Dancing with our “Inner Child”

My second season as a professional ballerina just came to a joyful close and I can’t help but reminisce on how much I have grown. I have been fortunate to dance major roles this year, including Giselle, Aurora, Cinderella, and Nikiya, and participated in international festivals and performances as a guest artist in four countries. As I think back to all of the challenges and triumphs that have taken place…I am filled with humble gratitude.

For the last production of the season I debuted as Kitri in “Don Quixote”. Through the weeks of preparation of exploring this role, I have discovered a lot about myself. A profound trait that surfaced is joy. I mean real joy. A joy that is infectious and life-changing. This has led me to discover about dancing with my “inner child” and not letting fear control my creativity.

Can you remember, a time,  as a child, when you were simply you? So authentically and unapologetically you? When you weren’t focused on outcomes or concerned with being accepted or driven by perfection or success? As a kid, I measured my success in levels of joy and the joy I brought to those around me by whatever I did- like dancing in my pink tutu all over the living room. This was a time when I fear didn’t making decisions and my heart lit up just by getting lost in a moment of doing something I loved to do.

As we grow as adults, our fear grows with us, stemming from past experiences or mistakes. There are also responsibilities and societal pressure that influence our decisions and add to our fear of making wrong choices. The more we know the more we are tempted to overthink and enter a state of paralysis by analysis. But gosh, this whole “letting-fear-drive-the-ship” thing is so overrated! We become blinded by our own pursuit of perfection and desperate to please everyone. We we become afraid of making mistakes, of failing, of being rejected. We become afraid of not being enough. The funny thing is, that most of our fears are just imagined scenarios of unfavorable outcomes that may or may not happen. We will inevitably find ourselves in these unpleasant circumstances. And what do we do? We overcome them and grow stronger from the experience.

So why do we even allow fear have so much power over us? Why don’t we let our brave, and often curious ”inner child” have a say? We strive, we excel, we seek higher standards for our work, we grow, we dream… and we should really drop the whole “being afraid” thing. We could start rekindling our inner child that knew only one thing-what made their heart smile. And whatever made their heart smile, they allowed to consume them with a joy so pure, it lights up an entire room. Imagine a joy like that!