I am happy to present a guest post by my friend, author and coach, Jenny Griffin, speaking on subjects close to my heart, dance and people. I hope you enjoy her observations about the UK equivalent of the US’s Dancing With the Stars as much as I did!
And now… here’s Jenny…
It’s autumn here in the UK, and that means rain, falling leaves and Strictly Come Dancing.
If you don’t know what the last one is, it’s a reality tv dance competition. It involves celebrities partnered with professional dancers who learn new dances each week and are judged, both by the public and by a panel of dance experts.
I’m a sucker for it.
I cry almost every week, moved either by a performance or by something someone says. I’m moved by the intimacy that builds between the partners and the trust that comes along with that. I’m moved by the passion they express through their performances and the way they surrender to the experience. I’m moved by how genuinely these strangers come to care for one another through the act of dancing together.
I was thinking about this last weekend as I watched, and what a beautiful lesson it is for all of us. How often every day do we allow ourselves to surrender to something that frightens us? How often do we place our bodies and our safety in the hands of someone we’ve only recently met? How often do we take on difficult manoeuvres that potentially lead to public failure or even humiliation?
Each celebrity is well-known for something different, and potentially has a reputation at stake. It’s fascinating to watch as newsreaders compete against sports stars, musicians and actors. Each comes to the competition with the same advantages and disadvantages, all relative novices to dancing, and they are all there to compete.
Every time they step on the stage, they have to surrender who they are to become whatever character the dance requires. They have to forget they’ve built their lives on being serious or intellectual or powerful and allow themselves to face the challenge of the dance. They have to give themselves over to the experience and forget what it could mean if they fall or fail or trip.
I wondered to myself if anyone has an advantage.
Perhaps the musicians, with their comfort around music, attuned to the timing and rhythm? Perhaps the actors and actresses, who are used to morphing into different characters each week and embracing a role with gusto? Perhaps the athletes, with their high levels of fitness and stamina?
In the end, it seems all are equally vulnerable. That’s what makes it work so well. The audience feels part of that letting down of the guards that normally protect these people in their chosen professions. It’s a beautiful crossing of lines and blurring of boundaries that enhances the humanness of the experience.
I’m moved as those celebrities who may feel discomfort around being touched or held by anyone other than friends or family, surrender to the extremely close contact and sensuality of some of the dances. I’m moved by the way those not used to showing their bodies display them boldly in costumes designed to move with the flow and expose different body parts.
I love that the trust runs both ways. The professionals design the routines based on the trust they have for their partners’ abilities to perform them. The female professionals have to teach their male partners lifts and then surrender to their trust of them during the performance.
And then there’s the judging. Already in the public eye and used to scrutiny of their behaviour and lives, it doesn’t make it easier to hear the sometimes harsh comments. Of course, it IS a competition, and there is a certain expectation of weekly improvement in performance and technique. It still takes courage to stand and face the judges after so openly exposing yourself to such vulnerability.
The show seems to have a way of marrying different aspects of the human experience that brings joy to so many. It opens up opportunities for us to see more of people who’ve built their lives and careers on one way of being. It introduces us to the joy and passion of dancing through the eyes of people who may not have felt that connection to it before. And it exposes us to a whole new way of seeing life – through the metaphor that is reality tv.
Like I said, I’m a sucker for it.
About Jenny Griffin: I call myself The Catharsis Coach because it’s easier to remember than ‘intuitive mentor/holder-of-space with a special passion for post-transformation rebuilding.’ What I’m really good at is uncovering the blocks you’ve hidden from yourself, and helping you to find new perspectives and solutions. I love to help others discover possibility and potential where they hadn’t thought to look. I’d love to connect with you further:
Say hi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/catharsiscoach
or on Facebook: https://facebook.com/thepowerofchange.me or drop by my blog to see more about me and what I do: http://thepowerofchange.me/what-is-the-power-of-change-3/
Your host, Reba Linker, is a master teacher, bestselling author, and life coach, ready to lead you on the path of self-love to a happier and more fulfilling way of life.
Tired of trying to overcome obstacles and inner critics on your own? Then join Reba’s free Facebook group, Leaders in Self-Love, and join the self-love revolution!
Be sure to pick up your free copy of Chapter 1 of Reba’s Kindle bestseller, Imagine Self-Love!