Building Confidence with Dance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dance is the ultimate performing art, and dancing onstage at the recital serves as a powerful tool for building a child’s confidence in themselves—a confidence that easily carries over into a dancer’s home life, schoolwork, and friendships.

So how can one special event create such a big difference?  Well, it’s not just about that day.  It’s also about the process leading up to it, followed by the culmination of all that hard work.

In our experience at SDC, a rise in confidence begins with effort in the classroom.  Our students begin learning new steps and choreography, and as they make the effort to execute those skills, their confidence builds.  With compliments and corrections from the teacher, each dancer becomes more determined to improve.

In some dancers this confidence boost comes easily over time, but in others it can be more daunting.  For example, sometimes there’s a student who feels down on themselves when they aren’t learning a step or concept fast enough.  We teach them that everyone learns at their own pace, and with their continued practice and perseverance, they’ll make progress.  And when that student begins to see their effort paying off, their confidence soars!  Overcoming that temporary “slump” actually helped them see that they can rely on themselves and be stronger for it.

As we get closer and closer to the Spring Concert and the choreography for each recital routine is complete, we’ll usually see a spike in confidence along with their excitement for the big day.  The more these kids practice, the more assured they become.  They can also begin to picture themselves performing, and that visualization inspires them from the inside out.

Of course when recital day is finally here, sometimes shyness, nerves, or anxiety can make a dancer’s confidence waver.  But if they’ve already built up their “confidence muscles” in class, they can quickly conquer those fears and dance onstage with no worries at all.  We’ve seen many students over the years who’ve overcome their stage fright—and then never want to leave the stage!

One of the most magical confidence-boosting moments for a performer is hearing the audience applaud, knowing that family and friends are there!  It tells the dancers hey are appreciated for dancing their hearts out.  It is such a rewarding feeling to realize that your hard work has paid off, and that the audience loved your performance.

The pride our students feel in themselves at that moment is well-earned.  The sense of accomplishment after getting out there and performing is a triumphant feeling like no other, and it’s not an exaggeration to say we’ve seen it transform lives.  The confidence our students develop is truly one of the most valuable benefits there is when it comes to the recital!

– Ms. Julie

Teamwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s an invaluable life skill that everyone needs?  Teamwork!  And dancers must do a lot of it.  By working with their classmates on a group performance for the recital, our dancers of all ages learn how to work together to create the best possible result.

As you’ve probably seen in class, it’s never too early to begin developing teamwork skills.  At SDC, even our preschool students are learning how to follow the leader, make a circle, or change spots with a friend—all skills that they build upon throughout the season and may demonstrate in their recital routine.

As our students mature, they also begin to see the importance of reliability on each other—that as a group, they are helping one another pave a successful path to performance time.  The process of learning a recital dance and practicing together becomes just as important as the final performance itself.

Throughout their educational journey, your child will likely be involved in quite a bit of teamwork.  And eventually when they enter the workforce, their teamwork skills will be put to the real-world test.  Being able to collaborate on ideas and cooperate for solutions, presentations, and shared goals is something everyone will encounter at some point or another.  Through dance, our students are already developing a comfort level with this type of work!

That’s not to say teamwork is always easy.  While practicing their recital routines, our students are understanding how to recognize each other’s strengths and communicate effectively.  Different learning styles and personality styles mean that teamwork can be tricky to handle at times, and there may be bumps in the road.  But learning how to navigate those bumps now, at a young age, is a major advantage!  And with our experienced instructors guiding the way and nurturing these skills, we know our dancers will grow to excel in any teamwork environment.

We like to say that “dance friends are forever friends” and we think teamwork exemplifies this in every way.  Through their cooperative efforts in class and onstage, the dancers are also developing a camaraderie and support system.  When our students learn and grow alongside each other, sometimes for years and years on end, they form connections through their shared experiences—and their shared love for dance.

The bonds created through teamwork are truly immeasurable.  At SDC, we have seen just how necessary—and how meaningful—these group bonds can be among our students.  And there’s no better place to see teamwork on display than at the recital!

– Ms. Julie

Creating Lifetime Memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC’s Spring Concert is known for creating special memories—both for our dancers and for their family and friends.  It is a sentimental moment in time for many parents, watching their child perform in front of an audience!  For most of our dance families, it marks the closure of one year’s journey in dance and “sets the stage” for the next.

