It’s been an interesting week at class… one of the things I love to do during my lessons is to really create a sense of ‘getting to know you’ with my students by engaging in conversations with them.
It’s a challenge, especially in a class of sub-juniors for instance, when you’ve only got them for a 45 minute lesson, have a plan of the work to be covered that day and then you start with a quick chat with one of the girls or boys that very quickly snowballs into everyone wanting to tell you their story about their ‘wobbly tooth, their that cat died or what they learned in school that day’.
One Monday not so long ago, the tables were turned on me by my Juniors who started asking me some really interesting questions like ‘other than dancing, do you have any hobbies?’ and ‘did you learn to dance when you were a little girl’ …. I thought that one was a no brainer, but of course, my 8-10 year olds would not be able to even imagine me as a little girl tapping my heart out in the Band Hall at Basin Pocket with my teacher Mrs Wilson back in the 70’s when I had my start in dance.
It caused me to reflect on my life as a child and what I loved about dance class. I’m not sure what my 8 year old self would say about why she loved dance, but all I know is that dance lights the spark of joy that sits, sometimes hiding, inside of all of us weighted down by ‘life’, our responsibilities, chores and the like.
There is a definite ‘thing’ that shifts within when you come to dance class, that is so hard to describe to someone who has never danced before or had the chance to really feel the connection to this energy force that exists.
You get to this point, once you have been learning for a good while, where you are simply ‘hooked’ and you need it, like air to breathe. Just ask any of our adult dancers who have returned to class years, or even decades, after hanging up their tap or ballet shoes. It’s like coming home.
Many years ago, a dance mum said to me, of her daughter, ‘this dance thing Natalie, it’s an obsession isn’t it?’ I smiled knowingly, recognising that for her daughter, the spark of joy had been lit and was burning brightly, for all to see.
My greatest desire is to light that spark for everyone who comes to class, to share my joy, to feel the experience of sitting in the energy of amazingness that is dance.
It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a slow, gentle, smouldering that suddenly burns brightly, excites your soul and makes your heart sing. And when it does, you never want to let it go.