BEDS 18: Thoughts on an “off” day

This post was actually tabled over a year ago but since I’m behind and need to find a way to make up the days, I finished it and it’s going to be my BEDS post for today. Enjoy!

 

Today was not a good class day…

 

I did what I normally do. I got up. Got dressed and went to 1 p.m. ballet class. But unlike other times where I left with a “hurts so good” mentality, this class, which again, I always take had me feeling small. Except actually, it wasn’t the class, it was me.  I never felt centered, I felt fat and overheated (and I trained in Florida). I couldn’t focus and I just didn’t feel good about myself that day. And it’s funny because this week I’ve gotten more than one compliment on my growth and work, from teachers and colleagues. But I just didn’t feel good about me and I think it is because I’m struggling internally with things not related to dance. I went to class not feeling great and thought I would feel better but my mind wasn’t right.

On off days, I’m usually madder at myself than I should be. Kind of like falling on stage, off days probably usually feel worse than they look. But because I juggle so many things in addition to dance and I’m almost never able (whether it’s because of time or my own physical limitations) to train as hard as I’d like, I always feel like it’s a sign that I don’t work as hard as other dancers and am less deserving of the right to call myself a professional dancer.

Whether it’s a rough rehearsal or a bad class, I usually ream into myself afterwards and drown in video study or obsessively watching old videos and critiquing myself. But despite my tendency to do this, I recognize that it isn’t healthy and I want to find better ways to hold myself accountable as a dancer. So I’m starting to try to find positive things that demonstrate my growth, even in the midst of a rough day. Whether it’s improved turns, my feet getting better, or simply getting through a class, I’m trying to look at the positives. Because there’s so much good in my life and my career as a dancer, and to castigate myself the way I do is silly and counterproductive.

BEDS Day 10: Brief thoughts on dancing while natural

As I write this, I’m sitting in my bed, bantu knotting my hair. Typing out this blog is my way of giving my arms and wrists a break.

A lot has been written about natural hair in the professional dance world, from the three Alvin Ailey dancers who shared their natural hair routines with Essence in February, to the viral images of dancers rocking their curly tresses. I, myself, have been fortunate to find companies and opportunities that embrace my Blackness and my hair. During one of my most recent shows, I proudly rocked a curly frohawk, and got so many compliments on it.

But there have been other incidents, too. Times where I’ve been othered and made to feel as though my hair isn’t appropriate. Times where I’ve heard stories about my peers’ hair struggles regaled to me as we reapply lipstick and jam bobby pins into our already throbbing scalps.

The dance world has made slow, incremental strides toward embracing Black hair. But days like the night before a show, when I was told to make my puff look like more of a ponytail to match the non-Black girls in the company. Or the times I felt obligated to straighten my hair or wear extensions to achieve a long ponytail or bun. Or worse still, when I hear and see incidents of non-Black women wearing cornrows and bantu knots as a way to “look crazy” or “stand out,”  when hair styles that would get me a side-eye or reprimand from so many directors are helping other people get jobs.

These are the things that let me know that the struggle isn’t over. That Black dancers still have a lot of fighting to do before we are seen, the way our white counterparts are.

And to that I say, let’s get ready to rumble.

BEDS Day 9: Starting over yet again

Yesterday marked my first day at a new teaching gig for a performing arts program for children. It’s the first time in over a year that I’ve taught kids and even though the first day went pretty much without incident, I’m still nervous.

As I mentioned in my “What I’ve Been Up To” blog post a couple months back, teaching children has never been my forté, for a few reasons:

  1. I have no patience–I get frazzled and I either get anxious and cry or get angry and yell.
  2. I’m not great at relating to kids–I noticed when I was teaching at the first school that some of what I was asking the kids to do was going  a tad over their heads or boring them. There’s no quicker way to lose control of a classroom than to bore kids. I’m hoping that this time around I’ve learned enough to not have that problem.
  3. I have difficulty differentiating between age-appropriateness and pandering to children. Contrary to what a lot of the world seems to think, children are smarter and capable of more than people think. Making things excessively simple and squeaky clean does them a disservice. That said, I do still want my students to feel like kids and not have to embody or learn anything they’re not ready for. This type of push pull can be confusing, but I’m hoping this new gig will be a chance to work through it and really become a great teacher that challenges her students while still recognizing their youth.

