Dear dance teachers,

As I gaze at my daughter's first tiny pair of ballet shoes and reflect on all the memories that come with them, I'm flooded with mixed emotions. Choosing to put her in dance was one of the best decisions I made. At the time, we didn't know it would become her second home and bring with it a lifetime of warm, wonderful and joyous memories. As she takes the stage for her last recital, her smile will tell the world how much she loves to dance. There are not enough words to express my gratitude, but I'll try.

Thank you for taking my shy little girl and teaching her to dance. She broke out of her shell and grew into the young lady she is today. Dance taught her to put her heart into whatever she does.

Thank you for teaching my girl how to use her passion, work hard all year long and reach her personal best. As a dancer in the competition troupe, she learned what it really means to be a member of a team. I watched her gain tenacity, strength and humility. She learned how to get back in the game—after some tough moments—and how to appreciate the journey, which are lessons she'll take with her everywhere.


Thank you for supporting her every day in the studio, at competitions and conventions with long, long hours, while stranded in hotels during snowstorms, or when we're having the time of our lives at Hershey, New York City and Disney. These are memories that will remain with us forever.

Thank you for becoming our extended family. The dance family and friends are like no other people in the world—they've been some of the most special people to walk into our lives. The dance teachers who have shared their talents with her will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Mere thank-yous for 13 years of gratitude certainly do not seem enough. My girl is a beautiful dancer today because of you. It was worth every costume, crazy hairstyle, dance step and penny to be a part of this beautiful story of dance. As she takes her final bow, she will represent all of the hard work, courage and strength it took for you to get her to this special moment.

With love and gratitude,

Cindy Lutz—forever a dance mom

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Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

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