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

Prepping for Performance Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are just a couple weeks away from the recital, can you believe it!?

With that in mind, we’ve created this checklist to make sure you’ve prepared, planned, and packed!  And of course, we are just a phone call or email away if you have any questions.

  • First things first: find a few quiet minutes to review your recital information.  This is absolutely our #1 request because you will not only feel informed, you’ll have peace of mind!  Our team spends hours making sure we’re organized behind the scenes, and we want you to be caught up on all of the pertinent details, especially arrival/dismissal times and security precautions.
  • If you have guests outside of your immediate family who are attending the show, make sure you have shared with them the need-to-know info, particularly about tickets, parking, and audience etiquette.
  • In the days leading up to the show, encourage your dancer to keep a balanced schedule: help them get lots of rest, healthy snacks, plenty of water, and make sure they aren’t putting too much stress on themselves from school or dance.  Even young dancers can internalize outside pressures, and we want to keep recital preparations feeling fun and exciting for them.
  • Label everything!  Add your child’s name or initials to the tags inside their costume, tights, shoes, and any other important items in their dance bag or garment bag.  An easy way to do this? Write on a small piece of masking tape or painter’s tape and stick it inside the item.
  • Consider packing a small “backstage” kit to keep in your child’s dance bag.  Add in any supplies that might come in handy at the last-minute, such as safety pins, Band-Aids, cotton balls, hair spray, or bobby pins.  A spare pair of tights doesn’t hurt either!
  • Remove your child’s nail polish prior to the big day (it can be distracting from the stage) and have a practice session with their hair and make-up.  Not only is this fun, it will ease any nerves you have about making sure they are confident and ready-to-go!
  • Before leaving the house for the recital, make sure your dancer’s costume, tights, shoes, and accessories are packed!  This seems obvious of course, but in the busyness of the day, it helps to double and triple-check before heading out the door.  Remember to leave valuables at home so they will not be left unattended in the dressing room.

And hey, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for being an awesome parent!  We truly have some of the most attentive, involved, and supportive parents (and grandparents) here at SDC, and we’re happy you’re one of them.  We appreciate your dedication to your dancer at this extra-special time of year!

– Ms. Julie

Changing the Mindset Behind “Being Pushed”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SDC, we’re sometimes asked by parents if we can “challenge” or “push” a child more in class.  The answer is not as simple as you might think, which is why we’ve brought the answer here to our blog!

The first part of the answer is that it’s a misconception that dancers must be pushed by someone else in order to succeed.  We believe a teacher should encourage, instruct, support, and inspire … but not push, which implies that they would force a child to do something they are unwilling or unprepared to do.

When it comes to being pushed in dance class, our goal is to teach that it comes from within.  In our experience, dancers who push themselves will see much bigger, brighter results than those who expect to be pushed by someone else!  That inner drive is what’s most motivating.

So how do our teachers make a difference when it comes to challenging your children to do more?  If the push comes from within the dancer, then what are the teachers doing to develop each student’s progress?  How do they respond to the push?

They pull.

Rather than prodding a dancer along, our teachers nurture the spark that has already come from within.  It’s a spark that every child already has—and they’re in charge of igniting it themselves.

Each teacher on our team is trained in pulling the best out of each dancer.  When the students are pushing themselves to work hard, this allows the teachers to hone in on the abilities that shine through.  They also strive to strengthen each child’s growth areas, inspiring new directions for that inner push to go. This is the push/pull effect in action!  And its cycle continues over and over again throughout a dancer’s journey at SDC.

We strongly believe that this philosophy gives our students the healthiest possible dance education.  We’ve seen the proof that it sets them up for success! 

– Ms. Julie

Setting the Right Expectations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a topic we’ve explored on the blog before, and we wanted to expand on it this season!

Performing in the recital is a brand new experience for most of our young dancers.  And while some will find it exciting, others might be a little nervous. In our experience, one of the keys to recital success is encouraging your child to do their best and reassuring them that you are proud no matter what.  

So, what’s it going to be like when the big day rolls around?  What’s reasonable for you to expect from your child? We’ve put together some of our best advice for a rewarding recital experience with your little one!

