I love dancing. Always have. I put on tap shoes nearly every morning and dance - often in the dark - before my day gets going. I feel invigorated and vital and, every once in a while, sublime.
But I hate performing. This may surprise my parents who had to endure my earnest pirouettes while I said "watch me!" before I became the torturedly self-conscious creature I was from kindergarten to.. well... my 30s.
Last month I had to give the most intimidating speech of my life but what really completely unglued me was the yearly recital concert two weeks later. It's not that I dance so terribly, but that the stage fright vacuums any pleasure from it. Dread was my constant companion for weeks. I stopped loving to dance. I don't tell my family or friends where the performances are - I couldn't bear for them to worry about my worrying.
I'm proud of myself for pushing my boundaries for the past few years and performing with my class. They're wonderful dancers who love performing. But I realize that for me, dance is not a performing art. As I took off my taps that day I knew it was the last time on stage. Just because something scares me doesn't mean I HAVE to do it to prove I'm brave.
I'll still go to class, and I'll still dance, but I'm going back to loving it.