Lifelong Learning

I come from a family of educators, and I have always been encouraged to be a lifelong learner. My favorite days of each vacation we take are often the ones where I learn something new. I believe it is important to set this example to our young people and show them that adults don’t know everything; adults can still learn new things and push themselves to new limits daily.

IMG_6420This is just one of the reasons why I encourage our instructors to continue to take class, whether that is at a convention or hopping into the studio when we have someone come from outside to teach a master class. Even if there is no “teacher room” and it means taking class with some of our older students, taking class as an adult sets such an amazing example.

There is a moment in a lot of teenagers’ lives where they start to think they know better, or know more, than their instructors. I have found that when I admit openly to not knowing something, or hop into a classroom and take class alongside them and bare my flaws and hang ups, they respect me more. It encourages me to find ways to do this in other areas of my life as well, and I’m grateful to this experience as a mentor and instructor for giving me motivation to continue to learn.

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What if I’m Not Ready?

Our Energy Dance Company competes for the first time this weekend, and I’m pumped! Even though I’m not performing, it’s a similar wave of nerves and excitement to watch these dancers take pieces to the stage that they have been learning and cleaning for months. Monday evening we did our annual “Here’s What We Expect from You” speech with the girls, and many of them were a tizzy with questions and clarifications to make sure they were mentally and physically prepared.

edc 2018One of the questions we get every year, from both dancers and parents, is, “What if the dance isn’t ready?” I have hard time with that question as a teacher and director. It is my job to teach and clean the choreography and to ensure the dancers are properly motivated to put in the hard work required to succeed, but how do you define “ready?” Does ready mean perfect? Because, in that case, the dance may never be “ready.”  Does ready mean they will win? Well, that is always an unknown due to the nature of different competitors at each event, and dance judging is very subjective, so that can’t be the meter for “ready.” Does ready mean memorized and [mostly] clean? In that case, they are “ready!”

We attend competitions as both a means for feedback and an opportunity to perform. If you are constantly waiting for a routine to be “ready,” you may never perform it. Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet and be willing to fail in order to gain the feedback and perspective needed to continue to grow and learn. It’s the same with life, no? What if I’m not ready to start a new job? What if I’m not ready to have kids? What if I’m not ready to start my fitness journey? Trust yourself, trust the journey, and jump in.

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