These hurdles aside, I’m hoping that my year of experience teaching at a studio and my (admittedly brief) previous experience teaching children will come in handy. By teaching at a studio, I’ve learned how to plan out a class and how to develop a class with a consistent student base over a period of time.  My experience teaching kids has taught me a little bit about what engages them and a lot about what not to do when you’re charged with the care and artistic enrichment of kids (yelling, getting anxious, letting the kids get over on you–all really terrible ideas).

 

Hopefully, this time I’m successful.

BEDS Day 8: quick blogs

Hi everyone–

I’ve been planning to do BEDS (Blog Every Day of September) this month. Traveling and getting back into the swing of things at work placed me behind, so to make up for my delay I wanted to do 8 quick “blog-lets” to get me caught up. These will be mainly updates/commentary on my dance life so, let’s get started.

Day 1: Gigs
Ever since I got back from traveling to a conference for work, I’ve been working on a string of gigs. They were all fun but also draining, this is because 1) many of the rehearsals take place after work, and anyone who’s taken class or gone to a rehearsal after a full day of work knows that getting yourself in the frame of mind to dance isn’t always easy and 2) many of the rehearsals were super far away from either work, my house, or both and commuting can be just as draining as the dancing itself.


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In honor of #laborday, here’s a photo of me werqing!!!💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾

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Nonetheless, gigging like this was a test of my abilities as a learner and exposed me to a lot of new people and experiences. In the last two months, I’ve performed at an end of the year fashion show for a mentorship program for young women, The House of Blues and I’m currently rehearsing for a city-wide arts festival. All of this while teaching, holding down a full-time job and trying to drink enough water!

Day 2: All Hail Queen Bey
For Labor Day Weekend I got to do something that’s been on my bucket list for a while. I saw Beyoncé live and in color!

I’ve wanted to see Beyoncé ever since I saw clips from the On The Run Tour and The Formation Tour. Her stamina and showmanship are second to none and she is undoubtedly Tina Turner’s replacement as the hardest working woman in show business. Something tells me Beyoncé’s tours are winding down (she’s earned it) and I wanted to make sure I saw her live while I had the chance.

I’m so glad I did. Queen Bey is everything people say she is and more. Her show looked flawless, I saw her change costumes no fewer than 10 times and she sang perfectly without even a hint of being out of breath. I was blown away by her work ethic and the athleticism of her dancers, and I also enjoyed Jay Z’s part of the show, too. While I don’t think I’ve risen to the level of being a full member of the Beyhive, I do have a new appreciation for Mrs. Knowles-Carter, and, if I ever have another chance to see her perform, I will absolutely take it. The concert was worth it, even though the rain destroyed my shoes and I spent most of the evening barefoot. Like you do.

Day 3: New Tap Shoes

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I have GOT to get new shoes!!!! New taps #comingsoon! #bustedtapshoes #marleydestroyer

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This one is going to be short and sweet. After breaking my second pair of tap shoes in under a year, I finally caved and bought myself a brand spanking new pair of Capezio Tapsonic tap shoes.

I just got them Friday (yay UPS Choice expedited shipping!) and I wore them for the first day of my new teaching gig. So far, no complaints, the sound is loud and clear. Aesthetically, the shoes are nice and they fit pretty well, despite being half a size too big. Hopefully these bad boys last me.

Day 4: The Continuing Journey to Snatched-ness
I’m technically in the off-season, meaning I don’t have any big shows coming up. As such, I’ve been a little bit more relaxed with my diet. But, since autumn is nigh and dance season will be back before you can say “5,6,7,8” I’m trying to get back to sticking to my diet. That includes faithfully adhering to meatless Mondays, minimizing sweets, dairy refined starches and fried foods and making sure I drink plenty of water.

Once production season starts, I’ll eliminate dairy, sweets, fried foods, alcohol and refined starch. I’m also toying with the idea of going vegan for a month after New Year (just to see if I can). This is less about losing weight for me this time (last year it was about losing weight), but more about making sure I have enough energy to get through super packed days of work, rehearsal and classes. It’s about being at my absolute best both physically and mentally for any shows I do. Most importantly, it’s about challenging myself to live my best and healthiest life as a dancer and as a human being. I’m trying to be better at treating my body like the physical temple/powerhouse that has carried me through a nearly 20 year career as a dancer.

Day 5: How Many Hours a Week do You Dance?

The below answer won’t include rehearsals.

This is a rough question to answer because work, gigs and life can have an impact on how much I dance. On a good day I dance during the last few days of the week and on the weekends. If I count my teaching, I spend about 6.5 hours a week dancing, which translates to approximately 5 classes a week. Not counting my teaching, it’s closer to 3-4 hours a week.

