To My Dance Teachers:
Out of the 21 years I’ve spent on this planet, nearly 15 of them were devoted to dancing competitively. Ever since I can remember, the dance studio has been my second home. Through all of the competitions, shows, costumes, hairspray, injuries and friendships I’ve made, my experiences on and off the stage have taught me many things about myself and about life in general. You, whom I look up to and consider to be some of the most influential role models in my life, taught all of these lessons that I’ve held so close to my heart.
You have instilled values in me that will stay with me forever and have helped make me who I am today. You taught me the importance of hard work and dedication. You taught me how to be truly and completely dedicated to something. There was no “skipping” practice to hang out with my friends, or to go to that party – dance always came first and you made sure of that.
You pushed me beyond my limits. Contrary to what the television show “Dance Moms” would like to have us believe, you never wanted to see me fail. You made sure that I didn’t stay down when I fell, or quit when I messed up. You helped me understand that falling down is a part of life but that getting back up is living – you were the ones that picked me back up and pushed me back out there.
You taught me the importance of perseverance and discipline. I a firm believer that if you haven’t taken a pointe class, you don’t understand the true meaning of perseverance. I wasn’t gifted with ballerina feet, they’re flat and my natural turnout is basically nonexistent. But this didn’t stop you from working with me every single day to help me be the best dancer I could be and for this I am forever grateful.
You taught me humility, you taught me to be humble after our wins and helped me understand that the only person we should be concerned with beating is yesterday’s version of ourselves. You taught me how to be the best version of myself always and to understand that all that mattered was performing the absolute best I could – regardless of whether or not that meant I won a trophy.
You taught me the importance of teamwork. You taught me that everyone needs to be giving their all 100% of the time or else the whole group suffers. You taught me to understand the true meaning of the word “teammate”. Thinking about others instead of just myself is a life lesson you taught me that I will carry with me forever.
Most importantly, you taught me how amazing life can be when you’re truly passionate about something. You have taught me what it means to love what you do. Having a passion for something gives you the motivation to keep at it and push on even when things get tough – and you work around the clock to ignite this passion in all of your students.
Dance has never been just a sport (yes, it is a sport) or a hobby for me. It always has been and always will be a part of my heart and soul and you taught me that being family isn’t limited to just bloodline. You taught me how to eat, sleep, and breathe dance and allowed me the opportunity to surround myself with a family full of people who feel the same way.
Although you probably don’t hear it enough I would like to say thank you for never giving up on me, for pushing me, for being a source of constant inspiration in my life and for making me the person I am today.
Featured image via Shamraevsky Maksim on Pexels
Thank You for sharing your thoughts Jessica, we all love what we do and there is nothing quite as rewarding as knowing we make a difference!
Beautiful piece Jess… I am sure none of those were the reasons you were driven to be a dancer… and how ironic is that! Thank you for sharing this. Every dancer, parent of a dancer, and dance teacher should read this.
Such terrific life lessons but how about not cropping out her feet in the image above?!!! Really?!!!
This is excellent. There are many of these what-I-learned-from dance articles that delve into the silliness or allude to that horrific tv show. And that’s fine. But it is nice to be able to link to something that is a bit more plain spoken and direct yet with written with love and humility. Thank you!