30 December 2014

The Glory And The Flame

Originally written 27 December 2014. See this post for a fuller explanation of my apprehension.

This has never happened before. I have never had a performance actually bring me to call into question my ability and calling. Even this spring when I danced entirely the wrong section in the middle of the Waltz of the Snowflakes in Nutcracker, I did not doubt my calling or ability (my memory, maybe...). But tonight, on the eve of my second-ever solo performance I am actually ready to quit. To just drop everything related to dance -- performing, choreography, everything. I can't do this. What made me think that I could? What insanity made me think that dance was my calling? Was it just me playing God? Because, when I think about it, how do I actually know God called me?

And the stupid part is, I can't even articulate why this one impending performance has me in such a state. It's a five-minute solo piece in front of an audience that, by and large, doesn't know the first thing about dance. Like at all. Most of them probably don't even know the stereotypes. Anything I do, whether technically correct or not, will be a novelty to them. They will honestly have no clue whether my dancing is good or bad other than from their own aesthetic perspective which I can't help anyway.

It's a solo. I can (theoretically) improvise if I forget or screw up, and nobody will have a clue. I don't even care about that. All the articles say that as long as you perform with confidence, you could make a thousand mistakes and people won't notice. And if there's one thing I've learnt at college, it's that. I would never have survived my voice finals (or my theatrical audition) if it wasn't for that. You just put on the mask. You lie. You smile and pretend it's all right.

So I guess tomorrow I'm going to church to lie.

I want instant gratification. I want to know in advance that I won't fall over in the balance in attitude devant. I want to know, right now, that I won't blank at the easiest part of the choreography. I want to know in advance I will actually have the physical strength to get through this. I want to know, now, that I won't bore the crap out of my audience with some kind of self-centered, self-serving, made-up crap for five irretrievable minutes of their lives. I want to respect my audience. And that means giving them something good to watch -- something well-prepared and well-executed and pregnant with meaning.

But on the other hand, we who claim to serve God also have to toss in that whole 'Soli Deo gloria' thing. Am I doing only for the glory of God? Or for the glory of God and the pleasure of man? And if it's the latter, does that not cheapen the glory of God? But then where does respecting the audience -- His creation -- come in?

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