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  • Writer's pictureAmna Mazin

The transformative power of understanding the inner and outer experience of dance

Updated: May 24

Tomorrow is the big day. 


All of the dancers are getting ready for their performance as hundreds of audience members are also getting ready to witness their art.  


Recently I have been reflecting on the duality of performing a dance.  The internal experience with the external world.


For me, dance has always been a personal experience in which I get to express all the dimensions within me that I could never express in the outside world. When I perform, I become fiercely confident and unapologetically bold. I feel powerful and safe to be whoever I wish to be.  Many of my performances feel like a blur, in which I only remember what happened before or after my dance. 


Some people call such intense presence flow or purpose or passion. 


But it is SO HARD to perform with such presence when you can literally see hundreds of people sitting in front of you - validating you through their applause or judging you through their silence.

 

How can you honor you authentic art if you know it is being critiqued by another?


On the other hand, there is something incredibly powerful about sharing your art with others. It is nothing short of a miracle when another person feels something within them just from how you expressed yourself somatically and emotionally. 


In order for dancers to perform with integrity and authenticity, they CANNOT give their power to the "other" - the external world - their audience - or any sort of FEARS . 


If you fear something, you give it power to rule your life (and your dance).


Your need for approval or applause needs to be less valuable than your need to stay authentic to your dance. 


Otherwise you inevitably suppress your magnificent potential due to your FEAR of failing.


You end up outsourcing the worth of your art to everything outside of you, even though it's source comes from a divine, invisible force deep within you.


This is SUCH a difficult dynamic to manage when you are on stage.


The dance stage is a symbol for how we live our life. We work hard. We do our best. And then whatever happens afterwards is OUT. OF. OUR. CONTROL.


We control how hard we practice.

We control how hard we work. 


We do NOT control our performance or the present moment. That is a living, breathing organism in and of itself. And it is PERFECT because it is always exactly right. 


Mistakes as James Joyce wrote are "portals of discovery".  Mistakes and failures have given birth to genius inventions. They have made humans aware of their resilience and their magnificence. In fact, mistakes are often exactly what we need as they become stepping stones to get us to places we couldn't have ever imagined.


Being friends with mistakes and failure is a huge value at Amna Dance. We encourage dancers to embrace failure. The magic behind such acceptance is that there ends up actually being less mistakes because now the focus is not on "not making mistakes" but on enjoying the experience instead. This doesn't only impact the dancer but it also affects the eyes of the beholder. 


When a dancer holds this value deep within their psyche, it becomes an energy that is contagious to all those around them. 


This is why our audience cheers for the failures just as much as the wins. 


We applaud passion. 


We applaud resilience. 


In fact, I have witnessed our audience applaud EVEN MORE when a dancer freezes with stage fright or falls and gets right back up. 


It is so touching to witness the unconditional support we can receive when we give it to ourselves FIRST.








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