Monday, September 19, 2016

Why Not All Dance Practice is Created Equal

Practice makes perfect.

The age-old saying often goes in one ear and out the other. It can be brought up in any number of situations, including art, math, golf, dance, you name it!

But is it true?

Studies Have Shown it Takes 10,000 Hours to Master a Skill.

Breaking it down, that’s about 90 minutes a day for 20 years that a student needs to study a skill to master it. There is an important distinction to be made here – it needs to be 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. That means that for someone to master dance, they must be using their practice time diligently to zero in on problem areas and eliminate them.

Practice Makes Permanent.

Repeating a physical motion creates something called ‘muscle memory.’ It can be very hard to unlearn a bad habit that has become muscle memory because it was practiced incorrectly. Deliberate, intentional dance practice can be hard to do alone.  A dancer can use the assistance of mirrors and video recordings of themselves, but there is no substitute to the trained eye of a dance instructor.

A dance teacher is an invaluable tool for new and even veteran dancers. Dance teachers have the training and skill needed to help a dancer practice deliberately and intentionally to blossom into the dancer they have the ability to become.

If you would like to see your child succeed in dance, giving them the gift of lessons with an experienced and knowledgeable dance instructor is one of the best ways you can help nurture their talent.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dance Companies 101

While there is a wide range of opportunities that a trained dancer has access to, many dancers dream of landing a spot in a professional dance company. What does being in a dance company entail though? There’s still a plethora of opportunities among dance companies and within a single dance company, for types of positions available.

Styles of Dance
While a ballet company might be the most recognizable to people that are not in the dance world, many may not realize that there are dance companies available for dancers who train in all styles! From contemporary to tap to hip hop, the sky is the limit when it comes to dance companies. No matter what style of dance you prefer or excel at, there are options of different dance companies for which you can audition. 

Job Opportunities
With a dance company, there are various employment opportunities available aside from being a dancer. While some smaller dance companies might employ only a few people that wear many hats, some of the positions you can expect to see in dance companies include:
• Artistic director
• Choreographer
• Rehearsal Director
• Stage Manager
• Producer
• Lighting and Costume Designers

In addition to the positions directly relating to performance, there are also more administrative positions that may be available, including the board of directors, general manager, education administrator, as well as marketing and finance managers.

The best way to choose to a dance company and position that suits your skills is to do some research online and ask your dance instructor or fellow students to see if they have any leads. The dance field is constantly growing, so be sure to continually explore your options!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What’s In It For Me?: 4 Careers to Pursue in Dance

Earning a steady paycheck by way of a creative art can be a less than simple endeavor. Many may not realize that a career with a background in dance can be extremely rewarding and also pay a comfortable salary. So what are some of the career options that dancers may have?

1) Dancer
This one is obvious, however many may not realize that there are paid opportunities for dancers and performers out there. This encompasses a huge umbrella of options including dancing for a dance company, theater troupe, ballet company, opera house, or musical theater company, but it can also mean being a dancer in music videos, at a large-scale theme park or Las Vegas installation, on a cruise ship, and more. 

2) Choreographer
If you love the beauty of dance but would rather focus on “behind the scenes” work, being a choreographer keeps you close to the action but removes a lot of the physical strain that working dancers face. Those who wish to choreograph must constantly dig deep to come up with new creative ideas.

3) Dance Instructor
Similar to being a choreographer, dance instructors get to create work for dancers to showcase. Instructors must also train dancers to learn proper technique and help dancers work together as a cohesive unit. Dance instructors often serve as important role models for young dancers in their developmental years.

4) Dance or Movement Therapist

Moving your body can be an incredibly healing act and being the facilitator of someone else’s recovery can be very rewarding.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

