Practice Makes Perfect… Right?

Our 13th annual recital is coming up on June 10th; preparations are in full swing! Costumes and recital notes are all set to go out the first 2 weeks of May, and choreography is wrapping up to give dancers plenty of time to clean and perfect their dances. I’m not going to lie… my brain might explode soon from all the admin work! But, it’s all worth it to see our dancers, from little bitties up to graduating seniors, take the stage with confidence, grace and personality.

With performance art like dance, I find it especially important to set proper expectations for parents regarding what is “perfect,” or “successful,” at recital. If your 3 year old can get up on stage, without you or without a teacher holding their hand, in a foreign place, in a weird outfit, with bright lights on their face, and simply not cry… that’s success. Even if they cry? It’s still upward growth towards confidence and independence. If they do a few tendus and smile at the audience, even if they don’t remember their whole dance? That is amazing! I see our dance parents want so badly for their children to be successful that sometimes they miss the small moments in-between that notate growthrecital 2016 1

If you have an older dancer who is in multiple numbers, think through their day. Before the recitals even start they are learning responsibility by having to pack numerous costume pieces, tights, make up, hair accessories, shoes, etc. Once the show begins they must run onto stage, remember choreography and perform with personality, run off stage, change costumes, and maybe hair, and run back on stage to remember a whole different set of moves with a whole different performance story or quality, and repeat. It is possible that mistakes will be made, but what if we measure success by how quickly they can move past a memory glitch or fall and set their intention forward towards the next routine?

We say that “practice makes perfect,” or “you will perform how you rehearse,” and that can be true. It can also be a load of crock. All dancers would tell you stories of doing a dance for MONTHS, perfecting it, cleaning it, doing it full out, even practicing entries and exits and doing it without the mirror, all to mess it up on stage. It’s a live performance. As we move into recital season, take a moment and appreciate all the things your dancer has learned, is learning, and the growth you’ve seen from last year to this year. Consider all the small moments that have been “perfect” or considered a “success,” and your pride in watching them on stage will multiply ten-fold, regardless of that specific performance on that specific day.

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Asking for Help

I’m really not good at asking for help. Ask my husband, my staff, my parents, and my collegiate dance coach. Part of it is wanting to stay in control (if you want it done right, do it yourself… right?) and part of it is being a people pleaser. I don’t want to inconvenience anyone. But what happens when I don’t ask for help? I get overwhelmed, of course. I take on 12 jobs when I only have time for 10. I hear myself saying, “I can do it myself, thank you,” when what I need to say is, “Yes, help with this project would be so great!”

Another pitfall is that I don’t always end up with the best solution or decision if I’m the only one with the information. Collaborating with others almost always ends with a better project or result than if I do it alone. 2 brains are better than one from troubleshooting to creative thinking to work sharing. IMG_7023This week we officially named Alexis Parmentier as our Energy Dance Company Co-Director, and I already feel like a weight has been lifted. She is already turning things over in her brain and asking questions I wouldn’t have thought to ask. Being a business owner is hard enough; directing a competitive team made up of pre-teen and teenage girls and their parents can sometimes be too much. I’m excited to have help!

Besides my own journey with asking for help, I see dance experiences teach my clients (both moms and dancers) the same lesson. Sometimes you have to ask a friend to help you change backstage. Sometimes you have to ask another mom to help take your kiddo to the competition. Sometimes you have to ask another mom or teacher to help with hair and make up to ensure it is done correctly. Sometimes you have to ask another dancer to meet you over the weekend to review choreography. We are a team. We are a dance family. I am blessed and lucky to have so many eager teachers, moms and family members ready to help. Ready to join our dance family? Click here for a free trial coupon.

A little PSA for myself: if you see a need during studio hours or performances don’t be afraid to just jump in and do what needs doing… I may not ask you directly for the help (I might even say I’m good or don’t need it), but I will ALWAYS appreciate it!

 

Open Mind, Open Heart

I never actually got to sit down and write about how it went with this year’s show, Matters of the Heart: Connections. I wrote about it getting rained out (lol), but the actual show was a beautiful evening of dancing in a beautiful park in a beautiful city. This was our 4th annual event celebrating self-worth, anti-hate, and dance as an art form that can tell intimate stories and communicate more than just movement.

It all started in 2014 with Sarabeth (then-owner), Brooklyn (then-instructor) and I sitting around a table at competition. Sarabeth mentioned that we could rent out the Zilker Hillside Theatre for a relatively low amount, and remarked how cool it would be to do some kind of anti-bullying awareness show. That conversation turned into the three of us commiserating about how petty and frustrating the attitudes that develop during competition season can be, and maybe this show, at this time of the year, would be a great reminder that dance is art, we are all humans, and how important it is to love and respect others. We figured we were just crazy enough to pull it off, and in our first year pulled together around 25 dancers to do about 15 numbers telling stories about the negative and positive things we experience (ie: gossip vs. acceptance, hate vs. love, etc). We knew the show couldn’t just be a one-time thing. We’ve since added 2 other studios to our show and told stories about being the light in the dark and the diamonds in the rough.Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

This year’s theme for the show, Connections, focused on how we, as humanity, are fundamentally the same. In a time when our country is so very divided, we wanted our students to find our commonalities. Things like the fear of losing someone, the joy we find in making others smile, and the independence we must all find to be successful. Sarabeth, Alexis and I set an opening number on some of our Lonestar dancers that was a simple, spoken word piece that talked through some of these ideas. It was a great opportunity for us to sit down with the girls and ask them their thoughts on the theme. How are we all connected? How are we all different? What are some of the things you have in common with people you don’t even like? What are the most dividing things you can think of, and what are the most uniting? The number turned into a beautiful introduction into the theme of our show, and I hope it’s something the dancers remember for years to come.

What a privilege it is to be able to teach these dancers more than just dance. Interested in joining us? Click here for a free trial coupon.