Two of my three dresses that need to be made competition ready are now stoned. The last one is now in progress and I expect it alone will have a total of 1200 – 1300 stones on it when complete. My dresses are not intended for resale, so it is not critical that stoning is perfect. Still I want them to look handcrafted not handmade. They are an outward reflection of me, an expression of my personal style, my personality and values. And I want them to reflect well on the gift of my friend who has shared her talent for sewing with me.
When it boils down to the heart of why I am doing all of this is a discovery and rediscovery process of the tools at my disposal, the abilities others and I have and that they are enough to be part of something bigger and beautiful. I am under no illusion that ballroom dance will solve the big issues in the world, such as hunger and peace for fractured countries. But I am sure that it is an art form that brings together a dazzling cross section of people from various backgrounds who in their best moments share their passions, offer their talents as gifts to be shared, cheer on their compatriots to bring their best to dance and inspire the same in their partner.
You cannot hide in dance, any form of dance, ballroom or otherwise, and fully participate. You must connect with others, the musicians creating the sounds that inspire movement, the others on the floor, stage or in the audience and most certainly with your partner. People react to your presence and presentation when you dance, from the way you articulate the music through your body, to the swish of fabric caught in the air currents born in a spin, and the flash of rhinestones and emotions. You are responsible for what they see when you pass by. The more authentic you are in your presentation the more you fully engage others and in the entire experience and the greater benefits for you and others.
Each rhinestone applied, each sequence of dance steps practiced, each hours spent finding my own styling is an expression of commitment to fully honor and realize the beauty of doing something well. I see those same things expressed in other people who are also preparing for a competition or their own personal big challenges. There is fellowship in this community of dancers. I am not on this journey alone, even when I am alone placing rhinestone, after rhinestone.