By Dennis Carpenter

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
-From Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”

The summer months in a school district are filled with planning and preparation for the year ahead. I said to another community leader this week, without summer in a school district there is no effective nine months of school. Still, there is some time to balance this work with all of the great community happenings during this great time of year! One such happening that I had the chance to see and slightly participate in was Saturday’s first annual dance recital of my daughter’s dance company! Man, was this a treat! I learned to do the floss (no demonstrations) and I made some very special memories with my daughter during the father/daughter finale! In addition, I had the chance to see, weeks, months and years of hard work payoff for the dancers. Furthermore, I had some clear takeaways that parallel with the work of schooling that I get to participate in each day.

Here are a few:
Dance is not restricted by age; proficiency is what matters. Put another way, the most proficient dancers can dance together regardless of age. You don’t have to wait until a certain age or date in time to move on…dancers move on when ready! Could my noble profession learn something from this concept?

A key component of dance is the variety. Whether it be the costume changes or the various genres of dance the children get to explore, and the students enjoy the variety! The dance teachers didn’t teach every kid the same type of dance, in the same way and expect mastery! In that respect they mirrored the master teachers I’ve seen in classrooms over the course of my career!
From the most experienced and precise dancers to the newcomers to the dance company, every child was treated as if his or her performance was the most important part of the show. The teachers gave the same level of instruction and encouragement to the child who may not return next season and the child(ren) who have a future on broadway! And guess what…THE DANCERS NOTICED AND GAVE THEIR ALL!

Finally, from awesome instructors to involved parents to cheering extended family members, the dancers were surrounded by caring, competent adults who wanted them to be successful! I couldn’t help but watch the dancers beam with pride from these outward demonstrations of love and support. In addition, I wondered, how can we ensure this childhood necessity for each child in our community?

This past weekend left me excited and energized after some quality time with my family! In addition, it too left me with some wonderings that have implications for the work I get to do each day! I guess that’s what having a great weekend is all about! So the next time you have the choice within your sphere of influence to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance!