False Expectations, Failure and Fish Rolls, by Laura Booth

I have a confession to make. I have four weeks left at northern and I still can’t do a fish roll. I keep joking about that but I have this gut wrenching feeling that I am a failure because of it.

I can’t seem to shake off this image of what a dancer is or has to be, even though it does not sit well with me and I know it’s not necessarily true. I am a dancer, but sometimes I don’t feel like one because I can’t yet do certain things. I am a dancer, but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m good enough to own that fact. I am a dancer, but sometimes I want to scream out that I am also so much more than just that and that what I do involves much more than can be seen.

I put this pressure on myself to become a perfect product by the end of third year that could do whatever was asked of me. But some of those things I have no interest in being or doing. I’ve realised that a boundary needs to be set, I want to offer what I can, when I can, to whom I can but aligned with my values.

I am unlikely to be performing in a work that is full of fish rolls and I’m unlikely to make work which is full of fish rolls and that’s okay, I’m totally okay with that. Some people will play that part in the industry, I will play mine. Both are just as valid and as needed, just because you cannot do something does not devalue everything else you have to offer.

Would I be a better dancer if I could do a fish roll? I don’t know. Maybe one day my values will shift and my goal will be to be able to do a fish roll. But for now there are other aspects of both life and dance which hold my priority and set my soul alight.

I’ve held for too long this false expectation that by the end of this year I had to be all I was ever going to be. But three years does not make a dancer. We don’t leave this building knowing everything we will ever need to know, but we leave them knowing what we need for now and that is enough.

Our learning will continue as we are ever evolving, there is no final product. Sometimes that can be hard to stomach, when we offer so much to our work yet more is waiting to be done, but I think that is also the beauty in all of this.

I think the beauty lies in the fact that we always have a chance to do something differently or try something new. I think the beauty lies in the fact that dance only exists within its own moment and not the moment before or the moment after. I think the beauty lies in the fact that none of us are the same, and because of that we are breaking down the expectation of what a dancer is. I think the beauty lies in owning exactly who you are and not apologizing for it. I think the beauty lies in dancing your own dance.

The ocean would not be what it is if every fish were to be the same.





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