As the founder of the Energizers Dance Team, I can say that I have learned a lot over the years. I can still remember the very first class I started at the Rec Center. We had 13 kids and we practiced outside at the local bandshell. I can still remember every dancer that was in that class. I can remember our first song we performed too. I can remember the first uniform we ever got and the first time we took the competition floor. Over the years I have taught a lot of dancers, but a lot of dancers have also taught me! I can honestly say I’ve learned many things about life and about myself as a person through the EDT. Dance has never been just a sport for me (yes, it is a sport), it’s always been a part of my heart and soul. It has been my passion and have been so blessed to be able to share it with so many families over the years. A few of the most important life lessons I hope the athletes in our program will have learned are:
Being a dancer requires a ridiculous amount of dedication. Dedication not only from the dancers but from the families as well. You have to be at every practice, parade, fundraiser, technique class and all of those “optional” practices (everyone on the team will tell you what optional really means) if you want to improve your skills and be successful. Not only do you have to be at all the practices, but there also isn’t really any “off season” for a dancer either. You pretty much go year round, 5-6 days a week. You need to be completely devoted to making that time commitment. There’s no doubt that dance has taught me the true meaning of dedication.
I’m 100% convinced that if you have not made it through one of “those practices”, you don’t know the real meaning of perseverance. When times get tough, that is when we push harder. I have always taught our teammates that quitting is not an option. Giving up, giving in and quitting is not something you do. If you no longer love it, than you finish your commitment for the season and re-evalaute when it is over. Sometimes you have to suck it up and just keep going. This doesn’t just apply in dance class or on the dance team; it applies in many other aspects of life too. There are going to be times where all you want to do is quit because things are really tough. In these instances, you have to remind yourself to keep going because the end result will be worth the strife.
You have to be STRONG both physically and emotionally. The EDT teaches you to believe in yourself and to reach goals you may have never thought you were capable of achieving. You have to understand that being strong means you surround yourself with people who make you better. You learn to rely on not only yourself but to also have high expectations for not only yourself but also your teammates. You work through the pain, sweat and tears because you know it will be worth it. You understand that I push you because I believe in you! I hope that you will always remember that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.
When you practice as often as we do, you will learn that you have to be self-disciplined and self-motivated. You will learn to manage your time efficiently and also prioritize. You will learn how to multi-task and having a day off will leave you feeling like “you don’t know what to do with the extra time!” You will find that you do not have time to get in trouble because you are always at practice. You will discipline yourself and your teammates with your high expectations and standards. Disappointment will mean more to you than consequences.
5. Team Work
Over the years you will have learned to work with a large group of dancers of all ages. It’s not just about you in a dance, it’s about all of the dancers working together to become one. Your routine isn’t going to do well at a competition unless everyone contributes the same amount to the dance as everyone else. Being a dancer truly teaches you to be a team player. You will learn to not only accept diversity but you will learn to appreciate differences. You will learn how to compromise and learn how to bring out the best in others. You will learn how to be a leader and you will understand the value of always putting the team before yourself. The team will always be more important than any single person on the team. THE TEAM! THE TEAM! THE TEAM!!!
Dance has taught me what it truly means to love what you do. Having passion for something gives you the motivation to keep at it and push on even when things are tough. Performing is something that gives you a feeling like no other. Coaching and watching you accomplish your dreams is what makes my passion even more rewarding.
Through the EDT, I am confident that you will learn these skills and so many more!