Dance Teachers: Pass It On!

By on June 14, 2014

TV_thankyou_MAINIt really is amazing how time passes by and how easy it is to lose touch with people who were important to us and have been instrumental in our successes as a teacher/choreographer/person. Summer happens to be a great time to reconnect with those who have helped you. I recommend that you do so for several reasons.

As teachers we are always giving and sometimes do not realize what a difference we do make. How wonderful it is when a current or past student takes the time to say thank you for helping them. We have had students send us letters or come back years later who are now successful in business, as school teachers, dancers and moms who say that their time training with us gave them invaluable lessons to help them to be able to achieve great things in life. As dancers, it is especially rewarding to see past students who have gone on to be professional dancers or dance teachers. When they drop us a line, each word they write is as beautiful as poetry. To hear from them how our words of encouragement and the invaluable information we were able to give them, as teachers, was instrumental to their success, really touches our hearts.

If we reflect back, there is surely someone who has made a difference to us as a teacher. Now is a great time to let them know. Call them or write them a note to let them know how their words of wisdom had a positive impact on you. Remind them of any anecdotes or technical knowledge that they shared with you that were particularly helpful to your development. Not only will this be great for them to receive but it will be good for you also.

Whenever I write one of these letters I find myself laughing and remembering all of the good times and lessons learned.

I know I would not be where I am today if it were not for teachers that were passionate about teaching and about helping me. No one becomes a success on their own and it doesn’t happen overnight. Some teachers may question if they are successful or not. The truth is, that if you teach and have students that listen and care about you, then you are successful and don’t doubt that for a moment.

As the season comes to an end it is even a good time to thank coworkers who have helped you, your boss for giving you an opportunity. Let them know you care and appreciate them. When you reconnect with those who have helped you in the past you may be surprised to find that they can also help you now. We have been given the opportunity to help and provide ongoing support to some of our students who have reconnected with us and I am still in touch with the teachers who helped me early on and who continue to give me their knowledge and connections to this day.

Another reason to reconnect is that we never know when our time here on earth will be over. No one is promised a tomorrow. 

It would be tragic if you had been meaning to write a letter to a former teacher but never got around to it and then discovered that they had passed on.

Recently we received news of the death of one of our former students. He was a young man with so much to live for. He had a lot of talent but life had beaten him down and he found he could not continue. It made me think of how we are all connected in life as teachers, students and friends. This young man visited our studio not so long ago and whenever we talked we would always reminisce about the great times we had together. He would tell us that our words and classes had influenced him positively in his life, both professional and personal. After receiving the terrible news about him, we wished we had been able to reach out to him more and perhaps give him additional words of wisdom to help him through a difficult time in his life. We do know, however, that his happiest times were when he was at our studio, training and being part of a great group of dancers. If anyone has made a difference to you, as a dancer or teacher and I am sure there may be several, share that with them. You could call them but I think a hand written letter has more impact, especially in today’s world of e-mail and instant messaging.

The day will come, once you have been teaching for a while, when out of the blue, you may receive a letter or note in the mail from a former student. Once you get through reading it, you too will know what a difference you have made in that person’s life. After you wipe away the tears, you will also understand what an impact it makes on someone when you take the time to let them know how instrumental to your success they have been. Pass it on!

About Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela received her early training from one of Margot Fonteyn’s childhood teachers, Carol Bateman. She later attended the Arts Educational Trust and was invited to perform with the Festival Ballet in London, but decided instead to continue her studies in the US. Angela began an extremely varied professional career performing around the world, and later met her husband Steve Sirico while filming a TV special. After years of performing together around the world, their focus shifted to teaching. Angela is a published author, as well as Co-Founder of Dance Teacher Web.

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