May-June 2017 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

Photo by Mim Adkins

This March I had the honor of giving a keynote speech and presenting seminars at the Victorian Dance Festival in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The experience reminded me once again that dance educators are the same no matter where they practice their craft. More than 10,000 miles away from the DanceLife Retreat Center in Massachusetts, there are hundreds of dance teachers just like the dance teachers here in the U.S. and Canada. Just like us, these Australian teachers have been inspired by great mentors and leaders who passed on their love for the art of dance. While they were growing up, they spent countless hours in the studio learning and living all things dance, and making countless sacrifices, just like us.

They also struggle to balance their personal lives with their dedication to teaching dance. They find themselves overwhelmed with choreography, responsibility, and dance moms—except they call them dance mums. Their confidence can be shaken when things don’t go right. Many have several competing studios in their area. The rivalry can be tough, but just like us they continue to do all they can to become better educators and to influence the next generation in a positive way.

Yet all of that is only part of our bond. There’s also a unique experience that only dance people share, which is often hard to describe to people who do not dance. I see it like this: it’s the bliss that pours out of our souls when we are lost in the movement and the music. It’s the innate understanding that the human body and the emotions of life are what make our art. Whether or not we speak the same language or have the same accent, our souls speak clearly and in a way that we all understand. It’s what bonds us to each other. Dance is the gift that we all share.

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.