Monday, February 14, 2011

Prima Ballerina

I did it, I'm a teacher!  Ok, not officially but for the last two Mondays I've taught a group of 17 people basic ballet.  And, not surprisingly, I love it!  The group varies so much (from ages 13 to 62) and there are so many different life stories (one girl danced till she was 17, two are cancer survivors), but I feel so honored to have them all in class together.  They've really surprised me and have not only picked up on moves really quickly but been really supportive toward me as a teacher - I didn't hide the fact that this was my first time teaching.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'm doing, but the goal of the class isn't to have seventeen people emerge as these graceful and perfect ballerinas.  Rather I hope to bring some of the beauty of the art into the lives of these people and work with them to show them how to use and celebrate their bodies.  The human body is an amazing instrument - I don't know why more people aren't dancing.

While this is clearly a class about the participants, it really is a class about me too.  Most of what we've learned is really basic, but to me it feels huge to teach it.  I don't normally get nervous before teaching a class (I guess part of me is naturally inclined towards being in front of people) but I got really nervous before our first class last week.  Maybe it's because dance was such an important part of my life for a long time.  I started dancing when I was 13 and kept going until around age 20, taking seven classes a week at my busiest.  Part of me has always regretted my decision to stop training.  I was by no means the best, but I tried hard and wanted to learn and put visible heart and emotion into every practice and performance.  For years I've wanted to go back but some injuries toward the end of my training convinced me I would never be as good as I once was, and that I was too old to get back into it.

Teaching this class has helped me realize it might be that I'm not technically as good as I was before, but that heart and emotion is still there, and few things give me as much joy as music, an open studio, and some ballet shoes.  Perhaps this was what I needed to start stepping out and stop being afraid of what might be and learn to embrace what is.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Middle school thoughts

Today has been a crazy day, even though my calendar normally says "day off".  I taught Sunday school, hosted a chat session with Em and a mutual friend, prepped my ballet lesson for tomorrow, and led at a middle school youth group.  But this post isn't supposed to be me whining about my busy day; rather, I wanted to take a moment to comment on the intellegence and insight of kids (something I think we miss a good bit of the time).

The project and talking points for last week's youth group included making a bouncy ball out of 6 household ingredients and touching on the miracle of creation.  The kids were able to compare the balls, made with only a few ingredients, to people, who are made with hundreds of "ingredients" and are infinitely more complex.  Tonight, we made valentines for the Rescue Mission (one of the leaders is going to speak tomorrow evening and will take them with her).  All throughout the project I was trying to come up with an easily understandable way to connect creation and the making of valentines.  Here are some of the thoughts the kids shared:

"We created the cards."
"We were created out of love, just like we created the valentines out of love."
"We all used the same paper, glue, and glitter but none of our valentines look the same."
"We are giving love like the love God gives to us."

Wow.  I just love these kids and I'm amazed (pretty much weekly) at their depth and insight into the world.  I was even more touched that when we prayed together, so many of the kids prayed for the people that would get their cards tomorrow.  I don't recall being that aware of the rest of the world at that age.  I think I often forget that in an age run by computers and cell phones, where countless hours are spent in front of a screen, that kids have a lot more to say than we give them the time or space to express. 

Let's not discount this generation - they have a lot more to say than we realize.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Welcome to Adulthood

Tonight was the first night in the apartment where I made a dinner that required more than a microwave.  I channeled the talents of my grandmother, hoping some of whatever it was that made her cooking so good was still left in the pots.  The final product - Tyson frozen chicken nuggets and Kroger mac and cheese.  Heaven.  It probably took me 15 minutes to boil the water, and I started the oven about 3 times before finally calling mom and promptly announcing "I don't know how to work my oven."  Her response, laughter.  Gee, thanks mom.  At my busiest moment, I was on the phone with mom, sirring boiling pasta, checking two timers and preparing to open the oven to turn the chicken.  I didn't sit down to eat until almost 8:30 and it was 9 o'clock before the dishes were washed and the leftovers put away.  Being an adult is rough.

A second notable apartment adventure - laundry.  I waited a little over two weeks before doing laundry and set aside a Saturday to sort though it all.  My first load I sorted and loaded, and stepped back to survey my options, before realizing I'd made a fatal mistake (Ok, not really fatal but that makes it sound more dramatic).  After putting my clothes in the washer I poured my liquid detergent into the drain-compartment-thing, a normal next step when doing laundry at my parents house.  Come to find out, that drain-compartment-thing had a label...Liquid Bleach Only.  Crap.  On the upside, an extra rinse seemed to take care of the problem (at least it was an easy fix and not really a fatal mistake) and the washer held way more clothes than I thought, so the whole ordeal ended up taking half as long as I thought it would. 

Hopefully these risky undertakings have kept you smiling.  Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming posts on my first ballet class and a special joint post with Em.