This sounds shameful, I know, but because I also work full time, I try to keep the earlier half of the week clear so I’m not burning out. Sometimes if I really feel like I need a class, I’ll cheat and dance earlier in the week, but, generally, my dance schedule is relegated to evenings and weekends.

Day 6: How’s Teaching Going?

So far so good. I’ve been at the studio teaching adults for nearly a year and I just started a new gig teaching kids, which I’m incredibly excited about. I love that I’ve gotten to share my gift for dance in this way and I’m up for the challenge of being the best teacher I can be.

Day 7: Have You Been Keeping up with World of Dance?

Not as well as I should have. A binge watching sesh is definitely in order.

Day 8: Any Blog/Podcast Spoilers???
Wait and see….😏

DanceTopia: The Podcast Episodes 2 and 3 Show Notes

 

Episode 2: 

Not much to say about the second episode – other than I love my mom!

Episode 3:

I know my Spanish isn’t great but that’s what Duolingo and 14 years of Spanish from 2nd grade through college are for.

In the same vein, I pronounced claqué wrong. The accent should be on the -qué sound (clah – KAY).

In case you still haven’t seen it, this is the video for “This is America”

Here’s an article from Glamour on This is America’s choreographer Sherri Silver – it was the only article I read prior to writing my own reaction blog.

Also because I forgot to include it the last time, my theme song is:

 Exotic Wind by Oshóva | https://soundcloud.com/osh-va
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

“This is America:” Movement, Joy, Suffering and Distractions

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while but you know me—when I’m at a loss for words, sometimes writing is difficult.

To date, I’ve seen Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino’s video for “This is America” three times. Before writing this blog I’d initially planned to watch it a fourth time but it’s so difficult for me to get through and I don’t have the emotional energy.

As many of you know, dancing is probably the main focus of this video. Whether it’s Glover’s improvisational movement at the beginning and near the end or his gleeful celebratory dance with the school children as chaos ensues behind them, viewers of this video are meant to focus on the bodies in motion.

But what I’ve struggled with, since watching the video for the first time, is WHAT the dancing is supposed to mean.

In general, I’ve tried to avoid most the think pieces and articles I’ve seen reacting to “This is America.” This is mainly because I knew eventually when I was in the emotional space to write this piece, I’d write it and I wanted to make sure my opinions and reactions were my own. I broke this rule to read one article from Glamour where the choreographer of the video, Sherri Silver, shared a bit more about her inspiration for the movement. Silver now lives in the UK but is originally from Rwanda. In watching videos by Silver where she is dancing in Africa, I couldn’t help but notice how her dancing was an unapologetic expression of joy juxtaposed amidst poverty and third world conditions. The parallels between this visual and the one presented in the video where dancing and expressions of joy occur in the midst of suffering were abundant and hard to miss.

I get something new out of Silver’s work in this video every time I view it. First, there’s the fact that much of the choreography (largely influenced by viral dancing trends that have happened on social media) happens as Black people behind Glover and the dancers are terrorized and flee death. Many people, including me, picked up on the idea that social media, trends and the viral-ness of our lives can serve as a distraction from bigger issues.

But I can’t find it in myself to think about Silver’s choreography in either medium as willfully distracting people from what’s going on in the world. That seems too one sided. Instead, part of me feels like both Glover and Silver’s outward expressions of joy are in protest to what’s going on around them. Black joy is revolutionary in a world where many institutions and rules are meant to help us fail and to punish us for “not knowing our place”

At the same time, on Glover’s part, this joy is also a reflection of the capabilities of the Black body as an embodiment of religion, music, and happiness. Instances like the scene where the church choir is gunned down and at the end where Glover is chased by an angry mob after throwing all of his cares away in one final dance phrase show how even in our joy we are still perceived as threats and unsafe from violence and death.

What freaks me out the most about this video is the fact that no matter how much I unpack, I still feel like I’m missing something. I talk about the video but continue to feel like the one revelation that will give the visual a definitive meaning is still right at the tip of my tongue. I’d probably have to watch the video a dozen more times just to glean everything I possibly can from its many explorations of corporeality, liberation through motion and analysis of Black dance.

And even then, I’d probably still be missing something.

Privacy Things

Hey, y’all –

If you’ve visited my blog at all this week you might have noticed something new in the footer. A privacy policy.

Today, the EU’s new General Data Protection Policy goes into effect. You can learn more about the law and how it could possibly affect your business here and here.

