A Season for Beginnings

Beginnings can be scary. Starting something new can bring about an unparalleled source of anxiety as you face the unknown. We are creatures of habit who like things the way we like them, even the adventurous among us. When starting a new job, a new class, a new project we have to trust that the experiences we carry with us will hold us up through the inevitable trial and error of a new beginning.

In the dance studio, there are seasons for beginnings as well as seasons of comfort. Each school year we find a new rhythm as kiddos settle into new classes, new pieces, new friend groups. We teach kids how to adapt to new starts again and again, and also how to appreciate the level of comfort you have as you learn what to expect from certain classes, teachers and team mates. freeday6

This is something we get less familiar with as we grow older. As school children, we had to learn how to adapt all the time. As adults, we tend to hold more tightly to our comfort zones and our routines. We are less likely to try new things or start over. I hope that the dance studio is instilling a sense of adventure and excitement around seasons of beginnings in our dancers, and I hope they carry this with them as the grow. The anxiety may never go away, but it’s all in how we harness that nervous energy and give it all we’ve got.

Interested in joining us? Registration for spring ends Friday, 2/15! Summer classes and camp schedules will be available by 3/1.

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For Everything There is a Season

On March 10th Energy Dance Company, along with a few of our older recreational dancers, will be performing our 6th Annual Matters of the Heart in Zilker Park. This show took root in the spring of 2014 as a mission to marry dance with stories and feelings of self worth and seeing worth in the lives of others. This year’s theme is “Seasons.” Not seasons like Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall, but seasons of life. moh 2018

We must believe and hope that everything will happen in its own time. That the steps and actions that we take today toward our goals will bear fruit. That even failures are not steps backward, but experiences from which we will learn and grow. For everything there is a season! Seasons for youth, seasons for redemption, seasons for laughter and seasons for tears. Seasons to dance, seasons to grieve, seasons for love.

Over the next few weeks leading up to our show, we want to take some time to explore some of these seasons and how they relate to dance here on the blog. Be sure to tune in!

See more details about our show here. 

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You

One of my absolute favorite things about dance is how universal it is. Strip down all the technique and style rules that we impose in a setting like a dance studio, and, at its root, dance is inherent. Dance is natural. You see it from the time we are babies! I love to stand in a crowd at a concert, or in a bar, or at a festival and be reminded of what a basic instinct it is to move to music. parent dance 2019

I hear this comment a lot: “I bet it really bothers you when people are bad dancers.” NO! Quite the opposite. If dance is bringing you joy, whether or not you are “good” by any societal standard does not matter! If the music moves you, then move! Dance is fun, and there are no barriers to entry. As humans, I feel like we can’t even help but bob our heads or sway side to side when we hear a song we like.

Gloria Estefan is right. Whether we intend it or not, or whether it is conscious or unconscious, the rhythm is gonna get you! But, if you want to define and hone those skills, we’ve got you covered. Join us for classes this spring- check out our schedule here.

Being Put On the Spot

Our mission is to inspire confidence in our dancers using dance as a medium. We believe dance is a fun and formative way to encourage our students to be able to walk into any room and be confident. Part of this is being put on the spot. Much of dance is non-vocal, obviously, but we want our dancers to also be able to speak up and speak out when called upon. Not every dancer will feel comfortable as an actor or orator,  but, inevitably, whether they audition one day to be a drill team officer or to be a back up dancer, they will have to talk. dancers 1

During the Summer our Energy Dance Company dancers have to audition for placement for their competition pieces. During this time we make them practice “slating,” or introducing yourself and answering some basic questions. They aren’t always confident or good at it the first time, but, those who have auditioned with us for a while can speak up and assert themselves to both make a connection with their interviewer and stand out in a line up.

Our teachers also call on students throughout the dance class time much in the same way a school teacher does, often putting dancers on the spot to come up with an answer to what we are doing or why we are doing it to use their critical thinking skills. As with school, the answers aren’t always right, but we want our dancers to feel confident making an educated guess or being able to say, “I don’t know,” without embarrassment. Just another way that joining an extracurricular like dance can continue to help kids be smarter, think for themselves and gain confidence. Interested in joining us? Registration ends for our spring semester on 2/15. Check out our schedule here.

Making New Friends

Socializing is an important part of growing up. School is the main outlet for this, but extracurriculars play a huge role in finding your “people.” While the primary goal of coming to dance class is to learn the skills necessary and develop the confidence to perform a certain dance style, making new friends is a secondary goal that we hope our dancers achieve at the studio. mini bonding

When you do an activity or sport outside of school you find like-minded peers that usually have similar goals, even if you come from all different backgrounds. We are blessed to be from a diverse community where dancers of all colors, religions and family dynamics can develop trust and hone new skills together. It is always fun to watch friendships pop up in our dance classes and hear stories about play dates and sleepovers between kiddos who go to different schools or live in different suburbs that would otherwise not have met.

We see it in the parents who sit together in the hallways as well. Moms and Dads with kids of similar age and energy levels bond as they watch their dancers in the classroom. We love to watch a community unfold bound by the common interest of dance. Our registration is open through February 15th- won’t you join us? Click here for a free trial class.

New Year, Same Us

What a wonderful feeling to return to something you love after a break! The energy in the studio this week has been amazing. Not only do we have students returning from our Fall semester, but we also have new students trickling in and joining our ongoing schedule that bring a new energy to our classrooms. Teachers are rested and rejuvenated, creativity has been restored, and we are ready to tackle the spring.

pike stretchJanuary is the time for resolution and purpose.  While we always hope to be learning from our mistakes, growing as instructors and administrators, and improving our processes and facilities, we are proud to keep our foundations and missions consistent. New year, same us. We hope to continue to be the same values-based, family-friendly educational activity that continues to teach integrity, perseverance, teamwork and respect. We are resolved to continue to encourage our dancers to express themselves with confidence.

