I've been wanting good sneakers. Like really, really good sneakers. I would say it, then cave and buy whatever was on sale at Kohl's, saying, "I'll do it next time". A couple weeks ago, I did it. I went to a real, honest to goodness running store, Aardvark Sports Shop in Bethlehem, PA, and spent the time to get a fancy foot scan, try on a bunch of shoes, and taste each one with my feet like fine wine. My intention was to get sneakers that I can run, jog, walk, or stroll in, and I ended up with my forward moving shoes. Bless the poor guy who had to hear about how I felt in each pair...
The shoes sat in the box for a few days, until I was ready. I put them on, and started moving forward. I moved forward around town listening to a podcast for dance studio owners, and as I walked, I realized how important it is to keep growing, to keep your eyes on what is in front, and not let what is behind keep you in chains. I thought of my students, who sometimes get lost in their own self doubt, because one day pirouettes don't happen well, and they label themselves a "bad turner", or they didn't nourish well, and jumps are difficult and they now are "not a good jumper".
We are all in charge of our own bodies. Let me say that again... we are all in charge of our own bodies. We can tell our body what we want from it, gather the knowledge to work on it, and make it happen. A student told me the other day that a dance teacher once told her that if her body was not made to do something, that she would never do it. This was told to a child, one that has her whole life in front of her to dream, to work, to strive, and to be whatever she wants. In one swift moment, her confidence, her positive body image, her passion for the art and her sense of what she could achieve was tarnished. Luckily, this student is still dancing, but I can see her face beam when her work in class is recognized, and hope she knows she CAN do anything. I wish I could let her borrow my magic forward moving shoes so she can move forward from negativity!
We all have to move forward in the way that is best for us. There are nurturing environments in dance, I promise! The "old school" way of berating ballerinas into submission, or the ever so famous pyramid on reality TV is not necessary for your child to progress! I have been in situations where students explain that they are not this or that teacher's favorite, so they don't get good parts or solos, or they have a fear of getting on their teacher's bad side. This should never be the case. Competitive dance is not competition with the people in your studio! I was SO proud of our dancers at YAGP, CT Classic, NYCDA, and ASH this past year. It warmed my heart to see them supportive of one another, but also friendly to competitors from other studios! This is the way dance should be, and it is bred at the home studio. The climate with which you train your dancers will follow them not only into the immediate future, at competitions and performances, but just like plies and tendus, they are practicing being kind and compassionate people! This is something that will last a lifetime, in dance, in their future workplaces, with their children and grandchildren.
Move forward into a positive environment!
I am happy to say, West Jersey Youth Ballet is a family. Our teachers encourage, push our students to achieve more than they believe they are capable of, and never, ever lose faith in a student's potential. Dance is for everyone who loves it! WJYB is here to make dreams come true for all of our students.
Who knew that a pair of sneakers could spark inspiration??? ;)
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