New Kind of Nerves

In my dance life so far I’ve performed, improvised, choreographed, and taught. I have been, and often am, finding myself feeling nervous for all of these different activities in different ways. Live performance is always a bit nerve racking, hoping that all of the work I’ve put in as a dancer allows me to communicate with and engage the audience. As a choreographer, I worry about getting my piece finished, about creating the story/message that I want to tell in a meaningful and tangible way. In improvisation I worry about drawing a blank, and when teaching I worry that the students will hate my class. I guess I am a worrier. Now I have a new worry.
In the last couple of years, I’ve thought a lot about what we as dancers can do to give back to the community. We do lots of performances, and take part in festivals. We perform at fundraisers, and parades, but I’ve been wanting to engage with the “audience” at a new level for quite some time. For the past couple of years, I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a community dance piece, that would bring dancers, both trained and untrained, together with nondancers (or perhaps I should say dancers at heart).  I’ve seen movement choirs and wanted to try my hand at putting together a piece as a community event.  I’ve also for the last couple of years, wanted to take part in Masterpiece in a Day, as a choreographer, and I’ve thought that these two ideas could work together. It’s taken me 2 years to get brave enough to go for it, and now I’m nervous!
When I initiated the project, I worried that it wouldn’t fit in with Masterpiece in a Day. Once that was worked out, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to spread the word, or that people wouldn’t be interested in taking part. We are reaching people, through our own website and Facebook page, and through other organizations like Indy Talks, and the Arts Council of Indianapolis, to which I am ever so grateful, and people are responding!
Now, my worry is whether or not I can pull it off. I have a great vision, of breaking the ice with a large group of people, doing some general warm ups, and engaging the participants in the creative process through improvisation and creative movement exercises, of building on the early work and structuring it into a piece. I have pictures in my head of things happening at certain points in the music, of people moving together to tell a story of resilience in the face of adversity, and of people connecting with their own experiences as they find shapes and movements that help relay the message. We will have a short period of time to do all of this, but I think it can happen, and I think when it does it will be awesome.
Thanks to everyone who is willing to embark on this adventure with me, and if you think you might be interested, please contact me at

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