This is my confession.
Last month I had the honor of accompanying a friend as she was overseeing a professional dance workshop. I usually attend this workshop as a dancer but my funds were still a little low from New York a few months before; so I simply went as an extra set of eyes, ears, hands, and feet for her and a chance to help behind the scenes. This workshop is amazing and over the years I have learned a lot from performance, musicality, costuming/appearance, media, and of course some awesome dance routines. The dancers that are there are the type of girls that you see on television and say “Wow I want to dance like her!”, or “I want to look like her!”.
So after all these years of attending I realized I’m a thief. I go to this place see great outfits and start wearing them here in San Antonio. I spot that one girl in the routine and I try to mimic that thing that makes her stand out in a class of 20 other great dancers. I hear a great song that hasn’t made it to San Antonio yet and I use it when teaching my dance classes. I see a hot new dance move and I might use it in one of my routines. But in the end don’t we all do that? We see what our favorite celebrity is wearing and go out to find something similar. The public seeks out what the next “cool” thing, and jumps on the trend as fast as they can so they can be the first. This happens with everything from fashion, music, and technology.
I once heard that with dance a great idea is thought of and then shared amongst a room of thieves. This was not said with any anger or frustration but rather with a smile. I believe imitation really is the most sincerest form of flattery. And it’s always interesting to see how someone uses something of yours and puts their personal twist on it. I never understood why people would get offended by someone using a dance move. As long as the person does it properly, such as ask the person if you can use it, and if you can’t do that at least remember to give them credit. It amazes me how quick people will give credit to a store (example: “yeah girl, I bought this shirt at Forever 21”), but they won’t admit that they borrowed a dance move from someone else. There is no shame in that. The shame should be in knowingly not giving the person credit.
I have now attended this workshop for 11 years, since it began in 2000. During this time I have finally realized I am one of those dancers I admire. I go in dressed in my own style, make connections with other dancers and choreographers, and not afraid to put my dancing out there and stand out. I’m not saying that I’m the best in the world, but after years of studying, observing, and taking numerous dance classes I know I can hold my own.