Trust is a strange thing in dance. We put a lot of trust out there without a second thought. We are trusting ourselves to do a good physical job. We are trusting other dancers to not injure us. We are trusting an audience to not condemn our work. We are trusting our reputation and bodies to choreographers. We are trusting media to kindly critique so that our public relations stay positive.
When I step on the stage, I am putting trust in myself. There is no opportunity to back out as I have made a commitment to my audience, myself, my co-dancers, my co-creators, and artistic directors. Even if I am feeling a lack of preparedness, I have to trust myself that it will all come together. I have to trust that my training will have my back should I fail to recall something. I have to trust that my body is intelligent enough to stay within the theme of the choreography should I mis-step and have to improvise until I rejoin it. I have to trust that I am in adequate physical shape to pull off the endeavor I am about to present.
When I step on stage, I am putting trust in the observer. I am trusting that they will respect my work enough to stay and watch. I am trusting them to keep my pathway on the stage clear. I am trusting they will cheer me on when I am high and cry with me when I am low. I am trusting them to give feedback that will help me grow in my art. I am trusting them to judge my body and art kindly. I am trusting that they will respect me enough to not thieve my work. I am trusting that something in me will inspire and move something in them. Does this happen every time? Of course not, but in opening my soul to them, I am putting a lot of trust in the observers.
When I am working with partners, I am entrusting them with my career. Dancing is not a safe activity. This is especially true when you have multiple dancers in a confined space giving it their all in their own way. I have to trust that they will be present enough not to clobber me as we are working. I have to trust that a partner will not use too much force when partnering me so that no bodily injury harm or dislocation happens. I have to trust that if a partner is feeling anger, vengeance, or annoyance towards me, that they will not physically lash out and do me harm. I have to trust that they will share the stage in an artistic work and let me shine when I am due and I will do the same for them. I truly am trusting them with my career.
Trust is a word that encompasses so much of my dancing. Outside of dance, I often force myself to trust even when my gut says not to do so. I tend to give trust because I feel it sometimes a societal obligation – not many things make me feel obliged but this. Whenever I dance, my soul is exposed and vulnerable. This is part of the beauty of dance and is a privilege to be able to do so daily. Be mindful of the trust you give in your dancing and see if it changes your perspective on your co-dancers and your interactions.