• Ann Marie Schuler

Why I Teach: A Beautiful and Heartwarming Thank You Letter From a Former Dance Student

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

I came across a binder the other day. One I had forgotten about. It's filled with dance related items and going away letters from my students in Minneapolis, when I was a Co-Director at Hudson Dance Academy. There is one...that makes me cry every time I read it. I had forgotten about it. I share it now with you.

Please excuse any typos, as I am posting the letter as it was written for authenticity purposes.

Dear Ann Marie (teacher, friend, inspiration),

First of all, this is *not* a goodbye letter. it's more of a thank you-until we meet again-best wishes letter. Like you said, we're not gonna say goodbye :). I just wanted to let you know the immense impact you've had on my life and who I am as both a dancer and a person. You came to the studio towards the end of my first year of dance and now I've just finished my fourth. So nearly all of my dance years have been filled with your grace, talent, spunk, enthusiasm, passion, love and ever-shining smile.

Not only did you teach me how to do quick push-pirouettes, butterfly-like bourres, and yes, even the Krump Jump; but also how to speak through my heart and look at life with an open mind. You're the one who first inspired me to look at dance as a career. That perhaps I *could* do what I loved so much for the rest of my life.

You're the one who choreographed my first solo. Who made me love the Sugar Plum Fairy, even when my legs ached and Skylar was sick of lifting me. You created expectations for me I once believed I'd never reach, but following the wise words of a woman I know to "fake it til ya make it!" I faked it until one day I *did* make it. And then you had new goals for me, new ideas you had in your head, and I worked to reach those.

From Hurt, to Distortion, to Bring Me to Life, to Come to Me...from a quick Ballet combination, to a grounded and powerful Modern piece. You always kept me on my toes (literally haha!) not because you gave me impossible new challenges but because you knew...even when I didn't...that I could do it. Even just this year when you told me you'd come with me when I audition for So You Think You Can Dance, my heart soared. My little dream didn't seem so far away knowing that you believed in it, and in me too.

I remember being backstage after the first time I competed with my solo. I saw another Pointe dancer doing her solo perfectly and I said, " I'll work extra hard and next time...I'll dance like *her*!" And YOU said, " But Maura, I don't want you to dance like her. I want you to dance like YOU." I never forgot that Ann Marie. Every time I dance I remind myself to dance like *me*. As easy as it sounds, I used to forget, and you reminded me that I should always work to be the best that I can be.

As if that wasn't enough life-lessons and heartwarming memories, you taught me one more...the gift of laughter. Oh Ann Marie! From wearing my pants up to my boobs, making weird faces, imitating Penelope (I imitated her just a little bit better because...I own the world...and...my middle name is amazing...) inventing new words such as "Enchance", and one of our finest moments of hilarity...turning me into the HIP HOP GURU! You have made me laugh *every* single day I've spent with you and that has been the greatest gift of all.

Thank you for all you've taught me these past three years. Those lessons are both irreplaceable and unforgettable. I know you still have a few things to teach me and a heartful of laughter to share...and we will. Because this isn't goodbye. :) Now go home to Iowa and share all your gifts and love with your Dad, old friends, new friends, and maybe new students. I know you won't forget us, and without a doubt we will never *ever* forget you.


Maura Bremer (friend, student, and fan)

Note: I still keep up to date with Maura. She has since graduated from college and just got engaged! So excited for my Plum, am riDICulously proud of her, and still to this day humbled by this letter.

This is why I teach...in hopes that I can have an impact on even just ONE student.

Left to Right: Annie (flower), Me (Snow Queen and Co-Director. Note the walkie. lol), Maura (Sugar Plum Fairy)

This is why I teach...in hopes that I can have an impact on even just ONE student.


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