Taking it One Step at a Time

I can be a somewhat anxious person; mostly it stems from a type-A personality and the desire to have a sense of control. The best tool I’ve discovered when I’m feeling overwhelmed is the idea of taking things “one step at a time.” I just focus on the task I am doing currently, mark it off the list, and move on to the next task. Dance teaches this lesson, pretty literally, and I think it helped shape a lot of the way I look at tackling large projects today. IMG_9554

When you see a dance on stage, with the complicated formations, parts and steps, it is the culmination of hours of progressive learning. You learn 4 counts, then you practice that a few times, then you learn 4 more counts, then you go back and review the first 4 counts, then you put it all together. But if you try to learn too much choreography at once, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s when you go back and review again, add on slowly, and then eventually add formations, complications, staging, etc. If you let your brain think about what the finished project is supposed to look like, when you are struggling with the current step you are learning, it can seem like an impossible task.

I am grateful to my dance teachers for helping me learn this skill of breaking things down into palpable chunks. I’m eager and happy to pass along this lesson! Interested in joining us? Spring classes start January 8th! Click here for a free trial coupon.

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Different Kinds of Coaching

One of the best things about really getting into dance as an extracurricular activity is that you rarely just have one teacher (unless you are in combination classes or are enrolled in just one style). I’m mainly speaking about dancers like our Energy Dance Company members, who are required to take dance in multiple styles throughout the week. Not only is this exposing them to the many facets of the World of Dance, but it is exposing them to many different kinds of teachers and coaches. lex pic 1

While we make it a priority to hire teachers who care deeply for our mission of building confidence, our teachers range in levels of strictness, style of communication, behavior modification tactics, etc. A dancer may LOVE one teacher, but be scared of disappointing another. That’s ok. A dancer may click with an instructor’s personality, but have a hard time picking up her choreography. That’s ok too.

Throughout a person’s lifetime he or she will be exposed to different kinds of “coaches.” This could be teachers, professors or bosses. Team leads, project managers, etc. It is an important lesson to learn how to work well with and flourish under different types of personalities. We are all human, and we are all different. That’s what makes each of us special.

Interested in joining our studio? Spring classes start January 8th. Click here for a free trial coupon.

Dancing Can Improve Mental Health

It’s a crazy, upsetting time in our country, and around the world. We can’t seem to go just a few days without stories of useless violence, and, the politics of gun control or mental health services aside, most would agree that it takes someone of an unstable mental health to perform such heinous acts.  I wanted to highlight excerpts from an article put together by the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard University regarding dance and mental health. brain-dance

“Millions of Americans dance, either recreationally or professionally. How many of those who are ballroom dancing, doing the foxtrot, break dancing, or line dancing, realize that they are doing something positive for their bodies—and their brains? Dance, in fact, has such beneficial effects on the brain that it is now being used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological movement disorder.”

“In a 2008 article in Scientific American magazine, a Columbia University neuroscientist posited that synchronizing music and movement—dance, essentially—constitutes a “pleasure double play.” Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers, while dance activates its sensory and motor circuits.”

“There’s no question, anecdotally at least, that music has a very stimulating effect on physical activity,” says Daniel Tarsy, MD, an HMS professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). “And I think that applies to dance, as well.”

Interested in reading the full article? Check it out here!

Teaching gratefulness.

All of the sudden it’s November, and through all the craziness of Costume Week and the Halloween frenzy we have emerged into the holiday season. Today I will put up our Thankful Turkey, which is a fun tradition each year at Lonestar. We encourage dancers to take a feather and write things for which they are grateful, and then we help the turkey tail grow. It’s a fun, culture-building, community craft, and it’s always entertaining to see the things that a 4 year old appreciates! thankful turkey

More than a craft just once a year, though, we try to always inspire a thankful spirit at our studio. It’s built into our mission of inspiring confidence. A confident person is grateful for the talents she has instead of envious of the talents she doesn’t. A grateful person can appreciate his unique abilities and showcase them in ways that make him stand out. Grateful people are happier with the outcomes of auditions or formation placements instead of whining about what they thought they deserved.

I want my dancers to be grateful they have working limbs, thankful they have parents that pay for their extracurricular activities, happy to have teachers who care about their growth, and to appreciate the rare gift that is finding your passion.

Interested in joining our studio? Spring classes start January 8th. Click here for a free trial coupon.