A few years ago while working in the front office at work I mentioned to a co-worker that I was taking a tap dancing workshop that weekend. She ended up coming with me to the workshop and was surprised to see that I really could dance. A week or so later she asked me if I wanted to choreograph a number from Thoroughly Modern Millie for the school show choir. That one dance started it all and I became a part of the Performing Arts family. A year later the same coworker asked if I would like to be the assistant director and choreographer for the first ever K-12 musical. I was skeptical but decided to accept the position. The show we worked on that year was called Honk!
The story was a musical telling of the Ugly Duckling. A special part of the production was that everyone got to design their own shoes. From the teacher who played the bullfrog to the lead characters and even down to the littlest tadpole everyone got to show a little bit of themselves. A big part of my duties for the show were backstage and even though I wore all black I had my special shoes too. I painted these a few nights before we opened late at night and delirious from sleep deprivation.
I learned so much from that experience. I learned that even though in my head a dance may have looked like a scene from Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation its ok if it turns out looking like something from Monty Python. I learned that Mod Podge can pretty much help to create any prop needed. Teachers sometimes need more TLC when learning dances than the kiddos. Sometimes sets don’t like to move off the stage and you just have to go with it. I learned that getting to know a child is more valuable than putting on a perfect show. I learned that given the chance those children are way funnier than you could ever try to make them. I learned that my heart could be completely full of joy and happiness even when I’m exhausted and crying and struggling to get through rehearsal. What I got from this experience wasn’t just my special shoes but a lifetime of friendships, smiles and great memories to last.