I recently had my first showcase practice with my routine partner and our instructor. I was very quickly reminded of one of my absolute favorite things about being in the showcase, the ability, actually, the necessity to play.  

Our bodies are all different. We all have moves that work for us or don’t.  Moves that we feel good in.  Moves we look good in. Moves and transitions we find fun.  Moves and transitions we find miserable.  We have grip points we can hold for days.  We have grip points we consistently cannot hold.  

We also have ideas, we have thoughts, we have creativity and we have vision.  

When all of these things meet and the end goal is to create, I am convinced, the only answer is to play.  Honestly, play should be the answer more often, but in this situation, it is truly the way to make magic happen. 

During practice, we give ourselves permission to try things. To try shapes. To be spotted.  We give ourselves permission and the experiences of getting stuck in chairs, of falling, of trying repeatedly.  We give ourselves the ability to be present and see what our bodies are capable of.  We give ourselves the permission to play. 

I’m going to speak for others, speak to what I have witnessed.  And that is, as adults, specifically adult women, we do not freely allow ourselves to play. Most of us, very unfortunately, rarely let ourselves relax and create anything. We struggle to be in the moment, to let our bodies move, to let our brains thoughts flow.  

I’ll tell you why I struggle to play on a consistent basis or really at all outside of prescribed times.  It doesn’t feel intentional.  It isn’t directly working on a goal.  I know it takes time and you don’t always get tangible outcomes or progress. It is unknown.  My brain doesn’t know what to do and at times I doubt its ability to string things together.  And, while there are other reasons, I’m confident I am not listing, I also am afraid.  I’m afraid of looking funny, I’m afraid of not understanding what I’m trying to do, I’m afraid of all the irrational things my brain tells me I should be afraid of and lastly, somewhere I’m afraid I “shouldn’t” be playing.  

Yet, when I was at practice, and we were truly just playing, I was filled with joy.  For anyone wondering, the definition of play is “engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”  By that definition, we should be playing every time we walk through the door of the studio. Or close to it. 

We dance for so many reasons. Each day may be a different reason. But, here is your reminder to let  yourself play as many days as possible.