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. Let 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.
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.
When 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.
Here at Lonestar Dance we have a myriad of dancers who participate in dance at many different levels. We have a few competition dancers who are here 5-6 days a week (in large part because they choose to take extra classes) and recreational dancers that are here just 1-2 hours a week. Either way, doing an activity like dance teaches school-age children time management, which is such an applicable tool as a working adult.
I am very much of the opinion that schoolwork comes first for our dancers. Attendance at dance is extremely important when preparing for performances and competitions (company dancers shouldn’t miss more than 3 practices in a semester and recreational dancers get a follow up call after missing 2 classes in a row), but would I rather you be at dance when you are failing a class and need to go to tutorials? Heck no! It is up to parents, teachers, and extracurricular coaches to help these young people understand how to manage everything they are doing. Kids are BUSY.
Dancing several days a week, managing going to school full-time, being involved in school clubs and activities, and having a social life isn’t always easy growing up, but I thank dance for my time management skills I have now. I am a very organized person, and I think I got that from having to manage and juggle so much while basically living at the dance studio.
Dancers are actors. We use our bodies to tell stories, and your face and head are part of your body. Any time I see a dead-faced dancer during a performance, I lose all interest. We teach our dancers that facial expressions and emoting are just as, if not more, important as having proper placement of your limbs. Even when you are out of breath and about to collapse on stage, your job is to tell the story. If that means keeping your giant smile on, then you better smile! How does this translate?
We all know those overly emotional people at work, on Facebook, in our friend groups. The ones who over share or can’t seem to hold it together. Life can throw some pretty unexpected and tough situations our way, no doubt, but sometimes we just have to put on a happy face. We have to do it for those who depend on us. Stay positive and face each day with a smile, and the world will smile with you!
In this season of new, fresh starts, I’m reminded constantly how fun it is to have something to look forward to. All week we have had students and parents coming in to register, and we’ve heard comments like, “She has missed it so much,” or “She’s been asking about dance since June!” Back to school was always fun for me; I like routine, I like to learn. I’d get to see friends I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. But, back to DANCE?! THAT’S THE BEST THING EVER. *says Kate’s 12 year old self*
Back to movement, back to dance friends, back to creating and learning. I’m so happy to be providing a service that kids and parents look forward to. The thing about dance, though? There is ALWAYS something to look forward to! A performance, a competition, a class, a new costume. Dancers also get to look forward to accomplishing goals and acquiring new skill sets. We will be having our 10th Annual Holiday Benefit Performance on December 11th, and soon we will start preparing our classes. A full 10-12 weeks out from the performance our dancers will start learning, preparing, and talking about the show. By the time it comes they will be so excited!
Sometimes, as adults, we look so forward to something that when it comes we have built it up too much in our heads. My hope and mission is to fulfill every part of what our dancers look forward to each year, each performance, each class time. Thank you to all our dance parents for giving us, and them, that opportunity! We are “looking forward” to a great year!
When I was the captain on Texas Pom I would have to write packing lists for our trips. Being that college is that “in-between” phase of being wholly independent and still somewhat a child, we held each other accountable to remember things like costume pieces, pajamas, retainers, the right shoes to wear, etc. On mornings where we had to get up at the crack of dawn for appearances we would self-assign a buddy to text or call each other in the morning to make sure we were up. We took all the experiences we had in school and dance growing up and helped each other be responsible, and we built valuable life skills for adulthood. That was the first time that there was no parent to wake us up or check our check lists.
These lessons were being taught to us all along on our dance teams and school teams as we matured. Even my mini team has to have all the right shoes and costume pieces for competition, right? Maybe mom helps a lot right now, but they are starting to learn how to prepare for something, remember details, and execute detailed directions. It’s one thing to have to remember your sports uniform, shoes and a few pieces of equipment. It’s entirely another to have to fill a huge duffle bag full of 4-5 pieces per costume, make up, earrings, 4-5 pairs of shoes, a cover up, etc.
I think this makes dancers logical thinkers, problem solvers, and detailed workers. We generally listen to directions well and are good planners. Of course, this perspective is all coming from someone with an “A-type,” organized personality, but I think even our dreamers are very responsible. Isn’t it great when your creative passions can also teach you such practical life lessons? I think so. Interested in starting your dance journey? Click here to download a free trial coupon.
Kids are so busy! I was of the busy kid generation, so I do get it. I would get up at 5:30AM to go to One Act Play rehearsal before school because the whole cast was so busy with after school activities and homework that doing rehearsal later in the day was not an option. I would go to school, work, dance or be involved in other clubs from 5:30AM to 9PM almost daily. Plus fitting in homework when necessary (I think kids do more homework now, though). Today, high school curriculum mirrors more of a college course load than mine did. Learning how to time manage and deal with stress are absolutely necessary to be successful in a college or work atmosphere as they grow and move on.
