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Life outside the comfort zone

Last night marked another watershed moment in my vow to live out loud. I was monitored by Quality Control as I taught a Jazzercise class.

It was my first review since getting certified in May. All week I was sweating it — double-checking my set, getting up even earlier to practice the routines, hoping I engage the customers, that I had crossed the right toes and had all my jabs in place.

The band geeks reading this will relate to the nightmares I had about years ago when I went for clarinet adjudications — knee-knocking, harrowing experiences that involved performing a work practiced for months (sorry Mom and Dad) for a panel of judges, then sight-reading a piece of music for their benefit. The marks were nearly always the same: “great technical ability, needs to work on tone.”

I knew my knees couldn’t knock on stage — unless, of course, the choreography said so — so I consoled myself with the notion that at least there’s no sight-reading in Jazzercise.

Frankly it didn’t help that this is one of the more stressful weeks I’ve coped with lately — a project at work, some (not serious) medical things to address, the minutia of school-year life now at full throttle. And then just for fun: my email was hacked and one of our toilets broke. You can’t make this stuff up, but there was nothing to do but forge ahead.

As with so many things lately, it wound up being an amazing learning experience. I PASSED! I have work to do in terms of my technique and queuing, but the customers like me and I motivate them. I gave a good class. The QC was kind and generous with her time and comments. She told me I was going to be a terrific instructor, that I was fabulous.

She used that word: Fabulous. No one’s ever told me that before.

It made my whole week — and reinforced my desire to get those details right so I can pay her kindness forward.

Talking with some instructors lately, one of them noted that some of us light up and become whole other people when we take the stage.

I think I’m finding myself there.

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


19 thoughts on “Life outside the comfort zone

  1. Hi There, First of all welcome to the Jazzercise Instructor “club”. I have been teaching in the UK for 8 years this year and I absolutely love it with a passion. I hope that this comes through in my classes too!! It is great to be part of such a brilliant company. I teach 7 classes a week and have a sub who teaches 1 class for me. Even after all these years I still feel nervous when I am due to be critiqued. Having said that I have always had to do a DVD critique and last year was the first “live” critique I had done and loved it. You get your marks and remarks straight after. I am due to be critiqued any week now too so wish me luck! Keep up the good work – I just love seeing the students facing when I know they are enjoying their workout. xx

    Posted by Lynn | May 8, 2012, 4:18 pm
  2. I’m a new instructor too – passed in Feb – getting monitored for the first time May 14th. Its amazing how people react when you say “I teach Jazzercise”. So many have misconceptions – I get crazy questions. It was a dream of mine for years before I had the courage to go through the screening and months of prep and the audition(!) but I’ve never felt so at home and satisfied in any other pursuit. I love learning new routines and teaching them. Sepaking of, I’m off to teach a class at 6:35! Jazzhands forever!

    Posted by Danielle | May 2, 2012, 5:35 pm
  3. Congratulations on your great eval (though it looks like this happened a while ago).

    I’ve been an instructor for nine years, and I currently teach a 6 am class twice a week in addition to a few other classes. Whenever anyone asks me how I do it, I always tell them that I have an inner Jazzercise instructor who has a lot of personality traits I would never ascribe to myself — she’s a morning person, she’s outgoing, she’s always happy…Of course that person dwells within me, but I’ve always found it to be a source of strength and encouragement that I am able to do what I do, and I hope you find it to be the same way!

    If you are ever in Northern California, please come look me up — I’d love to meet you!

    Posted by danielleshe | May 2, 2012, 1:58 pm
  4. Woohoo! Now you get to heave a big sigh of relief and throw all your favorite oldies back in. Just kidding. Sort of. Up in Hamden we’re still waiting on pins and needles for the next round of monitoring. This of course just means every set and every class has to be perfect — its great for the students, at least!

    Keep on dancing, and please keep on blogging. I’m really enjoying your posts.

    Posted by Tammy | May 2, 2012, 1:41 pm
  5. Terri — I, too, am a communications specialist by day (my husband and I own a PR firm) and Jazzercise instructor by night. But I’ve been doing it for over 20 years!! I have to admit that despite the number of years I’ve been teaching, I still get nervous when a QC is “in the house.” Aren’t we lucky to be part of fitness program that has such high standards? I loved your post and would love to chat live some time. All the best on all THREE of your jobs — communicator, instructor and mother.

    Posted by Melinda Shriner | May 2, 2012, 1:35 pm
    • Hi Melinda: Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Congratulations on 20 years of teaching — I’ll bet your classes are terrific. Wishing you all the best, too, and yes — it would great to catch up in real life, as the kids say!

      Posted by terrisv15 | May 2, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Posted by Abbie | November 10, 2011, 11:56 pm
  7. You are fabulous, and I can’t imagine that your Jazzercise classes would be anything but!

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | November 10, 2011, 11:39 pm
  8. I have always thought you were fabulous and should have told you sooner!

    Posted by Jacquelyn | November 10, 2011, 7:11 pm
  9. Congratulations on your good review from the Jazzercise police. I am so proud of you for your commitment to Jazzercise and becoming a fabulous instructor.

    Posted by Kathy | November 10, 2011, 3:46 pm
  10. Thank you for sharing Terry!

    Posted by Lise Desmarais | November 10, 2011, 11:10 am

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