Although there was no lack of tears shed during that period of my dance training, I am forever in my mentor’s debt for teaching me the invaluable lesson of shading. Through my lens as a coach it is not lost on me how it applies to the artistry of life.
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When I first started out as a dancer, I prided myself on my bold, dynamic and powerful style. I was often complimented for my strength. It's what made me stand out. Ironically, it was also the very thing holding me back from growing as an artist.
That changed when I moved to NYC to study with my mentor, who was the first (and only) person to stand in front of me and tell me in no uncertain terms I was “Too strong!”.
Although there was no lack of tears shed during that period of my training, I am forever in my mentor’s debt for teaching me the invaluable lesson of shading. Although shading is a concept in art and something I learned in dance, through my lens as a coach it is not lost on me how it applies to the artistry of life.
In art, shading helps illustrate depth. In the human experience, it brings attention and perspective to the vast spectrum of emotion and thought available to us, as we engage in the ever changing tempo of life's journey. Different shades allow for juxtaposition which highlights the nuances and in the nuances are moments that have spectrums of their own, and so on.)
Take the color spectrum for example, the colors of the rainbow arranged in their natural order: Red - Orange - Yellow - Green - Blue - Indigo - Violet.
Take a moment to consider what color you might use to describe yourself?
And now, take another moment to consider: what color might others use to describe you?
What did you notice? I’m guessing if you are like me, there is no one color that captures you - and that you are shaded in different colors at different times depending on the context.
In our quest to move forward and define or reinvent ourselves, are we overpowering those nuanced shades of ourselves as I did when I was learning to dance? Are we accessing only a sliver of the spectrum of colors available to us? According to some estimates, the eye can distinguish some 10 million shades of color!
We all tend to label or type people in order to understand them. Just as we tend to lead with, or present only one aspect of ourselves in certain situations. So it’s perfectly natural that others may see or define us in just one way, with one color.
I remember once being called a maverick. My first instinct was to reject the notion that I could be associated with such a word. I looked it up and The Collins Dictionary defines the word Maverick as: a person of independent or unorthodox views. It went on to say that the word can be used to describe people in both a positive and negative context. Which made me feel a little better. Then I got curious and wondered what it was they saw in me that I didn’t see.
This is all just data, just as it was when my mentor told me my dancing was too strong. Could he have been more subtle or nuanced in the way he taught me about shading, NO DOUBT! Nevertheless, when I got curious about how my strength could also be my weakness, it provided me with the very insight I needed to grow.
I am still a strong and powerful dancer but that’s not all that I am.
So I’ll take the maverick comment and recognize it as a very small part of the many shades of who I am and encourage you to explore the many shades of YOU - and maybe even discover parts of you that have been subdued or overshadowed by your perceived strengths.
Fun fact is I discovered Maverick is also actually a color! It’s from the Violet color family and is a mixture of magenta and pink. Maybe, it’s no coincidence that violet is also the color of my logo...
I’m Lisa Hopkins, thanks so much for listening. Stay safe and healthy everyone and remember to live in the moment. 💜🙏
NUANCE sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)