Finish Strong

Finish Strong

For families with kids in recitals, it’s easy to be motivated to show up at classes the last weeks before the performance. We know just how important those final sessions are to feel totally comfortable in the dances.

But for people like us, who go to studios who aren’t having a recital, it’s easy to start skipping classes (or dropping them altogether).

I get it. Field trips…testing…it makes it really tempting to make dance a “voluntary” part of our schedule.

I’m sure you can guess that my priority is to keep showing up for class as long as there is one to go to. But what makes me feel that way?

  1. The biggest thing to me is that summer is already long. They’re going to have at least two months without classes, or with just a week or two of dance. That’s a LOT of ground to lose. Remember all the time they spent working on their splits? Without the reminder of a weekly class, it’s easier and easier to skip that stretching time. And it takes awhile to get it back in the fall.
  2. You’re paying for it already. Even if you actually drop class the last month, you’ve still bought their dance clothes…which aren’t too likely to fit in the fall. The teachers need to show up if there are any students, but it can be discouraging to see your class dwindle to smaller and smaller numbers.
  3. It’s good for the kids to see you follow through. If they see that you make it a priority to keep going to the end, it will teach them to do the same. In high school, my high school band director taught us this very thing: he called it “the last 19 seconds,” based on wrestling stories from his time in high school, and it stuck with me. I’m going to finish strong, and I want my children to do the same.

Please don’t feel like I’m trying to guilt you into anything. But if you’re on the fence about those last couple classes, may this inspire you to push through and get your kids those final couple hours in the studio!

A Dancer’s Bucket List

A Dancer’s Bucket List

Dancers, you eat sleep, and breathe dancing. You’ve likely started coming up with a list of things you’d like to accomplish in your dance career. How many of these things are on your list already?

1. Attend a breaking jam. (I don’t know if it’s because I’m in FL and maybe it’s a bigger deal in this part of the country, or I just got connected to it right away so I’m aware of its presence, but hopefully you can find one near you to attend). Seriously, no matter what kind of dance you’re used to, you should experience a jam at least once. I’ve never felt the same amount of positive energy anywhere else. It’s magical.

2. Dance on TV.

3. Perform at Disney or Universal.

4. Meet your favorite dancer and tell them how much they influenced you.

5. Nail a huge, well-known dance in your style. (“Thriller”…or the 32 fouettes from Swan Lake…or the “Good Morning” dance from Singin’ in the Rain…)

6. Be known for dancing. (my 10-year-old’s suggestion. Just how widely you want to be known is your call)

7. Get paid to dance. That first paid gig, no matter, the actual amount, is a thrill.

8. Do 100 pirouettes in a row. (my 8-year-old son’s suggestion)

What else should I add? What’s on your list? How many of these have you done? Join the conversation on Facebook or Instagram!

Dancers who Overcame

Dancers who Overcame

This morning, a friend shared a link on my wall about a ballerina (Alessandra Ferri) who’s still going strong in her 50s. Not only did it encourage me, who feels like I’m doing something pretty “out there” by starting back into pointe on my 40th birthday a couple weeks ago, but it made me think about other dancers who overcame huge hurdles to do what they loved.

(this is me yesterday, watching a video of myself at 14)

Maria Tall Chief  was my hero growing up. I wrote a report on her when I was in 6th grade, because I knew I was going to be tall (Not only was she the first Native American to be a major prima ballerina, she was also much taller than was considered acceptable. She was 5’9″, which is half an inch shorter than me).

Misty Copeland is the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. Have you seen the pictures of her that are in the style of Degas’ works? She’s stunning and I hope I can see her on stage someday.

Georges Exantus lost his right leg to an earthquake in Haiti, but he now dances professionally with a prosthetic leg. In addition, he comes from a country where people with disabilities are even more overlooked than they are in America, but that didn’t stop him.

Kitty Lunn is a dancer who didn’t stop even after becoming paralyzed from the waist down and having limited use of her right hand.

I don’t know about you, but I’m now an emotional mess. If these dancers didn’t stop when they faced these obstacles, there’s no reason for me to think I need to stop anytime soon.
If dancing is in your blood, don’t give up just because society tells you it doesn’t make sense.

Who’s your biggest inspiration? Feel free to reply to me on Facebook or Instagram!