The End of a Season: For the Love of Dance
Today marks the first of a three day recital for Ballet Etc.. Studio for the Arts and the official retirement of our beloved Miss Eva. All of this ending has got me thinking about what I love most about the dance season from a teaching perspective. Why are we called to teach dance? How do we teach creativity? What is the impact beyond the studio?
The answer is simple: We do it for the love of dance.
Being a dance teacher is more than teaching technique and style; it’s about helping children, and adults alike, discover their capacity for creativity and bring out their artistry in the physical realm of movement, emotional healing and spiritual expression.
Recital is a time to celebrate the work and dedication of both the students and the teachers - the artists and choreographers. It is the ultimate expression of trust that a teacher can give their students - to watch them perform their piece on their own, with their artistry and trust that they will bring justice to that vision. It is a thrill to see them take ownership of the piece on stage. It is a time of deep emotion for everyone involved. After a year of hard work and learning and expression it all boils down to a three minute performance for family and friends.
Dance educators, dance teachers, are the soul of the studio. Without them, all the students, all the artists in the world would have no home to come back to, to find themselves and develop their artistry. It can be long hours in and out of the studio - planning lessons, developing teaching techniques, coming up with choreography and editing music, not to mention dealing with the myriad of personalities and dynamics of the students in the studio itself.
To have the privilege to be a dance teacher is incredibly fulfilling. To be able to go back to the studio and give back to the environment that kindled your own artistry and give back to that community is something really special. We get to have this connection with these kids that transcends a classroom setting and opens a world of exploratory motion and expression that we can then help shape and work through so much more than just how to move. We are able to explore emotion and self perception and community ties and frustration and quiet discipline in a way that allows for more understanding.
I love to teach, even on the days when I am tired and would rather be in bed than wrangling a group of children, I love to teach. Teaching in and of itself is a creative form.
Getting to teach something I am passionate about to people, to children who are dreamers and movers and doers and passionate about being there to dance makes the work and the effort feel effortless.
Stepping into the studio space on the other side, having been a student and grown within its walls, is an experience of coming home, and settles a responsibility on my shoulders to do my best to give these kids all my love of dance and attention and hard won skill so they can find their passion and love for movement too.
You get to spend the year getting to know these kids and may not be teaching that same group next year. Knowing all of the hard work that goes into forging those relationships while also being aware that the impact and messaging you are delivering needs to happen in a finite amount of time is a tricky dichotomy, one that culminates on the stage at the end of the year as you send them off to perform as the artists they have become within that time.
To teachers past, who have moved on from our studio or are retiring and embarking on a
new phase of life; I know you know the impact you have on your students, but the impact, specifically on me is right here.
I have a grounding in my creativity, in my passion, in my body because of you.
Miss Eva’s words are the mantra for the month of June, were my first tattoo and continue to be a guiding force in my life when change comes. Her impact on my life from walking into her class has been enormous. I met her when I was twelve, and I am now twenty-six and still feel that I have so much to learn from her. Legend does not begin to cover her presence in the studio for the last forty-five years. And with her leaving now I am hyper aware of those still here to teach and nurture these young dancers, that our responsibility to these kids has just increased, because not only do we have to fill that void of love and passion and knowledge, we have to make them aware of the teachings she gave to us as well as the wells of love for dance that we have ourselves to give.
Dance teachers give their heart and soul to their students. With recital launching today we get to see that love fill the stage. That is the greatest gift our dancers can give us. To reflect our love for dance back to us with their own passion and artistry. As the curtain closes on another season I thank all involved for making it yet another memorable year of dance.