Thunderstorms

Dancers, remember: It is easy to lose oneself.

Sometimes, the lessons we have to learn aren't peaceful. They are more like a smack to the face. One of these lessons to understand is that with beautiful things comes responsibility and thunderstorms.

Top 10 Reasons: Dance & Community Service

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

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Dance and community service together can change lives. Here's how:

The Business of Life

We recently sat across from a nurse while eating dinner with friends.

“So,” she began, swishing her wine around in her glass. “How exactly do you live?”

This was her response to our telling her we are dance teachers. We smiled, laughed to ourselves.

“I didn’t mean that in any way other than: How did you turn something you love to do into an income?”

Thus, we explained our double life.

Just Show Up

“For me, sick days are out of the question. I like to think the show won’t go on without me. The harsh truth, though, is that I don’t take sick days because I know it will.”

We’ve always told our students: Just show up.

Whether it is showing up to a dance class, a social gathering, a friend’s birthday party, a wedding, dinner, an interview... just show up.

Just Don't Wanna

These cold mornings and nights are not our favorite. It's hard to push through and remember, "Spring is coming; Summer's right behind that;  Just wait" when you're having to get dressed and sit in a freezing car to work, work, work. Also, we're still exhausted from 2010! Winter is a harsh, harsh season, accompanied, for many, by the blues.

Most of these winter days and nights, we fight the "just don't wanna" attitude. See exhibit 1 below.

It's a hard battle to fight considering, hey, we're right there with ya toots!

So we've come up with the recipe to help fight off the "just don't wannas."

Lessons Learned

Some of the Hardest:

Your parents aren't perfect. They will mess up, make bad judgment calls, say mean things, become insecure, need advice, and have questions. Mostly, they are dealing with their own personal mountains and monsters.

There is always someone better than you. It's true. There is always someone. No matter how hard you work, how many trophies or ribbons your name is engraved in, how many schools you attend, books you read or documentaries you watch; there is always someone.

Perfectly Free...

Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance, in the middle of fighting.
Dance, in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.

-Rumi

The Fine Line Between Fun & Discipline

Just as every math, science and English teacher desires, we dance teachers desire for our subject to be fun. We were drawn to dance because of its energy, passion, creativity and FUN. It makes us smile, feel weightless and unstoppable. But there was always a distinct line: a line that we learned to be aware of and respect.

Somewhere along your dance experience you must learn that dance isn't just chassés in a circle, or "head-shoulders-knees-and toes." To REACH a new level of freedom in dance (and fun in dance) requires technique, dedication, loyalty and persistence.

It takes all of the bad days you have in dance, when nothing goes right and your body is working 110% against you, to test your technique, dedication, loyalty and persistence. Dance, just like anything you could want, will seduce you just long enough until it's ready to pull away! It makes you work for it.

As a dancer, we know the line well, but as a teacher? We had to discover when to acknowledge and enforce the line. Sure, we have rules which we establish the first day of class: No gum, No hair in the face, No baggy clothes, No talking over each other, No asking the same question your fellow dancer just asked, No saying "I can't," No disrespect toward the studio, the art, other dancers, or the teacher. But we also encourage our students to open up: tell stories, express when they are frustrated (as long as they do not quit), and share whatever they're going through (happy, sad, mad, bad). Sharing creates caring as well as unexpected connections in the studio. It dissolves the walls our students bring into class on the first day, and promotes a good learning environment so that the result is a fantastic piece at the show.

However, it also brings... relaxation.

This is the line.

Confidence by Trial & Error

We can all agree on at least one thing: Turning the hot water off while in the shower during the winter, so difficult. If you're anything like us, we sit there and stare at it knowing as soon as we turn this off the real world is going to hit us like an ice truck, then we're going to have to get out of the shower, grab the towel, and run - freezing - down the hall, where we will inevitably have to get ready for work and start what we're sure will be a very long day. (Deep breath). That entire process is started by having to admit: "You can't stay here in the warm, soothing water all day."

A lot of people don't do simply because they know the chain of events to follow may be downright uncomfortable. But sometimes, that's exactly what we need.

While we were never scared to dance in front of our fellow arts school classmates, singing was another thing all together. As students in the Musical Theater department, we were required to stand in front of peers, who we were also trying to develop friendships with, and sing. If we could tell you how many times this process felt like sandpaper on sunburn... and how many times we prayed we could unzip our skin and walk away, you would be reading this blog for far longer than you budgeted time for.

Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins

Yay, 2011! We have so many goals and dreams for this year, and launching this Web site is the first big step!

This Web site and this blog is our attempt to do many things:

1. Open the door for dancers, teachers, students, parents for discussion, choreography, and communication
2. Track the journey as a dancer, teacher, student, friend, sister, daughter, choreographer
3. Collect thoughts, ideas, choreography, hopes and dreams for the future in teaching dance and working with the community

This v. That: Ballet

In ballet, there are so many terms that either sound alike, look alike or seem eerily similar. They're the set of words that always get switched in your brain or make you think a little harder on which is which. Stress no more! We are here to help you see and feel the difference in seemingly similar ballet terms.


 

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