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Capturing Jealousy: The Little Green Monster

The comments are made in passing...

"I wish I had her feet."

"Man, I wish I could do the splits as easily as you."

"Ugh, her turns are PERFECT. I wish I could turn like that..."

These comments come from a desire within us of wanting to be someone we aren't. We want her legs, her feet, his jumping power, their strength, this or that, over here or over there. The challenge is teaching students to recognize the little green monster before its tentacles reach every aspect of your thought processes, thus affecting every aspect of your life.

How is this done in a performance world where ballerinas have been taught for ages to execute everything the exact same way?


 

Living through Monumental Loss

As performers, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We put everything out there. We fall in love quickly with everything, because everything serves as inspiration to our gifts. We read in between the lines to try and help ourselves grow as artists. We over analyze, we listen to critiques and sometimes take them personally. We build things up in our minds, to help motivate our focus and drive, and we believe in what we do and who we are.

These are all wonderful qualities. They make us strong. They make us able to do what thousands of people will never be able to do - stand in front of thousands of people and perform.

But these qualities also make us extremely vulnerable.

As artists, our motto has always been: "You have to go there to know there." (Quote from Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.) If we were expected to portray a depressed young girl, we needed to understand what that felt like. If we were to portray an overjoyed, confident go-getter, we needed to live that first, before we could convince someone that we were that.

But making yourself go there, making yourself feel everything, is not always the easiest responsibility. We have to breathe through the lows, and be careful not to get addicted or live only for the highs. It's a balancing act that takes dedication, self-awareness and patience.


 

Raising Positive Dancers

We were recently reading an article by Rhonda Talbot who tackles some tough parenting questions. As educators, our main goal is to foster progress within a strong individual. The foundation of that goal is to help establish a strong individual.

How do we, as teachers, make that happen?


 

When Life Gets Hectic

Written by: Sheena Jeffers for Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins

I have 5 fully-functioning calenders in my daily life.

One hanging up in my bathroom by my sink to read over while brushing my teeth or putting on my make-up. One on my phone, which is the first method of any record. It's electronic and quick. One hanging on the wall in my office. One taped to my desk by the phone, which only has numbers that I put dots over once a day is done. One physical one that I carry around with me to write down what I did each day. It's one crazy, well-oiled, multi-tasking machine / balancing act!

Here are my tips for staying energized, staying focused, and staying right on track:


 

Setting Goals

As a young child, your brain would fill up with ideas.

You'd listen to ideas and hear yourself saying, "Or, we could do..."

Very early on, we need to understand how to set goals. Grab some highlighters, some sticky notes, and a journal. We can teach you how to take those grand ideas and make them... doable!


 

Dance & Relationships

In a recent chat with Kiner Enterprises, Inc. the topic was on dance and relationships. Some of the questions discussed were:

Shoulder dancers marry dancers?

What do you do if your partner doesn't support your career goals?

How has dance affected your relationships?


 

Happiness is a Rather Large Task

Within the last two years we have realized something that we were never told would be our own responsibility. Our parents, our school teachers, our Sunday school teachers, the girl who taught us how to swim, our dance instructors, the teenagers who came in as part of the DARE program telling us to "just say no" to drugs, our college professors: Nobody, not a single one of those, told us.

How were we supposed to know we are responsible for our own happiness!


 

Teaching: Following their Journey

Here's the thing about being a teacher: You have to believe in molasses. It's a long, slow process that involves giving and taking away. It takes patience and hard work, but in the end you're left with something very sweet.

Becoming a teacher is one of the best choices we've ever made. Our students - regardless of age - have opened our eyes to new realizations, feelings and opportunities.

The first day you start teaching, you'll feel nervous but confident in your dancing. Then, you step into the classroom with 12 pairs of little eyes looking back at you with their hands on their hips, and then you'll realize teaching dance is far different than taking dance. Questions will flood into your mind: Where do I begin? Where do they come from? What do they know? How do they learn? How fast? How slow? How do I make them feel comfortable with each other and me and themselves and dance? What can I give to them that they will carry with them forever?

Young teachers want quick results. But as you grow (as an individual and as a teacher), you'll come to respect the process, and the time it takes.


 

Love v. Money

Written by Sheena Jeffers for Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins.

There have been two times in my life where I can say I felt completely lost.


 

The Business of Life

We recently sat across from a nurse while eating dinner with friends.

“So,” she began, swishing her wine around in her glass. “How exactly do you live?”

This was her response to our telling her we are dance teachers. We smiled, laughed to ourselves.

“I didn’t mean that in any way other than: How did you turn something you love to do into an income?”

Thus, we explained our double life.


 

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Design & Development by Shane Jeffers