What the hell are you afraid of?
That’s a question I have often asked myself when I got that callback to go in to dance and the first thing I see is one of those crazy limber dancers who could damn near fold themselves in a suitcase if they wanted to. That’s because I’m a mover. Now, through the years and occasional dance classes (including with our beloved Motivated Movers), I am completely comfortable calling myself a “strong mover” because I’m at the point now where I don’t have to spend mental energy asking myself that previous question. BUT, since I’m not in dance class all day every day, I will never be able to call myself a “dancer” when the question is asked… And you know what? I am completely cool with that!
The difference between me a couple years ago and now is that I no longer have a single ounce of fear when the music starts playing and it’s time for me to “dance”. Y’know the funny thing is that I have never once been afraid when a teacher or director told me that I needed to make a stronger acting or singing choice, but for some reason that never translated to choreography. For me, the change happened when I released the need to do the dance perfectly every time, and instead I chose to focus more on the need to be acting while I’m moving, even if I’m doing the wrong step. It’s the same as if you were only acting or singing in an audition — when you mess up, as long as you’re still activated and get back on track, they’ll often forgive you. Giving up and saying “I’m sorry” when you mess up a line is instantly a creative turn-off for everyone; so is messing up the dance step and losing all the confidence in your physicality and energy.
I’M A MOVER, behind the table they know it and I know it, but while that other guy over there just did some wildly flexible jump move, more often than not his motivation was dead as a doornail while doing it. I’ve realized it’s my job to make sure my face is active the entire time and I’m digging my legs as roots into the floor so I’m at minimum in control of where I’m going and how I’m getting there. So now, when the conversation between the creatives shifts away from who’s the best dancer in the room, and becomes who told the best story because we need an understudy or a swing who can dance well enough to be in the background and not get in the way but also activated enough to be a principal if need be, my confidence is my most valuable asset.
The other and most important thing I’ve released — the need to book the job. What I choose to need now, is to increase my consistency in everything I do. I try to bring the same level of energy and commitment every single time I perform, from practicing in a studio at Ripley Grier all the way to performing on stage. And to top it all off, I don’t do it for anyone but ME. I was at one of the Holla If Ya Hear Me callbacks last year and I saw this dancer ABSOLUTELY SLAY that dance in every way, both as a dancer and as an actor. When I went to see the show, his name was not even in the playbill. Seeing that further confirmed for me that we can only do what we do because it’s for us; even when you’re at your best, you still might not get hired.
And thus my power comes from me trying to be better for myself. Whatever happens beyond that is what happens. I’m an artist, I’m an actor/singer, and I’m a mover, and I intend to be the best I can be in all of those categories at any given moment in time. I’m always working to be better and know more than the day before.
So what the hell am I afraid of?… Not a damn thing.
See you at the dance call…
Kyle Carter | NYC Actor | Motivated Movers Alumni