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
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
Posted in Education,News on 10/18/2019 | Comments Off on FYDE’s Fall Concert
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
Posted in Education on 10/01/2019 | Comments Off on Class Etiquette, Part II
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
Posted in Education on 09/20/2019 | Comments Off on Class Etiquette, Part I