This weekend, I'm teaching a community class. It is the first of many in a new studio. It's a suggested donation class. It is, by all accounts, a freebee.
I've always made a point to teach community classes, as I feel the work gives back so much. I don't look at it as me giving something away so much as an incredible exchange of energy that is hard to come by. I've taught dance classes in gyms, bartered for space to offer movement classes, and taught classes in parks for the free space, but used the selling point of "fresh air". I know teachers who have offered suggested donation classes and gotten burnt out when they felt people didn't take their suggestion. In a city that exemplifies the idiom "Time is money", it is tempting to align our worth with our paycheck, and this presents a very real problem.
As New Yorkers, we spend money; On rent, the train, food, utilities, cell phones, outings with loved ones, etc. The list goes on forever. We also invest in ourselves: we buy beauty and grooming products, we bring ourselves out for a night at the movies for the sole reason that it makes. us. happy. And for those of us that are fortunate to afford movement classes, we include them in our daily routine; a way to care for ourselves. But this is not attainable for everyone.
There have been several times throughout my Gyrotonic training when I couldn't afford a class or session from myself. This is a very real element of working in a field that in many ways is a luxury business and is often times cost prohibitive for so many. My training would have come to a screeching halt at different times over the years had it not been for scholarships, work-studies, and instructors who were dedicated to giving opportunity to students that devote themselves fully but just don't have the financial means to support their desire to learn. This is important when the work could benefit anyone, and should be available to everyone. Mind/body health should not be limited to those who can afford a class a day at the general rate.
This isn't always an obvious distinction within our community. We never know another person's experiences, and because of the vast range of things that can pull on our time, and wallets, I offer my trust to my students that they give what they can. This may not mean a $10 bill. It may mean that at the end of a long week, they show up, (attempt to) leave stress at the door, and work to build something together, if only for a short time. We have built whole communities that I only see once a month, but when we see each other, magic happens. And you just can't get burnt out on magic.
So by all means, please, come to my community classes. Bring your friends. Tell them it's free. I'm aware how hard it is to turn down something free in New York. Give what you can. Don't feel obligated to give more. Because I truly value you all.