… and I don’t mean the Happy Fourth/Birthday Bash/Pyro Party kind. It’s unavoidable at some point when it comes to dancing … at least for me. It’s bound to happen that my teacher and I will have our moments. I would say that it’s a 50/50 problem, but I’m sure it’s more on my side. I am a very emotional person.
A couple days ago, I heard about a student I’ve seen at competitions before, obscenely rich, a bit of a diva, filming for one of those upcoming reality shows on ballroom dancing, who split with her partner — during a competition! I think she’s been dancing for almost two years and she’s been thru three teacher/partners that I know of. I’m amazed by this. I’ve been with my teacher for four and half years and although there have been times I’ve been incredibly frustrated with him, it’s not been to the point of dumpIng him for another teacher. That just seems like a waste — on so many levels.
So, at my last lesson I was trying to explain to my teacher what it felt like for me when working on some particular point. My teacher must have been very frustrated with me because he said, “You need to learn to keep your opinions to yourself. You don’t know enough to have an opinion.”
I was so hurt and mad at the same time I couldn’t even speak. (If you could see my eyes, I’m sure they were exploding with fireworks!) I don’t know how what I said struck him, but obviously it wasn’t good. I had hoped that after almost five years of dancing and reading and studying and coaching sessions that I would have something valuable to ask or add … but in that moment I was clearly wrong. I could barely finish my lesson without crying — told you I was emotional. I also could hardly speak to my teacher as I was afraid I would say things I would regret — I was angry.
So, flash forward two days to me at work. It’s a new side job I have to make some extra cash. One of my new co-workers was asking me what I did for a living. I mentioned that I got both my degrees in theatre and then taught theatre for 12 years at university and have done many shows. She then proceeds to talk about our local community theatre scene and who was good and who knew what they were doing and who didn’t. She informed me of a certain local group that “really knows the right way to perform Shakespeare.” She then said that if I ever wanted to go to a show that I could go with her.
And I looked at her and all I wanted to say was, “You need to learn to keep your opinions to yourself. You don’t know enough about theatre to have that kind of an opinion.”
Um yeah, I didn’t say anything to her, but I definitely had a moment of insight about my teacher. Yes, I’ve danced with him for almost 5 years, but he’s been dancing for over 30. He’s won competitions and trained very successful dancers.
So, I’ve done theatre for 20 years and this chick who has zero experience was trying to tell me what was what.
I can’t say that I won’t be hurt again, or that I’m always in the wrong with speaking up at lessons, but I think it’s safe to say that sometimes we should take a big breath and get perspective. And I’m really just talking to myself today!
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”