What dance teachers (at least this one) think, feel, etc
)Recital for dance studios is the culmination of over 1 year of planning. A year of costume shopping, choreographing, music cutting, teaching, administrative work, marketing, gaining and losing students, possibly a move or two(!!!), joys and frustrations all rolled into a few minutes on stage.
So while you watch or dance on the stage there is a teacher standing in the wings taking it all in. What is going through that teachers mind? What is that teacher feeling as they watch? Probably a lot of what you would expect, and maybe a few things you wouldn't.
#1. Pride. A sense of accomplishment that we all made it! The students dancing on the stage worked so hard, overcame so many challenges in class and out and are now showing their determination with a happy heart. That brings joy to dance teachers everywhere!
#2. Nerves. The dancers step on stage and they are nervous! Things like forgetting to count, forgetting their steps, freezing or injuries happen. I silently pray for safety and success for each and every dancer all day (and many days of the year!)
#3. Counts! I am silently doing the dance mentally with the kids. Urging them to smile, have fun, listen to the music and dance like they never have before! And sometimes helping a bit behind the curtain when a nervous little one sends a panicked look my way.
#5. Protective mama bear-ness. The performers are just kids. They do their best and every performance they get better. Rude comments from the audience, friends, other dancers during and after bring out the scary in me! The dancers have worked hard and harsh critiques are never helpful, but always hurtful.
#6. Joy. Sharing my love for dance with the dancers is what makes my job not just a job but something I love doing. Seeing them on stage loving to perform is what makes me excited to start planning it all over again for next year, as soon as the final curtain drops!
#7. Relief! When the curtain drops and all is said and done, a huge sigh of satisfied relief is released. We made it. The dancers are always amazing, doing their very best. The audience is (mostly) thrilled with the dancers progress and all are ready for a much needed rest. And a huge meal of comforting carbohydrates!
#8. Appreciated. When the dancers wait for parents to pick them up, they run to hug and thank their teacher. The dancers know that recital is a huge undertaking. There are always unforeseen hiccups, a little drama and a lot of work to get us on that stage. Just hearing thank you makes the whole year sum up so perfectly.
#9. A little bittersweet nostalgia. As the dancers leave with their parents, I know many go on to other sports or activities next year. While I support and encourage all students to find what they love to do, they will be missed. Each dancer is unique and special, and will be remembered in the studio family.
#10. Excited. Leaving the theatre I always feel a big mix of all of the above. The predominant thing though is just a giddy feeling that my job is an honor to have. Being in a position to teach and influence the lives of others is something to be cherished.
Recital is a stressful time, but I always remember that these dancers are kids. They will not always be little. We all grow and change constantly, that 3 minutes on stage is just a snapshot of the past year's journey. So hold fast to the memories being made, I am so honored to be a part of them.
We are almost there, recital is just days away. Practice hard, give it your all and break a leg!