These recent months have seen me make the decision to venture away from the safety of a full-time salaried position with a dance company, and into the freelance dance world.  And, when you put it like that, one might wonder why. Why plunge yourself into doubt, worry and financial uncertainty? Why place yourself as a small fish in an extremely large pond, a pond full of incredibly talented and driven fellow artists, who all want the same thing as you do?

A phrase that has recurred in my mind many times during this period of transition has been ‘Do something every day that scares you’. Now, I’m not opposed to taking on scary challenges; I have skydived (or have I skydove!?) from 14,000 feet, I have travelled to some fairly unsettling destinations, and, I’m proud to say, I can bravely place a cup over a spider of considerable size. I think, though, it is the things that require you to put yourself out there, to allow others to judge you and to admit that you desperately want something that causes a different, and very real kind of fear. A fear of what it is I am unsure. Perhaps it is of rejection, perhaps of embarrassment, or of failure.

A choreographer recently repeated to me some advice he’d been given; that dance, improvisation and creativity requires the ‘willingness to appear foolish’. And I think that’s the key to it. That if you go into things with your eyes wide open, willing to appear foolish, then the act of simply doing, of giving something a go, whatever the result, becomes a triumph in itself. I have certainly found this to be true in my experiences of this wonderful world of freelancing. Through seeking opportunities to volunteer, join company classes, wear crazy headgear, introduce myself to people; to just do things, I have found great satisfaction and fulfillment. Without the concern that these things may be unpaid, or that no one is giving me a constant pat on the back and telling me I’m great, I can allow myself to enjoy things as they happen, and not to continually worry about where something’s leading, or having to justify what I’m doing.

I learnt recently of something that the Chinese refer to as ‘Dangerous Opportunities’. They’re moments that test our actions and responses to certain situations, difficult situations, that enter our lives unexpectedly. It is how we deal with these situations that are the things that define us, and carve our path through life. Surely these moments are to be embraced, even exploited, as much as possible to make the best of the opportunity that they provide.

So, I will continue in this life of unexpected opportunity and requirement to appear foolish. Because, beyond and above the financial worries, and the (more than occasional) self - doubt, it is rich, it is exciting, and I’m glad to be one more fish in this huge and incredible pond. Bring on the freelance fear.