Back in the Golden Era of Hollywood, Gene Kelly was considered by many to be the best dancer in the world. With his immaculate choreography and flawless presentation, he was the envy of everyone who saw him float across the stage, ballroom, or movie screen. At the time, there were hundreds of other entertainers who danced, yet none seemed to do so as smoothly as Gene Kelly.
Gene Kelly was a student of what we call the incremental edge. In short, it’s the theory that seemingly little acts can make a huge difference in one’s competitive advantage.
More often, the incremental differences were details involving presentation. Kelly’s “edge” included the way he wore his hat, the crisp creases in his trousers, and the precisely placed angle of his dance cane. These were little things that, when taken as a whole, seemed to make his dancing effortless.
What’s your word?
In 2016, I chose the word resilient to remind me that in the face of challenges, I could bend and not break. As the curtains closed on 2016, I found that through the strength of my community, through the many breaths I took in a space of meditation, prayer or intentional movement, I had found resilience that carried me through to a place of light.
And so, for 2017, I wanted to choose a word reflective of this new place. I chose the word dance.
In yoga teacher training, I learned that certain animals, after being attacked, go through an elaborate shaking ritual. The shaking loosens the physiological memory of trauma, and they are soon able to return to a calm state of being. Think “Shake It Out.”
My resolution in choosing this word is to complete 12 dance lessons, in distinct forms of dance, within the year.
And this is the cadence I hope to choose for every day of 2017. So that in the end, all those little details - the incremental differences - allow me to float like Gene Kelly and shake it out.
There’s so much more that could be said on the subject. But I’ll end with a question.
May I have this dance?
I hope you’ll join me in dancing through 2017.