On Saturday, as my brain was absorbing all the info from the weekend and I was watching the show, a part of me was wondering why I perform when, really, I still have so much to learn. I quickly quieted that part (the stupid Censor/negative voice) but I figured that it was actually a great topic for a blog.
I have a bunch of students who are interested in performing and the #1 comment that they retort when I tell them to just start doing it is that they feel that they are not ready. But I know these ladies. They are ready to perform. Will it be the best performance that anyone has ever seen? Of course, not. It would be their first performance. But are they ready to take that first step? Absolutely.
The truth is that you will ALWAYS have something to learn. You could ALWAYS do something better.
Nothing you do will EVER be perfect. It can get close to perfection. But I believe that perfection is never fully achieved. I have seen countless big names in belly dance backstage and, while their performances can achieve something that we perceive as perfection, I can tell you that all of them always have a little something that they wish that they had done better/differently.
So, with that said, if you wait for being perfect before hopping on the stage, you will never hop on that stage.
Moreover, performing is a skill just like technique. And there is absolutely no substitute for actually doing it. So while you may get ready as much as you want in your living room or dance studio, it's not the same as performing in front of an audience. It takes multiple times of doing it to get the hang of it, to understand what works well, what doesn't, what you need to do (or not do) to get in that performance mode, etc. Again, you can read about it, you can think about it but it will never be the same as doing it. And, just like it takes time drilling moves so that they become ingrained in your body, it takes time performing to become a good performer.
So, I'm imploring you to quiet that part of you that is making you think that you are not ready to perform: you most likely are. And, importantly, you will always be a work in progress, whichever level you're at, so you may as well improve your performing skills as you're improving other aspects of your dance. Just go out there and do your thing!