🎨 Creativity. ​Your Gifts. And Gratitude.

Nov 10 / Nancy Paradis
An Interactive Blog for The Dance Scientist readers by Nancy Paradis,  Director of LA Dance Moves.

Creativity​, your gifts and gratitude does sound great, but what does that have to do with your career, your training​, your technique, or where you want to go in life?

Hi my name is Nancy Paradis and I’m thrilled to write ​this blog today for The Dan​ce ​Scientist ​readers.  

For my fellow artists, I love you without even knowing you. You are the ones who make this world a colorful place, yet with art can come torment.  I hope  I can pass on a little bit of knowledge and a nugget of wisdom,  from my journey to you… 

So, let's ​go back to a moment in time when you decided to be a dancer​ (This can be applied to any vision, but we'll stick with dance for this article.) With that decision​, you didn’t really think about ​logistics, which would probably go something like this:  ​the sweat​ and tears​, ​the years of training​, ​the hard work​, the not getting roles or not quite ​getting where you want to be​.  ​You just saw the final product​ of how glorious​ and amazing it would be to: ​ perform on stage​, dance ​and work with choreographers​, be in a company​, hear the live music,  and feel the warm lights on your skin... and wait​...what...do this dream as a career? 

That​ my friend, was your creative mind​ at work. 

Creativity is powered ​by the undistracted and unlimited mind. I ​think creativity is also ​somewhat child-like​. If you remember back to our days of preschool and elementary and all the wonderful​ ways we were engaged to learn with color​, texture​, stories and role-playing. It was fun and colorful and we had limitless imagination
I’m going to ask you to step back to that space right now​. ​ Grab some colored pens or pencils and a piece of paper​, and for just five minutes​, draw your name anyway you’d like​, any color​ and in any style. ​​​ You can even put on your favorite music​ while drawing. 

When done, take a look at what you just created. 

Your drawing​ is as unique as a snowflake​. If everyone reading this were to share their own drawings, no two would be the same.  ​Your creativity is limitless... ​and that brings us to your gifts​.

Your gifts are uniquely yours and a lot of times are stored in an "untapped potential​ file".  Our gifts often sit restlessly up on the shelf because we don’t really think of them as our gifts​.  ​As we get older, â€‹we step further away ​from our preschool ​imagination and replace it with the logistical thinking of “what we ne​ed to do to succeed, what
will get us closer to our goal​s and how to improve.” 
Yes, being focused, having goals and thinking realistically is absolutely necessary.  ​And equally important is to acknowledge ​and utilize…our gifts​.
What are our Gifts? ​
This will take some soul-searching, some creative writing, drawing or other tools. Think of the things you do that come easy to ​you. They are just easy, you love doing ​them and you may love seeing how other people react when ​you do them.  We often dismiss them because they are easy or effortless but the truth is they are uniquely your special gifts​.
I’d like you to take a second piece of paper and with your colored pens write ​the words "My Gifts Are" at the top.  Without too much thought and try not to second guess,  jot down a few thoughts​.  Go with the first things that come to mind.

My Gifts Are:

Some prompts are: 
​What things come easy to you​?
​What things do you like that you do well​?
​What kind of things do you have fun doing and make others smile​

Bravo​ and Congratulations for taking a step toward ​learning a little bit 
more about yourself​. It’s a big step to acknowledge ​these wonderful things about ​yourself.
Now let’s put the two together​:  ​Your creative name plus your gifts equals clear, distinct and wonderful possibilities for you​!

Creative Name + Gifts = YOU! Let’s take a career path that you’re thinking about.  I’d like to break down the term ​"overnight success​." I recently read a quote that went like this:  â€‹"My overnight success took​ 17 years ​and 114 days." This quote really made me smile​. It made me feel better about my own journey, and I realized how we all put such timeline​s on our goals... and rightly so​. ​Life just keeps moving​.

A dear friend of mine says ​"Let’s keep it moving​." Another friend says  "I love Mondays. It’s a new week ​and new possibilities" 

My own coach says  "You gotta suit up and show up to make things happen"

I can’t tell you how many times these sayings have helped me! I think success is an accumulation of creativity​, of your gifts and ​the building of good habits​. These are the habits that make you suit up and show up​, show up ​early,  give more than you take​ and to put in just little more than asked. 
It's just some of the secrets to becoming an “overnight success”​.

What about ​Disappointment? 
Being told you're “not getting the par​t.” Being told you’re “not ready.” 
Being told "no"....
I want to say this, even to young people reading this article​: gratitude.
Gratitude changes everything.
Do you get to go to a studio a few times a week and take dance classes​, see your friends​, enjoy the company of others doing the same thing you enjoy​?  ​

Well there’s a lot there to be grateful for​! The practice of gratitude is not a new concept​.  ​It’s been around for
centuries​.  ​To still the mind​, slow things down a little​,  breathe in ​and breathe out​ and see and feel all the things you are grateful for. I invite you to try it. Add it to your day. Start and end your day with it.

Think of the cool moments that made you smile during your day.  I'd like to touch on another topic as well; the power of visualization. It's what has athletes break records and win games....a "smarter not harder" approach.

Athletes today don’t work harder than athletes of 30 years ago, but they are tapping into the​ir hidden potential ​through the power of mindset ​and visualization​.  It's in a sense, ​guiding and telling the brain ​how things are going to ​happen. Pretty powerful right?  There are some great steps and tools to this, and I think perhaps it could be our next blog!
​A final thought is that we all know that social media is not truly real and it can be quite dangerous​.  ​So… if it’s possible to limit your time on social​ media, what you could do instead is this:   

Put​ on some music and headphones​,  ​visualize ​and practice gratitude. Think about the things ​you have. See where you want to go and imagine yourself there. Start small and build. Feel your happiness, your creativity and your gifts. 
And then,  share them with the world!
These are just a few words of wisdom from over 40 years of my career teaching​, choreographing​, directing​, filmmaking and mentoring​ artists like...YOU! 
I hope that I brought you ​some wisdom today​.

If you would like to learn more tools to unleash your creativity or have questions on anything this article brought up,  feel free to email me at ladancemoves@gmail.com 

Thank you so much for reading!
Nancy Paradis 
where dance & music speak

Meet Nancy Paradis

Nancy Paradis began her professional career on the east coast performing with the Washington Ballet, Richmond Ballet and Louisville Ballet Companies. In Los Angeles, she danced in television, film, and commercial work.  She was adjunct professor at UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount University and currently Moorpark College where she teaches ballet, jazz, musical theater and production. She choreographs for professional companies BalletProject.OC, The Realm Co-LA and created a world premier for Richmond Ballet, VA. Nancy is a co-author of an inspirational book Bringing Value, Solving Problems and Leaving a Legacy. She is artistic director of her dance/media company LA Dance Moves and currently has a feature documentary screening at film festivals. This summer Nancy crafted original movement to the iconic musical, Cabaret. 
where dance & music speak
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