Education

Being a Dance Mentor

Nobel Banquet prizewinner, Rosalyn Yalow, once said to a group of students:

"If we are to have faith that mankind will survive and thrive on the face of the earth, we must believe that each succeeding generation will be wiser than its progenitors. We transmit to you, the next generation, the total sum of our knowledge. Yours is the responsibility to use it, to add to it, and transmit it to your children."

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Choosing a Dance School

Fact: Dance training is expensive.

Fact: Dance training is a rather large time commitment.

Fact: Dance training is working with muscles/bones/developmental growth.

Fact: It is important that you research schools, ask questions and choose one that fits what you are looking for in a school and for your child.

This isn't the easiest task in the world to do, especially if you do not know a lot about dance. Perhaps you don't know the questions to ask or certain things to look for. Here is our guide to Choosing a Dance School! Plus download our special checklist for parents!

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Photo: Southeastern Regional Ballet Association - Photo by Richard Calmes


 

Girl-on-Girl Crime

Class was over. The little girl grabbed her dance bag and ran from the studio. When she found her mother outside waiting for her in the lobby, tears were streaming down her face. She wanted to go home. And now.

The mother stood bewildered. Her daughter had never left dance class before in such a state. She followed her daughter out of the studio. [Continue reading to find out what happened in this scenario].

Girl-on-girl crime can creep its way into many situations. Today, we will examine how girl-on-girl crime finds itself in dance studios and dance relationships; the effects of girl-on-girl crime, and how it can be prevented.

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Interview with New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Sara Mearns

Read our interview with New York City Principal dancer, Sara Mearns as she discusses growing up in the ballet world, and the whirlwind of classes, schools, auditions and ballets that have come together to make her dreams come true. The interview is open, honest and truthful. A true look at the life of an American ballerina.

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Photo: Sara Mearns performing with New York City Ballet


 

10 Things Dance Teachers Say

1. What we say: "Point your feet!"

What this really means: A beautiful pointed foot is not just about the toes. In fact, "scrunching" your toes is not a pointed foot at all! Scrunching toes can also lead to injuring a tendon in your foot. A good point, instead, lies in the instep (between your ankle and toes). Try exercises sitting down, pushing through demi pointe and then en pointe, using your entire foot. Also try standing, and thinking "pulling up through your arches" and "spreading the toes" out. This will help you feel the energy coming through your instep. Then, when you jump of lift the foot off the floor, the toes will come underneath in a beautiful point. Pointed feet exhibits a dancer's extensions and lines. It is also important for balance and strength.


 

Why Dance Matters.

So we're sitting with a friend at a local restaurant following a meeting about promoting arts education in the city. We had just completed a tour of our local theater, discussed its history and future plans. We sat there completely thrilled; our hearts were full, and we were living off the energy from everyone in the group and their dedication to the arts in our city.

A man comes over and introduces himself. Turns out, he is a supporter of the theater. This made us very happy until he asked: "Now, what is it you do?" We said, "Dance instructors!"

But then he said this.

"And you can make a living off of that?"

We answered, "Yes. We can. We do. And here is why we should."


 

How is Fear Directing Your Life?

"The woman who needs to create works of art is born with a kind of psychic tension in her which drives her unmercifully to find a way to balance, to make herself whole. Every human being has this need..." -May Sarton

We always knew we loved dance and we loved creating by using dance as our choice of expression. But we were plagued by very specific thoughts (that would get stuck in heavy rotation at times).  "I wish I could dance like her. I should have worked harder. If I had taken more ballet, I would be even better." These thoughts could, often times, be paralyzing.

We needed to figure out how to push through those thoughts in order to arrive at a place where we could celebrate who we are in the world of dance and what we bring to the world of dance.

We've heard there are 4 types of fear.

Fear of Loss

Fear of Failure

Fear of Rejection

Fear of the Unknown

In order to truly recognize who you are and what you have to offer when it comes to your talent / business / expertise... you have to intimately understand these 4 types of fear and how the types apply to the relationship between you and fear {and we all have a relationship with fear; which is not necessarily a bad thing.}


 

Dream Logistics

Written by: Sheena Jeffers for Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins

Happy, happy June! This is the last month of working my full-time, day job... so that I can focus full-time on my dream life! {Cheers!}

It has certainly been a journey. Back in 2008, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Then in 2009, I discovered I wanted to be a teacher. Then in 2010, I wanted to be a yoga teacher. Then in 2011, I discovered I wanted to be a leader. Then in 2012, I applied for graduate school.


 

Living through Monumental Loss

As performers, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We put everything out there. We fall in love quickly with everything, because everything serves as inspiration to our gifts. We read in between the lines to try and help ourselves grow as artists. We over analyze, we listen to critiques and sometimes take them personally. We build things up in our minds, to help motivate our focus and drive, and we believe in what we do and who we are.

These are all wonderful qualities. They make us strong. They make us able to do what thousands of people will never be able to do - stand in front of thousands of people and perform.

But these qualities also make us extremely vulnerable.

As artists, our motto has always been: "You have to go there to know there." (Quote from Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.) If we were expected to portray a depressed young girl, we needed to understand what that felt like. If we were to portray an overjoyed, confident go-getter, we needed to live that first, before we could convince someone that we were that.

But making yourself go there, making yourself feel everything, is not always the easiest responsibility. We have to breathe through the lows, and be careful not to get addicted or live only for the highs. It's a balancing act that takes dedication, self-awareness and patience.


 

Raising Positive Dancers

We were recently reading an article by Rhonda Talbot who tackles some tough parenting questions. As educators, our main goal is to foster progress within a strong individual. The foundation of that goal is to help establish a strong individual.

How do we, as teachers, make that happen?


 

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