Sunday, October 28, 2012


I was a student in a dance class in which the teacher did not encourage joy and self-expression, but instead created competition and feelings of inadequacy.  When I was in college I paid for a series of Modern dance classes, which wasn’t easy for me financially.  The teacher had us do a specific movement across the floor.  When I was done, she looked at me and said, “And you -- this isn’t a jazz class!”  Mortified, I left and never went back.   I didn’t have any confidence and that incident leeched out any that I might have had.  So, I lost the money.   I wanted to forget the whole thing.

 If you’ve read my blog, you know that I love the Harry Potter books.  I have to tell you that it’s hard for me to bring this up again.  I find it a little embarrassing, but here goes.

In the books there are creatures called Dementors who suck all the joy out of a person.  The way to guard against this creature is to create a Patronus, which is the embodiment of happy feelings and memories.  The Patronus chases away the Dementor.  If you can’t make a Patronus, then you are stuck with experiencing all the worst things stored in your memory. 

I was watching a dance reality show where young kids (tweens) are competing for a dance scholarship.  In theory, that is wonderful.

However, the main judge is very tough and unnecessarily harsh.  In interview after interview the young dancers said, with catatonic verve, “I’m not here to make friends.  I’m here to win.”  

It’s not that I’m against competition.  It’s truly a great achievement to train and excel.  But does it mean that you can’t be friendly?  Or that making friends somehow makes you less able to win?  Doesn’t that attitude crush the simple joy of expression right out of a person? 
Having something in common should be the basis of friendship – of encouraging and even learning and sharing with each other – whether it’s a passion for dance or for deep sea fishing.  . 
When I was in college, and I went to that Modern class, I did not have a Patronus.  My Patronus grew as I got older.  I danced because that was in my heart.  Whether I was good or bad at it, I loved it.   I kept my Patronus close to me as others told me I was crazy, and not very bright.  

If you dance what’s in your heart, that’s your Patronus.  Then the dance Dementors won’t be able to suck your soul.

 If you live from what’s in your heart, no one can make you feel bad about your choices.

What’s your Patronus?


  1. After last night's performance one of the husbands turned to me and said,
    "you guys are all so supportive of each other ". I thought that wow, one he is very perceptive and two, the comment meant more to me than a compliment about the dance itself. Being in this group of dancers allows us to express ourselves without any judgement whatsover! It doesn't matter if you have a dance background or not, we all cheer for each other !! That's our Patronus :-)

  2. I guess my Patronus is my desire to do anything that brings me joy..., and dance definitely does that for me! I enjoyed this blog, though your memory of our Modern Dance class back in college reminded me of the nasty treatment I also received from that same teacher. If we were talking at this moment, you know that the next words out of my mouth would be to say her name, which I'll refrain from doing here. :-) xo