We are family; I got all my sisters with me. We are family;  Get up ev'rybody and sing” Sister Sledge

“We are a family, like a giant tree.  Branching out toward the sky.” ANNOYMOUS

How do you envision family?  What does it mean to be in a family?

When I reflect on my own family and its dynamics, I think about love, admiration, and trust.  Then I think of frustration, understanding, and disappointment.

All families come in different shapes and sizes with really lovely parts and really frustrating parts.

Thinking of our own personal families; how can it compare with  your dance family?

Our dance family, like our personal family sometimes have different priorities then we have; sometimes their focus is on other things; and sometimes our family doesn't put the same effort into everything the family needs or wants.  This family dynamic isn't always enjoyable. There can be stress, disagreements, arguments, and power struggles. To create a harmonious family life whether it be dance or home, you need to invest time, energy, and daily work.

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” —Eva Burrows

Our times are challenging.  Balancing our studio family in very similar ways to our personal family, social media becomes the central focus and can be more harmful then we realize.  Studios use it to promote, share, and inform our population, while our community may use it to vent about a number of areas in a non productive manner.  It is important to understand families need to communicate and find resolutions in productive and positive ways.

But, here’s the thing, just like I love my family, I also love my studio family.

We are in fact lucky that we can use these life lessons to be better and help our children/students.  I now consider that each lesson is actually a gift that provides us with a window of opportunity to connect with students, educate them in more than just proper technique and classroom etiquette, and create a family atmosphere. Yes, class time is for dance education. But stop and think about it—you have a captive audience. This is your time to encourage and empower positive, respectful behavior in your student population.

We get to create our own studio and family atmosphere.  We want to be fun and creative and respectful to each other cause we do have the same goals in mind.  As family, we strive and stratigize to keep our family together. Sometimes we leave, but because we love our family, we know that we are always welcome to come back.  

As a Studio Leader my desire is to create an environment that is caring and positive with an old family feeling and new energy.  And as the matriarch, of our studio, it is important to set clearer expectations of permissible behavior for parents, students, and staff, complete with consequences for breaking the rules.  Setting these examples and expectation is water for the proverbial family tree.

Family - love them; can't leave them.

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