I wasn't planning on blogging today (I have QUITE a lot of work to do) but I just had to share this with you!
I taught two dance classes this morning. We stretched, did my crunch routine, learned a few ballet techniques, went across the floor, and made up a musical theatre combination in both. The first was the younger class. The second was three girls going into the 6th grade. (For some reason we had a lot of no-shows today... probably the nice weather! I was fine with it... I use the dance classes to keep myself in shape, so I'll dance no matter who is there!)
At the end of the second class, I was beyond inspired. I had the best time. It was as if I were teaching for the first time. The girls (two who took the class last week) came to dance. They soaked in every lesson I taught. They tried to fix every note I gave. They thought so hard, that they forgot to breathe! (…which is normal in dance and not as painful as it sounds.)
When we got to the fun part--making up a musical theatre combination (a dance based on acting and story-telling)-- I learned from them. "Jailhouse Rock" was the song we danced to. Not only was the style (1950's Elvis/Swing) above their heads but the storyline was, too. (You know... angry that you're in jail but the magic of dance possesses you into becoming a rockin' swing dancer... Typical.) Let me tell you, they worked SO HARD in the 40 minutes we rehearsed. Within moments, those three new students became actors & dancers.
The girls not only picked up the story and the characters on the spot, but they picked up one of the longest dances I've choreographed in one dance class. (I usually teach a shorter routine in class and focus on each move.) Those divas were SWEATY and OUT OF BREATH but they never complained. They even danced full out when I said they didn't have to.
I love dancing. I love acting. Put the two together and it is an experience, but let's be honest... It's exhausting. After class, the girls said their "good-byes". One ran up to me privately. She asked me “what inspires you to dance"? No student has ever asked me that. I mean, she had just been dancing for an hour and a half and she was STILL bright eyed, determined, and filled with adrenaline from performing. It was inspiring just to see that.
Of course, I didn't answer "YOU inspire me". That's awkward. Instead, I took a moment. What inspires me to dance? Why do I dance more than I act and sing? (When I started training, those were my passions. They certainly still are and frankly I think I'm better at those skills then dancing... so why dance?)
Finally I responded, "I get inspiration from my performance. I wasn't the best in class but I worked hard. I'd go home and practice in my tiny bedroom for the entire week and I'd return to class being the best. Come performance time I turned my hard work into a perfect performance. No one else did that, but me, and I liked that. So I kept at it!"
She replied, "Oh. Michael Jackson inspires me." Then walked away.
BELOW: The first video is Elvis's version. The second is from All Shook Up! (They take his music and turn the songs into acting pieces with a story line.) Check out the differences between the dancers!