How do you measure the success of your studio? Do you look at the number of students, current or former who are successfully employed in the field of dance? Is it the number of trophies, plaques and ribbons displayed on your shelves? The size of your studio, number of students or profit? I challenge you to look at something more tangible, the character of the students who cross your door step. I was reminded of this fact in April of 2009.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer. After her surgery we brought her up to the oncology floor and I recognized the nurse. She had been one of my students for many years. After mom was settled in my student and I had a chance to catch up. She told me that she had danced throughout college, even though her major was nursing. She then told me how her experiences at the studio while she was growing up helped to shape her into the person she is today. The discipline that was expected, the respect of the students for each other and between staff and students, the ability to set and reach goals and the self confidence she developed.
Through the magic of Facebook and other social sites I've been able to reconnect with many former students and often their parents. While there are those who are making careers as performers, I can also count several dance teachers, studio owners, nurses, physical therapists, college professors, educational entertainers, academic teachers and more among "my kids". While it thrills me to see their successes professionally and happiness in their personal lives, it makes me even more proud to see how many of them keep in touch with each other and still share their joys and sorrows.
It's important to remember that the vast majority of the students who pass through our doors will not become professional dancers. Each student deserves to have the best dance education provided to them so that they have the tools to pursue that goal if desired, but we also need to look at dance as a way of helping students grow as human beings. Take a moment to set your goals on what kind of community you want to be a part of.