Sunday, June 18, 2017

'You dance with so much joy'

I was told yesterday by Ray Hesselink that I dance with so much joy, and that is pretty much the best thing anyone can ever tell me.  Ray is an extremely popular and beloved tap teacher here in New York, he's been in the biz forever, he's a wonderful and fun teacher and having finally taken a Ray class I understand exactly what all the hype is about.  He teaches in a style that perfectly balances 'Broadway' style, very MGM inspired, with rhythm style footwork.

This week I took lyrical jazz, rhythm tap, Broadway tap, Ray Hesselink tap and this afternoon will be another round of rhythm with Alex Macdonald, a super dope teacher.  All of these classes pushed me hard and gave me something to work on as well as something to be proud of and something to appreciate about myself as a dancer.

All these classes are made possible by my induction into the Steps work study program.  I work in the cafe Wednesday mornings and as a cashier checking people into classes on Friday mornings, and in exchange I receive unlimited $5 classes and a huge discount on studio rentals.

Well, that's the baseline of the work study program - it's a way for Steps to save money on employees and it's a way for dancers to save money on classes so it's a win win for everyone.  The bonuses that you get from being part of the program, which are really important to me, are things like community, connections, a sense of belonging to the dance world, consistency, new friends, being in a team.  After my first day, I was left feeling so fulfilled and comfortable and I realised that it's because I'm not used to having coworkers.  Babysitting, it's just me.  All Systems Go, just me.  Both great jobs that I'm lucky to have with nice employees and all kinds of good stuff but they both at times can be quite lonely or isolating because I'm the only person who has that job.  At ASG there are adults around all the time but I essentially work alone, and babysitting of course I have the fun of being around lovely kids but rarely adults.  So spending a whole four hours working alongside people who are my age who share something that I love was really wonderful for me and just 8 hours a week is making a huge difference.  Not to mention the high volume of people that come through the studio, during a shift you're constantly talking and interacting.  I haven't done a customer servicey job since I finished working at the AMDA store and I'm happy to be back in it, I've always been good at and liked that aspect of my many jobs over the years.

Going to the same classes regularly means I can build a relationship with favourite teachers, being around dancers makes me finally feel like I'm supposed to be there - not like I'm an outsider looking in to the dance world and wondering how to get in.

It's all good.  Work study is exciting and valuable and I'm quite evidently delighted by it.

Jacob - a constant rock and source of endless comedy - took this picture of me last week.  It looks terribly arty and what have you - here's the secret: he told me to do the Macarena

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