A Day in the Life……
I know what some people think…..”Oh, dance teacher? Can you even really call that a job?” I’m quite certain some are sure all I do is a few pirouettes, herd a few toddlers, and tell kids to stop talking for a couple hours per night and call it a day. Don’t get me wrong….. my job does include that, but so much more.
Since founding the studio a little over two years ago, I have never been more satisfied with what I do for a living, nor have I seen more joy in tiny faces or more revelation in young eyes, but if I told you that I had less stress in my life, I’d be lying. Here is a typical day in my life (and I’m sure many other studio owners can relate): My day begins like most working and stay-at-home moms: waking up children, dressing children, feeding children, trying not to yell at children, and then driving their precious behinds to their schools. Protein shake in hand, I hit the gym. When I first opened the studio, I used the excuse that I didn’t have time to workout but after nose-diving into a sea of bad habits, I hav e discovered that I do much better when I get my workouts in. My dancing, my emotional health, and my energy level all benefit from my gym time. Depending upon the day and the program I’m doing, gym time usually lasts 60-90 minutes.
Then it’s time for COFFEE. Must. Have. Coffee. Fortunately, my mom’s Cafe Paradee has the best coffee in town so I head there for some liquid gold and a bit of morning convo with the mother. The studio is across the street from the cafe so after coffee, I mosey there to work on choreography of some sort. Depending upon time of year, I’m working on competitive solos or dance concert dances or technique combinations for class. Coming up soon is Onstage Woodward’s Seussical the Musical for which I’m the choreographer. I’ll begin work on that within the next couple weeks. In addition, there are always small side choreography jobs. For instance, I just finished up helping with a gymnastics floor routine. I usually spend a good two hours in the studio before lunch.
After lunch, I usually have some errands to run. Some have to do with the studio, like deposits or supplies. Others are kid errands like picking up my daughter’s golf T-shirt or family prescriptions. When I get home from all of that, I usually check studio messages, post on and/or check the studio’s social media accounts, send out reminders and emails, and a number of other administration duties. If I’m really lucky, all of that has gone super smoothly, and I get to rest for a couple of minutes before getting changed into dance clothes and heading out to pick up my kids from school (fortunately for me, on most days, I only pick up my middle son, and I have helpers who pick up the other two), but, usually, I am rushing around like a lunatic chasing after the voices in my head, and I barely have a second to get mentally prepared for class. After picking up my son, I drive him home all the while trying to get in a few questions about his day and whether or not he has things for me to read and sign, and head to classes.
Monday through Thursday evenings there are roughly 4-5 hours of studio time. I get to see all of my precious faces, feed into them as much dance and life knowledge as I can in those hours, and, prayerfully, make some kind of difference in their lives. My daughter and I usually leave the studio together and mutually hope that “dad” has made something for dinner. If not, we pick up our usual salads from the only two places in town that have ones we like and head home. Home at last, I eat, spend time with the littlest child, pray over all, and send them to bed. Some evenings I crash on the couch and pray I will have the energy to get up and, at least, wash my face before falling asleep, but most nights I stay up until midnight or 1a working on something studio related – marketing, further education, music editing, costumes, t-shirt orders, programs to fuller enrich my students, performance opportunity planning, accounting, and decisions relating to all of the above. And the next day I start all over.
Dance concert. Oh, the dance concert. This element of my studio takes up so much of myself that I thought it deserved its own paragraph. Because the show has a plot, I have t o know (or, at least, have an outline of the show) well before fall dance classes begin. That means that once the show closes in May, I immediately begin planning the show for the following year. I can’t even calculate the hours I’m thinking about the dance concert. It’s not an exaggeration to say almost constantly. Story, songs, edits, transitions, props, sets, choreography, characters, programs, slide shows, interludes, t-shirt design. I think about it when I workout in the morning until I put my head on my pillow at night. I usually have to watch Netflix before bed to distract me. It is the best part of my job. The thing I look forward to the most. AND the thing that causes the most stress. Oh, but to see the finished product is heaven on earth.
They say it takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a village to own a dance studio. Many an hour is spent on planning on what kid goes to what activity and when. Who is dropping off. Who is picking up. What we are eating for dinner. Without my helpful, understanding husband (who also does my accounting and my music editing and is my sounding board for every idea I ever have) and a multitude of others, it just couldn’t be done. So…..yes, it’s a job. But you know what they say……”Do what you love and you never work a day in your life.”…….well, almost.