Last weekend, I managed to pull off (finally!) six 2-hour shows following a pretty intense week of stage rehearsals and that, of course, after countless days and weeks of preparations. My poor feet and 45-year-old back are still salty about the whole thing, and a few unexplained bruises still linger on my legs. The gel-shellacked nails I had worked so hard for were all lost in the literal and proverbial shuffle, and my purple hair seriously needs to be refreshed. But hey…I did it!
My heart, though. It hurts the most.
This season, the fight, the challenges, watching kids struggle emotionally, being an encourager despite my own fears and relentless obstacles, keeping it all together and running smoothly, clinging to my founding philosophies, leaning on my policies…
That was personal.
Separating myself from my business is wise. You know…draw the line. Put the rules on paper. Manage effectively. Keep it professional. Enforce that deadline. Communicate clearly. Charge those late fees. Don’t mix business with pleasure and whatnot. Right, got it. But was that reality this season? Is it ever?
As a studio owner and dance teacher, we walk a fine line right smack down the middle of cool professionalism and warm familiarity. It’s a tightrope, really, and one that is often as fine and fragile as a hair from a perfectly coiffed ballet bun. We write policy and make schedules, but we hug tearful teenagers and kiss miniscule boo-boos on little hands. We choreograph appropriate movement specifically for an age group and experience level, but we accept letters declaring that we are somebody’s role model or even hero (*gasp*). We stand tall and dole out instructions with authority, but we cry in our office when a child drops because her parents are getting a divorce and this extracurricular that brings her great joy becomes a bargaining chip.That’s the reality, and maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time letting go of this season. As hard as I might have tried not to, I did become personally invested. I loved “my” kids, and I got to know them well. I was privy to the hardships they faced at home and at school. I mourned with families who suffered loss. I celebrated successes. I poured my soul into every, single detail of the studio. It was my own dreams, my own creativity, and my own outlandish ideas, concepts, and visions that culminated into the fanfare and magic that was my show. This is why I am having such a hard time. And really…I think that’s a good thing. We are in a tough business, one that requires our keen business sense as well as our hearts. You and I work to stay removed, yet we invest whole-heartedly and love big. I think that’s the nature of it, and I don’t know about you, but I’m here for it. It’s what I thrive in, and it’s the most gratifying, fulfilling, enjoyable job I have ever had.
Now as I work to get over this this tough season and some of the most creative, worthwhile shows full of love I have ever produced, I will work on restoring that balance between business and personal, getting back on track, and finding my inner professional again. Then, in September, I will turn to accept a drawing of myself from a 6 year old so carefully crafted in complete detail down to the violet streak in my hair, sweater tied around my waist, and loop earrings in my ears…and I will hop right back on the tightrope.
Amanda Herring LOVES her job! Owner of Center Stage Dance in Hernando, MS, she is passionate about sharing the love of dance while inspiring and encouraging everyone who walks through her door. She loves BIG and has a heart for new dancers joining a class for the first time. She takes pride in offering stellar service to dance families and specializes in efficiency, organization, fair policies, and strong communication. Her shows are HUGE with plenty of lights, effects, and stagecraft. Amanda wants her students to feel like they are a part of something big, and it is always her goal to bring more to class and to the stage than her audience is expecting.