Saturday, 28 December 2013

Let auld acquaintance (not) be forgot

It's nearly the end of 2013 and the end of my BAPP experience too. It's been hard work but in a good sense, and I really feel that I've changed for the better.

My report is nearly ready for submission and although I will never be completely happy with it - another aspect of my personality I'm working on (see Schwartz, 2004) - I believe I have found a voice and represented my students honestly and with respect. I have exercised restraint over what I have included and ruthless in what I have taken out and what is left is that which is of the greatest importance to me. I have taken time to improve on my shortcomings from the last module assignment and considered both the reader (in the flow and the structure) and myself (in the content) to produce what I feel speaks to my own practice and to others.

My artifact is also something I can honestly say would not have been possible for me 18 months ago. The thought of putting something of mine in the public arena and inviting people to comment and critique would have been unbearable. This shows me how much I  have grown. I won't deny it, I'm still concerned that it's not good enough or too simple or lame or... (insert childish taunt here) but I'm in a better place to discuss, reflect and address any problems I might encounter.

My students have been inspiring in their honesty and enthusiasm during my inquiry and I know I have taken on board some of the things they spoke (or wrote) about. They weren't at all selfish in their responses - I want, I want, etc. - they just spoke about what can go right or wrong in a dance class and how it makes them feel. I know that we cannot speak about truth as an absolute but in this case I will make an exception - I know that my teenagers are the best! They are bright, clever, generous, kind and supportive. And I know that my choices as a dance teacher should reflect this. My new mantra is now:

Those who can't, teach. Those who can, facilitate.

In other words I need to give my students the best opportunity for fulfilling their potential not by trying to push syllabus, technique, style, skills at them but by helping them to be able to take what they need, when they need it. Easy? No - it'd be much less effort to put on the music and go through the exercises. Worth it? Do you even need to ask! I'm not in it for the money, glory or status but to share something of the joy that dance has given me over the last 33 years. This course has woken me up, given me new energy and ideas and made me realise that, even when I'm at the end of my tether, I love what I do. 

Finally, the title of this blog reflects my wish to keep in contact with all the friends I have met and made on this journey. I don't think it would have been half the fun or half the learning experience without you. I'd also like to thank everyone who has supported me and given up their time to talk, debate, read, and give feedback. I am forever grateful and would like to wish you all a happy and successful New Year that contains as much happiness and love as you can possibly cram into 12 months.



Schwartz, B. 2004. The Paradox of Choice: why more is less. Harper Collins: London.

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