Infecting Inspiration

By Lonestar Dance Center instructor Raymond White. 

I’m sure everyone in the dance community knows just how rewarding the self-confidence from being a dancer can be. However, I’m not sure everyone understands how contagious it can be at the same time. Sure, from dancer to dancer we build each other up, but we spread our confidence to everyone around us. As an athlete and a dancer, I have had plenty of opportunities to have the attention on many people. It doesn’t matter if it’s dancing for one friend or performing for a packed auditorium.

My last gymnastics competition of my career was April of 2014, and I had my controversial floor routine left to do. Controversial because I wasn’t just tumbling like a robot the whole time but I also added dance elements to my routine, which was unheard of in the Men’s gymnastics world. I had a few leaps, a turn or two, and a battement, all with little acro twists here and there. Because of this raymond floor 2my floor routines had always been received in very mixed ways by the judges, but I didn’t care. I was there to perform and I had confidence and love for what I did. Sadly, I missed the qualifying score for finals by half of a point, but something far more amazing happened after I left the floor. A group of 25 to 30 people walked up to me in the lobby, all varying in age, and many of them were crying. They stopped me and told me how moved they were by my routine and how some of them (ex-gymnasts) wish that they had had the confidence when they were younger to pull off a routine like mine. They were all inspired, and inspiration is just the seed of confidence.

We, the dance community, are a disease of inspiration, and I hope no one ever tries to find a cure for us. We move people and inspire them to grow just by expressing ourselves and being ourselves. What a special gift to have and share with others!

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I Can.

Welcome to Développé! Développé, in French, means to develop. Physically, in classical ballet, it means to unfold your leg from bent to straight, but we want to approach it from a different meaning. Being involved in the world of dance has deeply affected how I have developed as an adult, and I want to share my every day stories of how dance has changed my life.

 

As a life long dancer, and now teacher, choreographer and studio owner, dance is ingrainedminis6 in almost every moment of my every day behavior. Do I mean that I dance everywhere I go? Sometimes. A lot of the time. Okay, so I can’t stay still. But besides the physical and emotional need to move through life, the world of dance has affected my confidence, self
esteem, empathy, ability to persevere, love and relate. It has taught me responsibility of my actions, respect for my art and instructors, importance of practice, to be fearless of “the new,” to take chances and on and on. So here is a blog about that. You’ll hear from me, a lot, but you’ll also hear from other instructors. You’ll occasionally hear from a parent or two, some of our students, or even a passer by. We hope that our little stories inspire you, make you laugh, make you cry and help you recognize amazing things within yourself.

 

The first and foremost lesson that dance has taught me, as an introduction into my vast and deep list on this topic, is that I can. I can. In our studio “can’t” is a bad word. This isn’t novel; many sports coaches, studios, gyms, and other children’s activities teach this lesson. And I don’t say that it’s bad because I want a student to set unrealistic expectations for themselves. Part of ballet7the learning process is a linear, realistic acquisition of skills, and goals that we set for each student should be realistic and achievable. We say, “Can’t” is a bad word,” when we see a child giving up on themselves. When we, as their teacher, know that a skill or a move is within their reach, and they are not trying because they fear they will fail. Those are the times when we try very hard to condition away from “I can’t” to “I can” or “I’ll try.” This is a lesson that is deeply ingrained in my life. I had teachers and parents that encouraged me to try. Try! It’s ok to fail if you tried. Treat every opportunity with the attitude of “I can,” and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

 

This lesson has never been more applicable in my life than in the last year and a half, when my husband and I bought Lonestar Dance Center. It was a decision we took very seriously, to be sure, but as our first venture into buying a business, running a business and all that it entails, I have had to tell myself almost every day, “Kate, you can. Just do it the best way you know how and try.” I’m grateful to dance for teaching me that lesson, and I’m grateful to be passing it along.