Archive | September, 2007

Dancing (Awkwardly) With the Stars: A Brand-New Beginner Takes the Stage

24 Sep

Hey there! Well, I’ve been away from blogging for a few months but I’m back, and yes, it is my other favorite dance-reality show that has brought me back: Dancing With the Stars, which premiered tonight as part of ABC Premiere Week.

One of my initial thoughts about this season (after: I can’t believe Beverly Hills 90201 was half my lifetime ago! It seems like just yesterday I was at my BFF Kate’s house eating Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream and pondering the age-old question – “Who’s cuter – Dylan or Brandon?”) popped into my head while Josie Maran was receiving a scathing critique from the judges. She was smiling in that multi-purpose way, when a smile is used to cover up other, un-happy emotions, and I swear I thought I saw her gulp down some tears. The judges told her, among other things, that she was “out of her element.” Curious, I looked up her element in her bio, and it turns out that it is: supermodel/actress/entrepreneur/activist and new mom. Hmmm. Seems like quite a big element to me. And these are the things that she is good – probably even exceptional – at.

This leads me to one of the reasons that I like (love) this show – it takes people who have achieved some level of success in a various area(s), rips them out of their element, and then plunks them smack-down into a new element, where Olympic athletes and Indianapolis 500 champions and supermodel/actress/entrepreneur/activist/new moms must be, once again, brand-new beginners.

While Josie was gracefully taking her critique, even though she had been less than graceful on the dance floor, I wondered, “Why would she put herself through this? She has already proven herself in a ton of highly competitive and/or challenging realms, why would she subject herself to being such an awkward beginner? Like, in front of people???”

Well, some things are worth busting out of your comfort zone for, and in her pre-dance video package, Josie stated that she went on this show to fulfill her lifelong dream of “being a rockstar without the singing.” I admire her for following her passion even when it took her away from proven success and back to the beginning, and for attempting something so new, so imperfectly in a very public arena.

This awkward, imperfect, new beginner phase is one that most of us would rather skip. However, trying to avoid it is what can keep us trapped in the familiar ruts of things that we are already good at, but that may no longer challenge, serve, and/or inspire us, when our potential is really so much greater.

For instance, I love to write. And there are certain forms that I feel comfortable and confident writing, such as plays, and blogging. I know how to do it, and I have gotten positive feedback to reinforce this. There are other forms that I am totally unfamiliar with, but would like to explore. However, to do this, I have to be willing to be…bad. I have to be willing to take critique, and it might be harsh. I have to be willing to fail. I have to be willing to not know. This is, unfortunately, the only way to learn something new, and to (gulp!) grow.  Reminiscent of that other fine ABC program of years past, Growing Pains…

I am not a person who likes not knowing, who enjoys being awkward and imperfect and mistake-ridden. But tonight on Dancing With the Stars Josie Maran reminded me that if I want to “be a rockstar without singing,” I have to be willing to streeeettttttttttch and 5-6-7-8 Dance! outside of my comfort zone by being a teetering, awkward, messy, imperfect, uncomfortable beginner. Ick.

While me trying something new doesn’t involve Cha-Cha-Cha-ing in front of millions, it is never fun to fail in front of small groups either, or even in front of a crowd of one.  However, Josie Maran’s awkward, botched Foxtrot gave me a little kick of inspiration to step out into a new element myself.  And maybe if Josie keeps it up, she will be able to add dancer to the end of her already impressive title and be a supermodel/actress/entrepreneur/activist/new mom/dancer.  And if I keep it up, who knows what I can become.  As Thomas Edison, one who was on intimate terms with failure (he had over 10,000 of them), said, “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

This month, give it a whirl and astound yourself!

Other random Dancing thoughts, in no particular order:

1) It’s so great to see Mel B. on the scene – I wanted to BE Scary Spice in 1997. Click herefor a reminder of why the Spice Girls were the coolest evah, circa 1996 (“Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want…”) or here for a heart-felt ballad (“Set your spirit free, it’s the only way to be…”).

2) Jane Seymour is the oldest woman to ever be on Dancing With the Stars at 56 and she rocks!!!  I saw an interview with her on Access Hollywood (Yes, I watch this.  Rarely, but I do) where she said she had thought about getting plastic surgery prior to going on Dancing but then she decided to be honest about what a 56-year-old woman looks like.  Hooooorayyyyyyyy!  She looks gorgeous and is a fantastic dancer and she rocks like, SO MUCH!

3a) What’s a Cheetah Girl, and

3b) Did you notice Sabrina Bryan used some form of the word “Cheetah” as an adjective, and a verb, and maybe even an adverb? Kinda like the idea behind “Smurfalicious.”

AND, as a sidenote, The Bachelor premiered tonight, and ABC is touting this season’s Bachelor, Brad Womack, as “the sexiest/best looking Bachelor yet/ever (depending on the promo).” So much to absorb in one night…

Enjoy Premiere Week!



I’d love to hear from you! What did you think of tonight’s Dancing? Do you have something new you want to branch out and try but you’re afraid of being an awkward beginner? And who’s cuter – Dylan or Brandon?

Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer Garam. All rights reserved.