by Felicia McBride
I had the wonderful opportunity recently to teach at Hubbard Street’s Iowa City Summer Program for dancers between the ages of 14 and 17. Lissa and I came in at the beginning of the third week of the program to teach some of HS2’s rep. Johnny joined me for the fourth and final week. Overall the experience was wonderful. Getting the chance to see these dancers grow in such a short amount of time is absolutely amazing.
This was my third experience this year in working with and teaching other dancers. Previously we were at the North Carolina School of the Arts in February helping our opposites learn our parts and improve upon them throughout our creation process with Maurya Kerr.
We were also in Stevensville, Michigan in March teaching the dancers at Lakeshore High School. We spent a week at Lakeshore High having multiple improv workshops with many of the high school students. We also created a piece on their most advanced dancers which was added to our program that we performed that weekend.
All three experiences were so different in their own way but all had the same lessons to be learned. I realized that being at the front of the room, being watched and observed by younger dancers, gives me the power to change them.
Whether I change their dancing or maybe just who they are as people, or who they may become one day, I have the chance to be apart of it. I had to bring myself to a new standard, a much higher one. I made it my responsibility and obligation to coach these dancers and show them how great they could be.
In return, whether they knew it or not, they showed me what I could do and how great I could be. Being able to watch young dancers take what you have to say, apply it and see a significant improvement is a such a rewarding thing. It added new color and perspective to my own life that I will always have with me now.
It’s a moment in life that you store in a special place, maybe your heart or your back pocket, that you can always look back on but will always keep pushing you forward.