Dear Choreographer… I’m Trying

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  • Laura Jeanne Portera

You may not notice me as much as the other dancers, but I’m here and I’m listening.

As you know, every student is unique and I’m no different. Sometimes I feel I learn just a little bit differently then all of my peers. Sometimes I think I have to work even harder than my peers to keep up with everything that’s going on. I see my friends pick up choreography perfectly at rehearsal, while I have to go home and work on it for hours. Even though this is the case, I still want to be here, I want to perform and I want to do my very best.

There are times you have yelled at me for not being able to stand still. Please understand this is the place I go after school to let out all my pent up energy. I just spent over SIX HOURS sitting in a chair with my brain waves constantly firing. Rehearsal is a place that I come to let loose. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that this should be a professional environment, but I’m also just a kid. What I ask from you is that we do a quick warm up before play practice starts. Even 10 jumping jacks or a lap around the gym-a-torium would suffice. The more energy I get out at the start of practice, the more concentrated I will be and ready to learn.

That being said, I do learn a little bit differently from my friends, and that’s okay! I may have to ask you to “slow down” or “repeat that step” multiple times. It’s okay that I am asking this because some of my other friends may need that extra help too. Not to mention, sometimes dance language is hard to understand. I may not always know what a “pirouette” or a “grande jete” is, so it helps to see it multiple times. It also helps when we learn the dance in sections and go from the top as much as possible. This way my brain will slowly connect the pieces as to what I need to accomplish. 

Finally, if it’s okay with you, can I record you performing the steps? I’ve already written down every section in detail but I am a visual learner. This way, I can go home and learn the dance at my pace. I understand that we only have a few weeks to put on this show and that every second in rehearsal is precious. I understand that rehearsals can’t always be tailored around how I learn. If I have a video I can go home and learn the steps in my own time at my own rate. I can promise you I will come back to rehearsal the next day knowing this dance forwards and backwards.  

As I said, I want to be here. I want to take the beautiful choreography you are giving to me and perfect it to make your vision come true. I think rehearsal is a fun, safe environment which is why I am comfortable sharing this with you. I learn a little bit differently and that’s okay. So dear choreographer, I promise, I am here, I am ready to learn, I am excited, I am committed, I am listening and I am trying!