When I wake up in morning, I can hear the birds chirping. When I look out my window, the frost is gone and I can see the stems of flowers starting to sprout from the ground. Spring is on it’s way! Although no one in Chatham-Kent can even begin to complain about the mild winter we’ve had, we can’t help but be excited for the upcoming months! Even more exhilarating than the beautiful weather, Spring brings about new experiences and new energy that every family has been anticipating since the New Year.
For me, as the Dance Pak coach at Pure Academy, Spring means it is time to get prepared for our competition season! There is a buzz in the classroom as everyone is getting pumped up and working hard for this opportunity that only comes a few times each year. The costumes have been tried on, the dances have been rehearsed and now all we have left to do as a team is prepare for the incredible moment when we step out on the stage and perform for the cheering crowd. Although I am now behind the scenes as a coach, I still feel all the same emotions as my students as they are standing backstage in the wings ready to walk on. I feel the butterflies, the nerves, the fear, the excitement, the joy. We are all putting our heart and soul on the stage with every single step. We are unveiling a project that the students have been working on since September and it is no doubt a very proud and profound time for us!
Although we began practicing as a team in September, for me, the season began a few months earlier. I spent my summer swimming in my pool, spending time with friends and family, and planning for the upcoming dance season. I had plenty of music to choose and dances to choreograph, as I was taking on the responsibility of running four teams – a total of 46 dancers. This was a huge task in front of me, but I was thrilled to take on the challenge.
Eight months later here we are – ready to compete with dances that we all have so much pride in. It is amazing to me to see how an idea in my head can go from messy chicken scratch notes in a binder to a professional and impressive performance. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing how far the students have come since September and seeing all of them grow into confident, expressive dancers right before my eyes. These kids are truly incredible and I am so honoured and privileged to be their coach.
The Pak team very quickly becomes a family every year. There are always both new and returning students every year, yet everyone is very accepting and encouraging no matter how the dynamic of the group changes. It is a beautiful thing to see children care so much about one another from age 8 to 18. Wonderful relationships have been developed between the students, but also between myself and the dancers. Although many people may think of me as ‘just their coach’, I also like to make myself available for a shoulder to cry on and someone they can come to in a time of need. This may not be everyone’s preferred style of coaching, but I think it is important for all children to have as many supportive and understanding adults in their life as possible. After all, as dance instructors we are making a huge impact on our students’ lives and should value them as a dancer and a human being. We all need a shoulder to cry on at one point or another.
When my dancers step out on stage at the end of March, I know that there will be no other place they would rather be. It has been a long road filled with hard work and discipline, but in the end it will be worth it. It will be worth it because we got to show everyone how passionate we are and how much we love to dance. It’s that love of dance that has brought the teams together and all the trophies in the world would not compare to the feeling my students will get when they perform what they love.
At Pure Academy, I am fortunate enough to go to work every day and do what I love. That’s not to say that there are no struggles or difficulties, but the supportive staff and families at the studio are so helpful through any hard times and remind me what is important. I get to share my joy and passion with children and hopefully impact their life in a positive way. That makes me an extremely lucky person and reassures me that all the hard work does pay off and it is most definitely worth it.