Do you ever dare to step out of the box and try something new and exciting with your students; perhaps veer off the beaten path? As teachers who teach multiple classes year in and year out, we too can carry on with the, “It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it” mentality.  It’s human nature. We see progress, so why test the waters? Why head into unchartered territory when the same choreography and same music choices seem to work? Why use different dancers when the ones you always use get the job done? Why change up the warm-up and make it more challenging for your students so it’s just beyond their reach? Why try improvisation or meditation or choreography-comp class with your dancers when giving them the steps is easier? Why change up your curriculum when the one you have is fine? Why change the audition process for your company classes when they know what to expect already? Why bring in that unconventional master class teacher instead of the mainstream favorite? Why take a chance on a hardworking kid who never has had a feature role when you know who the most talented dancers are? Well…..if you have the answer to these questions, then this is precisely the time to do some self-analysis and ponder the notion of taking chances to progress ourselves as artists and inspire our students.

The thought of taking a chance on something or someone new is always frightening. Why? …..Because it’s not a sure thing. What if it doesn’t work? What if people don’t like it? What if it fails? What if there are complaints? What if I lose students? What if the dancers just don’t get it? What if? What if? What if? No huge success ever came from following the mold and that’s the mentality necessary for innovation and making a mark on the world. Those that are willing to take chances and not afraid to fail are usually the most successful. Think about it. What is the worst thing that’s going to happen if you hire a masterclass teacher for a day that the kids don’t respond to? Not much……and while they may not understand your reasoning for bringing in a Bollywood teacher vs. a contemporary teacher, down the road they will thank you for the new experience.

Taking chances is gutsy. It isn’t for the faint of hearts. You need to have that fearless leader, lion heart inside you to sometimes go against the grain. You have to not be afraid to fail and persevere until you succeed. Not everyone may understand your vision or reasoning at the time, but if thought through thoroughly, committed and passionate about something, why not give it a try? You are fortunate enough to walk into the studio every day with beautiful healthy, able and moving bodies ready to be the canvas to your creations.  Those that take chances inspire. Whether those chances pan out of not, there is much respect given to the teacher who marches to the beat of his own drum vs. the one that follows the straight and narrow all of time. Remember, your dancers look up to you. While we all want our students to push themselves out of their comfort zones, dream bigger, think more, work harder and move freer. This is a model to be followed as well. Teach what you preach. And remember there is no failure in trying something new; there is just another opportunity to figure out a way to “make it work.”

Taking a chance on something every now and then will reignite your soul and maybe even make you a little frightened too…..and that’s good, because it means you care. Take those emotions and teach from the inside out and follow your instinct and your artistry and watch how your horizon widens and brightens. Take the good with the bad. Learn from things that didn’t necessarily go according to plan and make a new plan.  The great thing about dance is, there is always another piece to be choreographed and always another opportunity for growth and development.  Dance is fluid. Savor every one of the chances you take and be brave. Be a fearless leader willing and wanting to take your dancers into the next realm of possibility. Dream big everyone!

Good luck to all!

See you in the dance studio,

Jessie

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