Tonight my evening ended with my 7 Senior Company members having a group hug in the middle of the studio, and I heard one of them say quietly "I love you guys!"
It wasn't one of those moments where I wanted to cry or anything, but it did touch my heart. It really sealed the deal for me this year that I'd rather have a smaller, but nice group of Senior students around as role models for the rest of my studio. They don't stir up drama, they are supportive of the younger students, and they are enthusiastic about dance in general.
I'm used to having a bigger Senior Company every year, that generally has multiple "stars" in it. There's always a lot of competitiveness and with that comes a lot of teenage drama. There's something very rewarding about working with that kind of big group... if winning trophies is all you care about! However, there's also something special about a great group of kids doing something they love together. These 7 girls are really supportive of not only other students at our studio, but each other. They encourage each other, they push one another, and they care about the outcome as a group.
These girls are not necessarily all best friends outside the studio, but that's not a major concern. They all go to separate schools, they vary in age quite a bit, and they have completely different groups of friends. However, when they are in the studio they respect each other's role in the group, and just as people. I'm excited for them to go to competition together this year, as I know they will enjoy it more without all the group dynamics drama.
Sounds kind of great right? It is! Don't be jealous... I too have gone through years of being in denial about my Company kids all being "friends" and supportive of each other. Maybe just change the stereotype in your studio about who the role models are. The best dancer might not always be the best role model, and vice versa. What do you want the dynamic of your studio to be represented by? Do you care as long as you're winning? You should... think long term!
I just have this sense that no matter who in this group might win at competition for a solo, or any other number, that they will celebrate as a group, knowing they all played a role in each other's successes. And maybe that is the true meaning of "studio" I have been trying to teach and thrive upon for years!