I just finished up my first season of competition as a studio owner and ended up with this odd feeling. Although I am now dealing with doing all the things I need to do from my "I can deal with that when competition is over" list, I needed to put down in writing what this feeling resembled. Even though it has been 23 years since I planned my wedding, I remember the feeling very well. So, this is how I explain why my first season of competition as a studio owner was like a wedding.
As soon as I got engaged I remember the thoughts that go through your head. It is every single detail of the wedding all in a mush and completely disorganized. Well same for competition! When I was working last summer on planning our first year, competition was a big part of the planning. I started with making a folder that included ideas, choreographers, dates, songs, venues (competitions), hair, and makeup. Sound familiar? Then as time goes on I had to actually make those important decisions. You check and double check, and even second guess yourself. These decisions not only affect you but all the people involved. Choosing which competition to go to is like choosing a venue. Do they have everything you are looking for? Where is it located and how are their reviews? How do you know if the dates are good for everyone involved? And what if people can't come? Are the songs good enough? Will the judges like them? When picking costumes, it is like picking your wedding dress. It is subjective. You may love it but what will everyone else think? Even though it is only for one day (or maybe 2 or 3), it still has to be perfect. What color tights and which shoes? What is the best way to do the students hair and makeup? We still have to practice hair and makeup so on that day no one is stressed out. This is not including choreographing, teaching, cleaning and hours of rehearsing.
When all this planning is going on you find yourself saying over and over again "we have plenty of time". It seems so far into the future. But as you start checking things off the list and the list gets smaller, the date gets closer. You think of that day and exactly how you want it to go. So, you plan it down to the minute and you think you know just how everything will go. Because how could you not? You’ve been planning for so long!
But, that is usually not the case, in both scenarios. There are many elements you cannot control. You cannot control how people in charge run the event, you cannot control how people attending conduct themselves, you cannot control traffic, weather, etc. You cannot control last minute changes, forgotten accessories, paperwork, and so on.
Then, after all the planning, what seemed like forever comes up very quickly. Is everything organized and ready? Maybe at some point it is what it is? You have to just go for it? It is important to enjoy it. Do not get too bogged down in the details. Take it in, the good, the bad and even the ugly. Things may or may not be as you envisioned it, but that is okay.
The one thing I could not plan for is the feeling I got when I saw things work out, maybe not how I saw it, but even better than I ever could’ve imagined! On the competition side, I am envious. I see the dancers on stage and see the passion in their faces. I have been there. I know that feeling. It is pure euphoria. It is hard to get that feeling in life- the pure happiness after all your hard work. If that is what we as teachers can give our students whether it includes a trophy or not, then we are more than successful!
But, after all that and more, I found an even better feeling. The feeling you get when your students exit the backstage area and run towards you as their faces fill with happiness and achievement. This is the best feeling I have found thus far- those faces make it all worth it!
Twenty-three years later of marriage, I continue to say that I wish I could do my wedding over. Maybe because I would do some things differently, but mostly because I would make sure I enjoyed every minute of it. However, lucky for us, we get to do it all over again next season in the upcoming year. So with that, I will now get back to planning songs, choreography, and costumes! We cannot wait!