I arrived to my last class raring to go. We had an hour and a half to complete our short piece for the performance, clean it rehearse it—and I was ready to face anything! Before I entered the studio, the program director pulled me aside to tell me one of my students was injured and would not be performing. This was terrible news! How disappointed she must have felt to not perform any of the pieces she had been rehearsing all summer.
As it turns out, this student was partly the cause of many disruptions during my class—and in her absence, the sixth session flew by without a hitch. We completed the 2-minute piece, and the girls were ready to perform the following day.
Performance day: After a run through of all the routines at the studio, we prepared to travel to the outdoor venue by subway. There were roughly 80 dancers to keep track of, but this system worked really well:
Each teen dancer (starting from age 12 and up) was sandwiched between two of the youngest dancers, holding their hands. We walked from the studio to the subway and from the subway to the park, and everyone stayed in line the entire trip. Giving the older teens responsibility prevented them from acting out, and our littlest dancers loved walking with the “big girls.” The remaining tweens were put with buddies of their same age, but there were few enough of these pairs for their teachers to chaperone.
Now that the show’s done, I’m experiencing an end-of-session letdown. I know I’ll probably never see some of my students again, and that is a weird feeling. It was so easy to get caught up in perfecting their routine, but I want to know what happens after they leave that stage and move on to the next. Will their in-class performances help fuel their self-confidence? If given the opportunity, will they choose to attend a dance concert over a sporting event? Will they send their kids to dance class? In 20 years, will their time spent in the studio alter a future decision? That’s all that I can hope: That I was able to foster a smidgen of dance appreciation that will be with them for a lifetime.