But the short of this is that bloggers and company owners (like me) need to be more transparent with patrons and readers about when they’re taking personal data, and what they’re using it for. We also need to offer the ability for users to opt in or out of submitting personal data.

Currently, the only information I (and when I say ” I,” I really mean my blog’s host WordPress) collect (that I am fully aware of) is email addresses from people who subscribe to or follow my blog, the email addresses from anyone who contacts me, and the commenting tool which collects usernames and information from commenters.

Please know that I will NEVER sell or give your information to any third party and will only use the information provided to reach out to someone (who has contacted me first), and send new blog posts and updates. If you’d like for your information to be removed from my blog’s databases please contact me.

Please be sure to read my privacy policy and the privacy policy of all of the businesses you work with, blogs you subscribe to and websites you regularly visit. It’s important!

Thoughts After My First Heels Class

So if you pay any attention to my Instagram (@dancetopiablog, follow me!), you know that Tuesday night, I finally endeavored to take my first heels class.

Here’s some video evidence:

And now for some main takeaways from my first time twirling in heels:

 

Muscle Memory is REAL And Getting the Steps Wasn’t that Hard

I have danced in heels a couple of time before. The first time was in character tap shoes for a 42nd Street production when I was 12 and 13 (they brought it back for the studio’s 10th anniversary). Another time was for a can-can piece (I even did fouettés in them), and once for a latin jazz piece. Even though I had experience, I didn’t think it would serve me in this class. I was wrong. The amount of times I kept reminding myself to keep my “weight over the big toe,” as my dance teacher would say, was enough to make your head spin.

On the whole, getting the steps in the class wasn’t difficult. I’m now at a place in my dance journey where I have enough experience and versatility to be able to manage in most classes and at least get the steps reasonably well. Everything I remembered from dancing and balancing in those heels came back full force, and it helped but…

Being fierce (and walking) is hard

I’d like to think that I’m the type of person who’s more than capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. But remembering the steps and remembering to be sexy and fierce at the same time was easier said than done. I also understand what people say when they say Beyoncé was a master at walking. Walking, is hard, being sexy without being too extra is hard, and I definitely have a lot of learning to do.

Confidence isn’t Innate

I tried not to feel ridiculous in that class. This was partly because I’ve always been of the mindset that dancing in heels is one of those things where if you feel like you look ridiculous doing it, chances are, you look ridiculous. But I’m not comfortable being sexy. I’ve arguably never been comfortable, and having to embrace sexiness and an attitude felt ridiculous coming from me. I either did too much (see above) or not enough, and my sweet spot of “fierce but subtle” was frustratingly elusive the entire hour and change that I was in class.

In general, I feel good about where I started. I didn’t do too much too soon (see the IG video above where  my work boots doubled as heels for class).  I actually felt comfortable enough to try a higher, slightly slimmer heel next time around and, most importantly, I didn’t fall.

 

None of this happened, thank goodness!

But feeling totally good about myself and taking myself seriously is another story. I’m not giving up on myself just yet,  I’ll be back in heels class next week. Right now it feels strange and a little awkward, but hopefully this will be another area of growth I’ll be able to celebrate a few months from now.

‘DanceTopia: The Podcast’ – Ep. 1 ‘On Fouettes and New Beginnings’- Show Notes

I’m thrilled to announce my latest project: DanceTopia: The Podcast!

This is my new bi-monthly podcast where I’ll share news, musings, rants and ramblings about my favorite topic, and yours –dance.

The show notes section is my place to brain dump anything I may have missed or need to clarify from the show and to provide additional context or information about anything that was said during the podcast. The notes will be divided according to the section of the show in which the reference was made.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Warmup 

I realized after I said it that Anytime, Anyplace  was one of the Janet Jackson songs that wasn’t necessarily remembered for its choreography. Instead, when she performed it live, Janet would invite a male member of the crowd on stage and have them sit in a chair or perform the song sitting seductively in a chair alone. But it would have been too awkward to cut it out and, in any case, you get the idea.

You can buy Misty Copeland’s book Ballerina Body on Amazon, or swoop it up at your local library like I did.

^^Not an excuse. This book has tons of photos.

Center Combo 

I know Odette/Odile is a dual role. But Odile was the one doing fouettés so that’s why I said Misty Copeland was Odile as opposed to mentioning both Odette and Odile.

