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Message from our Superintendent

Performance Season

Dear ASFM Community,

This is the season of performances.

Did you see the Elem musical last week? Or any of the recent sports competitions? Did you know that over a 100 students and teachers participated in the TECHO project this past weekend? Did you attend MSHS parent-teacher conferences in the gym? All of these performances required practice, passion and a willingness to make sacrifices for the good of the collective and ultimately to ensure the show goes on and is successful. I loved watching the Elem musical. Who can forget the pint-sized Emma who’s passion, energy and focus elevated her to the size of a giant in the show? Ms. Amy Daiss and her team produced an incredible show. The secret to their success was the coaching of each actor to find comfort in expressing their full passionate selves.  

Performance Season

Have you ever heard of Martha Graham? She might be one of the greatest professional coaches of all time. She was an American modern dancer and choreographer. After a little research I discovered that Ms. Graham is a treasure trove of great advice.

Ms. Graham is remembered as the “Picasso of dance.” I have enormous respect for dancers because I’m truly a miserable dancer, and I feel really vulnerable to criticism while dancing. I’ve been thinking about performance ever since the Elem musical. There is something so energizing and exciting about watching people perform who are fully committed to the moment. Seeing a traditional sport athlete, dancer, or really any person perform in a way that fully embraces their vulnerability, is inspiring.

The common denominator in determining a highly successful performance is the level of vulnerability and passion the actor is willing to invest. The effect of investing your “soul” in the activity is that time stops, the opinions of others are muted, and you are able to do your best work. 

Still, I think Ms. Graham says it best:
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul...What people in the world think of you is really none of your business....All that is important is this one moment in movement. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion…”

As the actors on stage in the Elem musical became more comfortable, more rooted in the moment they freed themselves of thoughts of what others might be thinking of them and became dedicated to the moment–free to express their true selves in their roles. The actors made up for their lack of experience by being fully vulnerable and passionate and produced a polished and inspirational performance.   

Whether it’s expressing gratitude because we’re entering the Thanksgiving season, building a house for Techo, playing a soccer or basketball game, being a student in class, or just being a good citizen, it takes a willingness to practice vulnerability.

Again, Ms. Graham:
“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a
satisfaction of spirit.”

We are in the “performance season.” If our performance is rendered with vulnerability and passion it will get a standing ovation. You will know what it feels like when you're so deeply embedded in your “dance” that time stops, opinions of others are muted and your true potential and self emerges–and that’s beautiful and inspiring. Just being you is beautiful, but it takes practice.

Have a great Thanksgiving break, and let’s close out the semester when we return with our best performance yet!



PS A good book for understanding Flow: