Valentine’s Day is a great day to celebrate the things you love. We love dance for so many reasons and we love sharing it with our students, their families and our community. As I visited a handful of classes to ask the question, “why do you love dance?”, I found myself smiling bigger than ever and welling up with tears behind my iPhone. The mission of opening our studios was to create a safe place for students to escape and express their emotions through physical movement. So many students commented about the family they have at the studio or that they feel it’s like a home. That feels like success to me! 

As teachers, we take our jobs seriously because we know that what we are doing is so much bigger than teaching dance steps. We are helping to mold healthy, accomplished people. Teachers have to walk a fine line between discipline and nurturing. Silliness versus structure. A balancing act between pushing hard and giving grace. At the end of the day, we teach because we LOVE what we do and we LOVE who we get to teach.

Miss Emily says, “Well there’s a lot of things to love about dance, but I really love each and everyone of these girls” (directing her attention to the Ballet 3/4 class at the Conservatory). “I’ve been doing this so many years and I feel love every single day for them. My heart is always full when I get to be with them.”

Dear Dance,

You have been my true love for so many years. You have been there for me when I needed a friend, a place to cry, a place to laugh, a place to sweat, a place to find focus. It was you that brought a shy little girl a voice and a passion. I have leaned on you when I thought I was mis-understood and I sprung from you when it was time to fly and grow on my own. Dance, you have provided me with the most rewarding career I could imagine where I experience your life lessons everyday. I respect you and I pass you on to all the dancers that follow in my footsteps. I will never stop loving you!

Yours Truly,

Miss Katie McSwain