I’m just back from escorting a groups of students to the Victorian Dance Festival (VDF) for the 2nd year running.
The event was yet again a superb weekend, and the students and I have returned on a post festival high.
I am a Proud VDF Junkie
I been pondering why I’ve become such a VDF junkie.
Is it the incredible teachers and the choreographers?
Is it the amazing dancers and the fun dance workshops?
Is uit the chance to connect with other teachers and with other dance industry business services?
Well I could say yes to all of those things but there’s something so much more.
VDF has been driven strongly by a woman I greatly admire.
I freely admit I am a Kate Meade fan! In fact I might possibly be a groupie. A rather funny thing to be for a women of 41 but hey, I own it!
As the Founder, Kate has had a strong vision for VDF to be an inclusive and non-competitive event. This attracted me to the event in the first place and is the reason I have moved mountains to get to Warrnambool this year. I knew that my students would be in safe hands and feel no pressure to be anything other than the best versions of themselves.
My studio shares the same values as VDF
Peninsula School of Dance is a non-competitive school, just like the studio I learnt to dance in.
As a studio owner now for 10years I have, at times, looked sideways and wondered “Am I doing the right thing?”
“Maybe I should enter my students in competitions for the performance experience?”
These have been thankfully fleeting thoughts and I’ve continued on with my instinct. I know that my studio provides a good level of technical training. Our core values of community, inclusion, excellence, fun and engaging ensure that we stay true to our purpose and philosophy. Much like the VDF vision.
So back to the festival….
Teachers connect at VDF
The VDF is preceded by a Teacher’s Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with other teachers and studio owners. We speak the same language and experience the same highs and lows. We are all thirsty for opportunities that feed our minds with business ideas, new training methods and studio inspiration.
This year I was honoured to be invited to speak and I was happy to share my learnings as a studio owner.
Oh how I wish I knew what I do now when I took over the reins at PSD 10 years ago! I hope that some of my insights assisted other studio owners in some shape or form.
VDF is a Journey of Self Discovery
Over the weekend our students wholeheartedly jumped into the festival workshops. They were taken on a journey of self-discovery, extending themselves in ways that they may not have thought possible.
Some of our kids absolutely blew me away.
To someone else watching them, they may have looked like any other dancer on the floor. For me, I witnessed kids, who have in the past suffered some intense anxiety, express themselves and dance in way I had not seen before.
Afterwards they bounced across the dance floor, spoke to with the teachers, got their autographs and selfies with smiles all round.
VDF encourages dancers to be the best version of yourself
Every teacher at VDF in their own way shared a piece of themselves.
Whilst they were all different, not just in their dance styles but also in personality, their message was resoundingly the same.
Be YOU, do YOUR best, don’t compare yourself to anyone else and the best thing you can do is be the best version of YOURSELF.
I live by these messages in my studio and to hear Australia’s premier dancers/teachers/choreographers, along with guests from the US, say exactly the same thing absolutely makes my heart sing.
We have returned to the studio still on a high and already planning another epic trip to the Victorian Dance Festival in 2017. Thank-you Kate Meade, thank-you for creating something that will have a lifelong impact on our young dancers.