Learning to dance offers a wealth of opportunities for children. Dance Classes offer a fun way for your child to learn balance, coordination, fitness and to work with their peers in a disciplined, structured environment.
There are many benefits of bringing in guest artists and choreographers to your dance studio. Guest Instructors and Choreographers offer a fresh perspective. Exposing dance students to different styles, ways of teaching and choreography that broadens their movement vocabulary and helps them achieve their dance goals.
For competitive dancers, bringing in a guest choreographer is a fun way to challenge your company to learn quickly, accurately and most of all to give it 100%. There is only a small amount of time that they get to work with the guest teacher, every hour spent with them will ensure the success of their choreography after they leave the studio.
Bringing in working professional dancers, college professors and directors of dance departments to give Master Classes and Educational Q and A’s will enrich student’s knowledge of the dance world beyond recreational and competitive dance. Being exposed to college educated professionals can inspire students to want to learn more about the fundamentals of teaching, choreography and entertainment business.
When hiring a guest teacher, always look at their resume and background to make sure they are a good fit for your studio and students. Depending on what you want them to focus on, a guest instructor can pull from their different backgrounds and experience to inspire a new approach to technique and performance. These opportunities to learn more about the dance industry will help to continue the legacy of dance through teaching, performing or simply inspiring a lifelong love of the arts.
Effort – The definition is a vigorous or determined attempt.
How can we instill qualities in students to ensure they are putting forth their best efforts with a growth mindset?
Below are examples taken directly from class room and stage experiences. Utilizing these qualities in the class room will guarantee your students are on the way to becoming a dancer that can see their growth potential and use hard work to reach their goals.
Giving students opportunities to identify patterns in daily class work is imperative. During ballet barre, incorporate specific patterns that replicate those same patterns that will be seen later in center work. Mention the intention and purpose for the use of the pattern given. Give as many examples as possible.
This will allow the dancer to retain the information, and memorize it more efficiently. Comprehension of patterns will increase speed, coordination and help with reversing the movement in different directions.
Spatial awareness can be incorporated in the very beginning of dance training at a young age. Dancers as young as 3 learn about spatial awareness as they are required to stand on their designated spot, follow the leader with out bumping other dancers and how to stand in line with out squishing their neighbor.
As they progress, they learn to stand in windows and take turns across the floor with a partner. All of these things requiring spatial awareness.
Spatial awareness is the ability to be aware of oneself in the space around you. Knowing the body positions and stage directions to travel freely while dancing and moving is the ultimate goal. As students progress in their training, this concept is imperative when performing or auditioning.
The famous quote, “dance now, think later” couldn’t be further from the truth. Dancers spend most of their young dance life thinking. And thinking some more.
Dance technique and body alignment are concepts that start with your thought process. Learning the correct muscles to use and even visualization exercises to help try to achieve the right look of a dancer.
Anticipation is the act of thinking ahead of oneself. When a dancer is performing ballet barre exercises, the brain must be faster than the pace of the music to relay the message to the body.
Dance is intellectual.
You are not only thinking of the steps, you are thinking of the technique behind the steps that will enable you to execute them correctly. When preparing for rehearsals and auditions; anticipating trouble spots will help you think on your toes and be ahead of the game when under stressful situations.
Understanding Different Techniques
A strong foundation in Ballet and Tap is a great start for young dancers! At 8 years old, the dancer is physically and mentally ready to introduce additional styles of dance to their training. Dance Classes in jazz, contemporary, hip hop and other dance techniques are highly encouraged to be the most well rounded dancer.
It is important that dancers educate themselves on the history that has impacted dance and paved the path as we know it today. Studying as many styles of dance will get you out of your comfort zone and give the knowledge needed to perform your best in class, on stage or at an audition.
Learning to be an effort oriented dancer takes time and constant training inside and outside of the studio, you too can achieve this if you put in the effort!
Part of being a dancer is learning choreography quickly and accurately. Some dancers will pick up choreography naturally and it will seem almost effortless. While others
have to work at it more. If you are lacking this gift, learning new movement in your dance class or at an audition can be very frustrating.
You are in luck! Below are my 7 Tips to Improve Learning Choreography Quickly.
There are many factors that go into running a successful dance studio, but there is one constant that will always remain, The Parents or Guardians of dancers. They are a staple in the dance studio business and we owe them credit for inspiring dance studio owners to be more innovative by helping us to see things from a different perspective, with the ultimate goal of helping the children reach their fullest potential.
