Thursday, October 27, 2016

After the First Dance Class

The First Dance Class Is Over. Now What?
So, your child had her first dance class. It was everything you had hoped for, and she is thrilled and won’t stop twirling around the living room. There are a ton of articles and blog posts out there that are all about first class jitters, but hardly anyone talks about what to expect once the first class is over. What happens next?

Each Class Builds on Itself
This means that sometimes a new technique, step, or move introduced in class can challenge your child, but that’s a good thing. Overcoming adversity and learning to persevere are two great life skills that your child will learn in class. The dance instructor has your child’s best interest at heart and wants to see her master the skills she needs to perform at her best during her first recital. 

Like All Classes, Dance Has its Ups and Downs
Even if your child lives and breathes dancing, sometimes they may have an off day. A bad day at school or a fight with a sibling can set any child off, leading to them wanting to skip dance class. If you encounter a day like this, encourage your child to try to go into class anyway, and more often than not they will be happy they did! Dance (and any form of physical exercise) is proven to elevate a person’s mood, and can be a great relief from life’s problems.

The First Recital

For many dancers, all the work that they’ve put in for the year leads to their big recital. Your child may be nervous, excited, or a combination of both. Recitals are an amazing way to help children face fears of speaking in public, as well as a way to help cope with stress. Many children who are nervous before they go on end up exhilarated once the performance is over, asking, “When can I do it again?” Be there to support your child, but also take a moment to enjoy the finish to a successful year!

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.