and having a healthy relationship. Maybe I was not organised enough to juggle all of this, maybe you are. So if you are a dancer and read this post in the hopes of finding an answer, please know that your answer might be different from mine.

My background at the time

I was at the end of my first year studying Environmental Sciences, a subject that I loved, but had no real talent towards. Looking back now, it really was something that I was able to learn, but even so, I lacked salt and pepper. Dancing on the other had, was something that made me feel alive with all my senses. If I had a natural talent for it or not, I would not be able to tell, but I know I loved it with all my heart.

I was attending ballet classes, but they were not something regular. I did ballet when I was a child of 6 and I was extremely flexible then, but now, as an adult, I was just like any other regular person. So if you are an adult and took a classical ballet class, you know that it hurts. It’s a gorgeous art, but everything hurts while you’re doing it. Needless to say that I was not very serious about it. I needed something that my body could do and that I could improve…easier, not over 5/10 years of practice.

The summer after I finished my first year of University, I was in one of the parks that has a beautiful view of the National Opera House (in Cluj). As I often did, I was thinking if it’s worth it to continue the ballet classes or not when a feeling much more powerful overtook me. I looked up at the National Opera House and I imagined myself on the stage.

My “The Secret” moment

I completely forgot about this moment until a few months later when I have not given up ballet classes yet. The fascination was too big still. I loved the delicate silhouettes and I loved that I knew how strong a ballet dancer actually has to be.

A few classes in after summer break, we have an unusual visitor. A gentleman who has just started his private dance company and is looking for dancers. Now, let me just be really, really honest and tell you how the situation was. I was the newbie, the other girls have been studying ballet for a year or two so their technique was much better than mine and were much flexible also. That was not in my advantage – I was the ugly duck amongst swans. Only thing that I did different was that I did not let the swan lake drown me.

I was never happier to be chosen for potential. That is what this gentleman saw in me, not my lacking ballet skills, but the potential that I can learn and I can perform. Which I did. Fast forwarding a couple of months later (more than 6), a lot of hard work, uni and exams, I was on that very stage that the summer before I was idolising. I had a wish, no plan whatsoever, I just continued doing what I loved and I have been lucky…and then I worked hard. That was it!

Your questions

Most difficult things about dancing

Except learning so many techniques, and the fact that your body is always aching, for me the most difficult was to cope with before show anxiety. On my first show, I had a 900 people audience which was little to say – intimidating. Even after a few years, just before show I always feel I have a fever, my knees don’t listen to me, I am about to throw up, I have forgotten the choreography and the most common, I need to go to the toilet non-stop. But then the show starts and I have more important things to attend to than these imaginary problems.

Music that inspires me

If it’s not the social kind of dancing where I prefer latin dancing and songs, I like songs that don’t have lyrics, but have a changing tempo and a good variety of “moods” in one song. Also, I am blushing, but I have to admit that I prefer playing/ dancing villains so I much prefer the darker songs. Let’s just say – if I were to choose between the white swan and the black swan, I would definitely choose the later.

Will I ever pick up dancing again?

I am an optimist so my first answer is “yes”. However, I am pretty sure it has to fit in my blogging life now. I would not go back to dancing the classic way – theatres, private companies and so on. My personal fantasy is that our video skills will develop soon to the point that we’ll do our own short films where I will be dancing also.

If there are any other dancing related questions that I maybe missed – leave them in the comments below. I would be more than happy to answer them, this seems to be my favourite subject to talk about.

Happy morning kisses!

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albert hall | dancing professionaly | boiler suit | topshop outfit | spring outfit | cherry blossom | london | miss casual
albert hall | dancing professionaly | boiler suit | topshop outfit | spring outfit | cherry blossom | london | miss casual

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