So….the last time I posted I wrote all about inspiration and motivation. In essence, reminders for personal growth and achievement. This time, I want to share with you all how I was able to grow in so many ways by stepping out of my comfort zone this month! Here’s a short synopsis of my adventures over the past few weeks, and how I want to continue to push forward believing that there is always more than meets the eye:

In the beginning of the month I accompanied the Miami Arts Charter School dancers on a trip to St. Petersburg to partake in the Florida Dance Performance Assessment. I choreographed two pieces for them to submit during the assessment, and then perform at night in the dance concert for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. This was my second time attending the assessment, and it has proven again to be a wonderful tool for our dancers to learn more about themselves and each other. It was a very rewarding experience as a teacher and choreographer to see our dancers thrive in their element, growing right before our eyes as they took corrections from their adjudicators and applied those during their performance that very evening. It was a proud moment I’ll fondly remember. It’s a great feeling to create work that dancers feel a part of and can relate to, bringing it to life. I was moved and inspired by these young artists to continue pushing my own boundaries as well as their own. A special treat while the dancers enjoyed their workshop classes was a workshop for teachers led by the one and only Tina Santos. I had already enjoyed her lecture during the FDEO conference back in 2017, so this ballet pedagogy workshop which continued to elaborate on several of the concepts we covered the last time we met was an enlightening refresher for all of the teachers who attended.

The following week I attended Universal Ballet Competition with one of my students. As her coach, watching and helping her in rehearsals for hours on end, I was already proud of her progress. However, this event really made my heart swell with joy at the sight of her happiness in the realization of her progress. Sometimes public acknowledgement can be nice, but that feeling of accomplishment after exiting the stage knowing you gave it your all is a feeling that can’t be compared. I also spent some time with fellow teachers, and reconnected with old friends and colleagues, which was nice to do when you’re always busy running around.

I ended the month by judging a dance competition, my very first in the competitive dance industry. I’d judged events before, mostly in educational settings for district performances. I was a little hesitant and, I’ll admit: nervous. Although I’ve attended more than my fair share of dance competitions in my career, as both a dancer and teacher, I’d never had the opportunity to sit behind the table and see everything from a different perspective. I adjudicated dancers at Inspire National Dance Competition in Orlando, Florida this weekend. I arrived the evening before and got a good night’s rest to prepare for all the dancers I’d be watching the next day. In the morning, the competition staff and judges were so kind and helpful that my nerves quickly melted away and I immediately felt ready to go. I was swept away by all the talent and energy the dancers left on the stage all day; it was truly amazing to see things from the other side! After a full day of adjudications, I taught the dancers a fun little latin jazz combination while they waited for their awards ceremony. We had a blast!

And there you have it. A month full of new, exciting, step-out-of-your-comfort-zone weekends where I learned new things, met new friends and reconnected with old, and left feeling more inspired than when I arrived. This coming weekend will be no different, as I embark on a trip to the National High School Dance Festival with the MAC dancers once more. I can’t wait to tell you all about it when we return!

In the meantime, be sure to follow me on social media for sneak peeks and glimpses to my crazy adventures! You can also subscribe to my Youtube channel for fun clips from classes and choreo.

If you’d like to reach me, send me a quick message via my website. Can’t wait to connect with you all!

 

– DF