Tonight I had my last training with a crew I have been mentoring for the last 10 weeks. They will be performing at their fist gig this weekend, and I have to say I'm already super proud of them. Super raw, many had never attended a class before, though many had natural rhythm. As what I find with many boys their age is that something happens from intermediate to high school, and they are convinced that by embracing what you love to do, or showing your talent, makes you stand out in a negative way. Like you are a magnet for criticism and ridicule - the pressure so great that many choose to be average. That makes me really sad.
A question that keeps popping up in my head is, "How do you measure success?" I'm sure something every teacher and mentor will be familiar with. Tonight, even though we didn't get one last practise together, it was cool to see the growth in confidence and expression in those that were there.
It's pretty much a boys crew, with the exception of one girl. Taking a boys crew, is vastly different from a girls crew. The way you speak, how you explain movement, and even how they receive information - it's just so fascinating! I was talking to one of the boys about how I write poetry, and I knew he liked to rap. So I'm giving him the opportunity to write an original and record it for the end of year show.
Much of what I love about hip hop (the culture), is it's lyricism and social voice. How you can mould phrases into verses, with those verses rich in social commentary. I've been getting back into spoken word lately, which I think will form part of my mentoring programme next year. I don't have all the details yet, but I know it's going to happen, because someone in a parallel universe, an alternate Ronna is already living it.
So how do I measure success? I think Maya Angelou summed it best with this quote...
Sometimes I want to sit in a circle of strangers and ask what journey they took to become the person that looked back at me. I will close my eyes and their voice will be the canvas, their words, the brush. Many want to explore the universe, I want to dive into the mind.