I would also like to think that my students have this quality as well. At least, I would like to pass this attitude on to them. There is no better place to witness this than at the esteemed Chautauqua Institution in New York State. I have been honored to be a dance instructor in the Special Studies department for nine years. I just finished off a joyous week of dance!
Through the years, the diversity of students is what makes the venue special. From teenagers to senior citizens, the dance has been able to be shared. Unlike ballet and other dance forms that require youth and agility, belly dance uses natural movement that is low impact. Yet, it offers the cardio and isometric benefits of group exercise classes. Instead of mindless stepping and jumping, students learn an ancient art form. It is also fun. What other form of exercise allows you to dress up in coined hip scarves, whirl chiffon veils and play finger cymbals?
Teenage girls love the dance. I have had ballet students, flag drill team members and just the curious participate. They bring the energy and optimism of youth. The "older" ladies, especially the senior citizens come to class to be challenged and are. They often arrive cynical of their abilities but one they start moving,are astonished at their abilities.
I specialize and love beginners because I love to see them blossom as the week progresses. I have had intermediate dancers and dancers of other styles actually teach me a thing or two. Dancers are, after all, perpetual students.
I had a class of young women who invited their families for a spare-of-the-moment recital. I had a senior student go back home to put on a costumed performance for her senior citizen's center.
My goal in instructing at Chautauqua is to get students addicted to the dance so that they go back home seeking instructors to continue studying the dance.
Another season of dance, long anticipated, is over at CHQ. It's hard to believe how time can go by so quickly. Cheers to another successful year and may we meet again next year ... Same place ... same time ...