Why You Should Kick Your Excuses To The Curb

WOW. Some people! Ok, I need to vent.

But what’s with the bra, you ask? I’ll tell you more about that later… Here’s what’s on my mind:

I really, truly, strongly dislike when people say can’t. Especially when I teach. You know, when people look me in the eye and say

“I can’t do this, I can’t do that…” I’m sure you know the type:

1.) The ones who simply don’t try. 2.) The few who admit defeat without even lifting a finger to see if they could. 3.) The ones who, when you’re giving your all, trying your absolute best and making an attempt at greatness, they continue to be the grey storm clouds filled with thunder and lightning, come to ruin a beautiful, sun-filled afternoon in the tropics.

Coincidentally, male or female, they all seem to own the same birth certificate because they share the exact same name:

“Debbie Downer”

Show Me To The Closest Urinal

And Debbie loves company. I call them energy suckers.

Anytime I meet an energy sucker in dance class, or waiting for the delayed streetcar, or buying cereal in aisle 3, (or any other place that humans congregate) I have the sudden urge to bolt like an Olympic sprinter to the men’s room because Grumpy Gary, Lazy Larry & Negative Nancy PISS me off.

Yeah, I said it.

STOP and listen Debbie. Listen real good, because this message is for you. I need to tell you something maybe you haven’t heard before: YES, you can.

Damnit Debbie! I said YES YOU CAN!

Sure, maybe not today. Or maybe not even this week. There’s no magic button you can push that will miraculously boost your confidence in 3 minutes or less, like one of those frozen TV dinners.

But if you try, practice, and STOP making excuses for your lack of effort you’ll see that eventually, in time, you CAN.

Let’s say your slightly-above-minimum-wage-too-much-black-tea-drinking-always-in-your-personal-space employer were to say to you: “Downer! I want you to try this” and you reply with “No dude, I can’t” without any real effort… regardless of how you feel about him or her you’d eventually get fired. Kicked to the curb.

So why fire yourself without trying? Don’t do it Debbster.

And while I’m at it…

Lose The Bra! (Or The BRO, As Kramer Would Have It)

Here’s a tip:

Change your attitude to challenges and you’ll achieve success quicker. Here’s how…

Shift your mindset when something “different” presents itself. Learn to embrace a little change. Don’t be afraid. Say to  yourself “Ok, let’s see what happens when I try this…” You might surprise yourself!

Throughout history the leaders, shows, businesses, artists, books and technologies that made an effort to try, think and embrace something different became the most successful. Tell yourself you CAN do it. Your mind will believe you.

So drop the excuses Double D, and throw out the negative support like a bad department store brassiere. (It never looked good on you anyway.) Burn that bad attitude! Judo-kick the self-defeating, self-doubting crap to the curb and start trying. Make an effort. Be optimistic.

And you’ll eventually see that yes, you can, Can, CAN!

– Shawn Byfield

PS: Do you know any Debbie’s? Does being optimistic help you? Are you afraid of trying? Share your thoughts below, I’d love to hear from you.

SNEAK PEEK PART 3: The Shoes Of I Think I Can

SNEAK PEEK PART 3: The Shoes Of I Think I Can

Tap Dance Shoes for I Think I Can Show

Tap Dance Shoes for I Think I Can Show

Shoes. OMG, SHOES.

So as you’ve learned, it’s a tap dance show. And we have a LOT of shoes! Each character has a signature step when entering to the stage, and their shoes are no different. Here’s what the cast of I Think I Can are rocking on their feet:

Tap shoe supplies

Tap shoe supplies

So the metal thingys on the top right? Those are metal taps made from aluminum alloy. They come in different sizes based on the shoe size and width. We’ve had to custom grind a few edges down to make them a perfect fit for our cast.

Metal screws attach to the metal plates or black fiberboard, never directly to the leather sole. The screws that come with the taps are a bit too small so our wardrobe team had sourced out screws that were slightly longer.Also, the screw head widths have to fit perfectly in the holes or they scratch the floor. NOT good. We’ve had to grind some down.

Check out the soft-shoe slide show:

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As you can see, different styles of tap shoes are featured. Newton has sport tap runner shoes, since he’s the sport junkie in the production. Frufie, well hers are blue. Because she’s cute. Notice the unusual looking pair of clown shoes and boots? They were custom made from our awesome wardrobe department for additional characters in the show…

Most of the cast tap shoes are built up- which is when you add another sole of leather to the bottom. This gives the shoe a bit more weight, which allows for a heavier sound. It also makes steps like toe stands easier to do. They all have different shoe laces to match their wardrobe.

Everyone has TWO pairs of tap shoes because they’ll be worked pretty hard over the next couple of months in Toronto (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre) and in Ottawa (National Arts Centre).

I Think I Can custom tap dance floor

The stage FLOOR is just as important. It was custom built specifically for this show, tap-dancer ready. It’s a sprung floor with a masonite wood surface. The spring gives the tap dancers a bit of cushion when they land, which helps absorb shock and impact to their ankles, knees and hips. Plus, the sound their taps make resonates better on a sprung floor.

Now you know.

Come check out the good lookin’ feet!

– Shawn B

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa

i Think i Can

TORONTO:
Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

April 4th – May 5th, 2011
Get TORONTO Info And Tickets

OTTAWA:
National Arts Centre

May 11th – 28th, 2011
Get OTTAWA Info And Tickets

Ottawa! FREE Dance Classes on Family Day

Free Dance Classes for Family Day

Free Ottawa Dance Classes with Shawn Byfield

As a treat for Ontario Family Day, Monday, February 21, the NAC English Theatre is offering a free event for families. From 12 noon to 4 p.m., you and your children are invited to a special afternoon of hands-on activities, storytelling, arts & crafts, theatre games and exciting dance workshops with Shawn Byfield, co-creator of i think i can!
Join the fun:

  • stories read by wonderful performers
  • fast-paced theatre games

  • arts & crafts centre including button-making
  • paper boat-making

  • exploration of your parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods
  • special visual and interactive displays including a unique installation of theatre props created by the NAC Props Department
  • demonstrations of the NAC’s award-winning ArtsAlive education website (artsalive.ca/en/eth)
  • a bake sale with treats and hot chocolate
once-in-a-lifetime dance workshops with special guest, dynamic choreographer Shawn Byfield, co-creator of the upcoming presentation of i think i can (running May 11 – 28 at the NAC). Click to see what the kids might do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98EI4yBa7Zk

  • …and much more!