Why did I agree to do this?
My mouth had run dry. Not a sign of spit anywhere. I was completely dizzy sitting in the corner of the ball room next to the other dancers. For weeks, I had rehearsed this dance with my partner Cara Cooper, but for some reason, now I was a drawing a nauseating blank. Restless leg syndrome would be a kind way of describing my lower extremities. Pale with shades of green, on the verge of throwing up, might be more accurate. There were a total of 6 dance routines between partners, we had drawn the 3rd slot, which seemed advantageous earlier in the night. Let two others dancing duo’s go up on stage and get things warmed up before we shocked them with our rendition of “free-style” dancing to a song from Pitbull. After all, it was a crowd full of people supporting the Colorado Ballet. The only time they’d heard of "Pitbull", might have been on the 10 O’clock news for biting a neighbor’s leg. This was no place for a Rap song, and certainly the wrong time for me to be having a full blown anxiety attack.
So there I was, in front of 250 people, standing with Cara on stage waiting for the music to start. I know pressure. I practically live in front of the camera, but this was different. If you screw up on television, you fall back on instinct and roll with it as a natural progression of conversation. Being “real” on T.V. is allowing yourself to be seen and heard as you are. There is something refreshing about relating to a story-teller. You want your audience to feel your passion, the anger and emotion and if somewhere along the way you stumble, you pick yourself up and continue. When you are dancing, if you fall, you flop. Hard. Everyone in the room feels your embarrassing pain, your overwhelming sense of humiliation. You don’t just pop up and continue, you pull yourself off the stage, and peel your way under the chairs like a tired old slug and grab the first cab that will help you off the cement.
I took one deep breath, smiled and let it rip.
As it turned out, the dance was perfect. We nailed it. The people spoke with their pocket books and Cara and I raised almost $16,000 with our formidable moves and playful style. We won the contest by raising the most money and as I said to her after the fact, “We had the most fun…and it showed.”
Was I overwhelmed by the moment? Maybe. Did it work out? Sure, I guess. At the end of the night, I was proud of what we did for one reason, we didn’t back down. We accepted the fact that failure was an option, it always is when you take risks, but I’d rather fail, than never try at all.
I’ll be back next year.