Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why I love So You Think You Can Dance

As some of you may already know, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) is one of my favorite TV shows. It is basically American Idol for dancers. This show features talented people who excel in a variety of dance genres including hip-hop, lyrical, jazz, and ballroom. And no, I am not a fan of Dancing with the Stars. As Andrew Wallenstein puts it in his NPR piece, Why 'Dance' is Hotter than Idol, "watching Dancing with the Stars is like watching a Ferrari pulling around a golf cart".

SYTYCD features strong dancers in their own area of expertise and pushes them to step out of their comfort zones into different genres of dance. Some of these dancers have been trained by dance teachers and others have never taken a dance class. We watch these people struggle as they go from being an expert to being a novice. The ones who succeed are learners at heart and truly love dance. They push themselves and don't give up. And, if they don't make it to the top 20 this year, many go home and get more training and come back again and again. They attribute their "failure" to their strategy and not to their ability. This is a message that I have blogged about in the past, so I'm sorry if y'all are tired of it. But I believe so strongly in a growth mindset that I just have to keep coming back to it.

We as educators can learn so much from watching these dancers grow and push themselves and work hard to overcome their weaknesses. As experienced teachers we are used to being good at what we do. When we come to a challenge, like using new technologies in the classroom, it can feel very uncomfortable. We don't like to look "dumb" in front of our students. Stepping out of your comfort zone while others are watching makes it that much harder to do. These dancers inspire me to keep working, not give up and continue to try different strategies when things don't go the way I had hoped.

Oh yeah, and the dancing is amazing to watch.
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