Slán abhaile

July 1, 2010

Here you are at a new crossroads in your life. You’re going to a University, ready for all that lies beyond childhood. You’re going to do amazing things with your life.

You kick yourself for not making it all the way to the top. Time ran out in the headlong rush of teenagerhood, and you had so many other wonderful experiences- I’m glad Irish Dance was not the only thing you did with your time. You’re a more complete person, and you touched lives in your being a friend to so many.

I’ve seen you grow and develop and change since you walked in my doors as a child. My heart swells when I watch you on stage and remember that I taught you your first steps. There is no better indication that as a teacher, I’m doing alright than to see one of my dancers dance so well and so confidently.

Thank you for all you’ve done for my school. I can’t think of a better example to the rest of your classmates and the school as a whole. You showed them that making it to Championships takes work and a good attitude. You showed them that champions are humble, focused and positive. You set the tone for an entire generation of my school. As they work to be the best they can, they have you as a benchmark.

I know that in my dual role as mentor and business operator, I should not get attached. I am selling a service that you purchased, and now you have no need of my services. There, doesn’t that sound a cold and clinical analysis? I have a hard time believing any teacher ascribes to that philosophy. Because how could I not miss you when you leave?

I will.

It will seem empty in class for awhile. You are kind of the center of a whole orbit of activities, classes and friendships. The kids will be at sea for awhile until a new leader comes to the fore. I’m glad they have the opportunity to try to be you. You’ll visit and feel a little like an outsider in the coming months, wanting to come “home”, but seeing that everyone has moved on, working on their goals and sharing victories that you weren’t here to experience. It will be hard, as we all drift further apart.

I hope the memories you’ve created, the friendships you’ve made, the experiences that have made you grow will stay with you. That’s why we learn to dance, in class and in life.

Slán abhaile, dear friend.

This post dedicated to all of my dancers who have gone on to the next big adventure. Thank you.

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6 Responses to “Slán abhaile”

  1. Anne Seidel said

    Your post always touch me, you are a beautiful writer and I can tell that you write from the heart. Thank you for continuing your positive influence on this sport, it is much needed. Anne

  2. Abigail Kruse said

    Thank you for your posts! This one is very touching to me personally since you remind me of my own dance teacher, and the sort of things she’s been saying to me and another high school senior in my class as we prepare to leave our hometowns and our dance school behind to go to college.

  3. Stephanie Castillo said

    Ah this describes my life right now, as I am going off to college next year and just danced my last competition :(. Thank you. This makes it a little easier to let go of irish dance, haha.

  4. Kristen said

    This is beautiful, thank you. I am heading off to college this fall and leaving my dance school for the first time ever. You perfectly addressed all of the feelings that I’m having and I thank you for this comfort.

  5. sarah said

    thank you so much for this. i’m going to college this fall and can’t imagine what my life will be like without dancing. this really touched me, i appreciate it so much. 🙂

  6. Anne said

    Wow – what a beautiful piece – describes exactly how I felt as a teacher who’s 1st senior dancer went off to college last year … impossible to not get attache to your loyal, hard-working & committed dancers as they become so much part of your life. Thank you for this.

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