Fake it ’til you make it….

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Well, kind of….

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the many valuable skills children learn through dance classes. That statement, while cliche, has a lot of truth in it when it comes to dance (and life). I always tell my students to avoid telling me with their faces that they have made mistakes. As an audience member, if you don’t tell me you’ve messed up, chances are, I’ll never know. More than that, if you really perform, with confidence, as if you are the best dancer in the world, chances are people will believe that you are.

So there is the truth of the statement, but the flip side of that argument is injury and poor form. I follow lots of young dancers on instagram, many of them very talented and skilled dancers, many of them with tens of thousands of followers who follow them because they post their pictures and videos with confidence and ostentation, showing off their skills (or at least their flexibility or strength). But in many cases it is that innate flexibility or strength that they are actually demonstrating, rather than their proper form and flawless technique. And ultimately faking it, or going beyond what they are actually capable of doing with proper technique and form, is going to injure them in the long run and devalues the real skill necessary to properly execute particular moves.

So I think the lesson that dance teaches, for a dancer receiving quality training, is to perform with confidence and assuredness, while working toward perfection within a particular form. And there is a good lesson for life — don’t fake it ’til you make it, but don’t let people know how hard you are working or when you mess up.

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