Class Etiquette, Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Etiquette for our little dancers is a bit different than for those with more experience!  Younger children are just beginning to understand how to control their bodies and emotions, and dance class may be one of their first experiences in a classroom.  With this in mind, we teach age-appropriate “dance manners” in these classes to begin building a foundation of self-respect and respect for others.

At SDC, we know how important it is for parents to understand what we introduce in the dance classroom and why.  When it comes to our young students’ dance manners, here is some insight into those expectations:

Listening for instructions from the teacher
In many of our beginning and intermediate level classes it can be hard for our students to contain their excitement (and their voices) because they just love dancing so much!  We teach them to recognize their “listening ears” so they can understand whose turn it is to talk: sometimes it’s the teacher’s turn, sometimes it’s their turn, and sometimes it’s their friend’s turn.

Saving questions for a certain time
Our teachers love the curiosity behind dance class questions!  But there are some times during class that are better for questions than others, so the teacher may redirect questions or ask that they be saved for a specific point in class.  This helps keep the class flowing and limits interruptions to the lesson plan while still creating opportunities for discussion.

Learning how to dance as a team
Dancing in a group can be a big challenge for little bodies, but we strive to make it fun by creating short phrases of steps called combinations that allow our students to practice together in unison.  This emphasizes each class as a team, where everyone works together for a common result and cheers each other on along the way. It also encourages musicality as the dancers learn to count the music together, say the steps out loud, or practice listening for musical cues.

Understanding how to take turns
There are many times in dance class when students may take turns, including when they practice a step or phrase one at a time or in small groups.  This is a new concept for our youngest dancers, who may not have ever encountered the expectation to wait their turn. This building-block of education helps our students develop self-control and patience, and proves useful in and out of the dance classroom!

In our experience at SDC, the etiquette our young students learn sets them up for success all year long!  Dance class is full of fun and joyful moments, and it’s all possible because of the dance manners our students are developing along the way.

– Ms. Julie

Class Etiquette, Part I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SDC, we love seeing how excited our students are to practice in class.  Their motivation fuels their progress, and as they gain more experience in dance, they have the potential to advance even more quickly!  But this path to progress also requires developing self-control, confidence, and discipline. Through basic class etiquette, our students are growing these skills and understanding how to use them in all aspects of their lives.  

In this blog post, we wanted to share some of the age-appropriate etiquette expectations we have for our intermediate and advanced students.  These expectations include:

Abiding by the dress code. Our dress code is intended to make the dance classroom a comfortable and safe learning space, so it’s essential for our students to understand its importance!  The dress code reduces distractions and levels the learning playing field.

Asking for permission if they’re joining class late. For the experienced dancer, starting class late can be unsafe, depending on how much time is missed and how long the warm-up is.  It’s polite for a student to ask the teacher before jumping into class after it has started.

Being prepared when taking turns.
Some dance class exercises are performed in groups or one-by-one.  It’s considered a sign of respect for a student to be ready to dance with their group or when it’s their turn, so the teacher doesn’t have to give reminders.

Raising their hand to ask a question.
SDC teachers love it when their students have questions!  But they love it even more when students ask those questions at the appropriate times and with a raised hand, instead of interrupting the class.

Remembering corrections.
“Corrections” are the feedback students receive from teachers about what to improve.  Retaining corrections from class-to-class shows the teacher that a student is engaged and wants to do better.  Writing corrections down in a notebook after class is one way dancers can remember their corrections (we recommend tracking compliments too!).

There’s one last piece of class etiquette we want all of our students to learn and practice—and that is to say thank you.  Whether it’s after asking a question, receiving a correction, or at the completion of class, we always encourage saying thank you to your teacher.

The benefits of these class etiquette expectations extend well beyond dance.  We’re proud that our students are using these skills to become more responsible and respectful human beings!

