I suppose I should start off by telling you, I have been a dance instructor since 2004. I have not been able to stop dancing since the age of three...or been able to stop teaching since 2004...
A lady that I know (who is now my mother-in-law) asked me several times if I would teach a dance class for her 4 year old daughter. Every time she asked me about it I would decline because I didn't feel qualified to teach dance and had no idea where to begin. She told me, when I was only 16 years old, that unless I taught the dance class her daughter would not be able learn dance (as you can tell she was very adamant about ME teaching.) So, with her long patience and gentle push into becoming a dance instructor, I agreed to give it a try and teach her daughter. Before I knew it, I had a class of 15 four year olds! I had no clue what to do or how to properly instruct them (God bless the mothers and their daughters during my earlier years.) You might not think that 15 is a large number of children to teach, but as for me at that time... well, it was the equivalent of thousands. Lets just say that I thoroughly enjoyed my dancers, but I had A LOT of growing and learning ahead of me. For example... how to teach the proper technique for that certain age, not lose my marbles when situations were tense, and more importantly how to show and share love to every and any little girl that passed through my hands. With a couple of years of experience under my belt I started feeling pretty good about this whole teaching thing, but then my plans changed.
Upon graduation from high school I decided to move to Texas to attend a Bible college. I made up my mind that it was important for me to dedicate the first year of my new journey of “adulthood” to the Lord...so I moved away. Since I had been teaching for about 2 years at this point, and was in love with all my dancers, it was not even a possibility to walk off and leave them with no instructor. I asked a good friend of mine to be my substitute during my absence. Her name was Noel, and she was nothing short of amazing! My girls loved her sweet spirit and creative teaching ability. While I was gone I heard nothing but wonderful comments concerning Noel and my dancers – which is exactly what I wanted to hear. After that, I began to really ponder and question myself as to whether dancing/teaching was really what I wanted to dedicate my life to...because as for me, I'm all or nothing, so this was a decision that I knew would change my life forever...
Well, you obviously know what decision I made :) and I wouldn't change a thing! I'm so grateful that my mother-in-law continued to encourage me when I didn't think I was good enough to teach. I'm also incredibly blessed to have parents who would pick me up, brush me off, and tell me I was born to do great things. I'm so thankful for all the parents and students that I have had the privilege of knowing, teaching, and learning from over the years. And I am honored to have a husband who stands strong by my side, comforts me, loves me, and uses his many gifts to help me, so that my dreams may come true. We move as one...for One. He is the love of my life. He is the one God made me for. He is my Jay Hayes.
God is incredibly faithful! There are several countries God has placed on my heart to visit, and over the years He has provided the opportunity for me to share and minister the beauty and power of dance to Mexico, Ireland, and Israel. I'm more than excited to trust God that He isn't finished with Jay and I yet... and I know that we'll live out the dreams He's placed in us!
I will dance with all that I am - from the of the sole of my foot to the top of my head. I have realized that dancing is in my soul, it is a part of me, and He is the reason for it all.
Leslie Hayes, Studio Owner