Every year around this time I wonder if this is the last year I’ll put on a Christmas Show. For 10 years now every October I ask myself this question. The student routines haven’t sold out so I wonder if there is really that much interest. We haven’t started selling tickets or sponsorships but I’m already paying Christmas Show bills. My instructors are all overwhelmed with routine writing and trying to stay healthy with the increase in training times. And then by mid November I’m pretty sure this is the last one.
But then show weekend happens in early December. And I see true JOY on the faces of our students. I have women come up to me to tell me that they never thought they’d be able to do that and are SO PROUD of themselves that they did. Students tell me the “feel beautiful” and that sharing this with their family and friends brought them all closer. I watch everyone perform and I think “wow, our women are truly amazing.” And I’m so damn proud my chest hurts because there isn’t enough room for my full heart. And I vow to live through October & November again next year to put on this event.
Why do we go through this? Putting on this show is a HUGE undertaking. Because I don’t know how to do things “normal” our show isn’t a normal studio show. Most studios do shows at their studios, not me – I rent a venue, hire a production crew and pack up our studio for a weekend to perform on an epic stage. Our show’s production rivals Cirque Du Soleil. My instructors work countless hours leading up to the show to put on group and solo routines in addition to choreographing routines for students. So why do we do all this work? Because our women NEED the opportunity to have a year over year comparison. I always tell our new students, who have never done a Christmas Show (or even seen one) that they need to sign-up for a routine and every year it is a struggle to fill the “lower level” routines because they are nervous to perform or don’t think they are “ready” or “good enough”. Every year my instructors work hard to convince them to trust us and go for it. And those that listen and do choose to participate learn that they can also trust themselves. That they are good enough just as they are. And, man, was that fun!
There is so much more to the Christmas Show than just doing a routine. It gives our women a chance to track their progress every year. Having a videos showing their pole journey in yearly snapshots shows progress as well as a change in how they carry themselves on stage. It gives our women a chance to learn with fellow students and develop a closer sense of community. It gives our women a chance to grow and trust themselves. Confidence is contagious. Every time you exercise your courage muscle it grows; it takes a lot of courage to get on stage and perform in front of 500 people.
So as I watch registration and wonder if routines will fill, and if they don’t, if I could get away with not doing a show next year, I remind myself that I wonder this every year. I go back and look at the pictures of years past and remember why this even is worth the work.