"Change". When many people think about change they are scared, uneasy, uncertain, angry, pessimistic, and reluctant. Others consider change to be exciting, releiving, and refreshing, a chance at renewal, a new beginning. I tend to see change both ways, especially in terms my life at the studio. While I am stubborn at times and like things the way they are, I have to admit that, 9 times out of 10, the changes I've undergone in my life have all been positive - or so it seems. I think that how we choose to view change is the key to defining the outcome of that change. It's no secret to anyone involved in dance, things are constantly changing around us - classes change, choreography changes, teachers change, attitudes change, our bodies change, dancers come and go....the studio is a pretty dynamic place!
I felt compelled to address change because, as of late, I can feel it looming. As it always has, this time of the year is taking its emotional toll on me a little bit. With only a month left of the 2011-2012 season, I have spent quite a bit of time lately in reflection of all I have done in the past year. It was a huge year; I quit my steady job at Colorado Ballet, founded a company, wrote a business plan, went to the bank and took out loans, chose a building, renovated it by hand, opened it as a huge new studio, hired a faculty, started the Assembly Line......the list goes on and on. The thing is, it all stemmed from making the simple decision to "make a change in my life". It was the scariest decision I've ever had to make, and once I made it there was no turning back, but I can honestly say that nothing but good has come of it.
What's so great about having made that big of a change, is having made it transparently. All of the students I mentor were able to see what I'd done, some of the struggle and work I had to do to get it done, and were able to be a part of the journey in many, many ways. Many have confided in me that they feel empowered by having been able to watch me successfully do what many of them will ultimately grow up to do - realize a dream. In retrospect, thank goodness the first big season went as smoothly and was as successful as it was, otherwise I may have traumatized quite a few young dancers!
Nonetheless, the end of this first season draws nearer with each passing day. Part of me wants the moments to linger a little bit longer (I don't think I'm ready to see our senior dancers graduate and leave), while other parts of me can't wait to see what the next season brings; we've received so many inquiries and compliments based on what strangers have seen from us this season, who knows what our auditions will look like! I suspect that in these first few seasons, as the studio grows and the culture of what we're doing at Sweatshop becomes infectious, we will see many new faces, welcome many new families into our own and, as a result, the dancers will experience change like never before. For many reasons, I'll be loving it, but it's obviously going to present many challenges along the way. It's going to be a big responsibility to ensure to our students, existing and new, that the changes they experience are totally positive. Though the weight of this task is heavy, it's a challenge that I welcome with open arms.
As the winds of change continue to blow toward the studio I can see that many of our younger dancers are scared or nervous about the upcoming auditions and potential changes they represent. They know that with the influx of new dancers the dynamics of the current group will undoubtedly change. It won't be the first or last time they experience such a change, no doubt, but it's hard for the young ones to understand that change, though uncomfortable, can be completely wonderful! In fact, one of the most entertaining dynamics to watch in the studio is to watch the individuals who resist changes so unfailingly quickly become the ones who end up benefiting the most from the change they were so unwilling to initially accept.
I do have to admit, however, that even when things are running perfectly and there seems to be no apparent need for change, sometimes change happens to us whether we like it or not! Like the oncoming of a season, when you can't avoid change, what more can you do than embrace it? The universe, its solar system, our planet, our society, and our lives depend on, and revolve around, change. I think the phrase goes something like: "the only thing that remains constant in our lives is change".
My advice: For those of you who are happy with who and where you are in your life, make the most of, and welcome change when it appears because, no matter how much you dislike it or don't expect it, change is coming. For those of you who have been longing for change, don't sit around waiting for the perfect time, that time isn't coming - make the change!
In closing, in order to do my part to encourage some change, if any of you are considering making a dance studio change and Sweatshop is of consideration, choose us if you want to understand just how perfect change can be. Happy Spring everyone!