Spring is a crazy time for me as a dance teacher. Cleaning up dances is coupled with end of the year assessments; for myself, as the ballet teacher, I have to think back to the kid’s technical capabilities beyond the memorized dance. I don’t mind the rush really, it keeps me busy during May.
With every spring comes a familiar goodbye as I say farewell to seniors. As familiar as this goodbye is for me, each year brings new faces and new personalities. My goodbye changes depending on the group, I give them parting words, and often cupcakes. The group of seniors this year was such a thoughtful group, and a group that didn’t include any that were going on in dance, but I wanted to encourage them to remain connected to creativity and to not forget the lessons that dance has taught them. My goodbye went as follows:
My last motivational speech to these seniors. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t have some sort of speech prepared; so this one is your farewell one, the one that I hope reminds you that you can do it, and you’ve got a great future ahead. But, it isn’t only for the seniors ears, because everyone of us wakes up daily with a choice: to live life to the fullest, or to just get by.
Taking cues from our pointe dance that is Star Wars themed, I’d like to share with you a quote from Star Wars that reads, “Your focus determines your reality.” So what is your focus? Is it on yourself, how you can be a better you, and what you can do with the time you have? Or is it constantly on others, what they are doing? How you can be like them? How to beat them? What they are thinking of you?
Ayn Rand, a woman who was a philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter, said, “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
My goal has always been to give you maps and formulas for creativity so you can find it for yourself. It may not feel that way when we play improv games or I give you a number and tell you to find your own pathway to your next spot, but these are small steps into expanding your mind, your critical thinking skills and your own creativity. So what if your focus became creativity for yourself? Not how to beat others or to alter what they they of you, no, what if your focus was on creativity for yourself. I’m not just talking about art, dance, or literally making something. I’m talking about the type of creativity that helps you make your life what you want it to be.
No matter your grade, your age, your place, take time to focus on yourself. What are you giving the world? Are you giving the world your best self? Sometimes, depending on the situation, you’ve really got to get creative to figure out how to give the world your best you, but you’ve got the key. You have maps, you have formulas from me, from other teachers and mentors, but it is up to you to follow them, mix them, or just simply to use them as a launching point for you. If you change your mind a dozen times trying to figure out how to give the world your best self, that is okay.
You might find a friend in someone you never thought you would, you might find out you really like a new sport or activity, you might find yourself taking a course in college you didn’t expect to be interesting, and yet you find it fascinating; all of this is great! This might even change your central group of friends, your work out routine, or even your course of study in college, and that’s all alright if you are creatively working on being the best you. Take heart, seniors, it is estimated 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduation.
In the end, you have to wake up with you, and you have to fall asleep with you. What kind of day do you want to wake up to? What will be your focus? What will you achieve? What kind of week do you want to have? Month? Year? Life?
Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
As I gave this little talk to them, they chowed down on some s’more cupcakes. The flavor profile was all there, but I had tried a new chocolate cupcake recipe, and they were way too dry. The chocolate cupcake recipe of mine that still takes the cake is my stout cupcake recipe that calls for some dark stout. In the end, the cupcakes looked great and the marshmallow icing was so fun! A perfect kick off to my dance summer!