I always try to attend dance workshops whenever I can; they used to be the only source of formal teaching that I have for my passion. There’s a reason why they’re called workshops; you build something in there that you get to take home with you. And it changes the way you practice your craft.
One of my favorite crews ever, Quick Crew, came over to my part of the world to teach. I didn’t even think twice. I immediately signed up when I saw the promos on Twitter. Quick Crew is a three-member team from Norway. Their style is characterized by their fast and precise movements to beats and melodies most other dancers would never think of hitting.
As the energy began to wind down after almost two hours of the workshop, the Crew members began to share their experiences and advice for us budding dancers. They were not shy to share their knowledge; they dropped a lot of info that was worth more to me than gold. One of them, Nasir Sirikhan, said something that stuck with me ever since:
If you want to be a great dancer, you cannot live your life 100% dance. We are many things, we are sons, daughters, artists, Muslims, workers or leaders in addition to being dancers. The different things that you are is like a fire; stay too close or too long near one, you burn. Stray too far from the rest, they extinguish.
Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like An Artist, writes that if you have two or three passions, you don’t have to choose. Cutting off one passion can feel like chopping off a limb; you get phantom pains and you never truly feel whole.
We are many things in life, and it hurts ourselves to just focus on one thing too intensely or for too long. As Nasir said, it burns you. This narrative pops up everywhere; professional sports players often quit before they are successful due to intense training without proper payoff; university graduates lose their passion for the major that they choose when they start work because they’ve already exhausted themselves too much during their period of study; and successful execs quit their promising careers after sacrificing much of their time for work.
Treat each thing and passion that you have as a flame. Allow yourself to stray close to one flame only for a while; then retreat back before it burns you. Tend after the other ones. You’ll come back to it with a renewed state of mind, refreshed and reinvigorated, ready to do some great work.