Coronavirus Remote Education and Dancing
Day Thirty Five & Forty Seven April 25 – May 7
Thursday, May 7th
It has been quite a while since I have posted anything here.
MY intention was to post something every day but that has been almost impossible to do unless I do what I am doing right now: Up at 4am and still working. It’s is getting crazier than ever.
ON that note I am devoting this blog entry to Thank A Dance Teacher Day
Hmm.. Where to begin. There are so many to thank so I am just going to start listing.
My very first dance teachers who started me on this journey were my College Dance Teachers Patricia Nave and Linda Roberts. Without that initial push and their continued support, I would not be where I am today. Thank You!
However that was just the beginning. What happened after I finished college was just as thrilling and exciting. I discovered a dancing family that consisted of dance teachers from all parts of the dance world. They all had an impact on me. Here is a list as best as I can put it together. Nancy Meehan, Mary Spalding, Erick Hawkins, Cathy Ward, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Cindy Green, Zvi Gotheiner, Murray Louis, Lynn Simonson, Katiti King, Te Perez, Diane McCarthy, and JoDe Romano (Flamenco). Then there are my dancing partners, who taught me as much about dancing and teaching as any teacher did. Lets see… Lauren Naslund, Joan Cansdale, Charmaine Warren, Andi Wirz, Osamu Uehara, Loretta DiBianca-Fois, Joan Stamm, Jean Morgan, and Jane Kornbluh. My past students, some of whom have become dance teachers themselves. The lessons they taught and continue to teach me about myself as a dancer and dance teacher are invaluable. A partial list: Sarah Wong, Rachel Lane, Nadia Tykulsker, Jessica Lewis, Teresa Schmitt, Stephanie Caputo. And finally my fellow dance teachers in the NYC Department Of Education, who teach me something new every day: Kerrianne Cody, Shirlene Blake, Valerie Ramsey, Debra Sabesan, Penny Hpinsdorf, Rebecca Cyr and my compadres at NDEO Men In Dance: Yoav Kaddar, Christopher Rutt, and Barry Blumenfeld.
There are others for sure and there will be more to come because it is really about community, not just that one teacher. Yes there was one teacher who inspired me but without the others that initial support, that faith in me, the recognition of something that I had that was still to be developed, would never have developed. It is really about community, about family and that’s the rub, because my very first dance teachers in college were not really my first dance teachers. My first dance teachers were my family members.
My mom, who taught me some social dances so I could dance with her at weddings My grandmother who taught me some traditional Italian folk dances, at weddings. My cousin Lisa, who was my childhood dancing partner as we made up entertainments to put on for the family at big family events. But even they were not my very first dance teachers. My Dad was my very first dance teacher, when I was still a toddler and he would say to me “cheek to cheek’ and I would stick out my cheek and he would pick me up and put his cheek next to mine and dance me around the room. I must have loved it because every picture of me with him doing that I am totally thrilled. That’s what my “first” dance teachers in college saw. That toddler thrilled to be dancing in his father’s arms in a room full of family.
Which brings me to my initial point that it is about community. Without that community of dancers and dance teachers I would not be where I am today. So thank you, thank you to all those dance teachers intentional and accidental, for teaching me about the importance of family and community because I (we) need that now more than ever.
The Dancing Jedi