Passing Along Promptness

**This week’s blog post written by Lonestar Instructor Alexis Parmentier.

As a kid I knew that if God wanted me to do something with my life, it would be a blessing I felt he was leading me towards. As an adult, I can full heartedly say that God has blessed me with dancing as a gift and he has lead me to teach dance to the younger generation. The traits that I have learned growing up as a dancer will be traits I carry with me my whole life, and something I will pass down to future generations.

Thinking back to when I was a student, I learned the value of responsibility, promptness, respect, teamwork, and so many other qualities that have made me who I am today. By learning these things, I now know what I’d like to expect from my own students.img_6444

As I grew up, I learned more and more about what each of my teachers appreciated. Whether it be dress code, respect, or promptness, I started to note how I could serve them in little ways when I was going to dance class.

For me, as a teacher, promptness is the first thing I pay attention to when it comes to class. Being on time and ready to dance when the class is starting is so important. I take time every day to lesson plan before coming to the studio to teach my dancers.  In order to knock out stretching, improving on skills, learning new ones, & working on choreography, we have to start right when the start of class comes around. If a dancer comes late to class, it takes away from the other dancers when I have to ensure the late dancer is warm and focused. If I am giving undivided attention to one dancer by warming them up or reviewing what has already been taught, it takes away from the class as a whole.

From walking in the door, to taking attendance & wanting to knock out all of my plans, I have to be punctual, and I expect the same from those I mentor! Just another thing dance is teaching our students each and every week. Interested in joining us? Click here for a free trial.

At the End of the Day

**Today’s Blog Post written by Lonestar Dance Center instructor Kolbey Gonzales.

After the work day is all said and done, most people go home to relax, cook dinner, spend time with loved ones, and empty their mind from experiences that happened throughout the day. When it comes to educators- the end of our day doesn’t exactly fall into that description. At the end of my day, I find myself driving home and immediately thinking about my kids. I sit and ponder to myself, “What could I have done better today?,” “Was he or she okay?,” “Did I give my best?”, “I wonder what they thought about my lesson?” There are so many questions that I ask myself concerning the children that I teach and it never stops.

As an educator you don’t come home and shut your brain off. Believe me, there are so many times I wish I could do that. It’s such a blessing in disguise that I can’t though, because at the end of the day, the kids that walk in and out of my classroom are so important to me. I consistently want to be my best for them. When I come home, I take the time to say hello to my boyfriend and our dog, cook dinner (if he hasn’t already), and jump back into work. I’ll tell him stories that happened during my classes, cut music, look for recital or competition costumes, and figure out what I plan to do the next day. fullsizerender-3It seriously never stops. I honestly get so tickled at myself when I go shopping for makeup and remember that one of my students likes a certain eyeshadow palate that she showed me on her phone, or when I see something bright pink I casually think, “Oh, she would love this!” I know one of my students loves when I wear highlighter on my cheekbones, so I’ll throw some on to see if she notices, and it almost turns into a game.

It’s the small things like this that makes being a teacher so special. Not only are you putting your skill to use by teaching, but at the end of the day your kids end up teaching you just a little bit more- in such an extraordinary way. There are days when I walk out of the studio and think, “Man I nailed that lesson plan today!” But after slowly reconsidering my boastfulness, I think again “was it me, or my students who brought it the extra mile?” I don’t think there are enough words to describe what it’s like being a dance educator, or an educator period. Every day is a different day and like Forrest Gump himself said, “You never know what you’re going to get.” That’s what makes what we do so amazing, and we have so much potential to change a child’s life. Just like our former teachers did for us; ultimately they were the reason we wanted to pick such an honorable career.

