Sumi and I have been selected to participate in Dance Education Laboratory‘s (DEL) Facilitator Training! If you are unfamiliar with DEL, but believe that every child is entitled to receiving dance education from a certified dance educator, then please check out this organization! DEL is a professional development program that provides teachers with training to improve their dance education curriculum, in turn bringing comprehensive dance education into the classrooms of NYC.
During the first class last Saturday, Jody Arnhold, the founding director of DEL, stressed that while progress has been made, there is still a LARGE shortage of certified dance teachers and she will not give up until EVERY child has access to high-quality and sequential dance education in the public schools.
Everyone in the room had been identified and selected by DEL as capable of teaching the teachers. Looking around the room, I saw teachers with years of teaching experience and couldn’t help but feel slightly inadequate. But, then I realized that this would be my 6th DEL class, including one that I already had the privilege of teaching with master teacher, Tina Curran, and additionally, I am incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about DEL’s mission.
Throughout the class, several ideas came to me for DEL course offerings and ways to spread the message about the organization to new segments of the dance community. I began scribbling down my ideas in my notebook, wondering if there would be an opportunity to voice them. And then, the greatest thing happened. Over the sound of my pen rapidly scribbling on my yellow notepad, I heard Jody’s striking voice say: “We want you to come up with new ideas for courses and need your help growing the number of certified dance educators.”
“Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” was my response, silent to the others, but deafening to myself.
One of my dance mentors, Alan Sener, once said to me: “The most powerful leaders don’t keep their power, they give it away by empowering others.” I think about that at least once a week in an endless quest to empower and inspire others to share their ideas.
This is exactly what Jody did, and when I heard her say that, I knew I was in the right community and let my imagination run wild.
I hope that what I lack in years of teaching experience, I can make up for with new ideas, excitement, and help spread DEL to a different generation of dancers, teachers, and artists. In my opinion, there are so many talented dancers working outside of the field because they can’t find work. If jobs and training are available, then there shouldn’t be a problem growing the number of certified dance educators from 200 to 1500, over the course of a few years.
Sumi and I are incredibly lucky to have been selected to take part in this training. I will keep you posted on our progress. Stay tuned!!