Day 5: Giving Thanks for Dance
In this Thanks Giving blog challenge, I find myself focusing on the very personal things in life that bring me joy.
My previous post was about music, which is a natural segue to today's focus: Dance.
Dance has been a part of my life since I was a child. My little-girl dreams often included becoming a ballerina, and I had numerous books about the greats: Anna Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn, Marie Taglioni - these were my idols.
I still recall my early dance training in a local studio. We were accompanied by a live pianist, and our teacher always had a cigarette burning in the ashtray atop the piano. Our recitals were held at the Rochester Memorial Auditorium - a big stage for such small productions and performers.
Fast forward to adulthood, and I had added jazz, tap, and modern dance to my repertoire. For a time, I was part of a small performance group. We were not paid performers, but we were happy to dance for small audiences.
After moving to Massachusetts, I took additional dance and education classes in order to earn a state teaching license in dance for grades K-12. For many years, I taught dance to students in community centers, privately-owned neighborhood studios, and even public high schools.
Today, dance remains an important part of my life. When my schedule permits, I still take ballet or jazz class. And recently, I have been having a wonderful time learning the challenging style of Salsa. It is not as easy as it looks, and many of the dancers I have met are skilled competitive performers.
In addition to dancing and teaching, there is also appreciating. I can watch dance videos for hours on end, from classics like the Nicholas Brothers Jumpin' Jive tap routine, to the groundbreaking Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham to the energy of Hip Hop to the tradition of the Nutcracker - I love it all.
For someone who loves to move, dance is a way to combine athleticism with artistry. Ballet alone is a 400+ year-old system of athletic training. I am truly fortunate to have been gifted with a good sense of rhythm, as well as the drive to study and practice this performing art.
As I wrote previously, I am no musician. But I can feel and express music through movement, and this makes me a dancer.
On this day of Thanks Giving, I am deeply grateful for the presence of dance throughout my life.
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