Children will see…

I will be the first to admit that it doesn’t take a lot for my slightly bitter and sarcastic heart to be warmed by the words or actions of the students I am surrounded by. They are a constant ego boost as many of my ‘regulars’ think that I can do anything. They help shed light on how ‘cool’ something might be when I am feeling jaded. They are a constant reminder of how happy I am not to be their age anymore, as even the most trivial things seem as if the apocalypse is coming. But the thing I am always taken a back by are the rare moments when I get a flash of them all grown up. Where they say something or do doing that surpasses the wisdom of a 16-year-old and makes the 23-year-old in front of them take in a breath of fresh, mature, non-jaded, non sarcastic air. On a rather uncomfortable Sunday during Spring Awakening rehearsal (what Spring Awakening rehearsal wasn’t somewhat uncomfortable?) I sat with a 16 year-old to talk about friendship.

We all remember what it was like to be in high school or worse, middle school. It was dreadful. Friendship was a word used on bracelets and broken heart necklaces but no one had any real idea of what it meant. With the slam of a locker or a three-way phone call, you could lose your ‘best friend’. You were trapped between the anxiety of feeling like someone was mad at you and the knowledge that the probability of someone being mad at you was almost 75%. I never envy my kids for this reason. Especially the girls. I see them coming in to rehearsal crying, angry, upset, gossiping about the details. I want to tell them it doesn’t matter. But it does matter.

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What did you learn in dance class this year?

For the past year I have been employed to teach dance classes at a youth theater theater studio. This is NOT Imageto be confused with a dance studio. A dance studio is where children learn technique, turns, tricks, and sometimes go to ‘Dance Mom’ like competitions. Now I LOVE me a good dance studio but I am not completely qualified to be teaching at a place like that. My skills are in musical theater dance. Telling a story, acting through song, giving 110% energy in every movement you do. That sort of thing. If you asked me to whip off a quadruple turn, I could attempt it but 9 times out of 10 I wouldn’t land it. My job was to teach kids the basic, box step, pivot, three point turn and watch them grow into great actors who could move well for the stage. All these kids want to be in musicals not on Dance Mom’s.

I was definitely sad to be going to my final class this past week. Especially my Broadway 1 class. These 7-10 year old kids are wonderful, adorable, energetic kids who adored my class as much as I adored them.

It was the final dance class, so in true ‘last day of class’ fashion,  we got some donuts and drinks and sat around and chatted for the last few minutes of class. I asked them all what they were doing for the summer. (stagedoor, stagedoor, shows, shows, shows and one basketball camp… weird). But I also wanted to see what the response would be if I asked them this question.

So, tell me what you learned in dance class this year?

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