Written by Linda Bernebei Retter
Through this Pandemic - I have questioned many times why I do what I do. As our world entered a new reality this past March and studio life dramatically changed - the response from a few dance families enrolled at our studio were those of support and gratitude. There were also those who sent emails reflecting anger, frustration, fear and ugliness - all dumped in my lap on a daily basis!
I realize this is a MusicWorks Motivational Moment correspondence! However, if I’m being honest - there have been a few days that I thought might be a good day/time to retire! Of course, I don’t feel that way today:)
As I write to you - know that both Darryl & I understand the absolute pain, heartache, sleepless nights, difficult decisions, and hurt that a studio owner has felt over the past months. We also know and can relate to the joy in small moments, the support from our incredible faculty, the pride in persevering, the hope in adapting to new technologies, the heart-whelming happiness to see dancers over Zoom, and the occasional email from a student that tells you if it weren't for the studio - she would be absolutely lost and filled with despair.
All this while trying to be optimistic and hopeful as the world suffers incredible loss of life, illness, joblessness, isolation and overwhelmingness. The heroism of health care workers, essential workers and so many others is of HUGE importance. They, of course, should be kept in our prayers. Our government leaders and Task Forces are doing all they can to find a cure and bring the economy to a start. They are absolutely critical to the hope of our nation. Words cannot express enough gratitude to these heroes.
To those who do not own a dance studio or fail to comprehend its importance - our studio struggles may seem not so important. But I am here to tell you - Our challenges are real, and the importance of supplying connection, creativity, songs, combos, choreography, laughter, fun, and optimism is REAL and is very much needed in the lives of our students. From Babies to Big Kids - what we do does matter!
I believe that doing what you can do - is of great importance. It may not seem like a lot - but on a daily basis, doing something for others has been the foundation of the human condition (in my opinion)!
Here are three quotes that reflect wisdom, perseverance and passion.
1) “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Are we not “doing what we can” when we reach into the homes of our students via Zoom classes and encourage creative expression, positive activity, training, normality, connection to their teachers and classmates? So when asked by a dance parent: why are you doing zoom classes, or my dancer doesn’t like online classes or we did not sign up for online dance classes, or why do we need to pay for online dance classes, etc, etc, etc…Remember you have made the decision to do something positive for a child! Your mentorship is a force that teaches, shapes, guides and leads by example. And that matters!
2) “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” ~ Mother Teresa
What is the “missing drop” a dance studio offers to its students? Does dance really matter at a time like this? I can absolutely say YES - dance education matters at a time like this - more than ever! Many see dance as a fun activity, exercise, social club, and all those things are true! What one may not see are the intangibles taught class after class. And those lessons are self-respect, respect for others, listening skills developed, memory enhanced, creative expression, self-awareness, social development, technical training, perseverance, patience, overcoming, adapting, discipline and forward thinking - to name a few.
3) “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy
Although extremely challenged by the pandemic, social distancing, public perception that every small business has received grants for payroll (hope you have), public perception that dance studios don’t need to pay rent or utilities (hope you don’t - we do). And the public perception that small businesses are “doing great” because of loans and grants (again - hope you have received these things). And when I say public perception - that includes parent perception at our studio. So, with these obstacles and more (notice I have not yet touched on personal health, personal family or personal needs - that will be another MusicWorks Motivational Moment)! Through the craziness - we get through this crisis because we remember our purpose, our mission and reclaim our vision! Yes, what we do matters. We make the world a better place - one dancer at a time! And that is my contribution. That is my life.
I hope you will be lifted by this message!