Monday, May 21, 2007

Mr. Savage's Neighborhood

I used to take dance from an incredibly old-school, awesome teacher, Mr. Reginald Ray-Savage. This man carries a stick in class, a la Debbie Allen in "Fame," and probably would scream "You will pay in sweat!" if he felt like it. Lord knows he's screamed something like that to me on several occasions.

Many people cannot take his style of teaching. But those who can and stick with him become very strong very fast. He's an excellent teacher and artist and if you ever get a chance to see Savage Jazz Dance Company perform, I highly recommend it (especially if you love jazz music).

I ran into him on the street the other day and it was fabulous! He met D and Paloma and gave me his bit of advice for parenting Paloma, which is one of the few really good pieces of advice I'd gotten, so I'm sharing it with you:

Make sure that she knows the meaning of "no," and that "no" can be ok. If someone tells you no, pick yourself up and know that life goes on! I don't plan on being an especially lenient or especially fascist parent, so this sounded like really reasonable and commonsense advice to me on how to handle "no."

I think he runs into a lot of parents who say "What do you mean my son/daughter isn't going to be the next star dancer of our generation? What do you mean they're not going to dance in your production? Can't you fudge it for them?" Or something.

I really appreciate this advice-- that one "no" shouldn't end your dreams, and that fighting every "no" can be life-sucking. There are times to battle, and times to be liberated from fighting and to move on. Amen!