We have just completed our 26th year of In His Name...We Dance! and this always makes me reflect on my vision and mission for CDPA as a small business in this community. Most of you probably do not know that I never wanted to own a dance studio. In fact, I believe what I said was "over my dead body" which was just a moment before I felt the backside of my mother's hand reach my cheek. You see, I said that to my own dance studio owner and teacher. Paula Gale. She was complimenting me on my natural abilities to teach and I, only seeing lights and fame, could not imagine such a dreadful existence. Enter karma and the reality that God already knew what my gifts were and placed me accordingly in this world. Also, "enter teachable moment" because my mom took me through the steps of apology and repentance for my behavior to my devoted and ever-supportive teacher.
In a deal with my parents, mostly my dad, I would attend one year of college and then make my decision about New York. I still could only see the stage lights and had not yet understood that I was smart - smart-mouthed for sure but my As in school were not for a lack of skipping and disinterest. Have you heard the phrase "never cracked a book?" So my intent to apply to college was literally Wesleyan because "my mom said" and FSU because I had to do something. I literally attended the LAST audition before the start of Fall semester in the hopes I would not get in and I could go ahead and go to New York. Thwarted. Again. There were very limited slots and I got one. What about all those people that wanted to be there? Ugh. Shoulders shrugged and off I went. BEST PLAY EVER, God!
It was here in these years at FSU in the Department of Dance that I met my next great influencer, Dr. Nancy Smith Fichter (was honored to participate in her 90th birthday celebration this past October on ZOOM). It was here I learned that I was more than talented and it was here that I came to value dance as education. My eyes were opened and filled with an everlasting longing to know more about the power of my art form, my "field of study." I have never looked back. Yes, I have added to my broad interests but the field itself is so rich with content, I do not need to go to far away to quench my daily curiosities. How many people really get up every day knowing they love what they do because they do what they love? I call that a blessing and each child who walks through our doors is an instant reminder of God's grace.
Things do come full circle and for 31 years, that entry point has been this studio. With all its challenges and heartaches, the joy and treasury of young persons who have passed through our programs is enough to say that Paula Gale was correct! We are living through one of the greatest hardships this small business has had to endure and we are staying afloat because of integrity, faith and loyalty - it is what the studio was built on and it is what the families of CDPA live by. So, as we begin to expand our class offerings to the community again, I ask that our current families to reflect on "Why CDPA" and be able to share with friends, family, co-workers and neighbors, what it is you value about your child's dance studies at CDPA. If you are new to dance or considering CDPA for your child, we invite you to ask "WHY CDPA?" of our dance families or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.