The Dance Industry is such a small world. When you know many people and have contact with so many, it is crazy that as a person thats been in the industry for over 40 years that people dont think you know anything. With a huge circle of contacts of both teachers, professionals and dancers you can help your current students flourish. You are there to offer guidance, counsel, advice and even encouragement to step out of their comfort zone. It is so satisfying when a student seeks your thoughts or apppreciate the years you invested your hard work to get them to a level from beginner child to an accomplished dancer. They may not be perfect, they may be a diamond in the rough and yes, they may wish to go to a full time school for “polishing”. The full time school will give them skills to add to what they already possess but will not change what had been hard work before that. Your value as a dance teacher is only as great as the students that are proud to have you as their teacher. It does hit you hard when you do so much for what the students want, you listen and change and adapt and give so much of yourself, that without a second thought it may no longer be good enough anymore. The most heartbreaking thing in this dance industry is the first teacher, the one that sets the scales, tipping it in the direction of a “maybe” satisfying dance career, that is no longer a part of that students life. You are brushed aside as quickly as you are first sought out. So to all my fellow teachers that work long hours, spend countless days worrying, training, caring and planning classes, putting together performances, adding extra shows, or accepting participation in other performances and competitions and then adding classes that students requests to have....only for them to leave and go elsewhere. Sure you need not be told, sure you need not be informed, sure they dont ‘owe’ you anything, but in your heart you feel sadness, disappointment, inadequacy that you never deserved to feel. I join all the teachers, instructors and coaches that at the beginning of this year as you return from the holiday break back to classes and see those students that have not returned, the feeling of emptiness and that a piece of your heart had just been taken away, to begin again with new blood, new untrained bodies to instil that passionate dance seed......and to those loyal wonderful students that return every year, give them again your all, your devotion and that undying care in classes to build amazing dancers.