Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dance a Little

Last Wednesday night, I lay in bed with the sense of jumping of the high diving board.  There was no going back, now and I was about to be immersed.  The next day was the dress rehearsal for my fall performance.  What had begun with a line of chairs at one end of the studio when I first began, had become a performance on a stage in front of too many people to fit inside our dance hall.  The Vernon Rec Centre Auditorium was rented.  I'd sold tickets. And I was expecting about 150 people.  Wow.

My Advanced Creative Ballet class dancing in the sunshine.
 In a culture that is increasingly pushing children to aspire to be accomplished athletes/dancers/gymnasts/musicians while they are still of an age to be experimenting and discovering what they like to do - when it is supposed to be recreation, I offer something different.  Too many people want their child to be the next sensation.  I offer dance classes that buck the trend.  Once a week for an hour, they come to an old hall with an excellent hard wood sprung floor - made for dancing.  We spend half an hour on technique and half an hour dancing as they please.  And gratefully, over the years, people who appreciate my approach have found me.
Grand Jete's - every class' favourite exercise
 In the almost 8 years I have been offering this style of creative ballet lessons, I have been blessed and in awe of the young dancers that unfold before me - the natural grace, the creative ideas, the willingness.  I love ballet and it brings me such great pleasure to share that love for an afternoon a week.  
Our performances are like none other that I have ever seen with large segments of improvisation.  We work on it for 6 weeks.  They choose their character and their music and they each create their own dance.  My oldest girls have gotten into doing more structured choreography but they still love the free dance, too.  The performances they come up with are so much better than anything I could have told them to do - any sequence of steps they could have memorized; far better than simple steps awkwardly executed.  There is no awkwardness in their performances.  There is grace and beauty and amazing dancing.  I was showing a video of one of the dances to a girl I am working with.  She watched spellbound and says with a matter-of-fact tone to me, "she's not going to screw up, is she?"

Now my dance classes involve 2 of my daughters.  My youngest in my advanced class and my oldest daughter teaching jazz and tap.  As a mother, I couldn't be more proud.  This was Eryn's third performance with me.  

And this dance performance was a special one.  Our first on a real stage.  They were excited and nervous and it was awesome.
Eryn and I doing introductions
Eryn's Intermediate Jazz class - Rhiannon on the far left.

A passionate young ballet dancer

All the dancers on stage

A young ballet caterpillar getting her rose

At my very first dance performance in the spring of 2005 with a gang of 4 year olds, I started this tradition. As I say, real dancers get roses and so I always hand out a rose to each of my students while saying something about them.  Its how we end our evening.  I was so proud of them all!


Delanie C said...

I love it! I love ballet and still dream of dancing.

eryn. said...

why is everyone up this early? I DON'T GET IT!

Andrea said...

Well, to listen to you on the radio, of course!

Evan said...

Im not up that early :-P

Beth-a-knee said...

If I ever have a daughter I may have to move to Vernon just so you can teach her dance. That's the exact teaching style I want for my kids!

amyleigh said...

That's wonderful, good for you guys. You must feel so proud and satisfied at moments like that, and deservedly so!

Tracy said...

Andrea, I so wish I could find someone like you here in Surrey. Jane especially loves to dance and I'm reluctant to put her in a dance class. I don't want her to lose her love of dancing by being part of group choreography without the freedom to create her own moves or sequence of moves. Do you happen to know anyone that does this near me?