Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dancing Through Life

There has not been much going on in my life that is new since I last wrote, so I decided to steer this month’s post in a different direction. At the end of the summer, Larry Ippel will be retiring after close to 40 years of working at the Academy of Movement and Music, and Momenta. He was one of my very first dance teachers at Momenta when I started there 7 years ago.

So, I wanted to share with you the thoughts I wrote for him to say “Thank you” before he retired. Now that the weather is finally becoming beautiful once again, I want to encourage all of you to grow in whatever capacity that may mean. Whether it be learning something new for yourself or for the benefit of others. And THANK YOU Larry for helping me to learn and become a better dancer! I will miss you! Here is the note I wrote to him:

It’s a beautiful thing when we dance through life, the people we come across. One man, who has made a big influence in my life when it comes to music and dance, as a whole is Larry Ippel. He was the first person who choreographed for me when I started dancing at Momenta.

He made a special truck for me, so my wheelchair could fit in it while I was on stage. Larry also admired the fact that my wheelchair sat up in an upright position, so he created a cathead and it looked like I was a yawning cat as I slowly went up and down in an upright position. He has always seen the beauty in every dancer in the academy for that matter. He helped me from the start become musically aware of the counts, though I found it very difficult from the beginning to find my space on stage; he was always very patient with me because I think he knew I would eventually get it.

I am happy that I was able to improve my timing and ability as a dancer because in the beginning I didn’t know if I could and became frustrated at this, over the years he has helped me with choreographing ideas to make my dances even better along with dancing in and out of my wheelchair. For I am extremely blessed because I came to find that in dancing in and out of my wheelchair has its own gifts and experiences, because of this I have been able to elaborate on this when I knew this was the case.

When dancing to the right music I feel free and at peace. Unfortunately there are not many teachers that see the gifts that people with disabilities have, Larry is one of them and he will be missed by a lot of people.

Thank you Larry for encouraging me never to give up!


P.S. - Tomorrow I am doing my first professional speaking gig at Hoover Math and Science Academy! I am so excited! I cannot believe it is already here!