A couple days ago I was coordianting with a studio owner regarding some choreographing I will be flying in to do for her competition teams. Amidst telling her my ideas and sending music, she sent me this text:
"You're an artist."
That word hit me. Artist. It means more to me than competition scores and awards. As choreogrpahers to children we are often not seen as such. I feel like in our world one does not get that title until they have choreographed and created for movies, Broadway, and TV shows. Even then, the title artist is rarely used. Yet it is the most important title we could have. In our world of so much darkness, pain, and confusion, we need art and artists more than ever. We need to teach and expose children to art and the power it can have on our lives and communities. Art can communicate and unite when words fail and divide. Most of the time dance is the first exposure children get to art and expression. Before they can grab a crayon, babies intriscially move to music and dance. It is a part of our human nature. As dance teachers, it is our responsibility to nurtue that part of humanity. I fear that the dance community is drifting away from our artistic hearts and trading them in for impressive tricks, quick reels, and social media likes and shares.
I was never the best dancer in class. Most auditions I went to resulted in "No". If I competed in today's competitions, I would not even come close to the overall podium. My resume is not what one would call impressive. But I never danced because I was the best. I danced because it moved my soul. Quieted my mind. Gave me a creative outlet essential to humanity. And I teach and choreograph to share the art and creativity that is a part of my very being. So I will cherish that word and strive to be worthy of it.
For myself and for all my students.
And hope that what I create and share with these beautiful children will give them a little bit more light when they need it.