– Ms. Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Spring Concert?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve heard us talking about it.  You’ve seen it mentioned on our website and in our emails.  You know there’s a lot of excitement around it … but what exactly IS the recital?

Just as soccer players have tournaments, football players have games, and gymnasts have meets, dancers have performances!  More than a year’s worth of planning goes into our annual Spring Concert at SDC—better known to most people as “the recital.”

The recital is a memorable opportunity for our students to showcase their talents onstage.  From learning the first eight-count of choreography in class to the final bow onstage, the recital is definitely one of the highlights of a dancer’s year!

Consider this post your “recital primer,” where we break down a few key elements of what to expect these next few months and why it’s all so important.

Choreography
Each class learns a particular routine to perform at the recital.  The choreography is the series of steps, patterns, and formations the teacher creates for each unique routine.  Your dancer will be learning and practicing this choreography during class time leading up to the recital.  This repetition allows our students to grow their confidence as well as their skills.

Costumes, Hair, and Makeup
Because dance is a performing art, this is where the “performance” aspect truly comes together.  As you’ve seen, each class will have a costume to wear onstage for their routine. We will also be communicating specific instructions regarding their hairstyle and stage makeup.  These three things are the finishing touches that complete a performer’s look!

Dress Rehearsal
Prior to the recital, each class will have the chance to participate in our dress rehearsal.  The dress rehearsal is almost like the recital itself, except it’s just for practice. It allows us the chance to rehearse our sound and lighting cues from backstage and helps us make sure the dancers are familiar with their new surroundings.

Performance
This is it!  After all the preparation and practice, this is each dancer’s moment in the spotlight in front of their family and friends.  The buildup of excitement is always huge. It’s like when an athlete arrives at the the Olympics … our students have arrived at the recital!

We understand that the thought of choreography, costumes, rehearsals, and being onstage in can be intimidating at first, so we’re here to show you what an awesome experience this journey can be!

– Ms. Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Passion is Teaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SDC, our teachers come from a variety of backgrounds.  Most of us grew up dancing and then chose to combine our passion for dance with our interest in education.  Some of us pursued other careers but discovered that teaching dance was where our hearts were at.  And some of us just always knew that teaching was our greater calling!

No matter the pathway our staff members took, the “why” behind our decisions to teach is what brought us together.  These are the top three reasons why we do what we do!

#3: Teaching dance changes lives

This might seem like a big claim, but it’s true: Every teacher here has had their life changed through dance, from the resilience we’ve gained to the thoughtful way we solve problems.  Now, through our personal experiences, we’re able to impart those lessons upon our students. As you know, having a positive impact on a young person’s life is an incredible responsibility and sometimes has its challenges!  But that impact is also one of the most rewarding reasons to be a dance teacher.

#2: Teaching dance instills tradition

Teaching dance is based on established practices of movement, codified techniques, and unique styles that were created generations before us.  Because of that, we have a sense of obligation to pass down their knowledge and skills to our own students. The history of dance is like a big family tree, with roots of the great influencers and branches grown from new interpretations!  With respect and appreciation for tradition, our students are becoming a new part of this legacy, which is one of the top reasons why teaching dance is so meaningful to us.

#1: Teaching dance brings joy

There’s simply no other way to put it.  The number one reason why we love what we do is because it brings such joy to others!  When a student achieves a long-term goal, that joy is pure awesomeness. When a class is smiling and laughing as they learn how to chassé, that joy is contagious.  When it’s performance time and we see our students’ hard work onstage, that joy is inspiring. Teaching dance is full of these addictive moments; there’s nothing else like it.

We teach dance to make an impact, to transform thinking, to develop artists, and to connect as humans.  It’s one of the best jobs there is, and that’s why we love having your children dancing with us at SDC!

– Ms. Julie

Dance is for Everyone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may or may not have heard the uproar that’s been happening in the dance world right now, but we couldn’t let the opportunity to pass us by to weigh in. If you haven’t seen, last week a national television personality laughed about boys — specifically young boys — taking ballet, quipping, “We’ll see how long that lasts!” while the audience laughed along with her. But the context isn’t important. The fact that it happened is.

