Safety Level

Hello, September!

Dancers in masks in class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a month of classes already wrapped up this season, we’re kicking off September with a strong start!

As I’ve watched our dancers return to the studio over the past four and a half weeks, I’ve noticed just how WELL they’ve adapted to our new “choreographed” way of life … they’ve gotten comfortable with our one-way traffic flow; they know where to stand in the classroom and where to keep their belongings; they smile (I’m sure of it!) under their masks. Every time I see them my heart seems to grow with pride, witnessing their courage and their tenacity. They are willing to take these extra steps so they can do what they love, so they can dance.

Things certainly do look different now. Parents are watching classes via Spot TV live-stream, instead of through the observation windows.  Dancers are no longer hanging out with their friends in the hallways. Classes that were already structured have yet another layer of structure.

And yet …

I also see progress being made; technique improving, just as it should.

I see friendships blossoming through jazz hands and thumbs up signals.

I see shoulders relax and eyes crinkle with joy as soon as students enter the studio.

I see teachers and students dancing through this new journey together.

I can see, now more than ever, that dance is truly for the WHOLE body, mind, and soul. At SDC we’ve always believed in the transformative power of dance … and now we are seeing it action. Health is truly more than the absence of sickness. It is emotional and mental health too; it is having a physical outlet of expression during this unbelievable-yet-believable time in history.

We don’t know what the future holds of course, but we DO know where we stand right now. Firmly, safely, happily on our dancing feet. 🙂

– Ms. Julie

Healthy Classrooms, Happy Kids!

SDC 15 Year Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we began our 15th season here at Studio Dance Centre – WOWZA! We could have never guessed the challenges that would come our way this year.

Today’s learning environment is more important than ever before. Whether your child is dancing in-person or online, the community they’re building and the connections they’re making are fulfilling important needs. Every child wants to feel like they belong and that they can accomplish great things—and dance helps bring this to life.

In our classrooms at SDC, we’re going the extra mile to create a safe environment that minimizes risk and maximizes joy! We’ve made changes to our in-person class structure, for example, to ensure there is no personal contact and there is always a safe distance between students. Additionally, through our investment in technology, we’ve made it possible for any child to participate in class virtually if their family would prefer at-home learning.

The physical and mental well-being of our dancers is our top priority, and we are committed to providing an experience that supports both. While we can’t predict the future, we can provide a safe outlet of activity and self-expression—a way for our children to cope with their stresses and build their resilience muscles. We believe their health will be better for it!

Living in this new world means our dancers are already adapting to many changes in their lives, from wearing masks to limiting close contact with others. We want to remind them these changes are welcome and appreciated, so that we can all move forward in the safest way possible. We want them to know their efforts matter! This sense of teamwork among peers is just one example of how dance helps our kids make sense of our circumstances.

Not only that, our dancers are learning valuable lessons in how to express their emotions through movement. It can be complicated for a child to verbalize their feelings, and yet through dance, they have the opportunity to say with their body what can be challenging to articulate otherwise. We dance from our hearts first, and we believe every child deserves the chance to express themselves in this way.

We hope that you’ll continue to see what a positive impact dance has on your child’s life throughout this year. At SDC, healthy classrooms—both in-person and online—equal happy kids. And we couldn’t be prouder to bring dance into our students’ lives during this important time.

Love,
Ms. Julie

Everyone’s Big Potential

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance is often seen as a competitive activity, and while that can be true, it shouldn’t be competitive in the way you might think!

There’s a quote on one of our lobby wall’s by Mikhail Baryshnikov that says, “I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”  At SDC, we believe in Baryshnikov’s sentiment, and we strive to teach our students that the real competition that exists is personal.  It’s between the dancer they were yesterday and the dancer they are today.  

Everyone has the opportunity to shine in their own unique way – just as you might have seen at our Spring Concert last week.  And just because one dancer’s light shines bright, doesn’t mean another dancer’s light dims.  In fact, in our experience it’s quite the opposite: The more lights that shine together, the brighter everyone becomes!

It’s easy, of course, for dancers to compare themselves to each other.  But even with the same instruction and the same teacher, each student will progress his or her own way—and we think that’s pretty special.  So shine bright and shine on, dancers! The success of your dance journey is right there inside you, ready to be celebrated every step of the way.

– Ms. Julie

Mentally Healthy Dancers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we talk about raising healthy dancers at SDC, we don’t just mean physically healthy; we mean mentally healthy too!  It’s important to us that our students have the opportunity to grow their social and emotional health as well as their technique and skills.

For us, being mentally healthy in dance starts with teaching our dancers that it’s OK to have an array of emotions, and that dance is a wonderful way to express those feelings.  Positive body talk is another necessity, as our students learn at an early age to appreciate what their bodies are capable of. And another tool we introduce? Teamwork! Working together with their classmates shows our dancers the value in building relationships with others, including how to communicate effectively.

One of our goals at SDC,  is to make mental health in dance part of our normal conversations; we want our dance families to know that we care about developing the whole child, inside and out.  Dance has the power to positively influence our students in many ways and to help them become stronger, more confident young adults in the future!

