As I sit here writing this, I'm watching my boys (ages 3 and 1) playing in the living room. They are roaring like dinosaurs and catching the sunlight projected onto the rug. For a moment there is peace. Peace? I should be moving and doing one of the many million, billion things I need to do: plan classes, work on programming, cut music, choreograph, laundry, clean the house, start dinner.


I am a mother who is the co-director of a youth dance company, teaches several nights a week at different studios and is about to choreograph a huge musical for a regional theater. So how is it all going to happen? I ask myself this question every day, and the answer is, quite simply, I don't know! What I do know is this: It is going to happen one way or another, and going with the flow is my only way of surviving.

Rumbauskas and her 1-year-old. Photo by Carolyn Moffatt, courtesy of Rumbauskas

Balance. That is a word we dancers can relate to.

When I am teaching, I talk a lot about oppositional energy. In a pirouette, for example, you have energy drilling down into the ground through the foot you're turning on, while you simultaneously have energy pulling up out of that standing leg. This opposition creates tension, and tension creates balance. This tension, however, cannot be nervous or high strung. It is cool. It is collected. Yes, you are engaging muscles and actively working, but if there is no release and no relaxation, you cannot spot your head. You will not sail around in those rotations. Your pirouette will fail.

I have found that to balance the mommy madness and dance, I must let go. I must find the calm through all the chaos.

Since becoming a parent, I have changed as a dancer, but not in a negative way. I am learning to be more creative and spontaneous. My new priorities have made me a stronger, driven leader, as well as a more compassionate teacher.

And then there is the greatest gift of all: being a dancing mama and passing it on. My older son just took his first ballet class. It is exciting and weird and emotional to watch my baby doing the thing that I know so well.

Photo courtesy of Rumbauskas

I will do my best to let it be his passion (and not mine) and let him decide for himself if he wants to continue. Whether for a year, an entire career, or just as an audience member, dance will touch my boys' lives, and that is something I will always hold dear.

OK, let the madness resume!

For the past 17 years, the Martha Hill Fund has been honoring the commitment to dance education and international performance embodied by its namesake. Previous award winners have included Carla Maxwell, former artistic director of Limón Dance Company, former Ailey II dancer Frederick Earl Mosley and Mark DeGarmo of Mark DeGarmo Dance.

This year's awards gala takes place tonight at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. Check out who's being honored.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored