Updated: Mar 28, 2019
As a dance teacher and former studio owner, I am honored to know the deep truth to the statement "Being a dance teacher is the Best Job EVER!"
I am also pleased to see the amount of dance teacher seminars, educational retreats and certification programs that are coming to the surface. In every profession, continuing education is vital for the evolution of a company creating a path for continued growth and success. While it is a necessity to continue to improve upon the understanding and inner workings of the business, it is equally important to learn the importance of SELF CARE.
As much as we nourish our minds and the mission of our dance studio, we must also create time to nourish our own heart and the soul of the studio.
I have attended numerous dance studio business seminars, workshops, and summits, with each event motivating and empowering me to become a more lucrative and business savvy woman. I was inspired to walk back into my studio with new ways of approaching the classroom, filled with tips and tools; It was a fresh perspective.
Eventually, the inspiration faded and I was pulled back into the familiar routine of keeping up with the never-ending demands of the studio and competition season. My heart yearned for something, but that "something" was a mystery.
The heart of the dance teacher is strong and pure, but the soul of the teacher can become slowly suffocated by the pressures and demands of running a studio.
Over the years, many studio owners and colleagues have courageously shared their internal struggle with me, not knowing just how much longer they can continue with the dance studio life. At one conference, there were so many dance teachers that I met who were all searching to reignite their passion for dance, making one last effort before surrendering to the idea of selling their dream, their dance studio.
I was comforted by the fact that I was not alone. I, too, yearned for balance. I loved my business and my students so deeply, just like every dance teacher does. I was willing to work 7 days a week, putting my personal and family life on the back burner, holding the belief that success comes with great sacrifice. My passion for dance was what I chose over everything else. Because I made such a huge personal sacrifice, every student that left or every parent dispute felt like a personal attack on my heart. I was unable to separate the business of dance with my passion for dance, honoring my own path and the path of my students.
My life and personal identity were so deeply entangled with my work.
Some believe that there is no such thing as life balance, but I beg to differ. I feel that if some sense of balance is not created, life will create it for you. In my experience, the times when I would be deep in competition mode, working 7 days a week, were the times I would likely get the flu. I was also aware of the trend in dancers who would get random injuries or illness during their finals week (usually in December), or during the middle of back-to-back competition weekends.
I struggled as a single woman, finding time to even date, missing out on weekday happy hours, girls' trips and other occasions that were unattended due to a dance competition or weekend rehearsal. When I did get married and started a family, I had a hard time finding an appropriate balance between my nights away from home and questioning the fairness of needing my family to spend their weekend in a dark competition venue just to see me. This brings up an interesting point; I can not think of another entrepreneurial venture that requires the business to be a total family affair. Most careers include opportunities for support from the family but do not require such heavy involvement from all family members. I remember as a single studio owner, it was an unspoken requirement that whoever I dated would have to be okay with sitting at dance competitions with me on long weekends, having family vacations centered around summer nationals, and would have to love my students as much as I did. And this idea would have worked for me if, in fact, I married another dancer, but I didn't and I soon realized that some much-needed boundaries and balance needed to be put in place if I were to have the best of both worlds.
And I think for most of us, this is key.
While I did come away feeling incredibly inspired from the business seminars I attended, ready to take my business to the next level, I also questioned how I was going to do this. By implementing these ideas, it would require even more work from me and I am already working more than I can handle.
What I needed, what I think we all need, is a new framework to work within. We need an opportunity to learn how to take care of ourselves. We need an opportunity to take a look at our life and investigate what areas of self are out of alignment with what is truly desired.
What is needed is time, peace, balance and boundaries; It's what I needed.
The dance studio "problems" tend to always run in the same vein, but the vision and workings of each dance studio are also the same. So if we want to make a change, we need to shift something in our own life.
This starts with creating your own SELF CARE practice.
Self Care is the act of nurturing the happiness of your heart and when you begin to take time out of your day to connect with yourself, you will soon begin to know what you need more of to be at your best. You will begin to create time to nourish the other aspects of self that have been yearning for attention. You will also begin to create a foundation for what boundaries need to be established for you to live more authentically. This could be as simple as giving yourself a day off or publicly establishing your work hours.
Inner Work Play:
Rate each area of your life on a scale of 1-10
1 (needs resuscitation) and 10 (Amazing, Life is Awesome!)
Dance Studio Life ______
Fun and Leisure ______
Friends and Family ______
Significant Other ______
Home Environment ______
Personal Growth ______
Take a moment to review your life. Check in with how you feel and what areas could need a little TLC.
Which area would you like to focus on?_________________
What steps can you create to start improving that area in your life?
If you enjoyed this work and would like to schedule an individual coaching session, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to hear from you!!
What areas do you think we as dance teachers need more support in???