Empower (v) make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
This dance season has consisted of many growing experiences for me. This past year I was empowered to believe in myself and not to let others’ opinions dictate my choices, well-being, purpose, or self-worth. I have been a people pleaser my entire life. I believe at times this trait has been a strength and in certain moments my biggest weakness. I recently came to grips with the fact that I cannot please everyone. Trying to make everyone happy is impossible and exhausting, especially if you have steadfast beliefs, goals and missions. However, not pleasing one person or even a group of people does not make you a failure. Realizing this was a game changer for me! There will always be a few loud voices (sometimes, even your own) telling you that you will not succeed, that you are not worthy, or that you will never live up to a societal norm. If you mute those voices and listen very carefully you will hear the sounds of those cheering you on as you make your way up that hill. Those are the voices that deserve a VIP space in your brain. Those are the people that you should welcome on the proverbial ‘bus’ that is transporting you through your life journey.
This season’s recital is about empowering the youth in our community to mute all those negative voices and to choose their ‘bus passengers’ wisely. Toxic social media messages, bullying, and peer pressure are taking a front seat in so many of our children’s lives. I speak to many parents and students that are feeling the burden of this passenger. I hope Exhale gives our students a safe space to quiet all these negative influences, dance, and just be themselves! I hope the friendships, mentors, and lessons gained during their dance education gives them the strength to choose the right passengers to ride on their bus and unload those that are slowing them down. I also hope they learn to be compassionate and pick-up any hitch hikers along the way that simply are in need of a little dose of kindness.
I would like to take a moment and thank my staff, faculty, students, and families in our program for riding on this bus with me. The trip over the last six years has led us uphill, downhill, into storms and into sunshine. However, we have joyously danced every step of the way!
Live, Love, Dance