So yesterday I had a delightful class, with a lovely (and brave!) new student.
It takes courage to take a dance class later in life.
Trying something new can be challenging… or even daunting.
Sometimes there is a lot of fear involved… regarding things like failure, ability to learn, and being in an unfamiliar environment.
I know how that feels.
As a dancer, I’ve had to explore how my body works throughout my life. One of my most enlightening experiences happened during the height of my technical expertise as an in-demand performer, teacher and choreographer in Washington, DC in the late 1990’s.
I decided to take a figure skating class.
Who said I could ice skate?
With great excitement and trepidation, I registered for a pre-beginner adult class at a suburban ice skating rink. I didn’t even know who the teacher was. It didn’t matter. I was ready to jump into a wondrous new world.
The curriculum in that class was:
- How to fall without breaking bones.
- How to skate forwards.
- How to take a wide turn and skate in a circle.
- How to slow-motion skate backwards.
I felt like such a klutz the whole way through… and it was the highlight of my week, every week.
The sense of play, the lack of pressure to perform at a high level of skill, and the newness of it all simply delighted and nourished my inner spirit.
And, OMG!… The. Immense. Sense. Of. Accomplishment…
When I finally “graduated” to the beginner class, I walked on clouds for weeks! I can’t tell you. That kind of thing is not shareable. You’ve got to live through it.
When I teach, I look out for this kind of experience in my students. I do my best to help people work their way through all of the initial fears and frustrations that come up during a beginner’s dance class.
We navigate through the discomfort in order to find the inexpressible delight of discovery, of capacity, of ability.
When movement, music and spatial awareness all finally click together in the body, the spirit soars and the dancer shines.
Complete beginners are by far some of my favorite students. They often bring a freshness and excitement to class that truly and deeply inspire me as a teacher.
Here’s to a Joyous New Year of Discovery for all of us!
♥ Happy 2017 ♥
Your Heartfelt Dance Guide,