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”
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