After the recital, costumes become special mementos, programs become keepsakes, photos become scrapbook centerpieces, and DVDs often become your household’s most-watched entertainment!  The time may have passed, but the souvenirs remain … along with the personal growth each student has achieved.

One comment we often hear from parents after the Spring Concert is how their child won’t stop talking about it!  The excitement lifts them up long after the curtain has come down.  We love hearing about this kind of enthusiasm, and we hope you’ll keep the dance conversation going at home.  This is an excellent time to listen to what your child has to say about what they liked best or what was challenging, PLUS it’s perfect timing to discuss what style of dance they may want to study this summer or next season.

Sometimes the memories made at recital aren’t the ones you’d expect.  Maybe your dancer became distracted at one point onstage and made a silly face that made everyone laugh, or maybe they forgot a step during the dance and seemed discouraged.  Live performances can be a little unpredictable like this, but with a growth mindset, you and your child can still choose to see the positive outcome.  Like how that silly face was sweet and entertaining, and grandma loved it.  Or that forgotten step?  What a way to show perseverance!

The lifetime memories made at the recital enrich our students’ knowledge and understanding of what a performance encompasses.  They create context for other performing opportunities, such as in theater or music, and they build the kind of confidence only experience can deliver.

Performing onstage is an incredible opportunity for dancers to share what they have been learning in class, and to showcase their progress from the beginning of the year to the end.  Learning how to dance is a gradual process, and some skills take years to fully master—but however big or small the steps are, it is a major accomplishment for anyone to perform in front of hundreds of people!  All the hard work is worthwhile when a dancer experiences the high fives and smiles and congratulations that the recital brings from classmates, family, and friends.

Whether it’s a young dancer performing for their first time or a teen dancer performing at the end of her senior year, achievements at the Spring Concert are incredibly special to celebrate.  Lifelong memories are made—and for many dancers, a true passion for dance is ignited!

– Ms. Julie

Putting in the Hard Work

teaching hard work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SDC, we talk a lot about the willingness to do the “hard work.”  It is a quality we strive to instill in every student.  Hard work, to us, means ALL the things a dancer can do to show their commitment to better themselves, improve their skills, and lift up those around them.

Hard work is:

  • Showing up for every class
  • Being prepared
  • Having a positive attitude
  • Giving 100% effort
  • Trying over and over again
  • Focusing on the big picture
  • Doing what’s right

What’s NOT part of the way we define hard work?  The answer may surprise you: it’s talent.  Talent isn’t required to be a hard worker and build a strong work ethic.  In fact, there’s a famous quote among athletes, from high school basketball coach Tim Notke, which states, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

We’re big believers in these words.  Having talent can be an awesome attribute of course, but it doesn’t define someone’s future.  What does define someone’s future is hard work put together with opportunity.  And anyone can develop the skills and habits needed to put in the hard work!

We want to teach every dancer to work toward their personal best, not perfection.  Effort is the goal.

As teachers, we are committed to fostering the traits of hard work in our students and offering encouragement in the moments where someone falters.  If hard work is part of their dance life, our students might just carry it seamlessly into other parts of their lives too.  It’s pretty awesome to see what these kids are capable of!

– Ms. Julie

Taking Care of Your Child’s Costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing else quite like a dance costume—it carries the excitement of performances yet to come, and of course, there are all those sparkles!  For many children, wearing a costume brings out the confidence and poise they’ve been working so hard on in class, and it is one of their most favorite parts about dancing on stage.  

Because dance costumes are made from specialty fabrics, they can’t be treated like regular clothes.  For this reason, we do not recommend washing them.  But a little extra TLC can go a long way!  Taking care of your child’s costume is simple if you keep these Dos and Don’ts in mind:

Do encourage your dancer to find a safe place at home to keep their costume.  You’ll have their “buy-in” for keeping it in tip-top shape!

Don’t allow playtime in the costume.  If something bad happens, it is too late to order a new costume and receive it on time, so save the dress-up time for after the recital.

Do keep tutus upside down on the hanger, unless otherwise specified by your child’s teacher.  This helps keep the tutu fluffy!

If the costume is wrinkled, Do allow it to “rest” outside of the garment bag.  Using a steamer is OK too if you are experienced with one.

