Big Potential

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a fun fact for you: In dance, it is common class etiquette to applaud when groups take turns practicing combinations or when a student is asked to demonstrate.  We celebrate effort in this way, showing appreciation for being able to watch and learn from each other. At SDC, this classroom tradition of recognizing others is part of our classroom DNA.

Similarly, when a student achieves a goal—however big or small—we want to celebrate their success and encourage their classmates to do the same.  A dancer’s goal might have been to accomplish that clean double pirouette in jazz class or to finally earn their pointe shoes. Or it might have been acceptance to a particular summer intensive, or to be cast in a specific role in the school musical.

What we’ve noticed is that sometimes dancers feel as though their classmate’s success has taken away their own potential to succeed—and because of that, their confidence shrinks.  But when it comes to achievement, nothing could be further from the truth! Science actually tells us that more success happens when we encourage each other and celebrate those wins.

Shawn Achor, researcher and author of the book Big Potential, writes: 

“Simply celebrating a person or a team for their companionship, their strengths, their everyday contributions—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant—reinforces a more empowered self-image and helps them see a vivid image of themselves as someone who is worthy of happiness and success.”

This empowered self-image is what we’re all about at SDC.  We want dance to be the catalyst that propels our students forward in life, but it takes more than just the steps to make that happen.  Dance can serve this mission only when combined with an ecosystem of positive culture, resilient kids, supportive teachers, and accountability.

We want to help our students understand that lifting each other up is beneficial for everyone, not just the person who is in the spotlight at that moment.  Everyone’s potential rises when we choose to celebrate each other’s success! Through dance, and through each other’s wins, our students can see that each one of them has the power to achieve new goals.  

It’s affirming to see the scientific proof that being interconnected with each other, within our studio ecosystem, allows our students to thrive in dance and in life.  And we will continue to encourage this interconnectivity with the way our dancers complement each other’s strengths and work as a team during class. As Achor says in his book, pursuing greater potential and achieving success must not be a solo journey: “The conclusion of a decade of research is clear: It’s not faster alone; it’s better together.”

We couldn’t agree more, and we’re proud to raise up our dancers with this mindset.  🙂

– Ms. Julie

At Thanksgiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC parents,

At this gratitude-filled time of year, I want to express how much it means to us to have you as part of our dance family! Whether your child dances with us once a week or every day, we are grateful for your trust in us.  We admire all that you do – from carpools to snack-packing to leotard-washing – to support your child and their love for dance.

It is not an exaggeration to say that your kids fill our space with joy, every single day.  They are the reason we love to do what we do.  They inspire us to learn more, do more, and be more!

We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope you enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation.  We’ll see you back in class next week!

– Ms. Julie

Making Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has your child ever come to you and said they want to quit something?  Maybe it was a board game or a homework assignment, or a project they started and weren’t motivated to finish.  Maybe it was an activity you signed them up for after school; maybe it was dance.

Although it tugs at our hearts when a student says they want to quit dancing, we know there are bound to be moments in any educational environment when a child feels frustrated or wants to stop.  In dance, they might feel like they’re not catching on to the steps quickly enough, or they think they’re behind because their attendance has been erratic. Maybe they express boredom or say they’re “too tired.”  Occasionally they may develop anxiety about something very specific, like the way their shoes fit or how they feel shy around their classmates.

(Quick disclaimer: Before we give you our advice, it’s important to note that sometimes the feelings your child expresses about quitting are indeed a symptom of something deeper.  Because you know your child best, take stock of whether those feelings might require a check-in with your pediatrician.)

Now when it comes to our experience as educators, we’ve seen that quitting isn’t usually the answer.  At SDC, when we encounter students who express a desire to quit, it is often because they are feeling challenged in a new and unfamiliar way.  Your child may need extra support from us and from you in order to figure out how to move past the discomfort and persevere.  An extra dose of optimism, too, can reassure your dancer that they are capable of overcoming whatever speed bumps get in their way.

With dance, quitting rarely solves the challenge.  A child who feels behind in class or wants to improve a skill can often make improvements by expressing their feelings with the teacher, getting advice for practicing at home, or even scheduling a few private lessons.  Just being heard can be a catalyst to change!  A child who expresses boredom may be better-suited for a different class or different dance style, or the boredom can sometimes signal an unwillingness to work hard—a challenge that must be answered with effort.  And a child who says they are feeling anxious should have the opportunity to work through that rough patch with a combination of tactics and steady support.  

When you think about the challenges your child will encounter as they grow up, you want them to have the stick-to-itiveness required to succeed at anything they desire, whether it’s dance or anything else.  At SDC, we’ve seen countless students over the years gain more skill, more maturity, more self-respect, and more joy after facing an obstacle and choosing to overcome it.

We want you to know that our doors are always open to you and your child so we can problem-solve together.  Quitting may not be the answer, but asking for help is always welcome.  We’re here to make sure your child’s journey in dance sets them up for success in all aspects of life!

– Ms. Julie

FYDE’s Fall Concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On November 16th, we invite you and your family to join us for An Evening of Dance, a concert produced by our very own Ms. Kayla, choreographed by our staff, and performed by the students in our company, Frisco Youth Dance Ensemble!  This year, FYDE will also be joined by our newest performing group, Core Collective.

This annual concert showcases ballet, modern, and jazz dance, and is held at the MCL Grand Theater in Lewisville.  If you’ve ever wondered what our performing company is up to, this is it!

As a concert dance focused studio, SDC strives to ensure that our performers are gaining real-world experiences that will serve them well in dance and in life.  An Evening of Dance is their opportunity to demonstrate that focus and artistry to the community at large.

This year’s show promises to be another success, and we hope you’ll join us there!

– Ms. Julie

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