Self-Inflicted Pressure Makes Creativity Run for the HIlls


I feel comfortable saying that I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve certainly devoted countless hours to practicing, learning, teaching, researching, critiquing, writing, choreographing, improvising, etc. One would think I’d have learned the fundamental truth that self-inflicted pressure to come up with a “perfect” performance does not work. What in the world have I been doing to myself lately? Logical Tava is slapping her own wrist saying “You know you’d rather watch an honest performance than a so-called ‘perfect’ performance. Snap out of it!” Artistic and sensitive Tava is saying, “I have an opportunity to share my passion with a new audience in a show featuring some amazing talent. I HAVE to be my absolute best. Do NOT ‘wing it’ this time!”

Last night while lying on the studio floor in a pool of exhaustion and, I’ll be honest, some tears, I was feeling some self-doubt. I put unbelievable amounts pressure on myself to create new veil shapes, incredible transitions and gravity defying lines. I wanted a piece full of material that was inspired — but I could literally feel my inspiration running for the hills. I wound up tangled in my favorite prop and muttering obscenities while my joints began to throb. I took a look at my reflection and thought, “What happened? This isn’t me at all.”

I woke up this morning and decided to forgive myself. I heard advise from friends and took it to heart. The Tava who dances from the heart does not beat herself up with impossible expectations. She “allows” the movements to happen and doesn’t force them. As a dancer, I respond to self nourishment better than self-inflicted pressure. That’s not to say I won’t ask for honest feedback or a critique from someone I trust, but forcing the best show ever is a great way to wind up exhausted and depleted. I always work hard and try to improve but, let’s face it, I don’t need to invent some sort of new veil language to deliver a worthy show. What I need is to revise my process so I can avoid these nasty fits of self-doubt. Ironically, I have done this for other dancers but sometimes our own advice is the hardest to take.

So, I give up. I surrender.

I’m going to “wing it” after all. But I’m armed with 15 years of dedication and a sincere love of music which has gotten me this far.  All I can do is be me. _DSC0391-3127889052-W

2 thoughts on “Self-Inflicted Pressure Makes Creativity Run for the HIlls

  1. Tava, I’m laughing because I see myself so much in this post. Up to and including the obscenity-muttering. It took me a while to understand that going through this whole process is what makes my “winging it” reach new heights. 🙂

    • So well put Aslahan!! This tortuous process does indeed help us reach new heights. I guess that’s the silver lining. But I won’t *really* be able to quiet that nagging voice until Saturday night after the show when I’m still standing and (knocks wood) haven’t wound up in a tangled mess muttering obscenities. Thanks for the awesome comment.

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