So..this evening I taught Ballet “Beginner 1” at the Joffrey Ballet School. 30 dancers of various ages, abilities, body types and purposes gathered together for the ritual of Ballet Class. Thirty left hands were placed on the barre. Thirty right feet and legs stretched out to create a long, reaching, endless line for “tendu devant”. And methodically and systematically we worked our way through the exercises at the barre, in the centre and across the floor; breathing beauty, artistry, musicality and LIFE into every step. At the end of the class, a few students stayed behind to ask questions, or to chat. A shy young woman came up to me and said:
“Thank you so much. Tonight was the first time I have taken your class. You made us feel OK about being beginners…I’ve taken other classes where the teacher made me feel a embarrassed that I wasn’t any better”.
Well, that just about broke my heart. Who does that? I was once that adult beginner. I was once that 20-something who had never danced a step. I was once the person who “wasn’t any better”. And I had marvelous teachers who showed me the way to my career and my life through love, caring, patience and understanding.
It is the great joy in my life that the Joffrey trusts their beautiful adult beginner dancers to me, and hopefully I can bring them the same fulfillment that my teachers brought me.
When the student finds joy in the process, a dancer is born.