Love.

One of our value words is “love.” Love for what you do, love for yourself, love for your team mates. We teach the definition to our kids as, “the feeling you have about the people or things you care about,” but the kids always have better answers.  With our Tiny, Mini and EDC teams we take each day during their summer intensive lunch hours to go through all our studio values, discuss them, come up with examples, etc. Love is one of my favorites to talk about with them.

For example: this time of year is about the time that our dancers who are together almost every single day are starting to get a little sick of each other. They start to be a little bit snippy, a little bit agitated, and a little bit critical of each other. BUT, mess with one of their friends, and you’ll have 13 other pre-teen and teenage girls chomping at the bit to protect and defend her. IMG_5892.JPGThey have built a lot of trust, seen a lot of good, seen a lot of bad, and learned about each other in a way that few other after-school activities facilitate.

They also start to exhibit such a healthy, strong love for themselves. Not in a conceited way (at least not always…), but in a self-confident way. They feel stronger after a year of dancing together; they can do tricks and perform skills they were not able to a year ago. They love the way dance makes them feel and the way their teachers pour their energy into their passion.

As all of us, teachers, dancers, parents, siblings, start to get a little worn down this time of year, I’m happy we all have love to fall back on.  Interested in starting your dance journey with us? Our summer session starts June 19th! Click here for a free trial coupon. 

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The Possibilities are Endless

With recital coming up, we dance teachers are doing lots… and lots… and LOTS of choreography. Sometimes, creatively, we just aren’t ready. Sometimes, we look up and realize that all 15 of our dances kind of look the same. Sometimes, we get stuck and just can’t seem to finish a piece, even though the deadline is, well, now.

In those moments, I, as a choreographer and teacher, have to remind myself that the possibilities are endless. Let’s take a look at it from a mathematical perspective. Even for pre-school ballet choreography, they should at least have 4 ballet skills they can use. Let’s say they have learned a tendu, a plié, a passé and a ron de jambe.  The mathematical concept of permutations tells us that 4x3x2x1= 24 options for just those 4 movements. That’s 24 different ways we, as instructors, can use movement formulaically to create choreography. lex pic 4

Now, for the days I am not feeling creative, formulaic is fine. It’s bread and butter, it’s easy, it still works and still teaches movement. Let’s imagine a day where I AM feeling the music, feeling creative, loving levels, floor-work, and moving in a way that may not be a straightforward skill the dancers already know. Can you imagine the infinite possibilities to make the choreography look unique? Unique to that moment, that song, those dancers?

This is a lesson that dance teaches me over and over as a choreographer. In life, in relationships in your career: When you are feeling stuck, search for the pattern. There is a list, a structure, that you can follow, if you think it through. When you are feeling bold and creative, go for it. The possibilities are endless.