Our registration is open through February 15th. Will you join us? Download a free trial coupon here. 

What to Expect from Your Dancer’s Class

A few weeks ago we shared our video of what things you should expect from your Preschooler’s dance class, and we wanted to follow up with our video intended for older dancers! A few highlights:

“We feel it is important to mention that dancers may stay in one level for multiple years. As far as a general structure… every class will start with a warm up and stretch. We feel it is important to raise your body temperature and stretch to avoid injury.”

“Many classes will include some kind of across-the-floor movement side to side or corner to corner. If we are working towards a performance we may jump into choreography and teach formations, movements, and parts.”

“Another tool we utilize… may be going in groups where one group sits and watches another group go, and then they switch. This does a couple of things. For one, it allows you to have an audience to perform for, and it also teaches the ones sitting and watching how to be a good audience.” 

“You may also see us implement some freestyle games, or improvisation.”

“At the end of the day it’s about getting them moving, honing in on specific skills, learning choreography, learning how to freestyle, and ultimately gaining the confidence to be on stage.”

Be sure to click the image to watch the video in it’s entirety! Interested in joining us? Spring session starts January 7th. See our schedule here.

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Creating Leaders

We absolutely consider our dancers leaders of the future. Leaders in their school groups, leaders in their peer groups, and, eventually, leaders in their places of work. Not only is our main mission to inspire kids to express themselves confidently (which every leader needs), but there are many tactical skills they are learning as well.

Leaders have to be good at time management. Our dancers, especially those who dance multiple days per week, have to learn how to manage their extracurricular activities with their school work. As a daughter of educators, I am a firm believer that school comes first. When a dancer is failing a class I’d rather her be late for rehearsals to attend her tutorials than to be at dance. Dance is a privilege that only comes to those who can manage their homework loads. IMG_0826

Leaders have to empathetic. Leaders have to be able to walk in someone else’s shoes and allow that to change the way they think or behave. Part of dance is telling stories. This requires dancers to think outside of themselves and imagine a feeling or a situation that they may not have encountered personally. If the story for a routine is about the loss of a loved one, but they have not yet lost a loved one, they have to imagine it. This is building their empathy and their ability to think beyond their own experiences.

Leaders have to be respectful. Not only are we trying desperately to teach these kids how to respect their teachers and mentors, but we are trying to teach them how to respect each other. How to be kind. How to listen. How to disagree with someone yet still work with them side by side. These are all qualities that will make fantastic leaders someday.

Interested in joining us? We will reopen online enrollment on December 1st, and spring classes will begin January 7th. Click here for our current class schedule.

A Fun Community

It’s the kickoff to Costume Week! Today is Superhero day, and I can’t wait to see the studio filled with little Wonder Women. Tomorrow is the annual Vampire Day, where our veteran staff will don vampire capes and vampire teeth and induct any new instructors into our clan. It may seem silly, but it’s all part of what makes the studio a fun community where our dancers, teachers and parents want to spend their time. superhero costumes

Regardless of where you work, culture and community is a huge deal.  The kinds of feelings you get and the kinds of events that exist when you walk into our business are what will make you return for years to come. A lot of the things that I do at the studio for culture and community are things that I’ve borrowed from past jobs, past clubs, past school experiences, old bosses, etc. The way that we do our jobs or run our businesses is a composition of our own personal experiences. I hope to be giving these dancers not only fun memories, but eventual ideas and past experiences to take with them into their own teaching careers, office careers or managerial careers.

Will you be joining our costume week extravaganza? We hope so! Registration is closed for now, but we will reopen our online enrollment 12/1 for a January 7th start date. Check out our schedule here.

Taking Responsibility Gives YOU the Power

To every age and level of our dancers we find ourselves constantly saying, “Make the choice.” For little littles the choice may be easy, like participating in the dance game while keeping our hands to ourselves vs. having to stand by the teacher, but we attempt to give responsible options that give the dancer the control to be responsible for the outcome. For older dancers it may be choosing to make the correction vs. being moved to the back of the formation or choosing to listen vs. leaving the classroom. Either way we are teaching these kids that only YOU have responsibility for your own body and your own choices, and that only YOU have the power to define your success or failure based on the choices you make. IMG_0484

Absolutely, 100%, there are things that happen out of our control. Our goal is to teach them that it is not what happens to us that defines us, but how we react to it and take responsibility for the consequences of what happens to us that defines us. For example, if a dancer has missed a class because she was sick that is no fault of her own, and we are not in any way mad or upset that she was sick. However, it may mean that she missed an entire rehearsal of new choreography, and that a private lesson is required or a session at the studio with a friend needs to happen to catch up. It is important for the dancer to realize, though, that we, as the teachers, are not responsible for setting up that lesson or meeting up with that friend to ensure they know their choreography, but that they must make the choice and take the effort required to catch up before the next rehearsal.

Taking responsibility gives you the power to choose your outcomes and pathways to how you define success. It lies in the choice to be proactive, in the choice to do what is right, and in the choice to respect your commitments and your team mates. These are huge life lessons that will follow these dancers throughout their careers and their family lives. We can only hope to have a small influence on how they will handle these situations down the road. Interested in joining us? Spring session starts 1/7. Check out our schedule here.