Early on you learn the importance of the stretch, before you go into class or perform. Taking those moments at the beginning to warm up, wake up your muscles so you can bend and move with ease. There are always the dancers that don’t take the time needed and they end up with pulled muscles, torn ligaments and a special seat on the side to watch class for 6 weeks. You would think that would be enough to learn why we stretch, push ourselves to become more flexible. Stretching pushes your limits, its uncomfortable and even feels painful at times. The only way to grow is to stretch, and the only way to know you are stretching is to reach those moments of discomfort.
I had the same job with one company for 13 years. Talk about a place of comfort. You know what is expected, know where you play well, know what you can and can’t get away with. You even lose sight of what your true strengths and weaknesses are. I didn’t really want to leave my job for all those reasons. I had small children and learning a new role, a new brand, a new work force sounded overwhelming and hard. What if after all that work, I was actually happy in my cozy comfort zone? For a million reasons it was time for me to look at moving companies. I started interviewing, talk about stretching, I had to get out of my comfort zone on calls, interviews in person and it quickly taught me a few things. When you interview and do things that feel hard you also feel accomplished. It gives you value, and confidence. You learn to speak or even see yourself and it reminds you of what you bring to the table. You remember your weaknesses and how you need to push yourself. I did move into new roles, new companies and have never been happier. What if I had never been willing to make those stretches?
A couple year ago I found myself in a ballet rut. I taught dance for years and never claimed to be a prima, it was more of a side love passion. A few situations made what I had to offer feel questioned. My teaching started to feel hard and cumbersome. Instead of walking into my very favorite place and sharing my light, my ballerina vibe, I felt awful and thought maybe someone else would have more to offer. It was such a huge love, and my heart felt a little broken. It had always been my safe spot. I started taking class again, and I remembered why I loved ballet so much. I was reminded that I actually did know what I was talking about. I took class anytime I traveled in LA, New York, at Joffrey in Chicago and BalletMet in Columbus and it stretched me. I stretched myself as a student, a dancer, a teacher and a choreographer. What if I had given in, given up? What if I had not chosen to move past how I was feeling, my comfort zone and not taken class? I could have very well given up my greatest love.
Each of those moments have taken me to a place where I felt unsure and those are the moments I found Kelli. I found what I have and where I fit.
I have never stretched more as a, mom, employee, leader or dancer as I have in the past year. I made myself a promise to always take the interview, regardless how happy I am. To take the class even if it’s too hard or I’m feeling too old, to jump in on the project or go on the date. It will push you, stretch you and give you confidence, it will make you more, it will make you stronger or it may just help you find who you always were and the parts of you – you may have forgotten.
When someone tells me they are doing something uncomfortable, I always say good! I wouldn’t want you to be in a place of normal, or easy, or routine. Stretch yourself to grow beyond your limits. Be more then yesterday, or the day before or even today. If you want to leap and soar with ease, if you want to spin for days without losing a moment of focus you have to stretch yourself.
Stretch in every direction and grow to be the person you are destined to be in and out of the dance classroom… Love ya so much K