I have so much pride in my heart right now I just have to share.
As I have mentioned in past posts, I am involved in the Drama club at my elementary school. They have been working on a show called “Joust” for the better part of two months now. I was brought in as a teacher for choreography for both dancing in the songs and sword play. At this point, I was awaiting surgery, already not moving well, and relying on a knee brace for support. However, I felt like this was a really important play and cause, and I wanted to help out. I translated the choreography already written for the show, as well as rewrite and rework the places that needed it.
I walked into my first day of rehearsal nervous as all get out. I had taught before of course, but always with an older age group with high school kids or my college peers. However, I was optimistic. How different could it be? Well… I learned it could be very different. It was harder to get the attention of the whole group, it was slower to teach, and those kids could not stop talking to save their lives! At the end of that rehearsal, I had little to show for it, and I was very discouraged.
I feel the need to point out that at this time in my life, I was already feeling really discouraged just in general. I couldn’t move very well. I missed bike riding and being able to walk places with Green Lantern and not having to stop and rest. I missed my family who I was now far away from. I was trying to adjust to my new job in the elementary school just in general, which was very different from any job I had done up to this point. But above everything else I missed dancing. I had danced with the best partner a girl could ask for. We had drunk in every style we could learn for 5 years. This included various styles of ballroom, latin, and, our favorite, swing. Best of all, we were good. Like really, really good. Dancing with him was just like an extension of myself. He understood and anticipated my movements before I made them. In fact, dancing was so much a part of my life, it had become like breathing. It was something that I truly thought I couldn’t live without. Then I got hurt, and I had to stop. In fact my wedding, which was in August, was the last last time I really danced. This was just another layer of frustration to me. How could I get through to these kids? And how could I do it quickly?
Two rehearsals later I had a turning point. I met four very special kids in the show: the court jesters. All of a sudden, something clicked. Those kids listened and responded well. They asked questions when they didn’t understand. They worked hard. They knew their cues and their words. By the end of the rehearsal, they had learned all of the choreography. What’s more, I saw something that I was missing: I saw the joy they had while they were doing it. All of a sudden, I felt good. I felt like I was actually making a difference in their lives, and in the show. It made me happy that this joy was because of something that I could do. I felt inspired, and refreshed.
After that, rehearsals started passing quickly. I was working hard. I songs were getting learned faster. I was to keep a large portion of my choreography, and they learned it all. Not only that, but they mastered somethings I anticipated would be difficult. There were rough days, of course, but I was more than willing to find the positives.
I left for my knee surgery a week and one day before the show opened. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous. Choreography was still being learned; the stage was only partially set, my husband was building a castle, and I came home with a armful of costumes to repair. After a few days, I began to really began to miss those kids, and watching them work.
After my week of recoup, I was excited to see the show. Last night, I was sitting in the first row, with little butterflies in my stomach, wanting to see what we had been working for so long. I think I was actually holding my breath when the curtain opened. And you know what? It was magical. It was as if it were my own children were up there. They were loud enough to be heard all the way to the back of the gym, they remembered all of their dance steps, the set was perfect, the costumes looked great, and (my favorite part) they all looked so happy.
Kids and adults alike were coming up to me after the show, asking me if I was better now, and when I was coming back, and complimenting me on how wonderful the show was. I was so proud, I felt like I was glowing. I can’t take credit for what happened up there; that is all on my wonderful students. However, I am grateful that I got to spend this time with them, and teach them these things. It gave my own life some direction and some purpose again. When my time comes, and this knee is finally back to giving me that full range of motion, I’m not gonna let my fear stop me. I’m going to get back on that bike. I’m gonna get back to making those walking trips. And finally, after much too long a hiatus, I’m going to find that joy again that dance always brought me. Thanks to those kids who performed, those teachers who taught them, and those parents who brought them here to do it. They never cease to amaze me, and I don’t think that my life is going to be the same again.