• Christine B. Maldonado

15 Years Teaching Children's Dance

2021 marks my 15th year of teaching children how to dance! Even with all the changes this years pandemic has presented, this season has been one of my most enjoyable teaching years so far. In my early teaching career, I was teaching for 6 dance companies at the same time. This means that for many years, recital season, as well as my day to day schedule was extremely busy, hectic, and overwhelming. Those years were necessary for my personal growth and development as a teacher. However, I am glad those days are far from me.

For those of you who are unaware of what dance recital season is-it is the big end of the year show in which the students present the dances they have been working on all year long. The recital season typically happens in June-simultaneously alongside with school graduations. Like a graduation, dance recital season is another way families celebrate the growth of their child and the passing of another year of life. So if you have multiple children who dance or teach for multiple companies like I once did, this time of year is filled with chaotic energy and emotions happening all at once.

6 years ago, I consciously decided to teach for just one children's dance studio to focus on raising my family and running my own teaching business. This has allowed me to truly enjoy the process of teaching my students the art of dance. I also get to to enjoy the recital season with them. As my students navigate this exciting time and all the additional events leading up to the recital such as photoshoots, extra rehearsals, and backstage pep talks that occur prior to that long awaited moment in which they can finally share their dance on stage for the first and final time, I am fully present.

This particular recital is quite monumental in that not only is it the first recital after the pandemic, but its the first one my 5 year old son is participating in. Now more than ever, I understand how important the dance recital season is for people who choose dance as their child's activity. I felt the bittersweetness, joy, and pride of watching my son grow and exist as his most confident and happy self right before my very tear filled eyes. I feel this every year for my students. But the emotions hit harder when it's your own child. I am happy to say that all my kids had a blast learning how to dance this year, and that's what I care about most.

Due to the pandemic and all the protocols, the studio could not welcome families to sit in the audience. Unlike last year, the students were finally able to perform their dances on stage once again and have it filmed for their families to see from the safety and comfort of their homes. Lucky for me, I am also a teacher at the studio my son takes his dance classes, so I was able to get the experience of sitting in the audience and watching my son, and all my students dance their hearts out. The 2020-2021 dance season is officially complete. I am looking forward to taking a break from teaching my students this summer and connecting back with them in the fall which will mark my 16th year teaching children how to dance.

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