Do write your child’s name or initials on the label of their costume, tights, and shoes.  This is a tremendous help if anything is lost or left behind.

Don’t forget that costumes are not custom-made, so small alterations (such as tacking straps or hemming pants) may be needed.  We include alterations in your Performance Package, so you can bring your child to meet with our seamstress on February 23rd and March 2nd.

Do make sure the costume is ready to go for Photo Week, which is April 1st-6th.  Make sure it is not crumpled or missing anything, and bring it with you in its garment bag.

If you ever have a question about the best way to store or care for a specific dance costume, please ask!  We’re happy to help!

– Ms. Julie

What is the Spring Concert?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve heard us talking about it.  You know it’s important.  You’ve seen it mentioned EVERYWHERE  You know there’s a lot of excitement around it … but what exactly IS the Spring Concert?

Just as soccer players have tournaments, football players have games, and gymnasts have meets, dancers have performances!  And ours is called the Spring Concert—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 one of the biggest highlights of a dancer’s year!

Consider this blog 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 huge.  It’s like when an athlete performs at the Olympics … our students perform 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.  Stay tuned here to the SDC blog for more valuable insight as we approach the big day!

– Ms. Julie

Why We Need Gritty Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gritty people have a growth mindset; they don’t give up.

This paraphrased quote is from author Angela Duckworth, who popularized the word “grit” with her famous TED Talk about the power of passion and perseverance.  She wasn’t talking specifically about dancers, but she could have been!

Children need to develop resilience in order to learn from their experiences and grow into their full potential.  This is why we value determination and tenacity so highly here at SDC, because we know these are beneficial qualities to have in life, in or out of the dance classroom.

In dance class, we want our students to know we care about them and want them to succeed.  But we also want to hold them to high standards that will require their hard work, practice, and focus.

Dance, like life, can present challenges: the step might not look correct yet; your body might be sore or injured; the audition answer might be no; you might actually, physically fall down every now and then!  Allowing a child to simply walk away from those challenges (or give up on them) only teaches them that hard work need not apply.  Persevering through those challenges, however, teaches them to bounce back; to build the work ethic they will need throughout their childhood and young adult life.

These lessons in dance will be HARD at times; it’s inevitable.  As parents and teachers, we know there will sometimes be tears or frustrations.  But that can’t stop us from encouraging these kids to push themselves. And that’s key to their success, that the push comes from within.  We can pull potential out of them sure, but if we’re doing all the pushing, how can a child really benefit?

Our dancers are becoming amazing kids who will go on to persevere through a tough exam at school, bounce back from a college rejection, move on from a job they didn’t get, or work through a strained friendship.  They are amazing kids who will become amazing adults because they have been challenged by failure and fueled by success.  They are amazing because of their motivation and their buoyancy.

At SDC, we want you to know that this message is very important to us and close to our hearts.  Through dance we’re teaching them how to be grittier and in turn, empowering them for the future.

– Ms. Julie

Looking to fill a few more class spots …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a dance class for your child?

We still have a few spots available! Contact us to check the status of our class availability and schedule a trial lesson!

Our Definition of Winning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SDC, one of our unique attributes is that we are a non-competitive studio, meaning we do not participate in dance competitions.  Instead, we choose to focus on concert and community dancing, where rankings and placements are not part of the expectation.  We encourage performance as an overall benefit to our students, but we believe that they can thrive in their dance education without the competitive element.

For us, “winning” is about going above and beyond by:

  • Doing your best dancing, so that you are better than you were yesterday
  • Being a great teammate, and using kindness as a connector
  • Encouraging others around you, because a rising tide lifts all boats

The real win in our dancers’ lives is when they overcome their own challenges, not those against others.

Our dancers at SDC are learning to measure their value in personal growth, not trophies, plaques, medals, or money.  We’re teaching them to understand that winning in life—succeeding as a human being—has much more to do with their inner self than outward praise.  The process of studying dance, whether a dancer is three years old or eighteen, is just as valuable as the performance.

Winning to us means that every dancer has their heart centered on doing the hard work.  It means that there will be ups and downs, but ultimately the triumph is in the effort.

– Ms. Julie

Happy Holidays to All!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From all of us at Studio Dance Centre, we hope you enjoy a holiday break full of love, laughter, and of course … dancing!

We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

With gratitude,
Ms. Julie