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
Posted in Education on 03/24/2020 | Comments Off on Dance Progress
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
Posted in Education on 03/02/2020 | Comments Off on Encouraging At-Home Practice
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
Posted in Education on 02/22/2020 | Comments Off on A Positive Influence, Part II
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
Posted in Education on 02/05/2020 | Comments Off on A Positive Influence, Part I
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
Posted in Education,News on 01/23/2020 | Comments Off on The Benefits of Recital
We’re excited to announce that our Spring Concert theme is 2020 Vision! We see you, dancers, and we see so much greatness in you.
As you already know, an important part of our culture here at SDC is to ensure that every student is seen and has the opportunity to shine. It is with this in mind that we look forward to teaching this year’s recital choreography and having every student feel like a star! 2020 Vision, to us, is all about recognizing the unique and positive traits in every student, and envisioning their success in the future.
So three cheers for our recital theme! We can’t wait to hit the ground running with each class in January!
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Musings,News on 12/22/2019 | Comments Off on 2020 Vision
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. 🙂
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
Posted in Musings on 11/24/2019 | Comments Off on At Thanksgiving
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
Posted in Education on 11/01/2019 | Comments Off on Making Progress