August 2015 | On My Mind


Words from the publisher

For most dance teachers, this time of year—the beginning of a new dance season—marks a fresh start. You’ll welcome back students who are growing up before your eyes, and you’ll see many new faces, students who will experience the excitement of dance for the first time.

Photo by Mim Atkins

Photo by Mim Atkins

In the lobby there’s a smiling preschooler who dreams of being a ballerina someday. Down the hall, a teenager leaves the once-a-week hip-hop class glowing and saying she loves the way dance makes her feel. A handful of beginner kids tell you they signed up for classes because they want to move to the music. You know what they’re talking about—that bliss that all of us, whatever our skill level, feel when our bodies, the movement, and the music become one.

Some people say that only the best dancers can experience fully the joy of dance, but I disagree. I have seen many dancers who are great technicians whose performances prove that they haven’t discovered that joy. I can feel it when I watch them.

Success in dance education doesn’t come from the number of students enrolled, and it doesn’t come from accolades or trophies. It comes in inspiring the children you teach, whether they attend class once a day or once a week, to discover the joy that dance can give them, and in teaching them lessons they will carry with them long into the future. That’s why it’s thrilling to see a child do her first chaîné turn or shuffle—moments like these are what make teaching such a rewarding profession.

As this season opens, I thank you for choosing to teach the art of dance, and I hope you’ll find plenty of opportunities to look around you and see the joy that happens all day, every day, in your classrooms.

DSL publisher Rhee Gold has owned a dance competition, presided over national dance teaching organizations, and founded Project Motivate. His book, The Complete Guide to Teaching Dance, is in its second printing.