When it comes to speaking with parents or guardians, whether it is positive feedback, constructive feedback or concerns, the way you approach the conversation is sometimes where true growth and success can occur.
- There is Opportunity with Every Problem
When a parent approaches you with an issue, it is very important to take a step back and look at the problem from their perspective. Most of the time there is room for improvement and these suggestions can be of great value. Owning a dance studio can be a very personal business and it is easy to get defensive.
- Systems for Communicating Concerns
If there is no clear path for communication, parents will find a path and go to anyone who will listen to them. This is where gossip and drama can brew. The best way to approach concerns and suggestions is with an open door policy. If you are clear from the beginning that you are open to communicate directly and hear the concerns of others, people will feel heard and you will grow through their feedback. That doesn’t mean you have to change your policies. Once people feel they have been heard, they will take the communication and decide how to proceed from that point. You can also gain different perspectives increasing the ability to relate to the concerns or comments of parents
- The 24 Hour Rule
When it comes to big problems, it is always best to take 24 hours to respond. When it comes to considering an exception to the rule, a policy change, or parent communication as the result of a joint concern, it is best to “sleep on it” as they say. This gives your brain time to process the situation and for your emotions to settle down before responding. Adding the time to make important decisions makes a big difference in your ability to see the bigger picture to help make the right choice for everyone involved.
Parent involvement will not only enhance the experience for the kids, but it creates a family atmosphere of support for all of those involved in the studio!
Come Dance, Tumble and Sing with Your Toddler at the Legacy Dance Studio Port Orange!
Legacy will be to be offering Two Mommy and Me 6 Week Sessions. Please register and pay online to reserve your spot for you and your little one, or call 386-295-9298 for more information.
These Classes will be at our new location, at The Port Orange Tuscan Village Shoppes, 3510 S. Nova Road, Port Orange, Fl 32129 Suite 117 and 118.
Investing in a dance/theatrical flooring system is an important part of a dance studio for the safety of dancers. The flooring system allows for the instructor and students to perform and practice safely. There are three parts to a dance floor system: the slab, the sub-floor, and the floor surface.
The slab, typically concrete, is the foundation. It should be dry, level and structurally sound. Dancers should NEVER jump on a hard surface, such as concrete. Each time a dancers jumps, around 3 times their body weight is returned. Over time, this can cause fatigue and severe injury. To prevent dancers from dancing on a hard surface, it is imperative to install a floating sub-floor.
The sub-floor is a crucial part of the displacement of energy. Placing foam and wood on top of the concrete slab creates air pockets that allows the wood and foam to flex and absorb the dancers energy, giving them a safe return as they land jumps and high energy movements. The floating sub-floor provides lateral foot support and a springy energy absorbent surface. It also reduces vibration on the knee joints after impact.
Once the sub-floor is installed, it is now important to choose the floor surface. Hardwood or vinyl flooring specifically designed for dance and the performing arts, are the recommended choices. Stay away from VCT tile, plywood, Masonite, wood laminate, carpet, concrete, stone, ceramic tile and rubber. The reason is they are not appropriate choices for dance due to the wear characteristics and the amount of friction is not suitable to dance or movement activities, bringing the possibility of more strains and stress fractures. Another safety aspect is many dance floors have antibacterial and anti-fungal additives that help keep your floors hygienic, since such a wide range of motions is performed on the dance floor.
The most important investment a dance studio can make is a professionally sprung foam sub-floor and a vinyl dance floor. These dance floors require weekly cleaning and maintenance with super-concentrated industrial strength floor chemicals and cant last up to 18 years if cared for properly. Not only will this be the best surface to dance on, but it will protect dancers from injury, fatigue, soreness and their overall health and well being.
Friends That Dance Together, Stay Together.
Dance class offers you many things in return; discipline, grace, passion, self expression, strength and flexibility.
But the most treasured of all is the friendships that can be formed on the dance floor. In dance class you are often working closely together on stretching, partnering and strength exercises. By doing these things and taking classes together regularly, it helps to create trusted relationships between the group. These activities and performances bring you together and create a sense of belonging. These friendships can last a lifetime, as I know from personal experience, my dance friends are some of my best friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.-C.S. Lewis
Team building exercises are a great way to build trust and camaraderie. If your team or group seems to not be meshing well together, a few team building exercises might be what they need to learn to trust each other and work better as a team.
