fcdc Blog: Lessons Learned from Tables Turned, by Samantha Nielsen

It’s a strange and rare occurrence to sit in the audience, about to watch your own dance company perform. But four weeks ago that’s exactly where I found myself, squirming uncomfortably in the third row of the Levy Dance Salon, where for change dance collective had been invited to perform along with many other seasoned artists. I felt as though I didn’t know exactly what to do with myself, out of place on the wrong side of the stage. I was jealous of the performers that got to share their passion in front of all of us, and I was feeling left out seeing all of my good friends and fellow company members getting ready to perform. 

The circumstances in which I found myself in the third row also caused me to fall even deeper into my pity party. I had recently dealt with some health issues and spent the week prior in and out of emergency rooms and urgent cares, both abroad and in the US. As in all stressful or emotional situations in my life, dance was what I wanted and needed to turn to, but that was the one thing I felt unable to do in that moment. Don’t worry though, as in all good stories, there is a happy ending.

It was just a few minutes into sitting in that third row, and witnessing people sharing their craft, their emotions and their passion that I was able to find that dance therapy that I so needed. I was reminded of a lesson that I’ve learned over and over again, that dance can be a healer and a catharsis for anyone touched by it, whether it be the performer, the choreographer or the viewer. I realized I was lucky to be able to watch people I love doing what they love. It reiterated to me what for change dance collective as a company is all about. We’ve always existed under the belief that dance can create and inspire change in a community. And I got to witness that first hand, and felt the change come over me, as an audience member.

This experience completely re-sparked my passion and dedication to what fcdc is doing. Our rehearsal process is also the perfect platform to explore my new found inspiration, allowing everyone a chance to be heard and to express themselves in the dance. We focus on the principle that everyone can and should bring something of their own to what we’re creating, to ultimately be able to dance it and feel it as their own truth. I’m loving creating dance, knowing that people could watch something I’ve contributed to and genuinely feel something in themselves.

Sometimes you need to take a step back, or sit in the audience, to be reminded of the power of what you love. This was a feeling I got to bask in fully during our latest performance at Works in the Works just last weekend. The beauty of this performance series is that you’re seeing pieces in various stages of creation and completion. There is a feedback session at the end where you can hear people’s thoughts on your piece and give your thoughts on theirs. This was my third year performing with fcdc in this show, but no one year is like the last. This year I got to bring with me a whole new set of insights, experiences and outlooks. I loved getting to actually hear exactly in what way our dance moved the people watching it. I got to hear about the power our ten minutes of art had on someone, how we were a part of creating change.

So my hope is, through learning this lesson again, and sharing it, that I can help remind someone like me of the power of art. That I can remind you that whether you are a creator or an appreciator, you are a part of the change. And maybe we’ll even see your face at one of our shows one day, and get the opportunity to inspire a change in you!

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One thought on “fcdc Blog: Lessons Learned from Tables Turned, by Samantha Nielsen

  1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Sammie! I love the line that says: “I realized I was lucky to be able to watch people I love doing what they love.” Definitely something to be thankful for 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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