Coming Full Circle

Coming Full Circle

At three years of age I fell in love with ballet. My story is not particularly unique except that I was enrolled based on a podiatrist’s suggestion to my mother that it would help my flat feet. Well, that’s not a great asset in our field is it!!!

Also unique, I suppose, was my desire to be a dance teacher very early on – age 11. The best part of every day was dancing and I continued in this ‘dance is essential in my life’ mode all the way through my doctoral program. I had to think about, watch, and learn about dance, and most importantly, dance my whole life. It was and continues to be both my work and my play. There was no choice – no discussion – it just was a part of me – like breathing.

What a surprise I had when a very well respected dance educator revealed to me that she believed that in reality (and said very covertly), not all children must dance to have a full life. Really?! REALLY?! Until this point I believed it WAS imperative – this unsettled me to the core. Soccer, swim team, baseball – sure these activities have movement, teach cooperation, teamwork, but, where’s expression, exploring the human condition, and celebrating life with one’s ‘everything’ (aka, spirit, mind, and body)?!

Being a deep thinker, I considered this new perspective and had a few years of questioning my life’s efforts and convictions. Despite this partially burst bubble, I have never wavered in my personal passion to everything dance. How can I help but stay connected to my initial impulse about dance when I see my students using every spare minute of their school day in the studio creating dances, practicing their dancing and shining bright on the stage? My heart is stirred when I see three year olds, teens, professionals, and seniors dance – it still moves me. I have come full circle. Dance is not optional – just as food is fuel for our body, dance is fuel for our living fully.

It’s not enough to fill our physiological needs – we have to dance – yes, everyone – really!!!


-Temple Dance Alumna Dr. Joy Friedlander