You have GOT to see this:
I am excited for Cory and Sharon as they gere up and get ready for his first season as the perfect “post flex” school.
Almost everyday, Cory talks to both Mark and I, bouncing off ideas and seeking advice and/or assurance that the concepts he wants to impliment will work. It is not that he doesn’t have a wealth of experience of his own, (and talent) but that he respects our years of experience, not only with dance and that particular facility, but also an understanding of most of the customers he will be catering to – their needs and desires.
Frankly, we are very proud of him, and it’s a wonderful feeling watching someone we trained, now so innovative and committed to art and education, taking over where we left off. He has the energy, enthusiasm and lofty ambition – all steeped in idealistic goals that we can’t help but admire. These are the elements our former studio needed as it charged into a new decade, one that presents difficult challenges regarding youth arts education. (One of the reasons we left was simply exhaustion – we knew what the studio needed to keep on the cutting edge, but we were no longer fueled to keep up. It was our awareness of exactly what a truly progressive school needed- and our understanding that we were no longer interested in making the sacrifices required, that we left. Our bailing was an act of love, in a way.)
As Mark and I read Cory’s e-mails, check out the website, and discuss with the Boyas’ their plans, we can’t help but grin and feel at peace. More than anything else, I am impressed by how Cory and Sharon are commited to NOT letting scandal, rumor and unproductive emotional sabotage be a part of dance. A great deal of non-admirable behavior has conspired in the Sarasota dance world, which makes stepping in and remaining removed from it all quite an undertaking. But they are commited to building a great dance school in the tradition of the one they loved as a youth, however long it takes. And they will do so with integrity, constraint, and respect for all dancers, teachers and parents. Now THAT is a former student to be proud of!
SRQ has gotten calls from former FLEX dancers, feeling out the waters and suggesting that a staggering migration (again) may be at hand. “Who else has contacted you?” they ask, as if they are one communal mind rather than individual artists seeking the best training venues.
Cory calls us and says, “Why are people asking me to share registration information? Feels like answering would be an invasion of privacy to the individual customer. Besides which, I don’t want all the problems of the recent past coming here. Sharon and I don’t want to be a part of that mess. We want people to come here happy and filled with positive attitudes. How do you think I should respond?”
I say, “You know us, our opinion is, people should think for themselves. It’s not like you are soliciting students from anyone or anywhere else, so you are not inviting or instigating a personal war. The heck with other people’s dancers. If you are truly a good school, you can make your own. And your own will have the discipline, attitude, and generosity of artistic spirit you choose to imprint. Great dancers are not made with steps or competition trophies. They are not to be coveted and wooed from where ever you can get them so you can take “credit” for training them. Great dancers are made by balancing training with the proper attitude. It begins and ends with respect. Respect for dance, for the school, for teachers, and for yourself. Having true grace means more than perfecting pretty dance steps. It’s a state of mind.
If former dancers come, consider it a privilege and a challenge, because it means they are seeking something they are not getting elsewhere. Can you give it to them?”
“Yes I can. And more.”
“So, make a great school. That is problem enough for one man to wrestle with. Let everything else unfold as it will without interference or influence.”
Ha. That’s the spirit!”
So, SRQ is soon going to be up and running. The “Master Series” begins with the Parson’s dance company visiting, and even if only a few dancers take advantage of this exciting opportunity, it is promising that Cory is already thinking about important and significant extra-curricular dance experiences.
Mark and I will be down there for the opening, as a friend, benefactor, and to revel in our new title: “Artistic consultant” (ha, not like we need or want a title – but that was sweet. . . and. . . ahem . . . I think he will make us work to earn it.) In fact, I believe we are teaching the first two master classes and helping judge the competition team auditions. Fun, considering we will be setting a dance for these groups later as well. We will help train incoming teachers, at least in the beginning. I’ve no doubt Cory will impliment a training program of his own soon enough, perfectly modeled for his personal studio vision. And Sharon has impressive plans for the preschool as well. In fact, it will be interesting to see which division of the school can boast of being the strongest by next season, because they are getting equal, intensive attention.
We are giving Cory and Sharon a huge step up as they enter the dance studio business by way of teaching materials, store stock, preschool fixtures and advice. But they are giving us the graceful exit we dreamed of when we first decided to let FLEX go. It’s lovely really. A positive, exciting energy blankets our exchanges. And we are all having fun without the damper of actions being misconstrued as some kind of threat. It is just a case of artistic personalities, the ones exiting and the ones entering, working together to build something wonderful out of the past, with no limits for the future. We even disagree sometimes, and that is fun too.
We said, “Cory, August 4th is pretty soon – what if you don’t have any dancers yet to audition? Who in Sarasota will know what you have to offer by then? “
“We have enough students already signed up – even without advertising – so we are bound to have some dancers wanting to participate in competition teams … and won’t they be the lucky ones. And if the audition takes only a half hour, we can go to Bennagins and toast to the future – unknowned as it may be.”
Heck yeah – I’ll bring the wine. You bring the teachers so we can pick their brains and do a pep talk.
Things seem to be falling into place for lots of people now. I guess a dance studio is like raising a peacock. You can tend eggs and brag about how fantastic your birds will be, but some simply don’t hatch because they were never properly fertilized to begin with. The one that does hatch might be slow to grow, delicate, and will need love and care, but that doesn’t mean it wont be a spectacular bird in time.
Well, I must go. I have wine to make for this opening – and music to listen to if we will be teaching again. I need to get alone in that studio we have downstairs to begin some creative planning and to get in dancing shape. Don’t want to disappoint the big boss, ya know. He has high standards! No that I am complaining…. those of us who live in glass houses . . . .