I don't talk about it much. Most know me as a mom and wife. Some know me as a photographer. A lot of people know that I "do some dance thing" but they aren't really sure what that means, except for some little excerpts here and there on Instagram. So here is the story.
For the past 9 months, every Tuesday and Thursday, I leave my job as a stay at home mom. I put on leggings and put my hair in a bun. I tote around a worn out binder that definitely needs replacing, full of notes and the names of my students in order by last name. I get to the studio 30 minutes before class, or at least I try to. I put on a pair of soft leather ballet shoes, labeled on the inside "left" and "right," load up the disc changer with classical ballet music, recital songs, and some tunes just for fun. I open the studio door, and I rally all my students together. We start with curtsies.
For 45 minutes, they are mine. Their parents bring them to me, trust me with them, and expect them to learn a thing or two about pointing their toes or how to do a shuffle or a leap. For 45 minutes they are my girls, my dancers, the ones that call me Miss Allyn and give me hugs and smile when I play their favorite Kids Bop song during our stretch time. For 45 minutes I get to be Miss Margie to them.
Miss Margie was my first dance teacher. The owner of Canipe School of Dance, and the reason that Studio 68, where I teach, exists. She was some kind of special. She taught us all about dance and she is the reason I have such a special place in my heart for ballet, but it's funny because even though I know she taught me a lot of what I know about dance now, I really can't remember too much that she taught me that actually had anything to do with dance.
She taught me to say "yes ma'am" and "may I," but more importantly, she taught me respect. She taught me that "can't" is a bad word, but really, she taught me to follow my dreams and that I could do anything I could think up. She taught me to be confident, but to also be willing to learn...that even when I think I've got it, I can always improve. Miss Margie taught me that it's okay to mess up, but that we should learn from our mistakes.
The things that Miss Margie taught me are things that I will never forget.
I know I won't ever be able to fill the shoes of what she was to so many, but I am so happy to have to opportunity to try, along with the other instructors that I have the joy of working with every week. It is so wonderful to get to share that with them each week, especially since Miss Margie taught each of us.
I've said it so many times this year, but dance is about so much more than pliés and tendus, shuffles, leaps and pirouettes.
...So every week this year, I put my hair in that bun, slipped on the ballet shoes, and opened the door. I called the girls in, and I gave them each a curtsey. Just like Miss Margie used to give me at the beginning of class each week.
For 45 minutes at a time, I got to be Miss Allyn, and all I can think about is Miss Margie.
(The photos in this post are for a project I am working on for Studio 68 for Dance and Performing Arts)