Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Summer musings

A long overdue blog about my summer.

In June, following our debut at the Kennedy Center, Kathi Martuza and I flew to Idaho to dance for a small school located in Eagle, ID, a suburb of Boise. We had the gig lined up in advance, and it turned out to be really fantastic. The performance was in a vineyard (see photo), where we performed the Adagio Movement from Yuri Possokhov's Raymonda and the Paseo (or tango) from Kent Stowell's Through Eden's Gates. I had a great time with my colleague, and had a great time representing OBT outside of Portland.

After Idaho, I visited my home in Nebraska, which was great for some down time. It was great to rest, relax and dine on fantastic food (meat and potatoes) from my Midwestern home. When I was home I had contacted a friend that I used to dance with and she now owns her own studio in my hometown. She signed me up to teach a few classes at her studio: ballet I and II, contemporary, and jazz. It's been years since I've regularly attended a jazz class; however, I did the best I could. By the end of the week I told my friend that the next time I come back to teach that I'd rather just stick to ballet.

I had the opportunity to teach a few classes elsewhere around town, several of which I had no idea that I was signed on to teach at. I had several students that I used to dance with email me and ask if I was coming to teach at my former studio. All the while, I had not been in contact with any other studio in the Omaha area; however, I ended up being on the roaster's of three different ballet schools to teach class. I made it to all of them and enjoyed every aspect of teaching.

I had a great time teaching. I was nervous initially, but then I warmed up to it and enjoyed seeing things from "the other side." Dance is special because the only way to pass it on is through dancing; there is no form of notation for dance, and the greatness of the art is passed on through great teachers. It was a new experience to go back through my training and highlight the things that I found most important to teach these kids in the selected time I had with them. I only had them for a week, so I couldn't convey everything I wanted to within such a short time. But I learned that I enjoyed sharing the special things that have been taught to me by all the teachers I've had; and I also learned that teaching makes me a better dancer, because when I correct someone, I (hopefully) apply it to my own dancing as well.

Teaching reminded me of my history, and how every class I've taken and every teacher I've had has impacted me. I remember the good and the bad and applied them to the way I taught class as well as the way I take class. I feel like I carry a little piece of every teacher I've ever had; therefore, teaching is imparting the wisdom of all the great teachers I've ever had.

Hopefully teaching will be something that I can grow in as I have more opportunity.

And while teaching was a really great resource to explore a different side of dance in, my summer was very much lacking in dance for myself. As I returned to Portland and began taking class and attempting to get back in shape, I felt so grateful to be dancing again. I really missed it. Now, as we are thick into Swan Lake and my body is reacting adversely, I am truly glad to be back in the studio in "rehearsal mode" preparing for our debut of the season.

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