– Ms. Julie

Dance Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress in dance can sometimes look a lot like it does in school: Students learn new concepts and techniques, and they build on that knowledge over time.  There are milestones to reach along the way to bigger goals, paving a path to success through hard work and perseverance. Just like school, dance brings both challenges and triumphs for each individual student.

Where progress differs is in the structure of the programming.  For example, at SDC, our class levels are typically designed for about two years of participation before a student is promoted, whereas at school students move to the next grade each year.  This is because many dance schools like ours adopt an educational philosophy of “growth” years (when a student moves up a level) and “grind” years (when a student remains in the same level).  The “growth and grind” of dance allows our students to both develop their skills and truly master them before advancing to a new level.

With safety standards as a top priority, it’s true that progress in dance can sometimes feel slow … and especially in today’s fast-paced, instantaneous world.  But rest assured, progress is happening all the time! Through the compound effect of small improvements, our students are moving forward to become their most successful selves.

– Ms. Julie

Encouraging At-Home Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love it when our students say they want to practice at home! Sometimes they’ll tell us how they like to create their own dances; other times they want to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom. As a parent, you might be wondering how to foster this enthusiasm in your child. We get it: You want to encourage their excitement without thinking you need to get into a dance class yourself! With that in mind, we’ve got five basic tips to guide you.

  • Ensure there is a safe space for your child to dance, where there is plenty of room to groove.
  • Use caution with tap shoes; they can scuff some floors.
  • Resist the urge to teach. Allow home practice to be a place for your child to take the lead!  
  • Keep your expectations in check. Your little one may not remember every step every time, but they are still developing their retention skills.
  • Make sure your child is having fun!  Practicing at home is only as good as your child’s motivation to do so.

There’s one last tip we like to offer, just in case you need it: If your dancer asks you to join in, say YES! Jump in with both feet and free dance to your heart’s delight. They’ll love it!

– Ms. Julie

A Positive Influence, Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SDC, we believe in the amazing benefits dance has to offer kids of all ages. But during the tween and teen years, we’ve noticed some particular advantages that are helping our students become the best version of themselves.

Dance takes hard work; there’s no way around it. And we’ve seen this work ethic spill over into our students’ academic lives as well. Having someone else hold you to a high standard is one thing, but learning how to hold yourself to a higher standard is another. We’re pretty proud of the way our dancers are learning this!

We can also see that becoming a hard worker directly influences our students’ confidence levels. And at this crucial time during adolescence, there’s perhaps no better endorsement than feeling empowered, for yourself and others!  Because when it comes to navigating friendships and communications in life, confidence is a major player in making good decisions.

Our tweens and teens are refining their technique and dance skills, and we love that about them. But the core of what they’re learning as human beings is what matters most—and it makes them even stronger artists!

– Ms. Julie

A Positive Influence, Part I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our littlest dancers at SDC, dance is about much more than learning how to move to music! While the steps are important, of course, what’s even more special are the life skills that are introduced in our younger classes.  

Learning how to be a good friend is one of those skills—it’s the character quality of kindness that surfaces in dance class as our students understand how to interact with their peers. Because their minds are exceptionally neuroplastic and adaptable, our students’ early friendship skills give them the chance to develop valuable communication tools at a young age.

Children are also developing their self-control in dance class, learning how to express their imaginations and emotions while participating in a group activity.  In class, our students are learning how to take turns and how to listen to the teacher (and each other), which helps them learn patience and poise.

Through dance, even our youngest students are living out our mission to develop more than just technical skills. They are learning how to become kind, confident, and disciplined people in the world; the kind of people whose influence will make a difference!

– Ms. Julie

The Benefits of Recital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recital is our biggest performance opportunity of the entire dance season; the chance for our students to showcase the results of their hard work over the past several months. It’s where the magic of dance comes alive!  Through the recital, the joys from the classroom are carried to the stage for all to see.  (Performance Week is April 22-26; click here to view the color-coded schedule!)

Dance is a skill grown through repetition and work ethic, and the recital gives our students a way to say, “Look at how far I’ve come!” And as you know, at SDC, we’re committed to encouraging our students to demonstrate their progress (not perfection).  We love that the recital helps them build confidence in front of an audience, preparing them not only for more dancing, but for a future filled with confident school presentations, job interviews, and work proposals.

Probably one of our most favorite benefits of the recital is the way it inspires our dancers.  The way their eyes light up, the way they smile, hug, and high-five each other … it’s hard to put into words how awesome it is to see the recital’s positive influence on their lives.  It’s a pretty special life experience.

Expect to hear much more about the recital in the coming weeks, and refer to your Parent Guide for details!

– Ms. Julie

Welcome Back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can’t wait to see every in class this week!  We hope you had a fabulous Winter Break and are ready for all of the fun that spring semester brings, including:

  • Costume photo reveals
  • Learning recital choreography
  • Preparing to dance onstage
  • Signing up for next season – our 15th!!

And of course, much more!  We’re so excited to ring in this new year and new decade with you and your dancer.

See you soon!

– Ms. Julie