I don’t have an extremely extensive dance background and I was certainly never the stand out. I was terrible at spotting, struggled with picking up choreography as quickly as others, and for whatever reason never counted when I danced (the most basic thing you can do….*major face palm*). So when I saw a coaching opportunity pop up at a local school nearby I thought it would be a fun opportunity to get back into a sport I have always had a passion for but also it threw a lot of self doubt into my head. How could I coach and lead when I was never ‘the best’. I was excited enough to do this that I got past those negative thoughts and took it on. I am so glad I did.
As with anything coaching, and dance itself, has its highs and lows. Some practices leave me frustrated and questing why I would take something like this on and then there are days where I see so much progress being made, even from just one individual, that I am so proud and happy. I have watched girls come into practice from what I can only guess was a difficult day for them and their attitudes completely transform once that music comes on and they do what they are there to do. Not only do I see emotional changes from them I also get to watch them improve and work their tails off. This is my second year coaching. Last year I had a few girls brand new to the sport and when I say new I really mean brand spanking new. Pirouettes (turning) was like speaking a foreign language to them and it we were essentially starting at the basics. We are turning now! Still a work in progress but you would never know last season was their first. One of my absolute favorite things to witness is these girls have personal goals for themselves and to be successful. It makes my heart swell with pride, not because of anything I have done, but because I know how good that feels to finally connect the dots with a skill.
Coaching has not only exposed me to teaching others but it has also taught me a few things about myself. First and foremost that I am capable. As I mentioned above I had some pretty serious doubts about my ability to be a coach. I didn’t just want fill the title of coach physically I really desired to serve a purpose and give these girls the tools and help they need to be happy with the results at the end of the day. I wanted to give them my best so they could give theirs. Choreography scared me. Not only creating a dance but then teaching it and helping them execute it. I procrastinated and struggled and filled my head with more negative thoughts. Finally one day I just sat down (really stood up and moved around) and just did it. It was hard but came more easily to me than I initially anticipated. I could do this. I was going to do this. We are now in the middle of our competition season and I am happy with my work put in and even more thrilled at these girls being so willing to do whatever I throw at them. Is what I created perfect? Heck no. Do I recognize what areas I need to work on in terms of choreography on my end? Absolutely. Its all a pretty serious learning process! I have to laugh at myself a little bit… I am personally insulted when we get nailed by the judges for categories such as ‘creativity’ because I am responsible for that! I have to remember to be a little bit more light hearted because I am truly doing my best and they are doing their jobs by giving the appropriate feedback. Those feelings however validate for me how much of myself I have put into this and again how I want these girls to feel happy with themselves and with their teammates at the end of every practice and every competition.
As I have always known, this is really a sport (and also an art) you can put your whole self into emotionally and physically. I think that’s one of the reason I love it so much. I have seen people cry upon finishing a routine, witnessed people get teary eyed from a dance they are watching, and felt these emotions myself both while dancing and while viewing. I hope in years to come I am able to participate in this amazing sport in some way or another. In my opinion, dance is a sport that is for life!
Circa Fall 2010 at MSUM. Go Dragons!