When I started teaching folk dance, I clung to every word that my teaching mentor shared with me. We had a conversation about terminology. I remember learning from her that a dance student is a student until they start to dance. She said, "People who come to my classes are students until they begin to dance. Then they are dancers. Some people are students for months, even years. Some are dancers after ten minutes."
I'm re-evaluating this now. Sure - there's a lot of difference between running (left, right, then repeat) and dancing. But I don't know when that subjective line is drawn between student and dancer. Is it when their kerplunk step in Jarnana no longer resembles almost tripping - to me, as their instructor? If I'm the one who gets to decide when someone can start calling themselves a dancer, I don't know if I want to do this job.
I love watching the dancers in my class. They are all attempting to do the same thing, but they have different expressions of the dance. Does their level of fluidity make them more or less of a dancer? Why comparisons?
I am a dancer. Not because I've been doing this for over 30 years. Not because I love it SO much and do it SO much that it has become part of my identity. Not because I want to do this until I can't physically do it any longer. All of these things are true.
I am a dancer just because I dance.
Oh, and I'm a runner, too, now!