For the past five years, I have had the privilege of participating in the Aerial Dance Christmas Show, in some capacity. For the last four, it has been dancing in the instructor routines, performing a solo, and writing and teaching a student routine. In August, I got married and moved 2 1⁄2 hours away from the studio. That means that this year, I will be watching from the sidelines, and cheering on the amazing women of Aerial Dance. When I originally knew that I would be moving, I thought that I would feel happy and relieved that I didn’t have to worry about the Christmas show this year. No dreading choreography and how much I would mess it up, no worrying that I couldn’t do all of the tricks, no worrying that my student routine wouldn’t fill or that I wouldn’t be able to teach and explain my routine idea to my group (yes, your instructors worry about this!). Most of all, no dreading being in the spotlight with so many people looking at me. Each year I have participated in the Christmas Show came with a sense of excitement and dread, because I am not a performer. I am an introverted person who prefers not to be in the spotlight. I am also someone who is not at all “dancey”, and choreography is a scary word to me. The amount of coordination it takes to get my arms and legs, not to mention the rest of my body, to do different things at the same time and still make it look fluid and intentional, is seemingly lost on me. Olivia, Kelly, and Kim have been saints in teaching, re-teaching, and re-teaching me again for our instructor numbers. Their patience and ability to break things down over and over until I catch on, to the best of my ability, is incredible. Not to mention, their ability to be encouraging cheerleaders while I am on the struggle bus.

Did I mention that I despise being in the spotlight? Right, I did, but it bears repeating, because the thought makes me nauseous. Each year, I questioned whether or not I, of all people, with my non-dancey and fear of attention being on me, should really be doing a SOLO, in the Christmas show. Each year, there was Paula, encouraging, pushing, telling me she wasn’t taking no for an answer. As much as I dreaded it, I was always grateful for her and for her encouragement and confidence in me to do this.

Christmas Show season rolled around this year and songs were chosen for instructor and student routines, and I told myself that I was relieved that I didn’t have to find the “perfect” song for my solo and group routine. Instructor routines and tricks were worked on and the work began to make bits and pieces into something complete, and I again told myself that I was relieved that I wasn’t worried about tricks and choreography. The Christmas show is getting closer and student routines are opening and filling, and more work is being done on instructor routines. Though there is a part of me that is relieved to miss out on the anxious feelings and dread of choreography, that part is very small in comparison to the part of me that is sad to not be in the thick of Christmas Show season with the amazing ladies of Aerial Dance.

Why did you just read about my person experience with the Christmas Show? Because I am willing to bet that at least one of you can relate to some of the feelings I have had regarding the Christmas Show. I am also willing to bet that you let that dread, that fear of performing or being in the spotlight, that fear of choreography, hold you back and not sign up for the Christmas Show. You just read about my personal experience with the Christmas Show, because I am hoping it helps you realize that you are not alone in those feelings. But more than anything, I shared this because while I did feel all of those things, what I also felt was empowered, strong, accomplished, brave, and the best part of all, a part of an amazing group of strong, talented, and beautiful women. These feelings far outweigh the others, and make the other feelings worth it. If you are considering a christmas show routine, DO IT! If you aren’t, you should. If you already did and are second guessing yourself, you made the right choice. The Aerial Dance Christmas Show is so much more than a showcase of routines and tricks. Sure, it is that too. But what it really showcases is the incredible, talented, strong women of Aerial Dance. It is a showcase of sisterhood and the amazing things that can happen when women encourage and support each other. I am grateful for the Christmas Shows I was able to be a part of, and that I get to make appearances, when I can, to still instruct at Aerial Dance. I encourage you to jump at the opportunity to participate in the Christmas Show and encourage you to embrace this incredible place and the people that make Aerial Dance what it is.