"There is a life-force within your Soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of that, don't look outside, look inside yourself, and seek that."- Rumi
To be a dance studio owner, teacher, dancer, choreographer- you must become aware of the duality from which Dance can be experienced. Dance is a spiritual life tool that will continuously keep you leaping from Spirit to Ego...Ego to Spirit.
In my career as a Dance Studio Owner, I eventually began to notice these two different dimensions from which I operated. When I was aligned with the Spirit of Dance, I was connected to my own heart and purpose. I was able to hold a compassionate space for my students as well as the dance parents. I was more forgiving and understanding, willing to create win/win situations rather than stubbornly sticking to defending my studio policies or what I viewed as being "right." I was happier and able to let things that use to bother me, go. In return, I became way more creative and fun within the studio space.
The Spirit of Dance offers an abundance of opportunities for self-expression, creativity, exploration, communication, connection, self-awareness, and self LOVE. It also provides an opportunity for the depths of your Being to be heard. The innermost layers of who you are can take shape in space, free and expansive, becoming one with all things. When one gets lost in the Spirit of Dance, it can be as if there is no time, no space, no competition, no judgment- just freedom. You are perfectly imperfect; everything and nothing. Your body merging with the Oneness of all that is. You dance with the whispers upon which life is always offering you.
This is Dance.
This is why we do it.
This is the importance of it.
And this, as an educator, is WHY you do what you do. You are the guide in which offers a path for others to find their way. You help build the bridge from the chaotic outside world to the quiet stillness of the heart. You plant seeds of love and compassion, offering roots and a safe place to grow. You teach others how to use their intuition, how to trust themselves, their dreams, their talents, and their bodies.
You do all this and so much more.
This is why you teach.
This is why you have opened your dance studio.
This is your WHY.
The Spirit of Dance will always seek connection. It will always encourage inclusion. It feeds from creativity, expansion, and joy. Dance is abundant and ever-evolving, promoting self-love and self-exploration. Dance will always be honest, showing you exactly where you are, helping you to create the path towards possibility.
We have all connected and experienced the Spirit of Dance. It is the unexplainable wisdom that it offers the mind, body, and spirit, that keeps the heart tethered to this art form. When we engage in Dance and surrender to what it can offer us, we realize that Dance is indeed the Language of the Soul.
"I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words."
― Ruth St. Denis
Dance is Universal. It is a part of who we are as humans beings. Every single race on this planet, for as far back as we can trace human development, has some form of Dance in its cultural history. It is a spiritual act used in ritual, sacred in bridging communities, celebrating life, or speaking with the Powers that be.
When we are in motion, we become a moving prayer. Our bodies can express the pains, joys, and all other secrets that lay dormant within the bones. Dance is a gateway to self-discovery, mastery, wisdom, and deep healing.
This must always be at the forefront for WHY we teach.
You must also make your own movement practice a priority. What you are offering to others, you must also gift to yourself, for what you teach is also teaching YOU. Let dance guide you back to your own truth, dreams, wisdom, and heart desires.
Dance always offers back to you the truth of who you are providing a map for your own journey.
On the other side of Spirit is Ego. The Ego strives to continually be center stage. It does not believe in abundance and views everyone as a threat. The Ego of Dance murmurs words of lack and unworthiness incessantly, driving Fear deeper and deeper into the foundation from which dance and studio policy is created. It will always view itself as a victim, encouraging the need for self-protection and obtaining false securities. The Ego of dance considers itself to be separate from others, incapable of inclusion and community. It thrives on superiority and the illusions of success.
We can see the Ego of Dance in every dance studio across the country. It is what causes dance studio owners to smear each other's names or try to recruit dancers from the studio down the street. It is what drives a competitive dance studio to work so hard to be the "best." The Ego keeps us viewing each other as competition rather than colleagues.
Dancing with Ego will also keep you in a state of Fear. Fear of losing students, Fear of losing your reputation, Fear of not being good enough. This list is infinite. When you become aware of the dance that the Ego will lead you through, you will become better equipped on how to manage it.
Nothing good will ever come from allowing Ego and Fear to dance together. The chemistry will only lead to sleepless nights, frustration, and feelings of complete unhappiness.
The Ego also wants to claim everything. Everything becomes "mine." My students, my choreography, my song, my guest artist. This attachment to the ownership of ideas creates a need for protection, guarding what is thought to be a possession of self.
And of course, it can be highly annoying when you feel that every move you make as a studio is being copied by your competitor. It can feel suffocating and piss you off. This is totally normal. I, too, have felt this many times. The truth is, there is no such thing as an original idea. Dance moves, tricks, and trends are all borrowed inspiration. The dancers that you teach are students who will be with you for as long as their own Soul needs. Some students will be in your life for a lifetime while others will stay for just a little while before venturing on, serving what is best for their own growth and evolution. The only control that we have is to become aware of this dance between EGO and Spirit, Spirit, and Ego, choosing to always side with Spirit, no matter how difficult it is.
(And give yourself some grace when you tango with the Ego for a bit. It, too, is a great teacher for you.)