Who they are as people (a Wednesday dance post)

I think this might turn into a regular thing.

Yesterday, we got the jazz exam results back. I was very nervous to see how well they did. Hip hop is the big thing at our dance school, and so while we get some good results for jazz, we often don’t get anything outstanding. I’d missed two calls from my boss, and the email she had sent me was very positive, so I was really, really anxious to get to the studio to see the results. I’d hoped that a few of the girls who had tried really hard would get in the 80s. But I never would have thought that two would score in the 90s, and that one would get 94.5! (Which is what happened) Even for schools where the kids dance more then once a week and also do ballet, 94.5 is an incredible result. Two of my other girls scored in the high 80s, and the rest all did really well. I am so proud of them all! Teaching was so fun last night, because they were all on a buzz from knowing that they can get such awesome results.

I did lots of competitions and games for my two youngest classes. Both classes seem to have had brain farts with their concert dance, they ate it all up in the first few weeks, and now it’s like they can’t learn anymore. So we’re just adding on a little bit each week, and then learning lots of new technique, stretching and practising stuff they already know. They’re all getting really good at skipping, most of them are now actually getting their foot up by their knee every time. Success!

I am having so much fun with my 7 and 8 year olds concert dance. They are loving it, which really helps. They’re really cute and love performing, so the dance they are doing is perfect for them. I can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction to the dance, it is going to be so cute. We’ve actually almost finished the dance. I’ll have to try and slow the teaching of it down, otherwise they’ll start to get bored of it. But my creativity just comes alive with them, because they’re so fun and are catching my excitement.

My brain is having it’s own little fart with my 9 and 10 year olds, but I’m not too worried because this is a class made up of excellent dancers. I’m just teaching them new technique stuff and hoping ideas for their dance will come to me. They’re all great performers, I think their dance will have a very funky feel.

I am loving working with my 11 and12 year olds at the moment. Their dance is a huge realisation of the choreography that happens in my head when I listen to pop music (they’re doing it to a Lady Gaga song). It’s extremely layered and, suprisingly, they are pulling it off. I’m actually going to try and film it next week to show them, because it just looks so awesome. I had a major laughing fit this week, I was putting them into places for the start, and realised that the three girls I’d chosen to start off the dance were two of the tallest and one of the smallest, and it just looked so funny. I ended up moving the other dancers around to make it not look so weird, but for a second there I actually had to pull myself together because I was about to lose it (I imagine this was also in part due to tiredness). One of the girls was like “Are you on a sugar high or something?” which made me laugh even harder. But anyway, I can’t wait to see their dance come together, it’s going to look so cool.

One thing I’ve been thinking about, especially with getting these exam results back, is my role in helping these kids to grow into functional adults. Growing up, my dance teacher played a huge part in my self image. If I had a dance teacher who put everything she had into me, encouraged me and was committed to seeing me grow, my self esteem was extremely high, and I actually did better in my life outside of dancing, too. But if my teacher favoured other students over me, or gave up on me, my self esteem was extremely low. To the point where I actually got inflamed nerves in my stomach and back due to anxiety at one point. It kind of scares me that as a dance teacher, I have that power. I never want to make a child or young person feel the way that teacher made me feel. One of my girls was disappointed with her result (she actually did very well, it just doesn’t come naturally to her), and she came to me after the class to talk about it. Looking  back, I am so happy that she did that. It means that she can trust me to help her feel better when she’s feeling stink about herself. I hope I did.

“It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers.”
– Marcia Haydee


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