Chanukkah is called the Festival of Lights, which was birthed as a celebration over oil which burned much longer than it ever should have. In fact, it burnt for 8 whole days and nights. And why it may not be the most important holiday in the Jewish faith, it is marketed as such to compete with Christmas. Essentially, it is done to avoid conversations like this.
Mother: “Chanukkah isn’t really an important holiday, so I’m not gonna buy you any gifts?”
Daughter: “You aren’t gonna buy me gifts?”
Daughter: “Fine! Then I’m gonna convert to Christianity to celebrate Christmas and get thousands of gifts!"
|Secular Chanukkah Bush|
1. A Sculptured Body:
|Photo: Shalem Photography|
How often do you see children working quietly, giving 1000%, and repeating physical activities daily until they are almost perfect? In our culture of freedom and expectation of recognition (and not always recognition that derives from hard work), it can be a challenge to find young dedicated children who are focused and driven towards excellency. But you can walk into a proper ballet studio and find groups of children attending class daily, stretching prior to class, moving their young bodies daily through intensely difficult physical feats, and finding joy in the rewards of their efforts. Dance has given me a work ethic that could likely compete with the CEO of any major company.
3. Pretending That I’m Rich:
|Baby Barry wearing Prada|
There are many types of dance artists. Company Dancers. Freelance Artists. Those who only perform concert dance, commercial dance, musical theatre, and more. As a kid, I dreamed of joining a major company, partially because I thought it would show me the world. But as the economic climate changed, larger companies ditched a great deal of their tours to protect their indefinite budgets. Once I started freelancing, I never imagined that I would be paid to travel all across the country (still waiting to go somewhere international) without being attached to a company. I am very grateful that dance has given me opportunities to see our great country.
5. Sense of Humor:
|Abby playing w/my donkey head from A Midsummers Night Dream|
6. Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Skills:
I recently read this amazing article by John Michael Schert, former Executive Director and dancer with the Trey Mcintyre Project. It perfectly explains a(n) unique quality of dancers that is rarely spoken about. Stellar communication abilities. While dancers need to have quality verbal communication skills to work in the majorly collaborative atmosphere that is a dance studio, their study of expressing oneself without words makes them excellent with non-verbal communication, too. Often, I can take a look at somebody I am having a conversation with and alter how I am interacting based on my perception of their body language. Beyond this, I can use my own body language to add more emphasis to a point that I am trying to make in a conversation.
It is almost impossible to work in any dance environment without becoming close to your peers and colleagues. Essentially, we are given a mission and asked to work together to solve that mission the best we can. At times, there may be disagreements. But there is a sense of camaraderie, respect, and accomplishment that comes out of working together in a group to achieve a high level of success. All friendships are essentially borne from camaraderie and respect. It is practically impossible not to connect with those sharing this situation with you.
|Outstanding Choreographer Award - Youth America Grand Prix|
There is nothing more gratifying in this life then setting your mind to achieve something, doing everything in your power to make it happen, and reaping the benefits of your hard work. A dance career consists of many series of efforts, failures, and successes. It is practically impossible not to have accomplishments in a dance career. And some of them might even be major. But even at the most basic level, every day that you go to class you will accomplish something. It’s that simple.