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Top Dance Instagram Accounts You Should be Following

Wake up and turn to your phone like it’s the morning paper? Yeah, me too. Make sure you’re in the know. These Instagrammers aren’t to be missed

Dusty Button

Instagram: Dusty_Button  https://www.instagram.com/dusty_button/

This uber-talented Principle with the Boston Ballet has more than just a ballet game. Coming from a varied background, she regularly posts videos practicing her gorgeous technique, posing in exotic locales and wonderful, imaginative choreography and improv.

Operation Tap

Instagram: operationtap

Tap lovers will find a plethora of posts from current tap greats, including Anthony Morigerato, Mike Minery & Ayodele Casele. Favorite posts are the addictive Technique Challenges, where dancers can learn a series of challenging sequences that push you to get it clean and get it right. So frustrating. So good!

Misty Copeland

Instagram: mistyonpointe

This might sound like a ‘duh’, but Misty’s groundbreaking celebrity is just plain fun to watch! She is your daily reminder that with determination and the right attitude, all things are possible.

The Biscuit Ballerina

Instagram: biscuitballerina

Who is this person?! This account pokes fun at all the technical flaws you might see on a poorly trained pointe dancer. While this type of thing isn’t usually my bag, I have to admit that it cracks me up.  Guilty pleasure, anyone? A good reminder not to take yourself too seriously.

Les Twins

Instagram: officiallestwins

Great account featuring lots of crazy dancing, travels, fun and adventure. They were an online favorite even before their World of Dance win. Their energy is just infectious! Two good guys with good attitudes and a great sense of humor.

Power of Positivity

Instagram: powerofpositivity

OK, so this isn’t technically a dance account, but it certainly delivers on uplifting and inspirational sentiments that help you power through your day and keep things in perspective. They post a lot, like A LOT, which guarantees that you’ll find something positive in your feed any time you click that icon.

Debbie Allen Dance Academy

Instagram: officialdadance

When I think of Debbie Allen, I always think of “Fame” (the TV series, not the movie… can we all agree the TV series was much better?). But Ms Allen has a thriving and wonderful real life dance studio that posts lots of different dancing, different abilities and different opportunities. Worth the follow.
Nederland Dance Theater

Instagram: ndtdance

Really interesting company posting really interesting photos and videos of what they do. It’s unique and out of the box. Their videos will really make you think about where you can take choreography and what you can do with it. It makes me want to see them in person, which is kind of the point 🙂

Verdon Fosse Legacy

Instagram: verdonfosselegacy

Fosse is certainly one of my favorite choreographers and his work and movement style really move me. Check out this account, and also don’t forget to learn about Gwen Verdon and her role in some of the most iconic images that come to mind when you think about Fosse.

NH Academie of Dance

Instagram: nhadance

You wouldn’t forget to follow your favorite dance studio, would you?

 

Top 10 Reasons your Little should take dancing lessons

  1. CONFIDENCE

Children are given early opportunities for personal growth when exposed to dance. Little dancers work on developing the type of “I Can” attitude that will give them the self-esteem later on to tackle difficult tasks and overcome obstacles. Achieving goals and acquiring new skills instills self confidence and poise.

 

  1. MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

Little dancers often achieve developmental milestones more quickly than their non-dancing peers. Dance teaches balance, bilateral movement, gross and fine motor skills, spacial awareness and more.

 

  1. FIT MINDS & BODIES

Dance at its core encourages healthy habits that will last a child a lifetime. Dance fosters a strong mind-body connection and helps create strong, healthy bodies.

 

  1. SOCIAL SKILLS

Dance exposes children to new friends and new people, encouraging them to interact in a unique setting.

 

  1. TEAMWORK

Young dancers learn to work as a unit and work as a team to achieve a common goal. They learn the importance of being dependable and the responsibility of being relied upon.

 

  1. INDEPENDENCE

A preschool dance class is often a child’s first time separating from their caregiver and their first chance to learn to do something on their own.

 

  1. CREATIVITY & EXPRESSIVENESS

The opportunity to express emotions through movement, builds left brain skills such as language and imagination. Dancers exposed to dance at a young age are encouraged to “think outside the box” and develop creative problem solving skills early on.

