Why so tired? This past weekend Durango Dance Ensembles attended our second convention of the year. It was also our second convention ever. Unlike our first convention (Project Dance), this one (ASH) included an adjudicated performance opportunity. Things get a little dicey for me as I talk about such opportunities: I'm not a do-it-because-everyone-else-is person and I want to be clear about our goals in attending these events. Our team of teachers and families are all here for the same reason: we want to teach children to dance safely, happily, well, and unburdened. It's important for our dancers to experience dance outside of our studio and under the care of other teachers, but honestly, that is not always an easy task (as any parent or caregiver can attest). It seems we must dance this line along the various schools of thought that dance is fun, dance is competitive, dance is artistic, and dance is for you/not-you/boys/girls/skinny/strong/wealthy/few/all. Throw in the various ideas about technique, tricks, careers, and healthy/safety, and you'll find that stepping out into the dance world is not always an easy walk.
BUT when we walk through this as a dance family, we can navigate these various paths together. What an amazing experience it then becomes to travel to our first convention Project Dance where we could experience the wonder of performing outside in an amphitheater, take classes from teachers who could personally correct or encourage, and hear the director share her personal story of how dance impacted her life. Likewise, we could experience this latest convention ASH where we were able to experience performing in front of master teachers who were actively taking notes on our performances, take classes in huge ballrooms where we were challenged to learn choreography quickly, and we could watch dancers whose choices were sometimes vastly different and see the broad spectrum of what dance and dancers look like.
Throughout this experience as we support our dancers in the quest to learn and grow in dance, I am grateful to watch them also grow as humans. My favorite moments from this past weekend were seeing them encourage the dancers around them, move from the back of the room to the middle of the dance floor, try new styles of movement, step into a new stage of ballet training (4 dancers are working in pre-pointe and pointe shoes now!), and face their fears and discomforts and push through anyway.
Dance. Friendships. Growth. What a combination for this good-tired feeling. And now, to finish that last half of my coffee pot.