For all of us in the dance community, it was a shock to see something like that played out live. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Boys have long endured a stigma in ballet, and yet we thought we’d made progress past this level of nonsense. We thought we’d come so far in ballet, and yet this was a reminder that we still have miles to go — and not just with recognizing that dance is for boys AND girls, but for recognizing that dance is for all body types, all races, and all abilities.

Here in Frisco, and at SDC in particular, we have never had a big population of boy dancers. It’s tough to convince dads (and some moms) that dance is for everyone, that it’s a healthy, athletic activity that builds strength, coordination, flexibility, and confidence. To be fair, there are also a LOT of choices when it comes to childrens’ activities, and sports around here are a big priority.

And so we have often leaned in to the pink and the tutus. Perhaps we’re perpetuating the stereotypes of “girls’ activities” vs. “boys’ activities” and that’s something we must reevaluate. While our walls are neutral and our classes are open, those things may not be enough on their own. Boys often want to dance alongside other boys, or with a male instructor, creating a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Representation matters and it’s something we lack. It’s something we must wrestle with.

But back to the uproar. What’s been positive about it is the way it’s brought attention to male dancers, specifically in ballet, and the way the dance community has stood up to say, “Hey, just a reminder, folks: Ballet is for everyone.”  Because it IS.

Sometimes ballet becomes a boy’s dream, and why shouldn’t he pursue it? Sometimes it makes for excellent cross-training, and why shouldn’t it be an option? Sometimes it leads to opportunities and open doors, and why shouldn’t it be followed?  How many times do children of both genders NOT chase something they might love, because someone laughed and said, “We’ll see how long that lasts!”

Like most viral news, this will pass. Apologies will be made. It’s not the end of the world. But it is a chance for us to be reminded that we ALL have a chance, and a choice, to do better for our kids. To welcome them into dance — or whatever their passion is. To allow them to discover their gifts and talents, and to encourage them, hold them to high standards, and watch them bounce and soar. Whether it’s ballet or baking, baseball or biology, what they enjoy is what they enjoy. Let’s develop their skills, not laugh them away.

We have one young boy dancing at SDC so far this year, and if you look back at the photo at the top of this post, you’ll see him there. Working on skills in tap class, practicing with his classmates. Growing, learning, building confidence. Dancing and loving it. Just like everyone else.

I look forward to the day an uproar like this will be unheard of. But until then, we’ll keep supporting dance for all, one child at a time.

– Ms. Julie

New Season, Here We Go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are SO excited to kick off Season 14 at Studio Dance Centre today!!

A huge welcome to all of our new and returning students! You’re probably feeling a LOT excited and a little nervous, but don’t worry: You are not alone! We’re feeling the same way.

Over the past couple of months this summer, our team has been working hard to prepare for this year. We are always in learning-mode! Just last week we wrapped up our Staff Development meetings and team-building, and a few of us traveled to attend special teaching and business workshops back in July. You’ll love seeing what we have in store for you. 🙂

We’re pleased to introduce a few new staff members to you too: Ms. Melissa, Ms. DeeDee, and Ms. Sarah. Ms. Melissa comes to us from a business background, in addition to her time as a professional choreographer and teacher. And Ms. DeeDee and Ms. Sarah are both former SDC students … how cool is that!? Click here to read their full bios!

Season 14, we are ready for you!  Parents and dancers, I can’t wait to see you all at the studio!

– Ms. Julie

Representing Dance at The Andrews Institute

Last week I had the privilege of speaking with members of the medical community at the Andrews Institute of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at Children’s Health!

We first met the team from Andrews about two years ago, when I reached out to inquire about their dance medicine specialty.  After that, Dr. Troy Smurawa came to speak to a group of our dancers about safety in dance.

