Dance was a huge part of my life growing up. I took ballet and tap for about three years, auditioned for company classes so I could compete, and it all just built from there. Over the years, I had opportunities to perform the Nutcracker with the Moscow City Ballet, in Christmas parades, and other performances of Christmas ballets and solos and in small groups for schools. I spent hours in the studio preparing for competitions with my fellow company dancers, then even more hours traveling, competing and performing with the girls that had quickly become more like my sisters. We cheered each other on, always made sure to say "dance pretty" and "break a leg," and then held each other's hands when a leg actually did get broken. There were blisters and sprains, sweat and tears. My hair hardly ever left a bun, and I was often found tap dancing in random places like the grocery store and in the cafeteria at school. As a senior in high school, I became the studio assistant. I was there every day, open to close, doing whatever they needed me to do. Assisting with classes, registering new students, filling in when teachers were absent on occasion, running errands, cleaning, and helping in the lobby and office. I was Miss Allyn, and it was the highest honor I could have received, even better than a Miss Dance title or principal ballerina or Broadway star for me.
I learned that hard work pays off and I also learned how to take constructive criticism. I learned discipline and grace, and I learned to keep going even when it is hard, even if it hurts a little. I learned to say "may I" instead of "can I," and I learned to always always say "yes ma'am." My teachers taught me to leave life at the door and focus on the present. Dance gave me confidence in myself, to be myself. Confidence to give my all, not just in dance, but in my life.
I worked at a dance store when I was in college (and after college) in Greensboro, and while I loved my time there, it just wasn't the same. When I left the studio after high school I left a chunk of my heart there.
But now, this Fall, I get to go back to teaching dance, at the studio I graduated from, with the teachers that taught me. I get to teach young girls (and maybe some boys) about pointing their toes and straightening their legs. I will teach them when to stay off their heels in their tap shoes, and the difference between a "stamp" and a "stomp." I get to teach them the same values and the same love of dance that Miss Margie taught me as a six year old.
I can't wait to get back to "Miss Allyn."
PS...this is a big year for Studio 68! Join us for the tenth year! I hope to see you there!