Being an educator isn’t about having summers off, school vacation scheduling, or even the perk of a stable job choice. It’s about making a difference not only for the kids that you see daily, but for yourself. Sure, there are days you won’t be thanked,  days you’ll wonder if you’re in the right profession, and days that you feel like giving up. When that happens, think of the child you could possibly be letting down. As teachers, our attitude is a direct reflection of our classroom and all it takes is one negative comment to turn a hard working kid into one who doesn’t care. So at the end of the day, the best thing to do is remember they are JUST kids. They may be going through some things that we will never understand or ever know about. They will forgive you, as long as you forgive them because every day is a new day for opportunity. An opportunity for enlightenment, that “Ah, hah” moment, or when you get to see pure excitement and passion written all over your kiddos faces when they finally understand, or excel at something. At the end of the day, think of those moments and realize that what we are doing now isn’t just some temporary affair. We are establishing values and characteristics of good people that can be exerted for a lifetime. So think, at the end of the day how do you want to be remembered by the kids, who you remember constantly?

Collaborating with your Competitors

Dance studios are an interesting business plan. Not only are your time investors not your monetary investors, but you are trying to apply value to something that has a lot of hidden, intrinsic values that aren’t always seen right away. Another way that it is unique is how we interact with our direct competitors. You see, at the end of the day, we are all extremely passionate about the same thing.

936_7k4a0405I do care very much how my business performs; I need to pay my bills and my employees and pay myself enough to feel valued in my workplace. I do want to attract clients to my studio over another studio so we can continue providing this service. But in the dance community we would all rather a student be dancing somewhere and growing as a person through the art of dance than not dancing at all.

At conventions we studio owners and directors take classes and improve ourselves together. At competitions we cheer each other on. We even collaborate in shows for the greater good. We build bridges across these boundaries in hopes that our dancers learn how to network, make friends and use their art and their passions in an amazing way. Interested in starting your dance journey? Click here for a free trial.

 

SELL IT When it’s Simple

In classes last week we were doing a complicated combination across the floor. Very few students were able to grasp the choreography 100%, but they were given 3-4 “moments” where, no matter the skill level, they could nail the step and “sell it” with their energy and face. Inevitably, many of the students completely threw away those easy moments because they were frustrated with the harder steps. If I were a judge in that moment, and that combination was an audition, I would have rather they bungled every technical aspect of the combination and really performed those 3-4 simple moments with confidence.

fullsizerender-1One of our students who does a lot of auditioning graciously shared a story about an experience that had a lot of impact on her. In a huge ballroom of hundreds of dancers she got called up on stage for one simple opening move. Why? Because she SOLD IT. She messed up the rest of the choreography, but that one, simple opening move, that she did with confidence, hooked the viewer.

And so goes life. How often do we let the hard things that we don’t quite grasp mess up the easy things that we should be confident about? It’s one thing to be able to fake it until you make it, but whole other thing to be able to sell it when you really know what you are talking about. Just another thing that dance is teaching our dancers each and every class.

Interested in starting your dance journey? Click here for a free trial. 

That “Feel-Good” Feeling

I recently took a pretty extended vacation from the studio. In addition to the normal 2 weeks off for school I took a whole extra week and traveled Europe. It was amazing. I won’t lie and say that I was all that eager to get back to my normal routine, as wonderful as it is. I wasn’t really quite ready for the grind.

That said, I had the most amazing week back from vacation.img_6285 All my anxieties, all my fears about returning to work have melted away upon watching these dancers laugh, create, play and enjoy the studio. It has made me reflect upon the things that really make me happy, or give me that “Feel-Good” feeling.

I got it when I watched moms watching their babies trying something new at Free Day of Dance. I got it when my EDC dancers were laughing and cheering each other on in our first competition. I got it when I saw a group of nine 3-4 year olds playing the most adorable game of Freeze Dance ever with a teacher that was beaming.

I hope that what we do here at Lonestar Dance Center is providing dancers and families with hundreds of “Feel-Good” feelings every day. I hope that stressed-out moms, over-scheduled kids and sometimes under-appreciated teachers are cherishing each of these moments. I’d love for you to pass along this amazing gift of dance to a friend in 2017. Direct them here for a free trial class!