Since that time we have continued to partner in the health and safety of our dance students, often referring families to their expertise when questions arise about injury or injury prevention.  At SDC, we are BIG believers in making sure our dancers and their parents have the tools and resources available to make good decisions about their healthcare as it relates to dance.  Let me just say, we are very lucky to have access to such highly-skilled professionals in sports medicine here in the Frisco area!

Last Thursday, I was able to visit a group of therapists, trainers, and doctors on the Andrews team and speak with them about ballet; namely, how the progression of ballet class works, the common types of movements that are practiced, and common corrections we give.  It was a pretty cool opportunity to share more information with their team about dance and also hear their questions.

I had a GREAT time presenting and as always, enjoyed getting to further develop the relationship we have.  Here’s to growing these valuable community connections!

– Ms. Julie

Ms. Julie at the Andrews Institute

Thank You for a Wonderful Season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, we can’t believe the end of this dance season is just around the corner!  What an amazing year it’s been.

Thank you to all of our dance families who participated in classes and performances with us this year, our 13th season!  It’s been a pleasure to serve you and your children, and we hope to continue this dance journey with you for many years to come.

With gratitude,
Ms. Julie

Making Progress in the Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you been thinking about whether to enroll your dancer for summer classes?  Here are some of our top reasons to keep the dance momentum going!

  • Dance training is built on muscle memory, so summer dance helps your child experience overall faster progress.
  • Young children do well with consistency in their daily routines, so maintaining that sense of normalcy with dance class is extremely helpful for progress too!
  • Summer dance is THE time to focus on technique!  With less emphasis on choreography, our classes dial in to technique in a big way, closing any knowledge or skill gaps a dancer may have developed.
  • If your child is interested in trying a new dance style, the summer is a perfect time to see how it goes.
  • Classes in the summer require a similar commitment to the school year but with unlimited makeups, so don’t worry about taking that special family vacation!

Ready to sign up?  Click here to contact us or click here to sign up online.  🙂

We’re happy to help with questions anytime!

– Ms. Julie

Audience Etiquette for the Recital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you already know, our annual Performance Week will take place May 1st-5th this year.  With the date fast approaching, we thought this would be the perfect time to share with you our tips for awesome audience etiquette!  Following these tips will help us ensure an enjoyable recital experience for everyone involved.

Tip #1: When entering the theater take a quick note of where the exits are, just in case of an emergency.

Tip #2: Plan to turn off or silence all of your devices prior to the start of the show.  The sounds and glow of the screens are very disruptive. Additionally, photos and video recordings are not permitted so that everyone can enjoy the performance live!  

Tip #3: It is courteous to applaud after each routine in the recital, but please avoid shouting or screaming as it can be distracting to both the dancers on stage and to other audience members.

Tip #4: There may be some high-energy routines where you are encouraged to clap along in time to the music; we invite you to do so.  (Just remember: no hollering!)

Tip #5: Avoid entering or exiting the theater while there are dancers performing onstage.  A good rule of thumb is to only move from your seat in between routines, if necessary.

Tip #6: Following Tip #5, if you have a baby or young child who is sitting with you and they become disruptive, please exit with them quickly and quietly between routines.

Tip #7: Refrain from talking or whispering with other audience members while the dancers are performing.  Quick comments in between routines are OK!

Tip #8: Don’t litter.  Please take care not to leave any belongings or trash behind so we do not incur an unexpected cleaning fee.

SDC has an excellent reputation for being well-organized, gracious, and respectful at the Eisemann Center.  As members of our recital audience, your cooperation is much appreciated in helping us maintain this good standing!  If you will be inviting other family members and friends to the show, please share these tips with them too.

As you enjoy the show, don’t forget that our students are performing their hearts out for YOU, the audience!  Show them your appreciation by following these tips and recognizing their hard work.

Please let us know if you have ANY questions before the big day!

– Ms. Julie