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A Dance Teacher Alert: Why We Need More Awe!


Teacher article


Dance Teachers

Is there a key to inspiring more kindness, cooperation, and connection in people? As it turns out, the experience of awe might be just the emotion we need to create a better shared future! As dance teachers awe can help us with creativity and provide us inspiration.

When was the last time you felt a sense of awe?

It’s a feeling triggered by moments like gazing up at the stars on a crystal-clear night, looking out at natures beauty, experiencing a dance performance that moves us or standing next to an ancient tree. And, while it is an awe-some feeling, it can do far more than just make us feel good!

Awe helps us break down the barriers between us, connect with one another, and changes our behavior on a fundamental level. So, what would be possible if we lived our lives with more awe?

What is awe?

Awe is a complex emotional state. A variety of experiences can trigger it, from seeing the Grand Canyon, to hearing a great speaker, to watching a moving dance piece, to listening to the crescendo of a moving piece of music.

Studies have shown that experiencing awe makes us more prone to positive behavior towards others. We are less likely to care exclusively about ourselves after experiencing awe and we feel better connected as a part of a larger whole.

But is there more happening with awe? If we know that these positive behaviors are already associated with experiencing awe, what’s happening in our brains when this happens, and what other behaviors might be affected?

How Awe Changes Us…

There’s this feeling of vastness that comes alongside awe that’s sometimes breathtaking. In that vastness, there’s a feeling something is so great, so grand, that we have to change our understanding of the world in order to accommodate this amazing experience. Look up at an ancient tree and suddenly you are struck by how ancient the world is, and you’re forced to rethink your understanding of time. Or, cheer alongside fans of your favorite sports team as the arena erupts and you have to readjust your love for the game. That is why dance competitions have also become so popular especially with parents. 

Awe often changes us on a fundamental level. It can make us feel we have more time available to us, make us less impatient, and make us more willing to volunteer our time. It is a self-transcendent emotion alongside compassion and gratitude that some researchers believe helped us evolve as humans and gives us the ability to care for one another, cooperate and coordinate as a group. As dance teachers and or dance studio owners we can all use more of these great attributes.

If awe appears to be so central to who we are, how do we access it more often? How do we use it to draw us closer together, and help us cooperate better?

Perhaps, this comes with seeking out the experience of awe more often. If we make a habit of seeing awe around us in science, nature, or performance, we will start to experience it more. We can do things as simple as looking up and being open to the world. Be present. Put down your phone. Allow the world around you to awe you. Even simple things like sunrises and sunsets are very often awe inspiring. And they happen every day!

If we look at the world with a more open mind and look at it with a sense of possibility, we are far more likely to see awe all around us.

So, where will you find awe in the unexpected?

Check out this great video on “Awe” that will inspire you!


Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Steve is co-founder of Dance Teacher Web the number one online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide.He is Co-Director of the very successful D'Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Center in Fairfield, CT for the past thirty plus years. His students have gone on to very successful careers in dance, music and theater. Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He has appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, He has also co-authored two books one for dance teachers and one for studio owners in the "It's Your Turn" Book series. He is available for master classes, private business consulting and teacher training development

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