Babies, travel, and my own community have kept me from bringing a crew of dancers to the Vermont State Dance Festival the past few years (see my post about a 2008 trip here), but on November 23rd I strapped the newest babe in her carseat, picked up fellow teacher Dana, and made the trek up to the Lyndon Institute to meet the carpools of Dance Factory students ready for a Saturday filled with dancing. The result was a day full of inspiration, bonding, and compassion.
This is my sixth year teaching at the studio and I find myself in awe of the children I have seen grow in that time. I am always welcoming new students into the fold, but many of the kids who accompanied us to Lyndon for the festival were students I have had for at least a couple of years and who have committed significant time to their dance training. I share these students with all the teachers at the Dance Factory and I found myself incredibly proud of the way they dove into classes with new teachers, peers, and styles with such enthusiasm and courage. It is my hope that we are helping to train dancers with both open hearts and curious minds. It was motivating to see this hope so thoroughly realized by these passionate young dancers.
Rebecca McGregor's dance festival is much to thank for this as she assembled a crew of teachers with great talent in motivating classes of mixed levels dancers coming from a variety of backgrounds. The festival paired technique classes with performances as well as time to socialize with each other. Events like this are a gift to small town dance studios that rely on accessible and affordable options for expanding students' idea of what dance is as well as their own capabilities. Rebecca's commitment to a diverse offering that caters to a variety of dancers makes this event worthy of replicating in other art forms and in different areas.
I also found the time to talk with one of my peers at the studio, a fellow teacher, invaluable. All too often our busy lives and teaching schedules don't permit (or we come to believe they don't permit) the opportunity to discuss our students and our craft. My travel time with Dana gave me a couple blissful hours of talking teaching, dance, and inspiration, which is something I will carry with me into the winter season.