Human Knot: Have the dancers stand in a circle. Cross their hands, right over left in front of their body. Starting with the right hand, grab the hand of a dancer across the circle. Repeat this step with the left hand, with a different dancer across from you. Make sure to have the hands of two different people in order for this to work. At this point, have the dancers slowly try to unravel the knot by climbing and moving through the knot to straighten it out. DO NOT let go of your hands at any time, otherwise it will break the chain. The end result should be everyone in a circle untied, holding hands. This game is a lot of fun and is sure to break the ice and get your team laughing and working together.
Positive Affirmations: Hand out a half sheet of paper and writing utensil to each dancer. Have them put their name on the piece of paper at the top. Next, pass the paper to left and whoever the name is on top, write one nice thing about them. Continue to pass the papers around until each student has had everyone write on their sheet. Read the words of encouragement quietly to your self and save them for a day you need a pick me up. This helps to build confidence and respect for one another.
2 X 4: Assemble students into even-numbered groups of 4-8 and stand on a 2×4. Make sure to have them all standing facing the same direction. The goal is to reverse the line order without stepping off of the wood. This game can help with problem solving and show them exactly how important team work is.
Birthday Rearrange: Divide the team into smaller groups, with no more than 10. Staying silent, each member must put them into their birth order according to the month, day and year of their birth. Have each team go up against each other and the fastest time to complete the exercise will win the prize. Working together and communicating with out talking will teach them how important non verbal communication can be in dance and life.
Trust Walk: Pair up your students and blindfold one person in the pair. Set up obstacles in your dance space. For example, a hula hoop to climb through, jump ropes, or a bridge to climb over. The goal is for the blind folded member of the pair to navigate the course with verbal instructions ONLY from their partner. Once the course is completed, reverse the roles and try to get through the obstacles again.
Team building exercises are a great way to pump up your team and get them ready for a new season.
Do you have any other favorites you like to do with your team?
It’s almost the first day of dance class and your student may be experiencing butterflies in their tummies. As they are preparing to participate in a more structured environment, this could be the
first time they have separated from you for an activity on their own.
Many parents are not familiar with the procedures of dance class. Whether you have experience or not, you will have expectations for your child, the class and the teacher.
For a child that is brand new to dance the first few days and weeks can be quite challenging. Especially for a very young student who has not had any schooling. The new environment and unknown faces can be frightening at first. Some kids “leap” right into the groove while others take a more cautious approach. In that case, they may watch and participate in some of the movement but, participation can be minimal.
It is very common for children to take some time to warm up to the situation. Many children can take several weeks to warm up to the teacher and a class room setting. They can still learn a lot from observing and forcing participation is not needed, they will eventually join in.
Being gentle and encouraging will help the shy or frightened children adjust to the class room setting and slowly begin to participate. Very few children will miss out on the fun for very long.
When young children are feeling insecure, they may show signs through their words, body language or tears to insist they are safer with their parent in the room. However, as hard as it is, try to resist giving in to this behavior for long periods of time before entering the classroom. The good-bye itself is usually the worst part, and most of the time the kids who are crying recover quickly and join the class activities.
It is very important for the parents to have the opportunity to observe dance class. However, the first few weeks are not a good time. This time is spent establishing routines, expectations and developing a relationship between the teacher and students. Scheduling watch times throughout the year allows for the teacher, students and parents to prepare for this special event so that the students can be on their best behavior and show what they have been learning.
What Can You Do?
Arrive a little bit early to the first day of classes to show your child around and say hello to the teacher. This can ease their minds and help them settle into their class environment. Parent involvement reassures your dancer and shows them that your role is an important one at dance class too.
Here are a few more ideas to help ease your dancer into dance class:
Have them bring a “stand in” favorite toy or stuffed animal from home that can sit quietly with their things and watch them dance.
- Have special hugs and kisses before and after every dance class.
- Give them something special to wear in their hair that gives them brave powers.
As They Grow…
As your dancer grows, they will start to benefit from the time apart from parents. They will start to gain confidence in their own abilities to learn new things, make choices and have ideas that they will want to share. Watching your child grow to dance on their own is where the true gift of dance will be seen.
A good dance school will take great care in making sure your little ones are in the best possible educational environment to build a strong foundation to build upon as they grow into lovely dancers and young people. Parents and teachers working together will ensure a great start to a long and positive dance future.