I can't imagine what it must be like to be a teenager these days. Not only do many teens own iphones with access to just about everything on the planet, there is also the added pressure to fit in and be popular, brainy, smart, sporty, strong, shapely, cool, talented, attractive, stylish, ambitious, successful, independent; the list goes on and on. This competitive relentless angst would cause anyone a great deal of anxiety and stress but especially for teenagers....it is therefore so important for a young person to find an enjoyable creative outlet where they can express themselves and feel free without judgement.
It is impossible to feel bad or sad when we are immersed in the moment of doing something that makes us feel good. The more we do what we enjoy, the greater the feeling of self worth, value and appreciation of ourselves. It also helps to have encouraging, supportive friends, families and teachers cheering us on, in other words, trustworthy people who have our back. When a young person develops an inner strength, they will most likely be oblivious to so much of the superficial nonsense and negativity out there today which can lead to bullying and low self esteem.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to nurture many teens through dance. Some of the best moments of my career was when I discovered a young person with a passion. When they caught the 'dance bug' and their skills began to improve with training and practice, it was like seeing caterpillars grow into butterflies before my eyes.
It was not just about developing dance skills, but they were also learning how to be socially interactive and become a a team player, this led to building self esteem, mental focus, concentration, and all round well being. By developing a creative skill early on, it equips a person with some of the necessary tools to cope with later in life, especially when faced with challenges.
One of the most memorable film gigs I have worked on in recent times was with 13 year old Ashley Aufderheide in 'Four Kids And It.' In the movie, one of the characters called 'Smash' played by Ashley, has a wish to become a pop star with a sell out gig at the 02. When I first met Ashely, she told me that she only every studied acting and had no dance experience. I was surprised to hear this and so when we began our first rehearsal, I knew I had a challenge ahead, particularly when this dance performance in the movie was going to take place at the 3 Arena with 8 professional backing dancers, a full live audience and the cast and crew on set.
Luckily Ashley did show up on day one with an abundance of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, which of course set the tone of our rehearsal sessions ahead. We sparked off each other almost immediately, worked hard in the studio and also had many laughs along the way. It was an especially good teacher/student rapport!. I was told by the producers that the rehearsals were a perfect stress release for Ashely after long days of filming on set. As the days went on, I could see her grow in confidence and performance skills. I admired her tenacity to keep going even when it got tough for her. When it finally came to the day of filming on stage at the 3 Arena, Ashely did indeed 'Smash' it. I felt so proud of her. I was also aware that I was witnessing a real life 'Teen Transformation'.
I believe every single one of us was born with a creative gift, hobby, and special skill that can take up our headspace in a positive way, examples such as writing, drawing, painting, gardening, reading, singing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, acting, decorating, cooking, styling, sewing, exercising, walking, running, playing games and so on. When we concentrate on doing what we enjoy often enough, we are most likely going to improve and keep up whatever it is that floats our boat. Those moments when we are 'in the zone' become our feel good place and help to keep our inner strength and self esteem in check.
Every Friday, I will be demonstrating some fun easy-to-follow moves from home that you can bust out at your own house party! The song this week is 'Womanizer' by Britney Spears. The dance will be a few short 8 counts dedicated to all the extraordinary wonder women carrying out such courageous incredible work both at home and outside the home at this time.....
"YOU'VE GOT THIS" is what it says on my t-shirt today so get ready for your own Britney style house party COMING UP next....