Student/Teacher relationships should be symbiotic relationships. I always explain that when I'm first introduced to my classes. I never claim to be the "end all-know all" type of teacher, matta o'fact, I'm quite the opposite. I invite my students to open up and speak out, especially for what they believe in. I urge them to not be afraid of society and what people may or may not think of them. I ask them to share their experiences & expectations in that studio and to understand that as a class, we are family and this class is a safe-haven for success AND failure. Classrooms and studios are where we SHOULD fail...it's part of the learning process! We are only defined as successful by the amount of failures we've wracked up in life!
Courage is not being fearless...courage is doing what needs to be done with that fear still in your heart. My students are some of the most courageous people I know. I can't imagine living their lives, nor will I ever be able to. As teenage girls and young adult women, they are faced with hardships beyond anything I could EVER even imagine (VIda, if we have a little girl? Oh boy.) So I ask them to try and find the comfort in knowing how special and unique they all are. And in turn, I learn SO much from them. Now in the dance world, that existing symbiotic relationship is as simple as a "bunhead" (my beautiful Ballet dancers) being asked to dance a Hip Hop piece.
I want to share with you a quote said by my dear friend and student of mine, Meri-Ashton Van Winkle (man, that's like the coolest name ever), who's a Ballet student & dancer at Corpus Christi (Texas) Ballet, after taking her 1st ever hip hop class with me.
"Aww thank you! I'm so grateful to have had you as a teacher! You taught me so much and you gave me so much more confidence in life and in dancing! Also you taught me that I'm capable of doing hip hop!"
That is why I teach. Those reactions and feedback are precisely the reason I do what I do. So it is with great pleasure and continued honor to be asked to teach for showcases, projects, festivals and workshops. It is part of my life's calling, and I'm just now understanding, it is a part of my blood. My parents are wonderfully inventive and extremely caring teachers of life (my mother is a retired English as a Second Language teacher). My brother, Alex, is an educator and motivator (as a personal training coach and gym owner). And here I am...a dance teacher, performance coach, personal trainer, group fitness instructor... who will forever be open to remaining a student as well. Vida and I were talking about our futures (big news to announce in the coming months) and I was reiterating what my career plan is. And it dawned on me right then and there, I'm going to continue on this educational and enlightening path. It serves me, and I serve it well.
I'm looking forward to the upcoming rest of the year! Lots of news coming so stay tuned!! Up next, dancing in the 6th Annual Mix Match Dance Festival in Santa Monica CA and then off to play a tiger in Houston Grand Opera's and Rossini's "The Italian Girl". I am so grateful for all the good that has come my way!! <3