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The call: The excellent adventures of a student supporter (SSP) – Chapter 15

It’s almost THAT time on the Rio Rhythmics termly dance calendar and in this, the final instalment of this little dance blog (Already? We’ve had such fun!) we ponder THE CALL: that very special invitation Rio Rhythmics puts out four times a year. The one that has people all through the dance-student body asking themselves, “Be a Student Supporter? Why would I be an SSP?”

I’ve put more than five years into my SSP “job” and what a pleasure it’s been to pin my SSP badge to my SSP t-shirt and support the beginner classes (two, sometimes three times a week). What a delight it’s been to have so many students say, “Thank you for giving your time, it’s kind of you” when the privilege was mine. Working with people discovering partner dancing sprinkles you with stardust and so it’s this SSP who should be grateful.

Why be an SSP? Imagine, if you will, being barely-out-the-door after a dance class and hearing your name called. The sound of running feet. Someone saying, “Wait! You can’t go!” before giving you a soul-hug and adding, “See you next week!”

Imagine dancing with shy-quiet students and understanding (truly KNOWING) what they are doing in their serious, awkward, a-little-bit-frightened way is beautiful because it’s so brave. (No bright spotlights for these dancers. Candlelight is perfect.) Imagine the HAPPY you feel when the shy-quiet, don’t-pick-me dancer smiles, and invites you to dance.

Imagine all the couples an SSP sees starting their dance journeys together. All the partners standing with their arms around one another as they listen to the instructor then instruct EACH OTHER when the music starts. SSPs see couples watching for each other over other leaders’ and followers’ shoulders. We hear them “blame” one another for their attendance at this most embarrassing of experiences (“He said I had to”) (“She made me do it”) before enthusiastically turning out for every dance event on Rio Rhythmics’ dance program. (Happily ever after.)

Imagine an SSP’s joy when a ten year old girl seeks her out as her partner at a Saturday night party. All the little pleasures.

Watch for the callout for Student Supporters at the end of this dance term.


It’s food for the soul.
Linda Brucesmith is a writer and public relations consultant based in Brisbane. She managed Rio Rhythmics’ marketing from 2003-2008 and has danced with the Academy ever since.

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