Raise the Grade
Do you remember when you were at school and there was the bunch of talented kids, playing flute or piano and basking in their glory when they passed their "grade 3" or whichever the next level was?
I had no such talent for music, despite practicing the the recorder, when I managed to entice it from the corduroy drawstring bag and screech "Three Blind Mice" repeatedly, with my brother laughing that it was actually "Hot Cross Buns". Alternatively I could just about get through a rendition of Chopsticks on the piano.
My other option was ballet, but I managed to quit my classes, along with gym and tap dancing when I was small. I blame confidence. As my only memory is me balling my eyes out whenever my mum left to watch from the specific viewing space.
I literally longed for the day when I could say I had achieved a certificate in a grade something or other for a specific performance.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am no performer. I have never been very good standing in front of people to read a speech, or perform for a show. As a child, I was always the narrator in school plays, so I could look at my script, and avoid eye contact with anybody. So I could focus on the piece I read, I would hold the paper high up to block my face out from the audience. It came, as no surprise, that I resisted the urge to grade. I continually put it off making excuse such as I had a bruised leg, or that I was busy that day, etc etc.
Eventually, a few of us decided to give it a go. Grade 1. I looked at the list of moves and the criteria and realised I could have done this a while ago. It didn’t dampen my spirit, it actually gave me a boost of confidence I needed. When I had the support of 3 of my fellow polers, it suddenly all became a bit more manageable.
The next step was choreographing a routine. Sure, I can do the required moves; Kylie poses, underarm turns and step glides, but how do I form them to a sequence?
Oh, but wait, I need a minute, to a minute and half piece of music to perform too.