I’ve finally received confirmation on what I have to do when I test out. As a student, I have to do a solo demonstration and dance with Tommy to show off my following. In addition, there are two school figures per dance that I have to memorize. Tommy was slightly confused because he thought the solo demonstration was for teachers only. Teachers have to memorize both the man and woman’s part, and know all the variations that come with the school figures.
It was in the context of studying for my “test” that Tommy made a statement that struck me. I was showing him how to do a flare promenade for tango and wasn’t as sharp as I could be. He called me out on my timidity saying, “Show me the real Alaina. Don’t show me the other Alaina.” My first thought was, “Wait, how do you know the real me anyway?” I was genuinely surprised. I think teachers are in the best position to know who their students are really supposed to be. How one studies and how one expresses oneself gives them an idea of who one is. So, the questions I’ve been trying to figure out since then are: “Who is the ‘real’ me?” and “Who is the ‘other’ me?”
To start with the second one, I think the “other” me is the mask I wear. I wish I had more confidence, but it’s just something I need to work on. It can be easy for me to develop that weakness into an inferiority complex. This can turn into a, dare I say, victimizing attitude. That’s why I can be timid when I dance. Instead of owning the floor, I kind of shuffle it. Do you understand what I’m saying? As my theater teacher used to say, “If you’re gonna screw up, screw up big.” But, the other me is so afraid of messing up that I’d rather just be safe. Of course, nothing magical happens when I’m in my safety net. If I stay “small”, how am I going to improve?
So who is the “real Alaina”? I think she’s the me that I strive to be. I don’t think I’m ever going to be perfect in this life, so she won’t. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t confident or bold. That doesn’t mean that she can’t act flirty. That doesn’t mean that she can’t be vulnerable. The real me drives the floor and dances with power. If the real me screws up, so what? She’s only human. Even if the real me is scared, she pushes it down and goes for it harder. Part of my life journey is uncovering the real me. And if I can uncover the real me when I dance, it’ll be a great start.