This is an archive. I have retired, and is no longer being actively updated. If you have questions about old posts or dance education, please contact me via email.


make your day dance

Heart o’ gold

August 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Tags: ··

I’m going to miss Jamal! He graduated, and he won’t be back this year. He was on my mind as I drove to school the other day to get ready.

When he arrived in my class two years ago, he was in 4th grade and surly. New school, new classmates, new teacher… and dance?!? His pants were low and long — and he didn’t join in. Face withdrawn, angry, resentful. Even later, after he changed, he arrived with a daily attitude: “Prove to me I want to be here!”

It wasn’t hard. He wanted to be there. Front row in the Chinese ribbon dance, tracing clear circles and figure eights. Leader in his group of four in Pata Pata. Front row in the warm-up assessment. Director of his rhythm section. One of the finest in the 5th grade composition for the end of the year.

More than his daily about-faces and more than his full-out dancing spirit, though, I’m going to miss his astonishing sportsmanship — modeling a good heart and encouraging other kids. Asked to demonstrate a field day race of putting on and taking off ridiculous clothes, he sped through t-shirt, pants, shoes, and raced to the end while his opponent struggled with an inside-out shirt and lost her head in a sleeve. Jamal waited patiently in order to pull her sharply across the tug-of-war line — and immediately reached out to shake her hand with a genuine congratulatory smile on a race well run.

I’m going to miss Jamal. I hope they can see through his defiant swagger in middle school.

*The name here isn’t really his, but the spirit is.

One Comment so far ↓