During the stay at home orders… we’re all coping in different ways. Some of us didn’t want to dance for a little while as we sorted through our feels on what was going on, some of us dove into projects we’ve been putting off for a long time, some of us took over TikTok (sorry, I will not be joining that bandwagon…but I appreciate those of you who have!), and others of us have filmed every last thing we have done and shared it on Instagram. All coping mechanisms are valid coping mechanisms as long as they are safe, but I question if some of the ‘over-sharing’ going on is really a coping mechanism or just a want/need for attention and validation.
How do we, as artists, who go from having constant approval (or disapproval) in classrooms, rehearsals, and stages, find a happy balance of feeling adequate with the attention we are being given without posting content constantly? It’s a bizarre circumstance in some regards, and I share openly that I don’t think I know the "right" answer, I only know how I handle myself… for better and for worse. For me, especially right now, since most of the content that I share is usually generated in my #dancelife, I am posting less. My current day-to-day, as does many of yours, looks very different right now hunkered down in my NYC apartment, than it typically looks when I am running around Manhattan from studio to studio often teaching multiple classes per day and rehearsing with my dancers late into the night. This week, as I will be teaching again more regularly for Steps and BDC, I have been posting again because I have classes to share. Prior to this, I wasn’t posting very much, I did not have content that felt like it was contributing to anything other than my own desire for validation or attention, and I checked myself on it.
During this time especially, I think that before posting we should do a quick check-in with ourselves… ‘what is the goal of sharing this?’. Is it to add value to someone’s day? Is it to inspire them? Is it to motivate them? Is it to thank someone? Is it to provide something beautiful for someone to appreciate? Is it to educate? OR… Is it for validation? Is it attention-seeking? Is it to belittle? Having this small dialogue with ourselves can open the door for coming out of this crazy time a better human.
I hope, for myself, that I will come out of this more evolved; kinder, more compassionate and empathetic, a better communicator, and more purposeful. I think by asking ourselves questions like this and filtering out anything that doesn’t feel necessary, even regarding something that seems as simple as our social media, can lend itself to us being a more engaged community in the long run.
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