Every week, I work at my dance studio with the young children during their dance classes. I have been helping with the classes for six years, each year helping with different age groups and dance style classes. Each year brings new students, new dances, and tons of fun! However, there are also new crazy adventures I have with the children every year that make me laugh, cry, and realize how much of an impact these children have on me and vice versa.
Halloween is always hectic. The children can wear their costumes to class and have dance parties to a special Halloween playlist, snacks, and candy. One year, a young girl dressed as Princess Anna from Frozen in her coronation dress. The dress was adorable and almost an exact replica, but it proved to become a bit of an issue later on in class. The little girl had to go to the bathroom, so she went in and closed the door and not even two seconds later came out and said, “Miss Emily, I can’t hold my dress up to use the bathroom.” I had to go inside, turn around, and hold up her dress while she used the bathroom, all the while thinking “How many weddings do we think I am going to have to do this at?” She did her business, I left, and she came out a few minutes later all ready to get back into class. This is one of the funnier stories, relating a wedding to a Halloween-themed dance class, who knew the two could be so similar?
Another year, I was working with a musical theater class and their recital song was “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins. There was a step in the song called a jazz square, and one young girl could not get the step. At all. Every time we rehearsed, she got twisted up in herself but could do the rest of the dance almost perfectly. On the day of the recital, we rehearsed, and it was still a bit off, but much better from when we began. Then all of a sudden, when she got on stage with all the lights and music blaring, the first time the step came up, she nailed it. My head teacher and I both lit up with joy yelling, “Yes! Yes! That was it, you did it!” Watching her face brighten with joy when she realized she did it, we were so proud of her. This moment is something I will never forget.
Finally, just this past week, there was a young girl who did not want to leave her mom’s side. She wanted to dance, you could tell, but she would cry and cling to her mom. I eventually brought her inside the classroom, and she would start dancing and then just cried. I could not for the life of me figure out why she was crying but did not want to leave the room at the same time. I began to just dance around with her. Playing with the pink scarves, playing games with the whole class, pretending to be different animals. Of course, her face lit up when she found out she got a mermaid sticker at the end of class. For most people, having a crying child clinging to their leg would be the most annoying thing to ever happen to them, but for me, all I wanted was for her to have fun in dance class with her friends. I was like her; I used to cry for my mom all the time when I was her age, and all I wanted for her was to smile and realize her mom was right outside. I hope next week I can help her ease into class a bit more and have fun all the while anticipating all the new steps she can tell her mom she learned.
Student teaching is easily the highlight of my week. I love working with these children and helping them learn new aspects of themselves. I love watching their eyes light up when they nail a step or get super excited when they get a sticker of their favorite animal. I hope through all our crazy adventures I can help these children love being at their dance class just as much as their teachers (both head and assistant) love spending time with them!
By: Emily Ash’19, Co-Executive Editor-in-Chief