How well I know that in a performance, things will not all go as planned – that a dancer may fall; performers might forget their choreography in their nervousness, a prop may tumble from a dancer’s hand, a set piece might be in the wrong position. Over the years, I’ve learned to take all this in stride most of the time and have come to realize that it’s simply the nature of the beast. We all work towards the common goal of creating the best performance we can and yet, almost inevitably, something goes wrong. Last year, our professional guest dancer got sick with pneumonia on the day of the performance and had to leave during dress rehearsal just a couple of hours prior to our performance! Talk about an “ACK!” moment! Yet, Lindsay, one of our most experienced dancers who had previously decided she’d best not perform this time due to an injury, jumped into the part at this last moment’s notice and the show went on. Those who didn’t know the situation would never have guessed we were dealing with a performance crisis - thanks to Lindsay’s presence of mind and willingness to “go-with-the-flow” and the adaptability of all the dancers involved.
Life is no kinder in this regard – no matter how well planned and prepared we try to be, the unexpected event tends to rear its frightening visage in the most inopportune moments. Flexibility, adaptability, acknowledgement of the newly arisen situation and presence of mind are our keys to management in life just as they are in performance. Somehow, in real life situations it seems harder to accept the unforeseen challenges and not get thrown off course mentally and emotionally for a time before being able to regain equilibrium and proceed ahead productively. There are always forces we cannot control and forces we do not know are at work. I find I have to remind myself at times that, as in performance situations, the sooner we accept the inevitability of this reality and not get mired down in the whys and wherefores of the situation, the sooner we can move ahead to find a creative solution. The value of improvisational skills cannot be overstated – in life and in performance! In the end it can produce the most exciting, beautiful and interesting results. Be not afraid, when a pirouette goes off-course – improvise!
Satyagraha - Spring 2016
Dancers: Lindsay Beck-Johnson, Kim Tsao, Danelle Malget
Photo by Miki Baxter