I am still celebrating this weekend in my heart! The joy of dance was alive this past week as my family and I traveled to NYC for a giant dose of DANCE! We began the week with a Cirque show, ZARKANA, at Radio City . I was in awe from start to finish. The talent was overwhelming. From staging to lighting to the acts, each one better than the next, I was delighted to see working Acrobats! On Friday, the Dance Teacher Summit began. Over 1700 people, Dance Studio Owners, Teachers, Assistants & LEGENDS, attended this magnificent event. I participated in the DTS weekend, Director of Jump, Nuvo & The Dance Awards, Gil Stroming put together last August & I must say it keeps getting better!
I had the opportunity to take class from the best in the industry. I couldn’t be more grateful to Gil for giving us dance educators the opportunity to come together and just feed off the energy in the rooms of the Hilton NYC for three unforgettable days. I had the privilege of taking classes off of the outstanding Denise Wall, Mandy Moore, Finis Jhung, Deborah Vogel, Andy Blankenbuehler, Judy Rice. Kim McSwain, Luigi, Peter Chu, Gus & Katy Spreadbury! Seminars, such as Battling Burnout, Competition Teams, Educating a Dance Parent, Recital Ideas, Rising Above Negativity with Kathy Blake, The Next Step: Working Dancers, Competition Q&A with directors of the best competitions available, Competition Mistakes with Mandy Moore & much more, were so helpful! Let’s just say it was a full weekend, mostly full of love for this performing art we are all crazy about!
I have always described myself as a sensitive and compassionate person, but after this experience I have realized that is all our industry consists of. We are told and always hear never to mix business with pleasure, but ,in our profession, we must do that every day. There is a fine line in teaching anything…math, biology, horseback riding, piano. Yes, you are the person that must facilitate education to the student, but you will always be the scientist. Once you lose the willingness to learn, you lose the ability to teach.
At the end of the summit, we were all given the opportunity to attend a Q&A. At this time, they also presented Jacque D’amboise with a Lifetime Achievement Award. When he accepted his award, he stood at the podium and looked out on hundreds of dance teachers staring back with eager eyes, reminded me of a preschool combo class! We all just couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. In his 20 minute speech, he recited 3 poems, gave us a dance history lesson & promoted his book (that I will be buying). This man, after dancing for over 60 years of his life, had to fight back tears when speaking of his admiration for dance. During the Q & A session, Denise Wall, Mandy Moore, Judy Rice, Jacque & the famous, Luigi sat on stage and answered the questions, & What are some positives and negatives of dance in 2011?” & “Where do you see our industry in the future?. They all agreed that technology is ruining the world (yes, even Mandy). With a computer-based society, we get all of our answers in the click of a button. Thank you, Google! We love that! However, dance is not that easy. It never will be. In dance, you must read the entire book. Cliff notes simply do not exist. This is the difference between dance and the cheerleading fad, (a whole other story…). Dance is technical, people!!! No, Dancers are not Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, Pilots, English professors, etc. BUT – Dancers become successful in these particular fields because of the intelligence dance requires!
Anyways, I will leave you with a quote from Luigi! He said that he was always asked why he does this and he always gives the same answer, “Because I love them, and they love me back!” I couldn’t have said it better myself!