When I opened the studio, I was 25 years old. I had been married for only a year, and we didn’t have any kids yet. The studio has now been open for nine years, and I have 3 kids – a 5 year old daughter and 2 year old twins (a boy and a girl). Just as my family has grown, our Center Stage family has also grown.
One of the many joys of being a dance teacher is watching your students grow over the years. School teachers have their students for one year. As dance teachers, we have our students in class for several years. We have the pleasure of watching them grow into beautiful young ladies (and some young men too). I love celebrating with the girls when they finally get their first pair of pointe shoes. In my mind, I can still see them entering the studio with their fluffy pink tutus carrying teddy bears, and now they are showing me their pointe shoes. Earning the privilege of dancing on pointe is a rite of passage for any dancer. They have worked years to develop the strength and technique required for pointe work. It is a great cause for celebration, and our teachers love celebrating this milestone with our dancers. We also celebrate when our students come in to class full of excitement announcing that they made their school dance team. Watching them achieve their goals is just as rewarding for us as it is for them! With tears in our eyes, we say good-bye as our students graduate from high school and head off to college to begin the next chapter in their lives. We hope they will always carry fond memories of their dance years with us.
As part of the Center Stage family, not only do we get to watch our students grow up, we also get to celebrate major life events with our teachers. Over the years, we have celebrated 3 college graduations for our teachers. Six of our teachers have said “I do” in the past nine years, and most recently, Ms. Tori got engaged! Our teachers have welcomed 9 little bundles of joy into their lives over the past nine years. (Three of those were mine with two coming at one time!) All of those babies were taking dance classes before they ever took their first breath. They were doing plies at the barre or tapping along with their mommies when they were still in the womb. Now some of those babies are taking dance classes of their own. We’ve seen our dance mamas holding baby sisters while big sisters are taking dance class, and just a few years later, those baby sisters are ready for classes of their own. Before we know it, they all will be wanting to show off their pointe shoes or announce that they have made their school dance team. We’ll marvel at how much all of our students have grown and wonder where the time went. That’s what families do, and that’s what it means to be part of the Center Stage family.