Lessons Learned

I am a dance teacher and I take that role very seriously. I can spot a sickled foot from a mile away - and don’t even try to sneak a dropped elbow past me. However, along with my bloodhound sniffing abilities to root out a technical mishap, I also have a heart for my dancers that goes far beyond their skill level. So as the dance season winds to a close, this blog is directed towards all my students. Whether this was your first class, or you’ve been dancing since birth, here are the things I hope you learned at the studio this year.

BE RESPONSIBLE. Show up on time, wear the correct dance clothes, and push yourself to improve. It’s no one’s job but yours to make you better. Be responsible for your own training -- and for packing your own tights! Your mom loves you, but she’s not your personal assistant. You can do this!

BE BOLD. Take chances. Go to the front of the studio -- even if you’re not sure you know the combo. Take a class from a teacher you haven’t studied with before. Push for the triple turn instead of the double. Make mistakes and learn from them.

BE HUMBLE. You’re pretty amazing. You have gaggles of little girls who think you walk on water. You’ve won trophies, performed on beautiful stages, and gotten standing ovations. Now let your dancing speak for itself. You don’t need to be front and center for every combo. You don’t need to tell people what you’ve done, what you’ve won, or who you’ve danced with. Lift someone else up. Encourage someone who might not have had their moment in the spotlight yet. Be better than a great dancer; be a great person.

BE JOYFUL. Dancing is pure joy. Leave your concerns outside the studio door and dance it out. Don’t bring negativity in to your creative space; instead, allow yourself to truly embrace the moment. Look around, see the smiles – and the sweat – and know that you are lucky. You are lucky to be where you are and to have the opportunity to do what you are doing – be joyful!

BE CONFIDENT. Walk on to the stage with the knowledge that you are prepared, you are ready, and you’ve got this! Let your teammates, your teachers, and the audience lift you up and feel the support of a community around you. Look up, smile, dance full out and go for it! No hesitations, no regrets – live life in the moment!

BE THANKFUL. Not everyone gets to do what you are doing. A lot of people have invested and sacrificed for you to be here. Thank your parents, thank your teachers, and thank your fellow dancers. They are all a part of this journey and they give to you on a daily basis. Thank them for their time and energy.

BE KIND. Think before you speak. Consider your words and your actions carefully. You have an impact. You can choose to make someone’s day better or worse by the way that you treat them. Very few of you will go on to be professional dancers, but if you are lucky, you will be lifelong friends with the dancers standing around you. There is enough judgment in the world - be a soft place to land for your fellow dancers.

BE YOURSELF. You are the only "you" there is. No one else has your unique set of gifts. Embrace them. Your leg might not be as high as the girl next to you, but she is wishing she had your clean turns. There will always be someone better than you, and someone wishing they danced like you – this is life. The only person you need to worry about is the dancer you were yesterday. Be better than she was and make tomorrow’s "you" proud of the work you did today. Don’t compare yourself – you are incomparable!

So that’s it! I know it has nothing to do with your turn out, or lack thereof – I’ll be back to pestering you about that next week. But for now, just take a moment to breathe it all in. Every moment, every triumph, every disappointment – they are all part of this wonderful adventure we call life. Now go out there and live it!

With Love, Your Dance Teacher