choreo journal #9: the peak and the pit – how i had the best and worst dance day in a long time

choreo juornal peak and pitWhat’s your guilty pleasure? I love watching Keeping up with the Kardashians on E! The trappings of fame and excess in their lives is so fascinating to me and well as the silly ass adventures they get into. It also helps that Rob K. Is mad ). Anyways, they have a family tradition that I’ve adopted because I think it’s cute and touching. It’s called the peak and the pit. They take a few minutes to share with each other the best and the worst thing that happened to them that day. I’d like to share mine with you – they’re pretty extreme, so when you’re ready, I’ll meet you on the other side.

I’ll start with the peak.

I teach an afternoon dance program for a private school here in my area and the ability levels of my students are all over the place. I have kids who have danced for 10+ years bryan oshea capital theatre workshopin the same class with kids who have danced a total of less than 10 hours! Knowing those levels, some of them need a bit of extra guidance here and there. On Wednesday afternoons class is divided into two parts – the first half is a ballet barre for my older, more experienced students and in the second half my younger students have a what I like to call an “Introduction to Dance” class. We discuss and demonstrate all the regular dance basics: body alignment, stretched feet, body support – you know, concepts that parallel most of the dance forms they study. Our first class was last week and I was very unsure of how they’d take to the class as the older students’ session is by instructor invitation only and some of my younger kids feel like they have enough experience to take part in the ballet class (lies and deceit from their angsty teenage brain…). The students walk into the studio, take their places at the barre, and in that 45 minute span make more connections than I’ve ever had a class of dancers make! We covered basic alignment and incorporated it into plies, releves, and chaines, as well as did some rudimentary spotting exercises and they understood EVERY CONCEPT! Their faces were so excited when they saw what a difference these concepts made in their dancing, everyone left in smiles (including me 😉 )!!!

The pit came 3 hours later.

Last week was also the first week of classes for the private studio where I teach jazz, hip hop/street jazz, and Modern-based contemporary. I’m always very excited to get the new dance year started, as I’m chock full of ideas and new movement from my summer exploits.  This year is poised to be extra special from the addition of my new music-filled Macbook me actually planning my classes! My first two classes of the night are great, and I enter my third to see one lone student looking at me with puppy dog eyes saying “Am I the only one in class?” I smile sweetly and double-check the attendance book – she’s the only one in class. me (far left) in Lorelei Chang's "Colors"Sad face. Always looking toward the positive, I look for the other contemporary class roster and see that ALL the other dancers are in the other class which ISN’T TAUGHT BY ME! What the what?! Slap in the face much? What’s wrong with my contemporary style? Given that I get self conscious about my contemporary style already because it isn’t that trendy “television dance” kind of stuff (no apologies), I seriously had to take a moment and not let it hurt my feelings. I was most excited about this class as I felt like I made some really good headway in my contemporary composition and was excited to share them with my classes. You know what we did though? Me and my one dancer had an absolutely AWESOME class – we did everything I had planned and more! We shared commitment, technique, and emotion with one another and both left feeling good and accomplished.

Such extremes, eh? have you ever had a day like this one? Feel free to share your experience below! Thanks for reading loves!



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