As a newbie freshman who had just finished her first semester in college, I questioned myself at the beginning whether I would succeed during my time here. Not only have I never taken an internship before, but I have also never even taken a dance class. But, despite some jitters, I was excited to start a new experience!
For my first day, the task was to simply observe the surroundings of the studio where I would spend the next couple of weeks here. When I arrived at around 6 PM, there were a couple of classes that were going on: Classics 4T and Classics 3T. After staff introductions, I found myself sitting in one of the studios, where a ballet session was taking place. In my carefully prepared business-casual attire, I felt a bit out of place in a room full of ballerinas.
Expected for a dance studio, at least one pale-blue side of the wall was covered top-to-bottom with a mirror. Barres were placed in the center of the room, which seemed to me to be used as a security for balance, as the dancers relied on nothing more than one foot as they practiced different ballet positions. Other than the slogan overhead door- “Be confident. Be bold. Be you” -which was right by where I sat, the room was also notable for the palpable amount of concentration. Students swept their feet back and forth, arms were raised up and down, and made calculated movements with their limbs as a combination of music and instructions filled the room. Yet, there was also a rather lively and comfortable atmosphere that surrounded the children.
The next class I visited was the tap dancing class. It was interesting going directly from one dance style to another, and comparing the two together. One of the main differences that I immediately saw was the attire of dancers. The outfits consisted of more casual clothing and black tap shoes. I enjoyed hearing the rhythms that were made from those shoes, which were clacking against the hard wooden floor. While the one word I would describe ballet is “graceful”, I would describe tap dance to be “vibrant”. There were also some identifiable similarities between the dance styles. Both placed an importance on timing and form.
I am by no means a dancer- it is only by the persuasion of being covered by other peers that I will be able to go on a dance floor. But by taking an inside look of the dance lessons, I thought that I could form a connection between myself and dancers.
Just like writing, drawing, or any other art form, dancing is something that is needed to be comfortable with before allowing other people to see you practicing it. Expression is a two step process: first knowing how to do it, and then being able to share it to others. It takes hard commitment and practice to be able to fluently accomplish both. So although I have never tried dance school before, with my own experiences (perhaps even including this one) I was able to understand my surroundings better and bring my memories back to the first steps that I took to achieve sharing my own expressions.
As 2015 winds down, I had a the awesome pleasure of taking my nephew out to play while he and his family came to NJ to visit for Christmas. While watching Zach on the playground with other kids, I was so delighted to sit, relax with my cup of java and just unplug and enjoy seeing kids play and make friends.
And then I looked around. . . parents, grandparents, babysitters, they were all there, but on some sort of phone or tablet. I often say something about how I wish folks would enjoy life vs. trying to capture pictures of it -but not even that was happening - they were completely plugged into whatever was on their device. This post isn't meant to judge adults for the decisions they make to use their phone when they get a quiet moment while the kids are otherwise engaged, but rather call out an opportunity to just enjoy life - to sit in silence and not feel the need to "do something" but to just be. To be still and watch kids running around with big smiles, to be present enough that when a child calls your name to look and see what they can do - you can actually see it.
It reminds me of a child in dance class last year, parents were invited to come in and see choreography and one girl was so upset because her mom was there- but outside and visible from the window. She was on her phone, possibly on an important call, or making plans for her daughter's playdate, or something else. But in that moment, the girl just felt like all she wanted was her mom to be there -to be present, and in that moment of emotions she blurted out "She's always on her phone." It felt like a dagger to me - because I thought of times when it seems that I'm so busy that I don't engage either.
We adults spend time talking about what we have to do, what needs to get done, where we have to drive. I think the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, to children and families, is to simply be present. Put down the phone, shut off notifications for a bit, be present. Choose to look up and see what the child wants you to see, engage in that conversation with your spouse, call your dad, make some memories.
I'm going to give it a go. I enjoyed watching Zachary play. I felt really flippin awesome that when he wanted to show off for me, I was already looking - I was smiling and waving to him - filling his heart and mind with the knowledge that his aunt loves him. I'm going to start with 5 minutes a day - to be totally present for someone else, and in turn, I think I'll find myself happier and more relaxed. If it's not 5 minutes a day, it's okay, it's the effort made to make a difference. What will you do to make 2016 great? Will you be present?
Modern Motion Dance School