The most common question you are asked upon meeting someone new is “What do you do?” For most, this is a very simple answer. For me-it’s a little more complex.
Yes I have a full time job as an account executive for the local television station and yes I love it. I am very blessed to have a job I enjoy doing straight out of college. But I then follow that response with “but I’m also a dance teacher.”
Usually I’ll get one of two responses: “that’s awesome!” Or (my personal favorite) “you mean you actually do that for a living?”
Yes I do do that for a living and let me tell you why.
The average person may see a dance teacher as a babysitter for their child as an after school activity. And while dance is just a recreational activity for a large population of the students, every once and awhile you get that handful of kids that are growing to be just as passionate about the art as you are (the dance teacher). And that is truly why I teach dance.
I don’t do it for the trophies. Winning is not important to me. Yes it’s nice every once and awhile to take home a W, don’t get me wrong. What’s important to me is seeing the dancer light up the stage with their confidence and showing the judges how much fun they are having and their passion for the art. We always remind our students before they take the stage the two most important things: smile and HAVE FUN.
I don’t do it for the money. If you are a dance teacher you know first hand that money is definitely NOT why we do this. I promise you there is not enough money in the world to pay dance teachers enough for what they do. Because we are not only instructors-
We are hair dressers, always locked and loaded with bobby pins and hair spray.
We are seamstresses, for the last minute costume malfunctions.
We are nurses fully equipped with bandages and bags of frozen peas for the accidents.
We are big sisters and brothers to the kids who need it most.
We are an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.
We are leaders.
We are inspirations.
I do this simply for the reward at the end of the day. Here’s what I mean by that: I’m talking about the reward of the little girl who comes to one ballet class a week and finally landed a solid single pirouette. Her thrill, excitement and dedication is what drives me.
And I’m talking about the girl who lacked so much confidence coming in at the beginning of the season but just finished the season not with the biggest trophy, but with the biggest smile on her face and already talking about next season.
And I’m talking about the mom of a little girl with down syndrome watching her baby shine on stage. And all the previous worry melts away.
Im talking about the student in the little’s class that hugs you at the end of the chaotic 45 minutes you didn’t think you would make it through and says “I wanna be just like you when I grow up.”
I’m talking about the thank you from the senior who is graduating. The thank you for everything you have done for them. For not only teaching them the steps but for teaching them discipline, confidence and true passion.
So yes, I am a dance teacher but I am also so much more than that.