Dance Pak Blog: Sophia October 13

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Fake It 'Til You Make It!


October 13, 2010

I just got back from our last rehearsal before preseason starts and it didn’t go so well. It’s not that we aren’t prepared or that we didn’t dance well, it’s just that the buzz of energy and excitement that is usually in the studio during rehearsal was missing. Maybe it was because we were all tired, mid-terms are starting for the students and new jobs for some others, or it could be the weather, or just plain nerves.

I think for most people it is a little nerve-wracking to perform in front of a crowd. Now imagine that this crowd is more than 20, 000 people plus whoever is watching on TV. Add a half top and wow my nerves are buzzing! For some people it’s a nightmare, for us, it’s pure joy-- at least once we get comfortable on court again. The first time is always the hardest! Needless to say we have a reason to be nervous and really it shouldn’t be surprising that everyone at practice was a bit tense.

At one point during rehearsal Amberley (our Dance Team Coordinator) looked at us all and told us to just “Relax… and have fun!!” So, despite a pounding headache and sore feet I tried a smile on for size. And I felt better!

Try it. Smile… No really smile, until your eyes crinkle a bit at the sides. Feel it? Happy? Crazy isn’t it? Smiling can actually make you happy. Usually you think of a smile as a manifestation, a symptom of happiness. There is an actually biological explanation for this. It has to do with chemical signals and electrical impulses all coordinated by a part in your brain, but whether or not you know the reason behind it, you can tell it’s true just by trying it!

On the Raptors Dance Pak we smile -- a lot. In fact, we smile so much we sometimes
(or at least I do sometimes), we get face cramps! But you know what? It’s not from fake smiling! I’m smiling because I’m happy. Even if I come to a game after the worst day, my smile quickly becomes completely genuine.

Sociologists would call this emotional labour. The fact that we have to manage our emotions or at least the perception of our emotions for our job is supposed to have all sorts of bad effects on us and yada yada yada. I think it should be called emotional therapy.

So to my teammates who are nervous or feeling down and overwhelmed: Smile, pull back your shoulders. Fake the confidence and the smile and they will become genuine (trust me I’m the Science nerd and there are biological explanations for this). You are all beautiful and talented and are going to kill it at the game!

- Sophia