When I asked the kids to choose their favorite dances, their answers reminded me of all the different perspectives on dance, and all the various opportunities you can explore within the art.
A very energetic Elliot loves to swing dance and salsa. He feels as though "I get to do my own thing" more in those dances than the others. In the counts when they get to freestyle a bit, Elliot is a choreographer. Hopping on one leg, tuning, jumping, shimmying are all moves he likes to throw into the routine, surprising me every time.
Rebecca likes the more formal dances, tango and waltz. She says that, "In tango we get to be dramatic. It's fun to pretend to be someone else." She also feels as if, "waltz is hard, so I feel good when I get it right." Her perspective reminds me of ballerinas in the role of Odile in Swan Lake, mastering some of the most difficult choreography while enjoying and exploring the character even more.
Merengue is a favorite of a lot of my class. A couple students say "merengue is the most fun because it's fun to dance with your partner", "it's like we are at a party with our whole class." These kids are my social dancers. They enjoy the community and companionship of dance. Making eye contact and having fun together is something I've experienced in every social dance experience I've had.
It's exciting to recognize the diverse passions within my class, and how reflective they are on what it means to be a dancer. There is no single definition of what a dancer is, what a teacher is, what an artist is, that they can find their own! No matter what inspires them, I'm so happy to share this art, and even more happy that their personalities shine through.