Respect for Each Other
Hello again! Last time we gathered, we discussed the importance of respecting our teachers. This next blog post will be on respect for others. Because we dance stronger when we dance together!
Do Not Distract
First, it’s important that students realize and respect people who are in class to work towards improving their dancing technique. This means that you should not distract one another with side conversations while combinations are given during class. I can speak from personal experience that it’s very nerve racking to hear people talking on the side when you are trying to do your best. Some of the thoughts that run through your head might be, “Are they talking about me? Did I mess up? Oh no, I messed up and now everyone saw!”. Remember, your peers need the support of your silence on the sideline.
Learn from Others
Competition can sometimes be used as a way to motivate one another to work harder in order to reach your personal goals. Some teachers say, “stand next to the best jumper in the class so you can push yourself to jump as high as them”. I personally find this to be a great tactic because we need to be pushed outside of our comfort zone. We can learn from the success of our peers, not in mimicking them, but in applying some of the same corrections they are using for ourselves. Dance may be a solo endeavor, but we can learn so much more when we move together and learn from each other.
Create a Safe Space
I was bullied in middle school and needed a safe place where I could be myself. The ballet studio was that place for me. The structure of the studio environment, and the friendships I created there, helped me through those tough times. It was before and after classes that set the positive atmosphere for me to work hard and focus in class. I was dancing with my friends, felt encouraged, and therefore wanted to encourage others. You can create that same environment to help others feel safe so they can dance and be themselves, and I encourage you to do so.
The words we speak have greater power than we realize. If you see that your fellow classmate is doing a good job, make a point to find the opportunity to tell them! A compliment given at the right time can change a person’s day. If you see a classmate nail a lovely pirouette, tell them they did a wonderful job! Don’t assume that they know they did a good job. Dance is filled with critiques, so having someone acknowledge your hard work can make all the difference in the world. Inspiring others to shine brightly will help your studio be a light in the community.
Jealousy Helps No One
Another tendency in class is being jealous of our peers, or wishing to be someone other than who God made us to be. As a tall dancer, I struggle with petit allegro and other fast steps. There have been so many instances where I wished I had the shorter limbs of my friends who were able to perform the quick steps with ease. Yet one of my best friends, who is significantly shorter than I, said that she has always wished she was taller. This made me realize that no matter who we are, there are things that we struggle with. Jealousy takes away from your own joyful experience in class. It highlights what you don’t have and makes you forget what you DO have. So instead, admire your classmates and support them in their journey towards their goals, because they have their struggles as well.
The support you give each other in class is vital for your own growth and development as a dancer. Just as a divided house cannot stand, a divided class cannot thrive. Remember how it feels to have the support of others, and seek to be the support for others who need your encouragement in their lives.