Get The Most Out Of Your Summer Dance Classes

Whether you’re just taking classes or attending a workshop, summer is a great time to solidify what you learned during the year. Plus it’s a great time to progress even further while schools out for summer. Here’s a few tips to help you gain that extra edge:

1. Keep a journal – Write down all the corrections you’re receiving from your teachers. That way you’ll have a record of things you need to work on.

2. Video tape class – If it’s okay with your teacher, ask if you can video tape yourself. You’ll be able to see your habits, compare yourself to your peers, and appreciate your strengths. If you can’t video tape your class, try asking a friend to tape a combination your working on after class.

 

3. Work on your performance – When taking class, treat each combination as a performance. Try to smooth transition steps, play with the energy or movement quality, use your focus, and be confident. 

 

4. Watch other – Watching dancers you look up to is a great way to get motivated. Whether it’s going to a show or spending time on youtube, the more you watch the more you’ll learn. 

 

5. Ask questions – If your unsure of a step or what the teacher is describing, ask! You’re probably not the only one with the same question. 

 

Happy Dancing!

Preparing For Your Child’s First Dance Performance

 

You may have noticed signs going up in your studio, your child singing the same song over and over again, and the countless papers of information stacking up on your desk. Yes, it’s performance time! Now, not only are you responsible for paying tuition, but also for costumes, pictures, videos, and makeup fees to add to the dent in your wallet. Since I’ve always been the dancer or the dance teacher, I decided to ask my mom what advice she had for first time recital parents. Here’s what she had to say:


1. Always ask questions  

A lot of times when your signing up for classes at the beginning of the school year, the receptionists are busy focusing on the start of the new year, so sometimes the recital information is overlooked at this stage. If recital information has not been discussed, ask. Some questions parents should ask are: 

  • When are the performances and stage rehearsals? 
  • Are there any performance fees? 
  • Will I have to purchase a costume or are costumes provided? 
  • Is there a ticket fee, and will I be responsible for buying a certain number of tickets? 
  • Is there limited seating? 
  • Are there any other hidden costs I should know about? 
  • How many performances are there? Are there both winter and spring performances? 
  • Will the parents be expected to help make costumes or props? 
  • Since recitals entail additional costs, can I split up payments throughout the year? 

2. Make room in your schedule 

There are always extra rehearsals before a performance. It’s important to find out when they are in case your child’s absence could affect them being in the piece. I remember one studio where a child wasn’t allowed to take part in the performance because they missed some extra rehearsals.  


3. Check the costume measurements 

Parents must realize that costume measurements must be taken early to allow time for them to be made. Therefore, if your child is going through a growth spurt, you might want to mention it to the teacher so you get a costume that won’t be too small. 


4. Find out about accessories  

Now is a good time to ask about specific tights color, if shoes need to be spray painted, and hairstyle expectations. This way you can find the best price for tights, coordinate shoe dying, and cancel that summer hair appointment until after the recital.


5. Learn about stage makeup policies

Having one person with bright blue eyeshadow might look strange if everyone else is wearing brown. Find out if there is a uniform makeup policy, and if so, get some details about the look. You might ask:

  • Will someone assist with makeup backstage?
  • Is there going to be a class on how to put it one correctly?
  • Will an information sheet be handed out with specific information about makeup?

All and all, I learned from my mom that the more you know, the less stressed you will be. As a teacher, I want my students and parents to understand what’s happening, and I’m sure your child’s dance teachers feel the same way. Please always ask questions; chances are they are more important than you might think.


My first year of ballet


Special thanks to my mom, Pat, for giving great advice!

 

 

How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Performance – Part 1

 

Springtime marks the end of the year for many studios, and to celebrate it’s common to showcase what the students have learned in a performance. To a beginner student, preparing for a first show is a mix of emotions. They are excited to get a costume, be on stage, and dance for all their friends and family. On the other hand, many begin to feel overwhelmed trying to remember the dance, be in the right spot, and smile at the same time. So, how can you help your child from feeling the pressures of their first show? Here’s a list I’ve put together for parents.
1. Get a copy of the music – As soon as your child starts learning the dance get a copy of the music to allow them to start picking up cues and understand the rhythm.
2. Videotape the dance – With many beginners only attending once a week, it can be difficult to remember the choreography. Ask the teacher if you can videotape the dance at the end of class to help them remember what they learned.
3. Don’t let them miss any classes – Missing students make rehearsals hard for everyone, especially the other students. Choreography for group classes tend to rely on the spacing and shapes of the group as a whole. A missing link can cause mass confusion.

4. Arrange a play date with other classmates – Getting the dancers together will inevitably lead to a dance party, which eventually prompts a dance rehearsal. Plus, it’s a fun way to keep everyone motivated.

5. Stay positive – Let your child know you’re excited to see them perform and encourage them through the process. As my mom always said to me, “Go do your best and have fun!”

Me taking class around age 9.