Even though I’m not dancing professionally everyday, I still teach ballet every week at a small studio about twenty minutes away from my house. Somewhere between begging the kids for their attention and laughing at their silly antics, I’ve fallen in love with teaching ballet. Although it can feel odd to be pretty much starting my day at 5 PM and I find myself sometimes dreading the days I have to teach, being able to coach children on something that has helped to shape my life is extremely special. Some days I feel like I’m not making progress. Some days they drive me up the wall. But some days they are truly interested in improving and their little faces light up. And other days we have tons of fun, giggling as they twirl around and sometimes end up on the floor.
Being a successful ballet teacher takes a lot more preparation than most people think. Just as a school teacher compiles lesson plans for the week, a ballet teacher must put together a class that flows and progresses correctly. I also take time to go over what I worked on with my students the weeks before and track skills as we master them. With younger students, I do a lot of the same combinations because I find that repetition helps them learn the technique correctly. I also try to teach them the correct, French names for the steps to help them in years to come. No, it’s not called a spin, it’s called a pirouette. For older students, I like to mix it up a bit more - doing some more basic combinations and some that will work their brains a bit.
I try to arrive early to grab my attendance book and get ready for the night ahead. But sometimes with traffic, I find myself running in just as class is about to start. I always carry and notebook, extra pens, and of course my FreshFooties bottle for a quick spritz before I head home. I’ve found that using this product before heading back on the road, makes my car ride home much more enjoyable (and a lot less smelly!).
As a dance teacher, my shoes and feet suffer through the some of the same ailments as when I was a professional ballet dancer. I still get sore, deal with my ongoing knee pain, and of course suffer from smelly foot odor. But at the end of the day, I go through it all to be able to teach some young ballet hopefuls the magic of hard work, dedication and pointe shoes.