Updated: May 17
We're all familiar with the the phrase "Back to Dance". Every dance business uses it as their main marketing angle all throughout January. It's associated with new shoes, new uniforms, new classes and of course the New Year! This year in November we saw a completely new "Back to Dance" angle, it was the return from Victoria's 6th Lockdown.
As a small business owner, this Lockdown seemed longer and harder than all the rest. Speaking to other fellow business owners, the feelings were mutual. I was lucky enough to participate in an online seminar hosted by Victorian Dance Festival, where Counsellor and Life Coach Will Centurion chatted about this very topic, the return. I would like to acknowledge the amazing presence of community and support in the dance world all throughout Australia.
I can't tell you how excited I was when I finally found out that we could return to face to face classes, and it really did feel like the beginning of a New Year! I hadn't seen these children for 2 months, babies that were crawling are now walking, my Year 6 kids all have their uniforms ready to start high school next year, so much had happened in these kid's lives. I expected hesitancy, as teachers we were warned to expect this. These kids hadn't seen me or their friends in months. Most of them hadn't danced for the bulk of this time, so I managed the expectation that technique may not be where we left it and the relationships I had formed may take a little longer to "warm up" again. I was ready for whatever was coming.
I will never forget the moment I walked into the room of one of my childcare centres, after all those months. 20+ children swarmed me, yelling my name, filling the room with stories of "new shoes", random statements of "daddy dropped me off today" and smiles as if I had been there every week before that. As a teacher this is easily one of the most rewarding feelings as I place a high importance on the relationships I build with my students no matter their age.
My older children received the "be kind to yourself" speech (i'm sure they think I talk too much sometimes). I explained that they needed to be kind to their body and their mind. If you fall out of a turn, or your jumps aren't as high, or your splits aren't as low... it's okay! "We are all in the same boat, I am too! And we will all get back to where we were, together". Well of course the muscle memory of a child is amazing and they pushed their splits, and did their Fouettés as if no time had passed. This also brought me immense pride. I felt as if they felt comfortable to not be "perfect", we laughed and we moved and again, it was as if no time had passed.
I will always keep the last 2 years in the back of my mind. Not every day will be "normal", and these children have shown the most amazing displays of adaptability and resilience, and I feel that needs to be celebrated.
Our November return to dance was even better than I could have dreamed, and I absolutely can not wait for Ignite's 2022.