The Ultimate Compliment

There exists hardly more than a handful of foods that I will not try- moot point. Calamari, foie gras, crawfish are among the few. I’ like just about anything that is well prepared or handled. There isn’t a single fruit out there that would receive a turned-up nose from me. I love them all in their many juicy succulent varieties. However the other day, I bit into an apple that tasted like partially dehydrated sweetened dog mush, an acrid crumbling possibly unsafe past-its-prime piece of produce.. I was tempted to say, ‘I’m never buying apples again!” when really, I just now know to avoid old Gala’s unless I’m trying to poison someone Snow White style. Talk about bad apples.

painting by Lotta Kuhlhorn

painting by Lotta Kuhlhorn

I’ve recently had two very flattering moments as a teacher; the first came after my jazz beginner 1 class and one of my student’s mom was asking what I would suggest her daughter take in terms of summer camp because she had tried ballet and hip hop and hadn’t liked dance class until she tried jazz. I don’t know if it’s me and my class or just the difference in movement and music that she is responding to, but I like to imagine that it’s some of both. The second came last Saturday after my Musical Theatre for beginner teens class and one concerned parent asked,

‘are you teaching this next year? because if you are, then she wants to take it again’.

Beautiful Art from Camille Rose Garcia

Beautiful Art from Camille Rose Garcia

This is the kind of compliment that really puts me on cloud nine. Not that I’m better than any other teacher out there, but there is something that I am doing that is working for at least one student. I feel like I’m actually pretty strict in class, and I am always blown away by the improvement that dancers under my iron-fist tend to make. I worry more that they are inspired and enjoying themselves, because that’s more easily concealed than the physical progression carefully monitored by yours truly. In my own education, I feel that I’ve had such a range of teachers under that giant ‘dance teacher’ title. It feels pretty fulfilling to hear that I had a moment where someone liked what I’m selling. . Someone, bring this teacher an apple!

Apples in their many beautiful, disgusting, varieties: (Apple, DKNY, Fiona Apple, etc..I love that Gustav Klimt one at the end)

app apple bd apple bob-apple-frederick-morgan apple farm-fresh-fruit-3-debbie-dewitt apple fiona-apple--extraordinary-machine-sam-kirk apple paul cezanne apple trees gustav klimt

In the end, what I’m selling isn’t totally me or my class- it’s a love of moving, self-motivation and discipline, confidence and character and exploration and enjoyment. There is so much to take from dance, from all good teachers, that whatever their subject, prepare a good lesson.

And speaking of the diverse teachings of dance, take a look at this article about Hewlett-Packard hiring dancers from the Trey McIntyre Project. What are they selling? Something akin to bottled genius and the people are eating it up. What a nice complement!

Dancers from the Trey McIntyre Project

Dancers from the Trey McIntyre Project

Wait, wait, wait!!! I just went to link to this story, and apparently, CNN got it ALL WRONG! The dancers were not hired to sell the creative process, merely to perform. I’m bummed, I really liked the idea of selling creativity to corporate america. I could see that on an episode of ‘The Office’. I’d be happy to guest star, if they’d like to offer me the honor of appearing. I guess some news sources, like some apples, like some dance classes, are just bad.

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