Tag Archives: dance

Life Lessons from Dance: The Show Must Go On

Growing up as the daughter of a dance teacher has taught me so much more that just shuffles and plies. I’ve learned balance, focus, manners, perseverance. I’ve learned the importance of thank yous, the extra mile, and tradition. I’ve learned to accept critiques and to take orders.
It’s time to chronicle these lessons.

The show must go on.

Everyone who has been onstage knows this simple maxim.

My mom begins training her dancers from the age of three with an increasingly hilarious set of questions:
“What do you do if the music stops?”
The chorus replies, “Keep dancing!”
“What do you do if your shoe falls off?”
“Keep dancing!”
“What do you do if the girl next to you runs off stage?”
“Keep dancing!”
“What do you do if you lose a shoe bow?”
“Keep dancing!”
“What do you do if the whole front row stands up and waves?”
“Keep dancing!”
“What do you do if Mr. Jeff runs onstage?”
Keep dancing?”

No matter what, you keep going.

A few weeks ago, we took the competition team to the east coast. In the middle of their big routine with feathers and colors and smiles and tricks, K’s hat fell down into her eyes. She kept dancing.
After the competition finished (and trophies had been gathered), we stopped to talk to K’s mother. My mom told her how proud she was. She said, “Years ago, that would have completely finished K off. Tonight, she just smiled and kept on going. What remarkable growth.”

Now, the life lesson I’ve gathered is not to keep working when your jeans rip down the middle. (It’s really okay to go fix that first.)
It’s this: when you are pressing on towards something big, don’t let the little things that go wrong stop you.

When you’re trying to make the audition, don’t let someone’s careless words tear you down. She’s probably never put on tap shoes.
When you really want to be Anne Frank in the play, don’t try to back out of the audition because you think the practice schedule might not work. They might change it for you.
When you’re aiming for that A in O. Chem, don’t give up when you see the 70 on your first test. Just work harder.
When you forget the simplest concepts in your thesis presentation, finish it out. They might not have noticed.
When your new friend annoys you by telling that same story just one too many times, hang in there. She may become your best friend.

Don’t stop. The show must go on.

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(This post has hung out in my drafts since the fall – it’s time to make final edits and publish!)

I’m waiting for the online quiz to come up, “Favorite Time: ,” so that I can write, “3/4.”

Something about the waltz gets to me, in the place deep inside where Narnia lives.
The Renaissance composers called this meter “perfect” because of its association with the Trinity.
Caedmon’s Call (in the song for which this blog was partially named) says that the world before the fall whirled in “perfect, seven-step time,” though the song itself has a triple beat.
There’s something about the beat that makes me start to sway and want to twirl. Whether it’s doing the grande waltz with my ballet class or waltzing with my love in a parking lot, the triple beat simply delights my soul.
Down-up-up, down-up-up, trip-le step, trip-le step, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

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Life Lessons from Dance: Tradition

Growing up as the daughter of a dance teacher has taught me so much more that just shuffles and plies. I’ve learned balance, focus, manners, perseverance. I’ve learned the importance of thank yous, the extra mile, and tradition. I’ve learned to accept critiques and to take orders.
It’s time to start chronicling some of these lessons.


Some families always watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. Some always play pick-up football on Thanksgiving, and some always shoot off fireworks outside of town on July 4th. My family? Our traditions revolve around the annual dance recital.

Friday lunch is always at Rosa’s. The senior teachers always put down tape. Backstage snacks always include Cokes and brownie bites. Saturday lunch is always from Home Plate. Seniors always get flowers from their dad onstage. Old DG family always comes onstage after the evening recital. And we always try (and fail) to watch the original Star Wars movies the next Sunday. It’s tradition.

One of the most hallowed DG recital traditions is The Purple Trunk. Anything important goes in The Purple Trunk: my mom’s shoes, tape for the stage, the first aid kit, safety pins, caution tape. If it’s really important (music or technical sheets), it’s in The Gold Folder in The Purple Trunk. I don’t think we can do the recital without The Trunk.

Well, two years ago, the hallowed Purple Trunk was abandoned at the stage. Some member of our crew didn’t quite understand how special this thing is. It was left up there, crying and alone, mourning its separation from its family.
We mourned for about a year. My mom searched high and low at every store for another Purple Trunk, but none could be found. Finally, recital time approached again, and we had to decide what to do.

Instead of abandoning the tradition and throwing the rightful occupants of the Purple Trunk somewhere else, we improvised. I sat in the floor of my mom’s office with a new blue trunk, purple duct tape, and stick-on letters. That trunk now has (beautiful) purple accents and a sign on its top. It reads, “PURPLE TRUNK.” It is now The Purple Trunk, by fiat.

In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye declares that the people of Anatevka keep their balance with one simple word: Tradition.
(Now you have that song stuck in your head. You’re welcome.) Our family traditions of The Purple Trunk and Muppet Christmas Carol connect this year to the one before it, allowing us to remain strong as a family. Cultural traditions of celebrating Christmas and Easter connect our generation to the dozens proceeding it. For the first followers of Jesus, the tradition of the Lord’s Supper served to connect all Christians together as one body, and set them apart from those around them who did not celebrate the bread and wine.

So, one of the many life lessons I’ve learned from dance is the importance of tradition in connecting the present to the past. As G.K. Chesterton writes, “All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.” I will value the meaningful traditions that I carry on, join in, or start myself for the rest of my life.

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Let’s Danse

After several years on Xanga and at least a week of trying to find the name for this blog, here I am.

Other choices:

Undying hope

Not home yet

Beautiful contradiction

Rhythm with reason

But here I settle on xorosxaris: technically, χορος χαριτος, a danse of Grace.

Danse from Caedmon’s Call, from the longing in my soul, from the simple movements of bodies on a stage to the great Cosmic Danse of C.S. Lewis, Caedmon’s Call, Steven Curtis Chapman, and even the god-is-dead Nietzhce, who would only believe in a God who could dance.

Grace, His grace.  

χαρις, ιτος: f. grace, kindness, mercy, goodwill, a special manifestation of the divine presense, a blessing.

Greek because it’s the language in which the world first read of Him.  And it emphasizes the connection between dance and grace.

I’m not a graceful dancer.  This is the danse of His grace.  I am the heart, He is the heartbeat.  He is the Lord of this danse.  Without this grace, I would be dead on the floor.

Let’s danse.


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