As the new dance season started back at home in early September (I run a dance company in Edmonton), and my responsibilities piled up on me, I felt myself often turning back into the old, somewhat tunnel-visioned person who only sees work work work! And the good thing is that I am often catching myself reverting back into old habits, so then I try to take a few deep breaths and let go of those old feelings, and re-iterate positive things to myself that Joanna Di had influenced me to say.
When things get a bit hard, I remind myself often, "Everything is the way its meant to be." And I become thankful at that moment, of everything I am blessed with, and tears come to me, and I know that God will never give me more than I can handle. And if I seem to be handling a lot, then God knows how strong I am, and all the things I go through, are meant to make me stronger and remind me of my own strength.
I am looking over my notes right now, that I had written on my last few days in Toronto back in July. Here are some of my notes:
- Taking time to recognize & encourage students in front of their peers -- Joanna Di does this very well. She also critiques in front of peers which is nerve-wracking, but a very important part of the learning process. I hope to be critiqued more often, and picked on more often...because I myself say to my students that I am hardest on my best dancers, therefore, if Joanna Di isn't picking on me more often, that must mean I'm not doing well enough to deserve her critique yet! Joanna Di always has a positive approach to teaching and I appreciate that.
- Unity/Community - I had gone back to Edmonton and raved to everyone around me of the wonderful feelings I felt being so warmly welcomed into the MDO and TTE community. Never before had I ever felt this warmly welcomed by another dance studio. It was eye-opening. I hate the crabs-in-a-bucket culture amongst dance companies...I am a strong believer that good collaborations and affiliations can do wonders to boost the arts and their promoters...two heads are often better than one when it comes to planning and executing projects.
- I had heard someone say that this is a vast ocean (arts ocean) and we should know that we are part of it....how beautiful a thought...
- Old Style Ways (Tradition) have their place in the arts, and we must know our roots. I have always believed this, but struggled on how to get the young-ones of today in North America to understand the evolution and influences of Indian dance culture. I often complain about the instant gratification society that we live in, and how North Americans, and maybe people all over the world, are trained to always find the easy method to doing something... unfortunately this has translated into dance as well... it seems many students don't want to do those hard things... Is it so rare to see kids who actually want to be challenged these days? I personally love challenge. Ha ha! My husband would agree; it seems I have never taken the easy path to anything in my life... hmmm...maybe I should re-think that strategy! Lol. BUT, the feeling of deep satisfaction that comes after having achieved something that was very hard to do is inexplicable...you can only experience it...Old Traditional ways of learning dance have their place in today's modern world...
- I had heard someone say we need to open ourselves to receiving and learning and at the same time do a reality check of where we are right now -- how true. I need to remind myself to do this more often! I want to be more open and receiving and always learning!
- We need to find a balance of discipline and responsibility for the art form we are taking on...
- There needs to be bonding opportunities between peers, students, and parents, teachers, and all these groups with the other groups. It creates community / unity! I am working on trying to create unity and community at SAAM and I know it's a work in progress, and probably always will be...
Thank you to all the people who helped me make this possible.
-Joanna De Souza
-The Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton
-My Family and Friends