Dear Dance Families, We have been reflecting quite a bit on how to handle our annual recital. As you know, Amna Dance is very meaningful for Pinky and I. It is our life. It is something we think of daily. We feel so close to each of you and so connected to each of you. We know all our students, we know the parents, even many of the siblings and grandparents. The recital is not a business transaction for us. It is a moment that celebrates each of our dance stars. It is an opportunity to give thanks to each of our dance families. Our Inspire Company performs each year with the intention to inspire the audience with meaningful messages. We get to give each other hugs at the end of each show. We get to applaud and cheer our dance stars who worked so hard all year. So, we have been reflecting... quite a bit on how to best honor our current situation as well as the meaning behind our annual recitals. The theme of this year's show is Gifts of Imperfection. We believe this theme was no coincidence. We are meant to honor it more now than perhaps ever before. I first felt myself wanting to keep the recital as it always has been and figuring out Plan A, B and C for getting a theater and figuring out the perfect date, time and process to make it all happen exactly as it used to be. After weeks of this, I still came to no solid conclusion as everything is still in the air. The government cannot tell us what to expect in a month or two. No one can. So how can I? I finally realized what I am doing here is resisting. I am resisting what is actually in front of us. So, I changed my process and asked myself how can I act with acceptance?
This question took me on a whole different route and I would love to share that with you. This lockdown, pandemic and now riots have given us an incredible amount of challenges. However, it has also given us many gifts. It has given us the gift of...
Nature: I have heard several of our dance families and students share how they are more connected to nature than ever before. They are paying attention to the birds singing, the flowers blooming, the tranquility in nature walks with families.
Simplicity: In my ladies class, many of the adults shared that we are realizing we don't need much to be happy. We are shopping less. We are being less wasteful. We are being creative with what we have in our pantries and our garages and are able to make delicious meals and crafts with our families with what we have.
Health: We have never been more aware and appreciative of our health. We have never protected it as deeply or cared for it as much - personally as well as for our community and all the world.
Family: We may never again have such an intense amount of time with our children and loved ones ever again. We are finally able to have dinner with our families consistently. Go for walks with them. Play board games together. Have meaningful conversations. Even being able to be 'bored' in stillness together. This is perhaps one of the greatest gifts this time has given us.
Time: For many of us, time feels slower. It is no longer passing us by. We are able to hold it. We are able to be more creative. Some of you have shared that you are able to do things that you have been meaning to get to for years and finally are able to.
Technology: Had this happened to my parents' generation, there would be a lot more loneliness. Technology has been a gift in that we are able to connect with our friends and loved ones daily. Many of you shared that you are actually connecting with your family and friends across the world even more regularly now than before.
Self-Realization: We have less distractions. Less time to be busy. So, we are getting to spend a lot of time with ourselves. We are getting to know ourselves perhaps more intimately than ever before. We are reflecting. Our roots of who we are and what we believe in are becoming stronger than ever.
Community: We are feeling a deep sense of gratitude for our communities. We are able to see the importance of community because of the support, encouragement and togetherness it brings to us.
So, the next question I asked myself is how can we celebrate all of these gifts? How can our Recital experience authentically represent this present moment and fully embrace it, instead of waiting for the future or wishing for the past? How can we show our kids (and each other) how to make the best of what is right in front of us, right here, right now? Answering these questions, helped us create a plan. And we would love to share how our plan connects to each of our gifts...
Nature: Our Recital will be deeply connected to nature. We will be reserving an outdoor space in which each of our dance classes will perform their recital dances, one class at a time.
Simplicity: This will make the show quite simple and intimate.The dance and the dancer will be the simple & beautiful focus.
Health: All classes will be staggered in their performances. Each class will perform solely for their families in the outdoor location, 6ft+ apart. No formations. No touching. No partners. Masks and gloves may be worn based on each family's discretion. Following the physical distancing guidelines, we will ensure the transitions are staggered enough to allow each dancer and their families to leave and enter the space safely. We will be placing a limit to how many family members can be in the audience at one time as each class performs. Exact details and protocols will be shared.
Family: The family connection will be maintained. Each dancer's family members are invited to celebrate the dancers.
Time: Each class performance will not be rushed. No quick entrances and exits on stage. Time will feel slower. It will be cherished. Ample time will be given to each class so they may transition between performances comfortably and safely.
Technology: As always, we will be recording the performances of course. More details to come soon.
Self-Realization: Our dancers know their dances and we want them to own it. We have not been able to meet in person and make sure everyone is doing the steps 'perfectly'. Our dances will be perfectly imperfect. This is a beautiful gift in that it will ask each of us to focus on each dancer individually. Celebrate their growth and their dance, just as they are. We do not want to drag out the recital performance date just because of our personal discomfort with imperfection. We hope you feel the same.
Community: This situation will ask for each of us to step up and give our dancers our 100% distraction free attention. Each of us needs to cheer and applaud our dancers so they may feel the energy of 300 audience members in this new arrangement. We are being asked to reveal the power of quality versus quantity. Their lefts and rights may be different but watch their dance - you will see how they shine! You are our dance family and community. Our focus is to serve you, celebrate you and appreciate you. We are looking forward to making this a meaningful and memorable recital by coming together with positive acceptance of imperfect moments.
Costumes: Our costume team will be reaching out to all of our students who have not yet received their costumes to get you ready for our recital. Online meetings will be scheduled to take measurements. Your costumes are your official Amna Dance Recital uniforms. They may be worn again and again until you need a new one. We hope most of you will be able to wear your costumes again for the upcoming 2021 Recital as well. As you may know, all of our costumes are made in India. India has been in lockdown until just a couple of weeks ago. We are hopeful to be able to get everyone's costume ready to go by August or September. If your costume no longer fits you or you may be in need of alterations, please do contact us immediately.
Recap! In a nutshell:
We will be having an Outdoor Recital this year.
We will be celebrating all our dancers in an outdoor area for each class individually. The performance will be very intimate as our health is top priority.
Dancers will dress up in their costumes with hair and makeup done while performing for a limited number of family members.
As soon as all the new costumes are ordered, delivery dates confirmed, and the government protocols for navigating COVID-19 are more clear, we will be communicating an exact date, time and location for our Outdoor Recital.
Parents and students will be required to maintain social distancing protocols per the government health advisory. Please read this letter in full for more details.
IPC: We will be having a separate discussion with our IPC families to share how IPC dancers and performances will be celebrated this year.
We are hosting our Parent meeting on Sunday, June 7th 5:00-5:30pm. If you have any questions or concerns around this, we encourage you to attend this meeting. We want to hear from you. With love, Amna