I have been dancing since before I can remember.
One of my favorite childhood photos involves me at 2 years old. In a wrinkled tutu with skinned and band-aid covered knees. Eyes closed and dancing in the kitchen, most likely to music only I can hear. Like most little girls, I wanted to be a ballerina before I knew what one was, or even looked like. I remember the first ballet I ever saw, Nijinska’s Bolero, and how I wanted to be the dancer onstage, in my mind, I already was her.
I knew that teaching was always a viable option for a dancer, but there was no guarantee that I’d be any good at it, or that it would lead to anything lasting or memorable. Anyway, who was I to tell anyone what to do? The thing that no one tells you is that your teachers and mentors are just as human as anyone else, and that the transition from student to teacher can be as quick as one day to the next. At least that’s how it was for me. It was the most natural decision I’ve ever made. It was a non-decision. What I never expected was that I would come to love the teaching itself as much as I did. While my students and I have the love of dance in common, I am not in the business of making “dancers.” Instead, I hope that I help them see that the work that they do is important and self-defining. I’ve certainly found my identity through dance, and I hope it serves them the same.
I’ve always known that dance was the most life-affirming of the arts out there. It happens in moments, often impossible to repeat, and endlessly different from one dancer to the next. There’s no putting it behind UV glass or in and environmentally controlled space to keep it forever. It grows and lives within people, it can’t be bought or sold, really. I hope it can say all the right things for me when I can’t find the words to say it.