You can find my original blog about the matter here. And you can watch the video and see Misty’s response on Instagram below:

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Link in my profile. I’m happy to share this because I will forever be a work in progress and will never stop learning. I learn from seeing myself on film and rarely get to. So thank you. I will always reiterate that I am by no means the best in ballet. I understand my position and what I represent. I know that I’m in a very unique position and have been given a rare platform. All I’ve ever wanted is to bring ballet to more people and to help to diversify it. I’ve worked extremely hard to be where I am and I believe that what I bring to the table is authentic artistry with a unique point of view through my life experiences, and my unusual path and upbringing. Also as a black woman and black ballerina. I would love to see all of the incredible deserving black dancers get the opportunities that I have. I will forever be humbled and extremely grateful for the fact that I get to do what I love for a living, that I get to do all of the incredible roles that I do, in particular Swan Queen. There are so many ballerinas that never get to experience dancing the most iconic and demanding role in a ballerinas repertoire. I have so so so much respect for what I do and for the ballerinas I stand on the shoulders of. I’m in awe everyday that I am a part of such an incredible art form that has changed and enriched my life in so many ways and that I get to do it all with ABT. I don’t decide who’s promoted or what roles I dance. I never envisioned myself as the Swan Queen after being in the company for almost 15 years before i was given the opportunity. I have such deep and conflicting feelings connected to Swan Lake. As a black woman and as a ballerina given the chance to take on this role. I often question if I deserve to perform this role. My conclusion, I do. Some of the most memorable Swan Queens in history have brought so much more to this role without having to present the incredible and evolved technique of today by doing insane tricks that bring some to see Swan Lake. For the anticipated 32 fouettés. But it is so much more than that.

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Link in my profile. People come to see ballet for the escape. For the experience of being moved through our movement and artistry, not to score us on the technicality of what we do. This is why ballet is not a sport. A ballerinas career is not, nor should be defined by how many fouettés she executes. They are a part of the choreography to tell a story of pulling off the entrancement she holds over prince Siegfried. The point is to finish the 3rd act with a whirlwind movement that sucks him in just one last time before it’s revealed that Odile is not Odette. This is the incredible beauty of ballet. To move people. I’m happy to have this dialogue because it’s something I believe in whole heartedly. The history of ballet and it’s origin of pure freedom and expression is what we need to hold onto. Not to come into the theatre as a critic armed with judgement. I do appreciate the changes in the ballet technique, focused on evolving our technical abilities, but the point is to move people and for them to understand the stories we tell through dance. And that is an incredible responsibility and opportunity I will never take for granted.

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Here’s the link to the NYT article I mentioned.

Even though I’m familiar with Swan Lake and knew very well what people were talking about when news of Misty Copeland’s fouettés surfaced, I’d never actually seen the ballet in its full length (due more to lack of opportunity than lack of interest). I believe that my seeing or not seeing the ballet has no bearing on my argument that it’s both racist and intellectually dishonest to criticize Misty Copeland so heavily for not doing the 32 fouettés. However, because I always want to be as well informed as possible when speaking on the podcast, I went ahead and watched a version of the ballet on Youtube. I’m still right, America is a hateful backwards country that would rather see a McDonald’s eating bigot in the White House than a Brown-skinned woman in ABT.

Other notes: 

Apologies for my jingling bracelets (I’ll have to remember to take those off next time), my hissing radiator and my stuffy nose (the result of my typical post-show head cold).

In the future, I’d like to have transcripts of each show available. However, this week’s took a lot of  time to edit and I wanted to get it up ASAP so transcripts will (hopefully) happen with the next episode. Pray for my fingers.

On Misty Copeland, Missed Fouettés and the Expectations of Black Women in Ballet

I should open by saying that I’m not a ballerina, I don’t have a huge amount of expertise in Swan Lake and I only just learned about Misty Copeland being harangued Wednesday morning.

While I may not be all-knowing in those areas, I do know a thing or two about messing up or not delivering on stage. One of my most memorable fails, as a matter of fact, actually includes fouettés.

I was fifteen and had gotten a special solo in my studio’s can-can inspired jazz piece to do 10 fouettés in center stage. I was pumped. I’d nailed the turns every time in rehearsal and was beyond ready. Unfortunately, right before my turns I also had to do a big leap and run around the stage in time to make it out for the turns. While it had always gone without a hitch in my studio’s smaller rooms, on stage at the theater, I found myself too winded and tired to do the turns and I ended up stopping after about five.

I was disappointed in myself. After stomping the floor backstage and crying into my teacher’s arms, I managed to pull myself together enough to finish the rest of my recital.

When I messed up my turns, I had people supporting me and still threw a tantrum.

When Misty messed up, she gracefully accepted her mistake and reminded us all why she is the first Black Principal Dancer at ABT.