7 Dance Bag Essentials for Every Dancer

For any professional, there is nothing worse than forgetting the bare necessities at home. For example, just imagine an electrician coming to your house without the right sized screw driver. His visit would be completely pointless. Similarly, when you’re a dancer, there are some things you cannot perform without. Here is a list of essential items you must pack in your dance bag to ensure that you are properly prepared for all practices and performances:
1. Dance Shoes
This goes without saying – dance shoes are probably the most important element of your dance supplies. Make sure you pack different dance shoes for all the styles of dance you may be asked to perform. Some dancers also carry different shoes for practice versus performance. 
2. Extra Clothing
With all the movement and stretches a dancer is required to do, it is important for him/her to carry with themselves and extra pair of clothing – for example, tights, leotard and warmers – in case of a tear, stain, runs, or even excessive sweating. Warm clothes are also important for a dancer's muscles when leaving the studio and facing potential cold air.
3. Hair Accessories
Dancers, no matter male or female, should have a neat, swept back hairstyle to allow for proper spotting. In order to maintain your hair style, make sure you pack a brush, comb, hair tie, hairspray, hair pins and whatever else is necessary for styling. Apart from your own needs, a colleague might break their own hair tie and for a dancer, this is an emergency. Packing a couple of extra ones will always prove to be helpful. 
4. Towel
Whatever the forecast is, and whichever season it is, packing yourself a towel is important. You will sweat, and profusely, in this case. When working with a partner, it is especially necessary to constantly wipe off sweat and remain dry. It cannot only be unpleasant, but also your body becomes slippery which may it difficult for your partner to hold, which can lead to serious injuries.
5. Deodorant
Similar to number 4, keeping a supply of deodorant on hand to combat sweat (as well as odor) is highly essential for all dancers. 
6. Anti-Septic Wipes
Dancing can involve falls and injuries from time to time. For minor cuts and scrapes, and anti-septic wipe will come in quite handy to avoid an infection. Aside from this, if you want to quickly clean your dirty hands, an antiseptic wipe will definitely come in handy.
7. Band Aids
A wide variety of shapes and sizes will definitely be useful in case of minor injuries. Some cuts take a long time to stop bleeding, and in such cases a quick application of a band aid will do the trick. 
Feel free to pack anything else that you might personally need to get you through the day. Most dancers bring snacks and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Finally, if you have asthma, don’t forget your inhaler, or any other medications you might need. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Benefits of Performing in a Dance Recital

Dance Recitals are often considered to be the highlight of a performer’s dance season. For beginners, the thought of a large audience, costumes, makeup and the stage itself may seem overwhelming, but participating in a yearly recital can be one of the most incredible and unforgettable  experiences a dancer may have.

Here are five benefits dancers often get from participating in dance recitals:
1. A Boost in Confidence 
Recitals give the dancer an opportunity to overcome their fear and shyness of performing in front of people. It also gives dancers a chance to display all their dedication, hard work, and progress they have made in the past year. When children get up on stage and are applauded and appreciated, they often feel a huge boost in confidence. This confidence will follow them throughout their schoolwork and in many other aspects of life as well. 
2. Promotes Teamwork
Most of the performances are group-based and when working with their partners, dancers have to work together and synchronize their movements to one other for the performance. This takes a lot of effort and helps build teamwork skills. This teamwork skill will help them be more considerate and understanding, and will definitely be an asset throughout their lives.
3. Helps Form Goals
Taking part in a recital gives dancers something to look forward to, and something to aim for. Each practice session brings them one step closer to achieving their goal. And once they have successfully done this, dancers become confident enough to set the bar a little higher for the next goal. Setting goals in life is another extremely important lesson to learn. 
4. Teaches New Skills
Recitals help dancers sharpen their memorizing and retaining capabilities, along with learning new skills like moving with rhythm and working with different techniques. Dancing also promotes a child’s motor skills and mind-body coordination. Furthermore, they also learn new terminology and develop a basic understanding of stage directing. 
5. Creates Great Memories
Recitals help children create some amazing memories. They will make new friends, have fun, and feel appreciated. Families often use dance recitals as an opportunity to celebrate their children’s achievement, while the dancing itself instills a deep passion for the performers. Dance recital costumes can become a keepsake, and  recital pictures can be framed and put into scrapbooks or photo albums.
No matter which way you look at it, dance recitals provide children with so many amazing qualities and skills which will support them throughout their school, career, and personal life. Discipline and unity are also very important traits children are familiarized with while attending dance classes, and it is the perfect way for parents to help their children to open up to the world.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

3 Life Skills You Might Not Realize Dance Can Teach Your Child

There are some benefits that are easy to see when it comes to investing in dance lessons for your child, physical activity being an obvious one. Social skills are another benefit that may come to mind. Your child can learn to work in a group as well as handle constructive criticism. While dance is a great form of physical exercise that strengthens bones and the cardiovascular system, it can also teach your child some invaluable life skills that will be highly beneficial later in life.

1) Dedication
Dance is an activity that can teach children that practicing at home and following through leads to a successful performance. This cycle can help your child associate dedication with a feeling of accomplishment. Furthermore, dance can help children create healthy work habits such as showing up on time, following through on projects, and collaborating with others. 

2) Discipline
Sometimes a busy dance schedule may interfere with other activities, but children will learn a sense of discipline in that they will have to prioritize things. Dance also keeps children mentally disciplined while in class, as they must patiently keep trying to master a new difficult step until it is correct. Discipline is also necessary for completing the physical conditioning required for dance.

3) Accountability
When it comes to dance, if your child isn’t prepared he or she will quickly learn that this impacts not just themselves, but others as well. Dance will teach children to be accountable for themselves in terms of practicing, memorizing routines, and bringing the correct costumes and accessories for a performance. Since dance is often a team effort, it is important that all members of a group are prepared and polished. Dance is a great way to instill these positive behaviors at a child’s developmental age.