Dragon Staff Solo In Pai, Thailand – January 2018

I did something the other day that was completely and utterly impressive to myself and everyone around me.

I danced a solo with a dragon staff in front of about 300 people.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m going to explain my dance story to you.

I started dancing when I was three years old. I did ballet for about 8 years, then went more into other styles like jazz, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical and commercial. I also did competitive Irish dancing for about 12 years. Yes, Riverdance style.

Dancing was my thing. It’s all I ever wanted to do with my life. I never even dreamt about anything else other than being on a stage and expressing myself through movement. I always wanted to perform.

After I finished high school, I went into a full-time dance course which was 10 months of dancing for 5 hour a day. This was a hard year as I was bullied by people that had been there the year before (like many other people in their first year too) and it meant driving an hour each way to the studio every day. I was also very young and had my freedom, so I didn’t work as hard as I probably could have.

The following few years consisted of me working, travelling to central and South America, moving interstate with my boyfriend, Tom, and continuing to dance in-between everything.

When I moved back home to Melbourne I did another year of full time with the same teacher which was again really mentally exhausting. I found that my teacher would manipulate us every day by playing mind games. It was about him, not us. He wanted us to be good for his own benefit rather than the joy of sharing his knowledge and seeing his pupils succeed. He pitted us against each other rather than letting us bond. My passion for dance had been beaten out of me and I was actually convinced that I was a bad dancer for most of the year as I received very little praise for anything I did.

Not even two months after the end of my second year in full time, one of my dear friends, Lauren passed away suddenly, and this changed everything for me. It shook me to my core and nothing really mattered anymore. I didn’t want to be in the world where you’re measured by how much makeup you’re wearing and how little your outfit in an audition is, which you probably won’t get because you don’t know the director on a personal level. I was done. I didn’t take another dance class after that and I still haven’t, 4 years later.

I still dance sometimes. I go out to bars or clubs and groove around. At festivals, I really enjoy getting down, but that’s more social dancing, rather than performance dancing which I use to do for over 20 years of my life.

So last Sunday night, I was asked if I wanted to perform a solo to which I said yes. Opportunities present themselves at the right time and little did I know that this was exactly the right time.

I have only been playing with the dragon staff for about 2 or 3 weeks so I’m not very advanced, but why not, you know? Never try, never know.

I did my performance to Dissolve Me by Alt J – one of my favourite songs. I played with putting the prop down for moments and moving around it, something different that no one else really does.

I finally felt that I was able to dance! To let go without competition, without judgement and without having to worry about technique or a teacher screaming at me to point my toes. It was also the first time I’ve ever performed without makeup as well.

The following day I had strangers stop me in the street to tell me they thought I was amazing, twice! I felt like a small town celebrity.

This is something that I am so incredibly proud of; to get up and do something for the first time in a long time, to reignite my passion for movement and dance in the most perfect setting. And with fire as well!

I asked my dear friend Cassy to film it so you can watch my performance below.

This post gets a shout out to all my beautiful fire tribe for encouraging me to spread my wings and fly with fire. Also, Olive for inspiring me to pick up a dragon staff in the first place. 

My dear Mum too, for always taking me to dance classes, paying for them and sitting patiently whilst I would compete or perform. I know it won’t be great for your blood pressure; knowing that I’m now dancing with fire, but it’s fine. I only hours a little bit of my hair off from time to time. 

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