For the past year I have been employed to teach dance classes at a youth theater theater studio. This is NOT to 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?
One little girl, about the size of my left thigh muscle and cute enough to be a baby puppy throws her hand up, anxious to respond with what I assumed would be a sassy answer.
I learned to dance!
I honestly should have seen that coming. Next a young boy who I have known for a few years now raised his hand to speak. This kid tries so hard and isn’t half bad at dance but he is absolutely at the awkward age where he is still trying to figure out how to balance. He will be a suave, heart breaker in time.
“I think I am more coordinated’
He had fell in class fifteen minutes prior to this conversation just walking from one side of the room to the other.
My response: I agree!
There was no need to crush his dreams. Next, to answer was the most coordinated of the bunch. This little girl is small and mousy with adorably thick glasses and long wavy blond hair. She always reminded me of that girl you see in all the teen movies who is SUCH a dweeb but when you give her a pretty dress and a pair of pumps she is stunning. I am telling you, I’ll look this girl up in ten years and she will be a model. But for now, she is the cutest awkward nerd in the world.
‘Before I came to class, I didn’t really like dancing. No offense or anything. But I really like it now’
My repsonse: Well, I’m really glad to hear that but what did you LEARN in class.
‘That I liked dancing… DUH’
After another three minutes or so of kids screaming out the obvious things that they learned including but not limited to, certain steps I drilled into their heads, the ballet and jazz positions, the dances we did, my middle name, my ‘husbands’ name (yup, they think I’m married too) and the fact that I am ‘allergic to all yummy things’, the little peanut who started us off decided she had something else to say.
‘Dance class has made me more speakative’
Speakative: a new word, founded by a 8 year old to replace talkative. To speak, to talk, to make your voice known.
I asked her to explain. She said that dance class helped her to be more outgoing. She said she liked making up her own dances (which I made them do a lot and then they would have to teach them to each other) and that it helped her to better explain herself to the other kids.
It’s so amazing knowing that a year of box steps and high energy combo’s led to a girl being more ‘speakative’!