When the dance studio director becomes the dance student

Summer vacation, ahhhh, the best!  Beaches, sunscreen, ice cream cones, s’mores… total relaxation and fun, right?  Well, wrong, at least for me!  Every year, I use these summer months to return to my first love of dance- being a student in all types of dance classes, from ballet to jazz to musical theater to lyrical to contemporary to tap to even hip hop (yes, I can hear all of my students laughing at the thought of me doing hip hop!).  But, there is something so magical about just DANCING again.

I love being a dance teacher and treasure the opportunity during the school year to pass along my passion for the art form in all of my dance lessons.  I also love being a dance studio owner.  I wouldn’t trade either of these positions/jobs for anything!  However, I also really still love simply learning dance skills and gaining so much new knowledge from other experienced dance teachers and choreographers.  There is just nothing like that moment when the music turns on and your body lets loose with all kinds of liberating dance moves.  It’s that feeling of pure FREEDOM, EXHILARATION, AMAZEMENT and, of course, it’s just plain old FUN!

I view these summer dance classes as important for several reasons:

1.  I think it’s crucial for me and my incredible dance teachers to remember how it feels to learn dance moves that we may not be so comfortable doing right away.  That way, we can bring those experiences back to our All That Jazz students during their own local dance lessons.  Thus, making us more sympathetic and patient when a student has any kind of difficulty learning our choreography.

2.  I also recognize that dance (again, all of our broad dance lesson offerings: tap, jazz, ballet, musical theater, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, street jazz and jazzswing) is ever evolving and I can’t rely on my training from when I opened the studio 23 years ago to be accurate now.  I need to stay on top of the trends in dance and love being able to pass these new ideas along, once I get back to the dance studio in Newton in the fall.

3.  Did I mention that I just love to dance???  And, this makes me relish every opportunity that I get to break out my jazz shoes, tap shoes, and dance sneakers- even now, 40 something years into my love affair with dancing.

4.  This year, I will also add one more reason; i.e., experiencing a dance lesson over Zoom.  Typically, these dance classes occur in New York City at a huge dance teacher conference.  And, I get to meet and take class in-person from famous dance leaders in the industry.  Clearly during the summer of 2020, these massive conferences couldn’t happen in person.  Instead, I found myself logging onto my computer from my home dance studio in Newton, MA and dancing my heart out alone in my basement.  And, guess what?  I may have enjoyed these virtual dance classes even more!!!!

In this online world of dance lessons, I found that I was even more willing to take risks and try that much harder.  Yes, I missed connecting live person to person, dance teacher to dance teacher and the general buzz of dancing within a large group.  But, I quickly discovered that pinning the teacher on zoom allowed for me to have an arguably better experience, almost like they were giving me my very own private dance lesson.  And, I didn’t have to fight for space, since my basement is all mine (until my son kicks me out for his X-Box!).

In a few short weeks, my teachers and I will meet to share all that we have learned over the summer.  I am so excited to continue the mission of creating the Best Dance Studio in Newton for kids!  

~Miss Deb

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