Making choices about being inspired over being intimidated got me to thinking. I realize that one of the reasons that making good choices is easier for me is because of my teacher and my studio. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – who you choose to be your teacher is incredibly important. A ballet teacher can certainly be capable of teaching both kids and adults but let’s face it not all teachers have that ability. And just because a teacher is “good” – from a fancy studio, retired from a fancy company, has a huge following, has students going to YAGP and/or professional companies – does not mean that they are the right teacher for you! My awesome ballet teacher only teaches adult (well, and a occasional teenager but mostly as a private coach), his mission is to teach adults to learn ballet at a very high level, pure classical ballet. So right there, our missions match.
He offers classes that are built on his responsibility to you as a student and your responsibility as an adult to work together to set goals and then to achieve them in an atmosphere of encouragement and inspiration not intimidation and bullying. He doesn’t expect students to know everything out of the box… how do I know this? Because he has said “I don’t expect you to know this, it’s my job to teach you.” No subtly needed. He’s also impossibly optimistic. I used to find it funny that he would say things like… and when you begin to do multiple pirouettes or… you need to have this as a strong foundation for when you go on pointe or… I’m going to do choreography to this music on you someday. It just sounded crazy. Those expectations were things that I imagined but were too afraid to say out loud. But he is willing to say it out loud and now I don’t chuckle, I nod in agreement. And sometimes I even find the courage to say these things out loud myself and actually believe them!
I think that if we believe in ourselves and if we are able to find teachers who believe in us as well, that it becomes so much easier to choose to be inspired and motivated and to chuck those negative thoughts out the door! We all need someone to believe in us, I don’t think that we ever lose that.
I also really want to point out that my teacher is not supportive because I am so awesome. I am so not awesome. I am not in any way, shape, or form a natural dancer. I am short, short limbed, I have a chest and hips and relatively flat feet. I am built to be in a library not in a studio. But I love ballet and I don’t hide that fact from anyone. I love class, I work hard and I stay focused. I think that my teacher is so incredibly supportive because he is genuinely a good person and because he wants to help me achieve my ballet dreams. A truly good teacher does not just support those students who are balletically inclined but all those students who love dance! I hope that you guys are all getting great support from your teachers as well but if not, I hope that you consider who you are entrusting to teach you because dancing should be wonderful – difficult but wonderful! And if you ever need an extra bit of encouragement, I hope you will drop me a note because I love cheering for my ballet-dancing friends! You all are an amazing and special breed – seriously, I am always inspired by you!