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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Studio Culture

I'm sure others will nod along as they read this one because you don't have to be a dancer or teacher to understand. Being a part of a dance studio is nothing short of having a big extended family. I had a small family unit as a child, so this is a rich environment for me.

In a family, there are members who don't see eye to eye, people who disagree on important topics, avoid one another or fight, and some who are quirky or a little "out there." At the end of the day, lucky families manage to at least gather for holidays and break bread. We have some tensions, we have some elegant topic changes, we dance around certain issues. At a studio, we are full of colorful personalities ranging the entire spectrum from introverts and extroverts and closet extroverts and varying degrees of confidence in life and varying degrees of confidence in their own dancing. We see and engage in so much interaction both verbal and non-verbal each day. And we talk over interactions that happen, analyze and mine for meaning. We joke, we laugh, we cry, we tease. We are sincere, and we care deeply about each other, each client. If we hear someone ever sounding unkind, we try to help build more context so compassion can thrive.

We have a daily routine, and then we are flexible and in the moment make adjustments based on who calls or walks in. I joke to all my friends and family who ask, I often say "It's never the same day twice, and yet it's the same old same old" because there are rhythms to studio life. I'm sure I will share more about this in future.

At the basis of the whole thing, human relationships are what sustain any studio. Or perhaps they are the underpinnings of society in general, and I've just been blessed to experience the whole thing in the context of a ballroom, to see both literal and figurative dances in my professional environment.

If I choose to share specific stories, I promise I will change names, and might change or combine events to protect the innocent (and the not-so-innocent) involved...

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