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What I learned from Dancing with the Stars


by Jose Briceno.


I love being in the spotlight.


That seemingly-simple statement was really hard for me to admit to.


I’ve always been afraid of appearing better than others, or bragging about being good at something. And for some reason, I had this idea that performing on stage would boost my ego, turning me into a boastful and obnoxious human being.


I’m not sure where those feelings come from. I always try not to upset others or draw attention to myself. However, that has meant repressing one of my biggest passions.


I grew up in Mexico City, and dancing was not foreign to me. I always perceived myself as being an awkward dancer. Maybe I created that idea, since I didn’t want to feel like a “better dancer” than others.


Yes, I could dance in parties with my wife, under the cover of many other couples, but I always felt repressed. I was just moving as little as possible to get through the dance. Any extra movement would be unacceptable for me.


So, when I was approached to do a Dancing with the Stars event, I was hesitant at first. Many fears came to my mind. Fear of being judged, fear of looking effeminate (yes, I felt that), fear of failure… but, most of all, perhaps, fear of being successful and loving it.


I decided to fight my fears and said yes to the invitation. That was the easy part.


The 3 months of practice leading to the event were an emotional journey filled with inner challenges. Like most things I do, I didn’t take my dance practice lightly. I was determined to do an excellent job on stage. The pressure was on.


Thankfully, I had a guide in this journey.


My instructor and dance partner, Jill Wetzel, was instrumental to our success. Besides being an excellent dance teacher, Jill matched my own demands for excellent performance. She did not go easy on me in her lessons, and for that, I thank her.


The end result was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was able to dance that way, and best of all, to enjoy it as I did.


I realized that the reason why I love being on stage is not to look better than others, but to share my experience with the audience. To share an emotion, to share a talent, and hopefully to inspire others to follow suit.


I’m learning I shouldn’t be afraid of drawing attention to myself, when all I want is to touch other people’s lives.


And I hope you do too. Be brave. Expose yourself. Do what you love. And share with us all of your talents and passions.

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