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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Bucket List Fri Jan 27 2012

My Chicago Bucket List: A Dance Experiment

Previous Entry: Surviving and Thriving at Singles Events in Chicago
Next Entry: 4 AM at the Green Mill

Bucket List Number 7: Dance even though 700 people are watching

For the next three months I'm participating in DE3, Dance Experiment Three, or, as I explained to my mom, I'm going to be in Glee minus the singing and scandalous teen sex. It's Glee for Grownups: 20 amateur Chicago dancers who think rekindling high school show choir drama and trauma is a good idea.

And the craziest part is it all culminates on April 28th at the Park West for a Kesha-inspired performance in front of 750 people. I will be body rolling my winter rolls for 750 strangers. The Improv Experiment team will also be joining us on stage, to make one gigantic group known as Fear Experiment.

I know crazy. This probably explains it better.


Photo courtesey of the magnificient Rich Chapman

As weird as it is to explain to people what I'm doing, it is even more difficult to explain why I'm doing it. It is simplest to say it the end of one resolution and the beginning of another.

2011 was the Year of Courage; the year I said yes to online dating, kickball teams, road trips to Tennessee, GREs, living alone, cutting my hair off. At the end of 2011, I signed up for this adventure, dancing in front of strangers without jager bombs.

And here is where 2012 takes over; 2012 is the Year of Patience. The year I laugh at myself more, allow myself more missteps, and, no matter what, just keep jiving.

It has been an unfortunate trend in my life that I am my own harshest critic. Like the core of all of my insecurities, I'm pretty sure my need for constant validation and approval comes from middle school, that putrid concrete mess of insecurity and shame. More exactly I can pinpoint the start of my insecurities to not being selected for my 7th grade show choir despite the fact that I rocked Aladdin's "A Whole New World" out of Edison's choir room.

And here I am, over a decade later, afraid to dance in public because I look like, well like a 7th grader at a sock hop.

It is a very real fear; so real it induced an anxiety-ridden nightmare before my first dance class. In my state of terror, I dreamed I missed a class, didn't know the routine and suddenly had to perform a month early. Of course the audience was filled with laughing middle schoolers wearing Tommy Hilfiger T-shirts circa 1998.

But part of the brilliance of the Dance/Fear Experiment is it allows you to say out loud that you are terrified; it is a freedom we don't often allow ourselves. Saying you are terrified and having others nod along in similar recognition of paralyzing fear, creates this awesome synergy of humanity. We are all terrified in life, but there is something about saying it out loud that makes it okay and even maybe really great to be afraid of something.

Ironically saying you are terrified out loud suddenly makes the thing you are terrified of seem more manageable, more real and you feel less like life is an audition with an audience filled with judgmental preteens.

And if you still need convincing that this experiment is awesome, check out my inspiration: Aunt Carol dancing to Usher.

Imagine Aunt Carol plus 19 others and a few more body rolls and you got yourself a Fear Experiment!

Who's up for helping me check off Number 4? Chicken and porn anyone?

Join me on Feb 13th at Evil Olive as I check number four off my Bucket List and kick off Valentines Day 2012! Join the Facebook event!

Previous Entry: Surviving and Thriving at Singles Events in Chicago
Next Entry: 4 AM at the Green Mill

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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