Everything I Wasn’t

**Today’s blog post written by Lonestar Dance Center instructor Alexis Parmentier.

Growing up as a competitive dancer meant carrying the weight of improving myself and skills daily. It was a heavy weight to carry. To improve my self image, technique, and skills was a lot to handle from age 8-18. I always had the thirst to feel confident in the way I looked in a leotard, or in shorts and a crop top. The image I saw in the dance world around me was not the image I could pull off. I wanted to have a little bit of everyone else. I wanted to have legs that were a little longer, that had a lot of strength. The stomach that had no curves, but just enough so I looked decent in my convention outfit. I wanted to have the feet that any dancer would kill for. I wanted to be the dancer who got scholarships. I wanted to be everything that I wasn’t. fullsizerender-2
As an adult now, married and teaching dance for a living, I can comfortably say it isn’t about what you aren’t. It isn’t about receiving first place. It isn’t about receiving a scholarship at a convention. From age 8-18, not once did I ever receive a scholarship. I wasn’t the girl that got to get her name called and go up on stage to collect that fancy piece of paper. Dance isn’t about getting noticed from ‘celebrities’ and ‘famous dancers’ off social media. It isn’t about the number of likes you get on the video you post. You have to think back to why you started dancing & know who you are.
I am a dancer. I am a strong, dedicated, joyful, crazy dance teacher who loves the word dance. I love dance because it is an art. I feel led to move to any song I hear. To dance wasn’t just to move my feet, it was to embrace my passion behind the art and express who I was. It was about being the best version of me, whether others saw it or not.
Interested in starting your dance journey? Click here for a free trial class!

Health Benefits of Dance

It’s so fun when you see articles confirming what you know to be true. I want to share an article we found on HealthGuidance.org talking about many of the same things we discuss on this blog. push upsIn the expanded article found here, they discuss these benefits of dance.

  1. Weight Loss
  2. Muscle Tone
  3. Posture
  4. Flexibility
  5. Balance
  6. Kinesthetic Awareness
  7. Mood

We agree! Check out the article for the breakdown of each benefit. Interested in joining us? Download a free trial coupon here!

There Will Always Be Someone Better

And the sooner you accept this, the sooner you can be proud of where you are and how far you’ve come. In the studio it always seems like someone else is just edging you out on a new skill, a level promotion, or in picking up choreography. If you happen to be the strongest dancer at your studio, it only takes attending 1 convention or audition to realize that there are hundreds of dancers as or more talented than you.

hiphop13Having more talented people around you should bring you inspiration, not depression! Learn from them. Be humble enough to ask them for feedback. Surround yourself with the dancers who are successful, but kind. This is exactly how we, as adults, are coached in our jobs, right? And sometimes, it seems, no matter how hard we work, that we can never catch up. But be gentle with yourself. Ignore the naysayers, even if that naysayer is you. It is all part of growing, learning, and changing for the better, and I am proud and happy to be providing this opportunity to young people.

Ready to start your dance journey? Click here to trial a class for free.

Get Over Looking Silly

There is always a first time for everything. No one is an expert at something right off the bat. You’re going to look novice, and that is ok. It just means you showed up and are open to learning.

There is always, always something new to learn as a dancer. Even if your technique is polished and advanced, teachers will continuously ask you to try moving your body in new and different ways. fdod7Let the fear that you might get it wrong push you forward, not backward. You just might find out it’s wonderful!

In addition, remember that no one is really looking at you. They are looking at themselves! This is everyone, all the time, not just dance class. No one is as critical of you as you are of yourself. Seriously. This should free you up to be the best version of YOU, even if that version is still a hot mess. Your fellow dancers, your co workers, your peers are just like you, making the effort for the same reasons you are. For the bettterment of your own body, mind and soul.

Ready to join us? Click here to trial a class for free.

Get Out of Your Head and Be In the Moment

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’m a thinker. I like to plan and be in control. Sometimes thinkers and planners have a hard time being content and living in the moment. This is something that dance teaches me and continues to teach me.
moh-learning-curveWhen I am lucky enough to take class at a convention, it is not rare that I find myself overcome with emotion at some point during the class. That could be moved to tears or laughter, but getting to dance takes me out of my thinking cap and allows me to just live in that moment in time.

There is nothing more enjoyable than getting lost in the flow of dance. This only happens when you get out of your head, stop thinking, and just trust. Let’s just let go and be content, in dance and in life. Ready to start your dance journey? Download a free trial coupon here.