My Foutté Turn

Everyone has a story about when something just "clicked." For most, it is that day when they learned to ride a bike. I have that story myself, but the one that sticks out the most to me is when I finally did a foutté turn at age 12.

My dance teacher, who is still my mentor today, thought my class was ready to learn this tricky dance step. A foutté turn is some real serious stuff when it comes to ballet. It indicates a turn with a quick change in the direction of the working leg as it passes in front of or behind the supporting leg. It is the AP Calculus in dance, which means it is frustrating and quite difficult. I had been emulating the older girls in class for years and yearning for the day that I would complete this turn. I remember crying after class because I could not understand how my effort was producing nothing. I would often find myself on the ground embarrassed. I would knock something over and the screams of my mother calling my name to stop breaking things would pierce through the house. I was seriously ready to write dance off just because of this one turn. I was pissed and let everyone know it. Those foutté turns had it out for me! Throughout the whole experience, my dance teacher had so much patience. It was like she knew I would eventually get it. Sometimes she would even say, "Just leave it alone for today. It will come." During those days, she would simply have us go back to the basics of finding our balance on one leg. We would do the easiest dance steps that would eventually come into play later. I did not want to fail her and most of all, myself.

Then one night after class, something special happened. My mother was late picking me up from class (like always). Sometimes, I loved when my mother was late because it allowed me time to practice and ask my teacher questions about being a professional dancer in New York. She would tell us how she auditioned for Bob Fosse or the music videos she had been in. Well, this particular night, I decided to try a foutté turn. I had not done it for some time and I did not want to forget the corrections I had received from my teacher. I was completely shocked when I did not one foutté turn, but several in a row! I was elated. The best part was looking over to my teacher and seeing this face that said, "I told you so." At the time, I wanted her to jump up and down for joy. But as an adult, that inner confidence of her teaching is what I really remember from that night. I am inspired that she trusted her gift to teach. I am moved that she had the skill, knowledge and patience to convey what I needed to know.

I want to build on the skills needed to facilitate the emotional growth of students. You see, I do not do many foutté turns any more, but my experience learning them was one of many tests in life where diligence and practice produced a result. Emotionally, students need to understand that distinction. Also, the more insight and tools that I gain, the more a student will have a day where something just "clicks." I believe pursuing a master's degree in Educational Theater will facilitate that. Even though she did not jump up and down for joy that night after I did my foutté turns, she must have felt pretty darn good to witness the moment when something... clicked.