One step at a time

Debbie Reynolds had never taken a dance class before she got the lead role in Singin’ in the Rain. When she landed the role, she had three months before they started shooting the movie.

Three months from nothing to this…

It’s amazing. But it’s not magic.

During the three months between being cast and the movie starting production, Reynolds rehearsed. She danced so much that her feet bled. Hours and hours and hours of in front of a mirror getting every movement just right.

When we see someone do something amazing, it’s easy to throw up our hands and say, “I can never do that!”

I used to believe I couldn’t dance. Then I went to college on a choir scholarship. It was a junior college and part of the choir program was a small show choir with about ten to twelve people. The choir director asked me to try out of the show choir, and I threw the audition.

When I got the call from the choir director telling me I hadn’t made the cut, he said, “It’s not a problem. You can keep your full scholarship by being the sound tech for the show choir.” My job was to sit in a chair and watch for cues to start and stop the music as they rehearsed their dance moves.

A few people were incredible and picked up the steps without any effort, while everyone else struggled. Over the course of a few weeks of rehearsal the people who struggled at first improved and eventually the entire show came together.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was leaps and bounds better than where the group started.

The next semester one of the guys in choir quit a few weeks before our first show. I’d been sitting in my chair watching everyone learn, and the choreographer looked at me and said, “Help me Shane Rice, you’re our only hope.”

Ok, no she didn’t quote Princess Leia, but she did ask me if I could take over for the guy who left.

Man, I was super nervous. I wasn’t a dancer. Then over the next three weeks, I spent all my free time in front of a mirror with the choir, and suddenly I was dancing.

It wasn’t magic. I started by learning the show in small parts with a super slow count. Once I had the small parts down, then it was time to string together those small steps into more complicated steps. The count was still slow, but once everything got chained together we slowly started speeding up. Then we added in the singing.

I was never perfect, but I was part of the show, and it was a blast.

Dancing might not be the thing you want to learn. If you want to do something amazing, it won’t be easy. You have to start with the little things. Learn those first steps, then put them together to the next steps, and then on to the next.

Maybe you’re like me, ready to run full speed to the end result without the hours of work to get to full speed. Take you more time. Start today and grow the skills you need to reach the next step.

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