In case you missed it, here’s my brief recap: Instead of completing the Black Swan’s hallmark 32 fouettés, Misty stopped at around 12 before continuing the rest of the variation.

A day later, some woman on twitter, who I had to look up again while I was writing this because I legitimately didn’t know who she was, had this to say about Misty’s fouettés and her position as an ABT principal dancer:

#FTR I still don’t know who she is and she deleted her Twitter.

First, let’s be clear, there’s a difference between failing/messing up and falling short of expectations. What happened with Misty Copeland is, at worst, falling short of expectations.

Are the fouettés an amazing part of this ballet? Sure.

Are there people in ABT who could probably do all 32 turns without fail at every performance? I have no doubt.

But Misty Copeland is the one who got the role and as far as mistakes go, this wasn’t a huge one and frankly, it doesn’t make or break the show.

As Isabella Boylston pointed out, anyone who goes to see Swan Lake solely for the 32 fouettés has completely missed the point of the ballet and probably wouldn’t have gotten much out of it even if Misty had done all of her turns flawlessly.

Moreover, Misty didn’t unprofessionally fall out of her turns or come out of them in an ungraceful way once she realized that all she could do was 12. She finished her turns cleanly and continued with piques to fill up the time. Frankly, I’m sure the majority of the audience didn’t know there was anything wrong.

The response to Misty’s performance demonstrates that Black women have to be twice as good to get even half as much in any setting. Were it not for the fact that Misty was heavily publicized as the first Black principal dancer of ABT and many critics saw the promotion as a political move, Misty’s turns would have simply been chalked up to a rough show, injury or another excuse, and largely forgotten in the midst of what I’m sure was an otherwise fabulous performance.

Again, I’m not ignoring the fact that Misty didn’t do all 32 turns. But I’m also not ignoring the fact that the forest for the trees mentality that causes so many people to focus on the fact that she didn’t do 32 turns has more to do with Misty, who she is and what she represents than the integrity of the ballet and that is a problem.

America, ballet world, DanceTopians, we have GOT to do better!

What I’ve Been Up to – Vol. 1: Teacher Teacher

One of the main things I’ve been doing dance-wise on my blogging sabbatical is teaching tap at a local dance studio. I got the job in September through what I can only call a series of fortunate events and am now in the middle of my second session teaching two adult intermediate and beginner tap classes.

This isn’t my first teaching gig, but it is my longest running one and it’s, frankly, the first one where I’ve really felt like I knew what I was doing. My first “teaching” jobs were as a camp counselor at my dance studio’s summer camp when I was 14 and 15 , teaching barre fit at a neighborhood studio and finally most recently teaching dance to K-2nd grade students at an elementary school last fall/winter. And they went, well there’s no sense in sugarcoating, pretty poorly—with the exception of the barre class…that one was okay.

^^^This it was not

It was more like this^^^

Yeah, I like to say that teaching kids just isn’t in my ministry. I have the patience of a gnat and too much energy is overwhelming for me (#introvertprobs).

So being able to work with people who are capable of higher order thinking and reasoning,  listening and following directions–and also don’t need to go to the bathroom every few minutes–has been a welcome change, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to make adjustments.

 

Relax and Take Notes….

The biggest thing I’ve learned from teaching adults is to always come prepared. I know lots of teachers come to classes not having thought about what they were going to teach and are fine but for me it just causes anxiety. This is mainly because classes with adults move much more slowly than kids’ classes. You’re not spending any time wrangling little people, so it’s easier to cycle through exercises and combinations quickly and run out of things to do earlier in the class.

Because of this I now have a notebook….

And in this notebook I write out everything I plan to do for class. More often than not, I don’t get to everything but I’d rather run out of time than run out of  things to do.

 

Repetition is Good. Repetition is Good.

This is something that’s been said a lot recently by a tap teacher I take class with and it’s SO TRUE! I’m still adjusting to the fact that I’m not dealing with people who get bored easily so it’s okay for me to keep exercises and repeat things (to a point). That said, I don’t want to teach the exact same class every week, so I do try to introduce at least one new element per class that we can build on for the next few weeks. Once I see everybody getting the hang of it, I can retire it and move on to something else.

So far, I’m having fun. I’m making extra money (always nice $$$$$$$$), my friends have come to take my class a few times, and I’m actually getting to know some of my students, one even invited me to have drinks on their birthday! I’m glad things fell into place so I could take this job and I can’t wait to see how my students grow and how they help me grow!