Little dancers, big dreams
I read a wonderful story the other day that was making its way around the internet (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-josephson/fit-and-funky_b_5571593.html). It really struck a chord because as a studio owner and dance teacher, I’ve been witness to many a story like this.
In sum, the mother who wrote the story had signed her young daughter up for dance classes, but her daughter was shy and mostly stood in the classroom watching (not dancing). For weeks on end, this was the case. When her daughter finally decided to actually dance, it was because she finally felt comfortable–she needed all that time to warm up to the idea of dancing, absorb her surroundings, and observe what was being taught. From there, the girl blossomed, continuing to dance as well as act and sing. She’s a young adult now, pursuing her dreams in the performing arts.
The mom in the story writes “I often think back to that little dance studio and wonder if I had responded differently, would [my daughter] be where she is today? Would she have had all of the years of enjoyment and life lessons that come from pursuing something that she feels passion for and that is hard? Would she have had the confidence to express her desires of which activities she wanted to do? Would she have discovered her talents and passions?”
It’s hard to say precisely, of course, but I commend this mom for her patience and follow-through. She allowed her daughter the space to observe in her own way and join in at her own pace. The teacher, too, must have shown great patience and encouragement. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an educator, it’s that you can introduce the same material in the same way to each child in class, and they will each respond and progress in their own way. And that is a good thing! Dance is very personal, even when you are a part of a group.
But back to the story. Was this first dance class experience, as the mom suggests, a pivotal moment for her daughter? I think the answer is a huge YES! Whether it is dance or another activity, children crave finding their way, enjoying what they do, and achieving their goals. If it takes a little extra patience and care along the way, then I think it’s time well spent.
– Ms. Julie