Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I don't believe in fate

If you have this idea of me as a sophisticated woman of high-brow tastes, you should probably stop reading now because today's blog post was inspired by Dinosaur Comics and Cracked.com. But I promise, I'm going to talk about some deep, serious stuff!

I woke up today and as usual, I read through my web comics, and I thought today's Dinosaur Comics (shown above) was really funny and to the point. Then later I was reading The 5 Most Useless Pieces of Advice Everyone Gives and I was nodding right along with it when I read this really poignant quote near the end: "But as far as I can tell, success is heavily based on luck -- it's just that long hours earn you more chances to get lucky. The more stuff you do, the more people you meet and impress, the more chances for opportunity to come your way."

It's strange when great life advice comes from an internet humor site, but there you have it. So often in artistic fields like dance, writing and music you'll hear people grumbling about how it's all about who you know, or being in the right place at the right time... but here's the thing. Everyone has the chance to meet the right people, or be in the right place. And the harder you work, the more chances you have.

I don't believe in fate. I don't believe that when I am ready to start dancing professionally, the perfect gigs will just land in my lap. I believe that sometimes, things will fall together perfectly, and other times I'll work really hard to chase something only to have it end in disaster, and most of the time, things will fall somewhere in between. Everything that has happened to me so far has lead me to feel that way. A few examples:

-Living in Tucson doesn't afford me as many great dance opportunities as some larger cities with a more vibrant community would have, but I did luck out by having two good years of study with Jolie Roberson right when I was ready to really dig deeper into my dance, and she helped me with a lot of my dance problems and has given me the tools to keep growing as a dancer.
-I've also had the opportunity to dance with a great troupe, which has helped me to learn how to work well with others, how to learn choreography, how to work within costuming guidelines, and so much more. Plus I've made some lovely friends.
-But I've also been in some troupes that didn't work out for me at all, and while some might chalk it up as a "learning experience", sometimes I think it would be nice to have put that time and money into something else. The same can be said of some classes and workshops I've taken.
-I've had people offer me performance opportunities that I had to refer to other dancers because I wasn't ready for them yet.
-I've had performance opportunities that seemed like they were going to be awesome, only to have them completely dry up or turn out to not be very good at all.

So all of this, along with things in my personal life and my general outlook on life, has lead me to feel that things don't happen for a reason, they just happen and we can decide how to react to them and what to do about them.

And so what about the correlation between luck and work? Well, I've already seen that "luck" sometimes brings dance opportunities that your way, whether you're ready for them or not. The harder you work at dance, the more likely you are to be able to say "Yes, I am ready to dance at this high-profile event and serve as an awesome example of my local bellydance community." 

But it's not just about training hard. It's about attending classes, workshops, and shows and making a good impression on the other people there. It's about attending non-bellydance art events around town and forging connections in your local art and entertainment scene. It's about being pleasant and outgoing in your community as a whole, so that when that local business owner finds out you're a bellydancer, they hire you for their big customer appreciation party. It's about networking on-line with your fellow dancers, so that when you decide to go on a cross-country bellydance jaunt, your internet friends invite you to teach and perform in their town. It's about building a good website, blog, Facebook page, what have you so that potential clients can find you with a Google search and see what a professional presence you have on-line.

The more you put yourself out there, the more chances you have to know the right people, or to be in the right place at the right time (keeping in mind that sometimes a "place" isn't a physical location, but a Dance Opportunities FB group or a high ranking on Google). If you just sit back and wait for fate to drop something in your lap, you're probably going to start second-guessing whether the universe wants you to dance. But the universe doesn't care, so don't let it control your life. If you want to be a dancer, or a writer, or a stand-up comedian, or whatever, go out there and do the work!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading, please feel free to ask questions, post encouragement, make jokes, and otherwise be a part of my blog!