Let me set the scene:
It was 2007. I, like most people thinking of starting a business, was fed up with my boss’s way of doing things. I “knew” I could do it better, have a better dance studio, and I craved having a say in every aspect of the program – curriculum, schedule, teachers, what I taught etc. And so I started up my own dance studio filled with dreams, confidence, and ready to change the world with my message.
I believed in what I was teaching. I believed in my purpose. I just knew that my choreography was significant, that it was special, and that it would change the world. Around this time I became exposed to the work of Mia Michaels. I because intent on finding out her whole story, so I researched the heck out of her, and even wrote a blogpost (see below). As I read about her, and learned about her, I knew, I KNEW, and I said to myself “One day she will know my name. One day we will be peers.” Never had I admired someone so much in the dance community.
Well, then came the realities of owning a business in a service based industry. I came face to face with my raw self, and I struggled. 2008 and the economic tumult that accompanied it 6 months after I signed a lease on a 6,000 square foot building just about crippled us, financially and emotionally. I even started a professional dance company, Journey Dance Company, in the midst of the struggles, thinking it would either build my credibility or at least make ME feel better for a little bit, giving voice to my choreography song. My business suffered, my marriage got tense, my health suffered, and 2 surgeries, a pregnancy, and 2 lawsuits later, we closed our doors. I spent a year trying to figure out what I thought about dance. Formerly I had been passionate about choreography since my teens, knowing it was part of my very breathing, and I
Didn’t. Choreograph. A. Single. Thing.
Those metaphorical dancers in my head, eager to show me possibilities, were completely ignored. I hurt too much. I couldn’t even attend a jazz or contemporary class for months. I couldn’t emotionally connect with dance. I didn’t want to lose what I had worked on, so I took ballet only. It was very black and white, non-emotional.
Gradually I started feeling better. I started to really DANCE a little more at a time. Michael and I moved our family to California, and I did the unthinkable, I started another studio. This time in my home. No teachers, no overhead, just me, my kids, and a few others from church. I healed a little more. After a year I started up my new professional company, Elle Vie Dance Company. It took a lot of coaxing to get that choreography back, it took months to feel like it was alive again.
After 2 years of growing my company, eventually prioritizing it over my children’s studio and closing that down, and then Dance Your Truth was born. (See http://dancingmom.com/2016/06/11/dance-your-truth/) It has been an incredible journey, and continues to develop, taking me on twists and turns and insane loops. Then our move to Florida came (see http://dancingmom.com/2017/06/15/moving-elle-vie-to-florida-why/) What a leap of faith. What a crazy, upside-down, impulsive thing to do.
Then the unthinkable happened.
I found out about a mentoring program offered by Miss Mia Michaels herself. Under my husband’s encouragement, I signed up, and within a week was scheduled for a ONE ON ONE SKYPE CALL WITH HER. I don’t get starstruck, but when she picked up on the other end of the computer, I felt tears come to my eyes. She said, “We’re friends now. Tell me ALL about you.” I told her about Dance Your Truth. She told me it was amazing. She said it was “Super super super important.” She told me how much it was needed, how much she agreed with how “weird” the dance world is becoming. How fake everyone has become, how dancers hide behind tricks and technique. She loved what I am doing and wanted to know more. “No one else is doing this” and “This is really a niche thing you are doing” were among the things she said in my call. My second call with her was equally amazing, I learned so much and really feel like she can help me take Dance Your Truth to the next level in so many ways.
I have never felt so elated in dance. It happened. She knows my name.
What an amazing, incredible, cool thing to experience.
But more importantly, through this work I have come to know MY OWN NAME. I know my voice, I know my importance, and I know my message and purpose. I LOVE WHAT I DO.
(Just in case you want to learn more about her from my perspective, here is a post I wrote very early on in my research:
And here is an article I wrote about her for one semester I did in graduate school in 2012, after our move to California: