My Modern Level Three class presented material from our class to other Academy students and faculty yesterday. The presentation provided a forum to reflect on all the lessons from this semester. Here are the BIG lessons we shared and I hope continue to resonate after I’ve gone:

1. Beginnings and Endings – I think of a quote written on the wall of the school where my mother was a teacher, “begin with the end in mind”. I worked hard to impress upon my students how important beginnings and endings are… beginnings – a chance to start fresh, to be present, to be clear with your intention…and endings – a chance to reflect, to ground yourself, to learn from your past.

2. Eat Space – Dan Wagoner comes to mind. He used to say, “Michelle, if I come to eat at your home, are you going to feed me a lot or just a little?” I adamantly replied, “A lot of course Dan!” Then he surprised me by saying, “So you are a generous person…then why not be generous with your movement? – stop holding back in space.” So now I share the same studio to life advice. I pose the question my students – if you are falling in love, will you do it with all your heart or just half?….let me love you! Now they are moving bigger, more bravely, eating space. I remind them to be hungry tigers, loving but hungry…eat, eat!

3. Seeing vs. just looking – How important is it for you to feel heard and to be seen?…as dancer, person, human creature – are you just looking at someone or are you really seeing who is in front of you? We did a lot of work this semester on focus, pairing together and dancing combinations facing each other. The glazed over look in their eyes or the retreat of focus inward due to over-thinking still comes and goes – but they are working on it…so am I.

4. Thinking AND feeling – I pretty much explain this one in the video below, filmed during one of my classes. Please over-look the sound of my seven-year-old voice (it is a wonder that my students took me seriously at all, getting instruction from this chipmunk). Now I understand why Lynda Davis gave me a hard time in this aspect – I’ll never forget how her voice booms from across the room right into your eardrum – powerful.

Lom sha ne (never mind in Hebrew)…I think the lessons still got across.

I’ve seen the group shift and their awareness grow. Teaching has been full of lessons for me and I’ve also discovered how much I really love it. I will miss my level 3’s. Not sure what the immediate future holds for me…but

Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.
- Laozi (Lao Tzu)

Say, "Hi!" or Leave A Comment