All this to say: kids (and adults!) need to find their stress relievers.
While I absolutely love my job providing dance as an opportunity and teaching it to the next generation, it gets pretty stressful to run a business and plan for my own classrooms each week. I have found a few stress relievers when I need to take a brain break from the studio (mostly exercise these days), but the absolute best is when I have the opportunity to take dance for myself. An opportunity to refill my cup with the passion I have for the art of dance. I see these kids refill their cups every day when they get the opportunity to step into the dance room and just be themselves. They can be silly, they can get the wiggles out, they can express emotions that they cannot put into words. They sweat, they stretch, they create. They get to take their own “brain break” from their busy, stressful lives, and I love witnessing them learn how to “de-stress.”
The performance arts are a unique opportunity to practice something very hard, very often, for just one performance. One shot. Countless hours and efforts can go into learning a routine, perfecting that routine, and making it muscle memory all to perform it one, solitary time on stage. You may only get those 2 minutes to show off an entire year’s worth of training. Sometimes it goes swimmingly, other times you blow it. Lessons can be learned either way.
During this time leading up to our 12th annual recital, I have been reflecting on what an exciting time it is. I get butterflies thinking about recital day; the culmination of all our hard work. Participating in recitals teaches dancers how to perform under intense pressure. It teaches them to be a part of something behind the scenes. It shows them that successes only come from dedication, practice and hard work.
The adrenaline rush of performing is almost addicting. You see dancers come off stage breathless, not just because of the cardiovascular exercise, but because of the excitement of performing live. I know I’ve gotten a similar rush when being interviewed or making a difficult phone call. The trick is turning those nerves into positive energy. Dance is such a cool way to practice and learn this life lesson! Interested in seeing this idea in action? Click here to join the Facebook event for our 12th Annual Recital, “Under the Big Top!”
As a daughter and sister of educators, I was (and continually am) pushed to solve problems logically, reasonably and creatively. Never was I just given an answer; I was taught to work for it and find the solution. I married someone who also pushes me often to be a problem-solver. There are almost always multiple ways that a problem can be solved, and I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are happy to talk through probable solutions and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Growing up in a teacher’s household, though, also enlightened me to all the issues that come with an often over-regulated curriculum that does not always cater to each individual’s learning style. Every spring you see the blog posts and status updates cursing standardized testing and the government’s assumption that all children can learn the same way. Kudos to all you amazing teachers out there that continually push and find ways to reach every child in your classroom. I imagine that it isn’t easy!
If your child struggles with the sometimes one-dimensional aspects of school, dance is excellent example of an environment where children can learn that there may be many ways to solve a problem. During improvisation exercises instructors often may say something like, “Work your way from this side of the room to the other and don’t let your feet leave the ground,” or,”Figure out a way to make it across the room in only 10 steps.” There are very few rules or parameters and multiple ways to solve the problem in these kinds of exercises, and it’s exciting to watch children attack it from different angles. Interested in starting your dance journey? Click here.
We have a special blog post edition today written by one of our dedicated students! Abby Purcell is 15 years old and has been dancing at Lonestar Dance Center for the last 3 years. She aspires to be a working dancer one day, and she shares her thoughts on how dance is teaching her the art of networking early on. Enjoy! — Kate
Over the years, I have realized a few things about dance that are very helpful at any age; one of them being networking. Making connections with others dancers in your community can make the competition environment better and convention classes less separated by studio. About two years ago I started branching out at conventions and competitions to meet new people, and from then on I began to appreciate the Austin dance community to a much greater extent. Going to a convention [or class, or audition] by yourself, or even with your studio, may feel awkward at first since you don’t know most of the people in the room, and this is part of the reason why networking is so important.
This past weekend, I attended a convention/competition in Austin. I went to this event last year, however this time, I wasn’t with others from my studio. I recognized a few people from past conventions and competitions, since most dancers at this convention were from Austin. The Austin dance community is so large, you could easily meet multiple new people at each competition.
Taking classes with friends from other studios is such a treat because it isn’t the norm. In addition, seeing the level of talent from other places makes the environment of the class even better, and it may encourage you to push harder to do well.
I have made many friends at conventions in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Chicago, and just knowing their names and making those connections could be important if I want to continue with my dance career. Remember, once you are done with competitive studio training, everyone becomes part of the dance community, and that is why networking at an earlier age can make it easier for your career in the long run.