Women growing older with grace and gusto

Scoring a 10

Wishing you all an amazing 2013, and thanks for being part of Pilgrim’s Moon.

I start the year with a sordid confession: I LOVE the TV show Strictly Come Dancing. The latest series has just ended here in the UK (US version is Dancing with the Stars).

In this show, celebrities pair up with professional dancers to compete in a series of ballroom and latin dances.

The dancing

There are two things about Strictly which I adore.

The first is the dancing. It’s fantastic to see the celebrities step (literally) way out of their comfort zones. Of course they get paid for taking part, but they are really brave, both physically and emotionally. To go from being a sports star, actor, TV presenter or whatever to moving and performing in a completely different way is exposing. People confident in their usual sphere turn into vulnerable, wobbling lumps of nervous jelly on the first show.

And then as the show continues, you watch some of the celebrities fall in love with dance. My internet friend Christine Claire Reed wrote about the saving magic of dance in her interview with me here, and you can see this dynamic at work in the show.

Judgementally speaking

The other thing (person) about this show I absolutely love is the “mean” judge, Craig Revel Horwood. Craig is the judge who marks lower than everyone else. He is the judge who makes blistering comments when he feels someone isn’t trying: “dull, dull, dull”. He is the judge who picks up on the smallest detail: “your thumb placement was a disAHster, darling”. He shares my impatience with the “wild card” candidates the BBC often introduces – celebrities no-one expects to be able to dance but who add “entertainment” and ratings value.

Of course a lot of Craig’s behaviour is exaggeration and bitchy grandstanding. His catch-phrases are legendary. But his famously difficult-to-please stance means that when he is complimentary it really means something. He really cares about good dancing. He has really high standards. He gives fantastically constructive and specific criticism. When the other judges give good scores, the candidates are delighted, when Craig gives a good score, the candidates are ecstatic. And when he gives the top score of 10, it’s a complete frenzy of euphoria.

High stakes

Why am I burbling on about this? Because I think it has lessons for us as we begin our journey through 2013:

  • Dance is like life: a combination of steely discipline and emotional abandon
  • The best performances have exceptional and unusual choreography
  • In life we can become complacent with our efforts, and then we don’t deserve a high score

You know what? I don’t want a “happy” new year. I want an amazing new year, an intense new year, a transformational new year. I want to be as judgemental about myself as Craig would be, and I want to earn that elusive score of 10!

How about you?


Photo by Denvilles Duo


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13 Responses to Scoring a 10

  1. Happy New Year Tess! I so enjoyed that you loved the critic’s off-center, difficult-to-please bitchiness!! It’s euphoria when we can see as perfect the human imperfections of our lives and of others. Let that be my mantra for 2013.

  2. Well, last year’s ‘word for the year’ was ‘change’ as I really didn’t want another year like 2011 – by the end of 2011 I was on my knees, nothing left in the tank, not exactly happy. 2012 was also hard work but I had some great breaks, pushed my boundaries, more fun, had a stronger sense of what my spiritual path was NOT going to be.

    This year’s word is ‘daring’ – not quite sure where it came from, I was also trying out ‘mindful’ for size, but was really called to a word that implies risk taking in its many forms, commitment, pushing boundaries further, maybe being a little bit reckless. So let’s see where the journey takes me.

    I, too, adore Strictly, and love seeing people grow and change in ways I would not have thought possible. They are very brave souls. I am not a very brave soul but will give this year’s journey my best shot.

    Have a great year, let the dance commence! X

  3. Nope. I just want to live each day as the present it is without letting the past dominate and with the future where it belongs, out there waiting to happen. Doesn’t matter to me if I get a 10 or not as long as I am being the best me I can be today.
    We are all the same and yet so different aren’t we?
    Patricia recently posted..Genesis 1:1My Profile

  4. Tess, I am wondering if maybe nobody wants to score the 10th comment! So just to say your posts, all of them, and this one, score a 10 easily!!! Bravo for Pilgrim’s Moon!

  5. I’ve just read the ‘Girl on fire’ post and, as it won’t let me comment there, I’ll comment here instead!
    What a beautiful post. I soooooo know what Christine means! I began N.i.a. classes a year ago and have found it such a primeval and spiritual thing to do. I dance in bare feet and feel the connection of earth, spirit and body. I shall be 50 this year, our teacher is 60 and the rest of the dancers are in their 60s, 70s and 80s. I do not have a dancer’s body and left ballet classes as a teenager feeling awkward and clumsy, but none of that matters now! More dancing and more singing for me in 2013!
    Hawthorne recently posted..Mon Beau Sapin…My Profile

  6. My favorite sentence from this post: “Dance is like life: a combination of steely discipline and emotional abandon.”

    I can only hope you might consider using that when you review Revelle!

    I also love your insight about complacency, and how you don’t want to fall into that state by merely having a happy new year — you want a frigging TRANSFORMATIONAL new year.
    Alison Wiley recently posted..Getting Real About Energy Costs And ResiliencyMy Profile

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