Bouncing Back

Helloooo, swing dancers.

You doin’ good? I’m doin’ okay. The marvelous thing about dancing with students is that it can change your whole attitude about what dancing means.

Today, my 301 class and I did some Mandy Jiroux choreography to Uptown Funk. It’s repetitive, but the kids really love the beat.

As a follow, I was a timid dancer. I think teaching dance on my own now, three times a week for up to 4 hours in a second language, has taught me to embrace mistakes and, yes, even confidence. In the many workshops and retreats I went to, I missed out on the most important part that a bunch of excited third graders taught me. Dancing is so much fun. My students plead with me to play this song (which I’m now close to sick of) even when they’re just on water break. It’s fun to watch Bruno Mars dance around in a pink suit or when he rides around seated on a car. How did I miss that before? Also, no matter how on or off beat students are, the students who enjoy themselves always look great.

Image via CaptainRabbitEars. Check them out on DeviantArt.

Have you ever seen 6th graders do partnered Charleston for the first time? It makes you want to smile because you enjoy watching them DANCING. Sure, it’s not perfect and sometimes 6th graders can be quite cruel to each other, but for a few moments, their dancing and their joy were one. That, for me, is really enough.

I guess I’m still searching for my identity as a dancer. So far, this post by Swungover has shed new light on how to improve my dancing. Hope always triumphs over dead ends. Most of my dance past involved me setting unrealistic expectations, then crashing and burning because I thought I could be “good” or “great” without any solo practice. I also hated seeing myself dance. Now…I can. I can dance. I’m not saying I’m good or great, but I’m working on it.

So hope. It’s a beautiful thing.

Here’s to so-called failures and all the winding, fascinating paths it leads us down.

Wishing you happy feet,

S.

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