Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?
How could that be, you ask?
Teachers in the same town, who had previously made a choice to avoid each other, are working together. They share survival tips, strategize their openings and, most important, they support each other. Discovering that we need each other is bringing us together, and it is happening in small towns and big cities across the country.
We are not spending our weekends in auditoriums being compared to one another, and neither are our dancers. That is not to say that we do not grow and learn from the competitive experience—it has fueled the quality dance education that we all have experienced for the last couple of decades. This time has shined a light on the value of respect for everyone who shares our passion, even if they are our competitors.
Students and their families are seeing dance teachers in a new light. Teachers who were unable to go to the studio have brought movement to thousands of young children in every way possible—virtually, in parking lots and outdoor parks, and the list goes on. Those kids have a new appreciation for their teachers; they see their strength and look to them as mentors and leaders, not simply as the person whose job it is to make them great technicians.
Dance teachers have acquired a new confidence! Although it was not by choice, they are no longer technically challenged when it comes to new software to keep their classes going. Many have let go of their inhibitions to become storytellers: motivational speakers who can deliver a sense of support to the families of their dancers. There is a new understanding that teaching dance is about more than the steps.
Together we can be the best we can be by continuing to support each other, and sharing our knowledge and experience. As we lift each other up, we can explore new perspectives for teaching, business and our mutual love for the art.