I scrambled to find some snazzy tights Thursday afternoon as I was getting ready to go teach. My afternoon studio classes were still on and although I had welcomes students who were able to come dance on Halloween to wear costumes, I found myself with little energy to pull together something for myself (teaching with a baby strapped to your chest can be a costume, yes?). But a pair of neon-striped tights did wonders for my mood as I made my way to the studio in the rain.
Teaching on Halloween is usually a bust - as great as an open space with base-heavy music can be, little competes with candy in the minds of children. Thursdays are my afternoons of hip hop with three hip hop classes kicking my butt in the best possible way and I was pleasantly surprised when 7 super enthusiastic little dancers showed up for my first class, ranging from a mini-Katniss to an Nutcracker-styled Arabian dancer. Sugar-laden already and still hyped for Halloween, butts were kicked (note to self - next Halloween, take it down a notch with the 2nd-4th graders).
After a little break to see my own beauties in Halloween excitement I came back for my 5th/6th grade class during prime trick-or-treat hours. Sweet Magali arrived with little interest in Halloween festivities and plenty of interest in breaking it down. And that was it. Me and Magali, an empty studio, and Leona sitting in a carseat in the corner.
I have taught private lessons to a few dedicated souls working wildly on specific goals and I find the experience immensely satisfying. There is such energy to be breathed in from a body willing to work so passionately solo in front of a teacher. However, Magali wasn't there for a private lesson, she was there for class However, I know enough about this wonder of a child to know that we were going to have a great time.
You see, this child is one who continually reminds me of how great it is to work with kids as she gracefully takes in feedback, laughs with her peers, and seems to know that kindness makes our little world a better place. I have danced with Magali for a few years and am watching her enter young adulthood with such poise that I find myself desperate to be with her on this journey, both as a supporter and one who will learn much from the way she experiences the world during this time in her life.
I remembered that Magali was smitten with a more old school style combination we had been working on during our first couple classes and found myself tickled that she remembered the whole combination. We reviewed, we worked, and then we decided to build together. This was on-the-spot choreography where the what mattered less than the getting somewhere and the plus was being able to bounce ideas off the person standing right next to you, sharing your joy in both the mirror and the space. We worked playfully, creating 8 count phrases solo and in tandem, offering suggestions, getting stuck, but not staying stuck, until "class" was almost over. Our final moments included a visit from a four year old who shamed us with her ability to pick up movement fast and a passing of the hand squeeze that was a true thank you in every sense.
This time with Magali makes me yearn for similar moments with all of my students, especially those in these key times in their lives when they are finding themselves in what they choose to do. These are sacred and delightful times. And so it is my job to figure out how to better make these moments, even in a class of 16.
My night ended with a strong showing of my high school students, which included Rosie the Riveter, all of whom came ready to party. Needless to say, I was flying high even without a sugar overload. Oh, it was a happy Halloween.