Remember that ….

Dancing on stage in front of hundreds of people is a pretty big deal! Some dancers are shy and others ham it up.  However they react, ALL of our young dancers are gaining a tremendous amount of confidence by performing in front of a crowd.  Through this process, they are learning about self-expression, managing their emotions, and gaining a sense of accomplishment.

Strong emotions might occur, and that’s totally OK!  We’ve seen dancers who are so excited to perform they can hardly stand still, and others who suddenly become worried that they can’t see mom and dad way out there in the audience.  In our experience, most of these big emotions dissipate after dress rehearsal. But we do have a few special tactics to calm and comfort our littlest performers when needed, so rest assured they are always in good hands!

Live performances can be unpredictable—and often in positive ways. But you may wonder whether your little one will forget the dance routine or if they’ll have a case of stage fright.  Though those things do happen sometimes, they don’t mean your child’s future in dance is over. (In fact, far from it!) We know we can’t predict exactly what will happen, but we can guarantee that we are as proactive and prepared as possible.

Our curricula is designed to focus on gross motor skills and dance fundamentals.  Our students are being taught age-appropriate movements that align with their physical development.  Don’t expect your little one to perform with the same knowledge and skills of a dancer who is older or more experienced!  Technical progress comes over time as each dancer moves through our class levels at just the right pace.

Success come in many forms, and we do not promote perfection as one of them!  Instead, we talk in class about the dancers trying their best and having fun while they perform.  Success is both the child who comes off stage beaming with joy AND the one who shyly admits she enjoyed it; it is both the child who remembered every step AND the one who forgot a few but worked super hard.  We want to celebrate every version of recital success!

We hope you enjoy watching your dancer onstage at the recital and seeing how far they’ve come this year!

– Ms. Julie

Practicing at Home for the Recital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We absolutely LOVE it when our students say they want to practice their recital dance at home.  Their enthusiasm is contagious, and then everyone in the class wants to practice at home too!  

But as a parent, how should you go about encouraging this?  Is there such a thing as a too much practice? We’ve got all your practicing-at-home answers right here:

Should I make my child practice their recital dance at home?

The short answer here is no.  We don’t believe practice should be forced, or it can become completely unenjoyable.  But we do think it’s helpful for you to encourage it! You might say, “Why don’t you practice your dance for 10 minutes and then we’ll play freeze dance together …  are you in?” (Of course, then you have to follow through on your promise to freeze dance!)

When my child practices, there seem to be a lot of forgotten or rushed steps.  Does this mean she’s going to be a mess at the recital?

Nope.  Keep in mind that the recital dance is a group dance, and so practicing at home is completely out of context.  Your child is well-oriented with her group in the studio classroom, so remembering everything at home by themselves is a challenge.  Remember also that every child develops memorization skills at their own pace. It will “click” for them in time!

What if my child expresses that they’ll be nervous onstage?

Know that this is completely normal and expected for nearly every dancer.  Reassure them that it’s OK to feel nervous (that most people do) and their familiar classmates and teachers will be with them during the show.  Talk with them about building up the courage to do their best, and remind them that you’ll be smiling and clapping for them from the audience. Remind them that you’ll be proud of them no matter what.

Should I practice the steps with my child?

Not necessarily.  We recommend that children practice on their own in order to build their self-reliance and confidence, without mom or dad swooping in to help.  Practicing for the recital is not like studying for a test, where you might be able to cram the material into a short amount of time. We want the recital to truly reflect all of our students’ abilities and progress, not what they drilled at home.

What else helps with practicing at home?

Listening to the recital music is really helpful, even if it’s in the car on the way to school.  Knowing the music is key to understanding the counts and rhythms in choreography, so the familiarity can make a big difference in your child’s learning curve and confidence. (We’ll be sharing music links to you soon!)

Also helpful? Encourage your child to ask questions if they’re not sure about something in the dance! Our teachers welcome their communication so we can make sure everyone feels confident.  

The excitement for recital is HUGE for some dancers and a little scary for others.  Keep the conversation going at home by supporting your dancer’s efforts to practice without any added pressure.  We want to keep their spirits high and their insecurities low!

– Ms. Julie