This afternoon I had the lovely opportunity to kick back and enjoy an amazing cup of coffee at what I believe is the one of the best coffeehouses in the Southeast, and a leisurely lunch. To make it even nicer, I got to share this experience with one of my best friends. She and I met in grad school. We’ve weathered some tough times, stood up for each other when it was necessary, laughed and cried together … talked about just about any and everything. She’s one of those kind of friends you have for life. I feel very blessed that we’re back living in the same area again.

She’s very supportive of my many endeavors and often has just the right encouragement when I need it. Today, I was sharing my current mental/emotional struggles about my biz and selling my house (yeah, that’s kinda stressful.)  and she listened and we discussed. We got into a great convo about art and artists and commercialism and why create art. (She’s writing her dissertation right now and it’s pretty fascinating stuff.) We talked about Twyla Tharp and some of my experience reading her words lately … we talked about local artists we know and the art scene and hipsters and wanna-be hipsters … ha.

So we briefly touched on a couple we know who are both artists. He is a writer/actor and she is a potter. We’ve all known each other the same amount of time. And my friend makes this really interesting statement. She says, “you know they are even more successful in their fields because of each other. They are beyond generous … sacrificial. And in the end, they both win.” We got to talking about this supportive generosity and how important it is … it feels like sacrifice, but in the end, both of them are winners.

I got home from my relaxing afternoon and started to work on other things. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about this generosity concept. Finally, I put down what I was doing and just sat to think …

Here’s what the dictionary says about generosity:

noun, plural generosities.

1. readiness or liberality in giving.
2. freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character.
3. a generous act: We thanked him for his many generosities.
4. largeness or fullness; amplitude.
OK, I know, I know, you’re saying, what does this have to do with ballroom dancing?! How does generosity come into play here? I’ve come to think it’s not only important in dancing, it’s vital.

Teach and I at a studio event last month

I must be generous with my teacher/partner.

I must be generous with myself.

I must be generous with other dancers.

If I do this, I benefit. If I withhold instead of practicing generosity, I will come to think negatively about my teacher/partner, myself, and fellow dancers. When I withhold, I withdraw. I create distance. I can cause hurt, confusion, tension. When I withhold myself, I dance stiltedly, awkwardly, inwardly, closely, and create a great gulf between my art and those participating/watching. When I am generous I foster warmth, light, hope, excitement, inclusion, interest, etc.
I would really like to be a generous partner, student, performer, competitor and dance peer.