 

  1. TOLERANCE and ACCEPTANCE

Dance exposes children to others from all walks of life, cultures and learning differences. We all learn at different rates, and children will learn to function early on within different contexts based on their ability levels.  I would argue that there are few communities as loving and giving as the dance community, and children exposed to this atmosphere will grow into caring, empathetic individuals.

  1. ROLE MODELS

Meet your new role model, your dance teacher! Good dance teachers have just the right mix of patience, support, leadership and discipline. Children often grow up knowing the same teachers for years, and learn valuable life lessons along the way.

  1. FUN

Dancing and moving to music is SO. MUCH. FUN!!!!

So dance on over to your favorite dancing school (NH Academie of Dance!) and enroll your little in a dance class today!

PS- Online registrations are easily accomplished at http://www.nhadance.com !

Costume Craze

Receiving recital costumes is one of the most exciting times for your dancer. There is nothing quite like the look on a young dancer who just adores the costume. In that moment, their dreams have come true! Dressing my dancers and choosing what they will wear is fun! It completes our artistic visions and gives our dancers confidence when they look and feel great!

But there is a dark side to all this, a behind-the-scenes industry secret that studio owners know all too well. Dance costume suppliers are absolutely archaic, behind the times companies with notoriously terrible customer service and very little motivation to rectify any fit or quality issues that may arise. They make that part of our job hard. REALLY hard.

I decided to write about this topic, because I’m tired of taking the rap for these businesses. Quite frankly, they make me look bad. My office staff and I work hard to be organized and provide the best possible customer experience for our clientele. When one of my suppliers messes with the reputation we’ve worked so hard to achieve, it really irks me! I also thought it was about time that the ultimate consumer of these costumes get the real story.

Since I was a little girl, I remember getting measured for my costumes in the fall. Thirty four years later, the same is still true. We have to measure quite far in advance. Why? Dance costume companies have a lead time of a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and one or two things will be in stock, but it is a relative rarity in the business. Around recital time, you’re looking at more like 12 to 16 week some of the time, especially if a costume has proven to be particularly popular. Thirty four years ago, I remember that if you ordered something from a catalog it took 4-6 weeks. But now, I can order anything I can imagine online and have it within days if I want. But not a dance costume. That will still take at least 6 weeks most of the time.  I wonder, why haven’t dance costume companies gotten with the times? Why can’t they ship in a timely manner, making items ahead and stocking them instead of cutting everything to order? I am certain it is a financial choice that prevents the companies from taking the risk of making too much of something that becomes unpopular. I understand this, but at some point doesn’t all business have some degree of risk? Based on past sales, I would think there would be some way forecast what costumes to make into more stock in an effort to improve their shipping times. Based on the past, I have to predict what classes will be popular in order to put them on the schedule.  It’s part of the risk of my business.  The first costume company that gets wise and does this will probably “sew up” a huge following of appreciative studios very quickly. I don’t profess to be an expert about their business, so to be fair, I recognize that there are challenges to solving this problem that I am not aware of or qualified to speak about. But I do know that their business is not meeting the needs of our businesses.  If we had a competitor to turn to with better practices, we would go there. We just don’t.

As difficult as the lead times can be, the most frustrating aspect is dealing with returns and exchanges. We are provided with a sizing chart. We are to take the measurements and size the child into the costume. But what if the costume doesn’t fit? What if it is sewn improperly? What if there is an inconsistency in the fabric dye lot? What if something else happens that makes that costume worthy of a return or exchange? Sometimes, if you use a good company and they have what you need you can get the exchange.  But, here’s the kicker. A lot of the time we are told that we can’t get the size we need or the exchange we need in time. That’s right, lots of times you go right back into the queue. The END of the queue. No matter how long we wait on hold (lots of times more than an hour during the busy season), no matter how much we fuss and complain, we get a ‘sorry, there’s nothing that can be done’. Then what? Basically, it’s up to us, the studio, to explain to the parents that we can’t get another one in time. We will always do what we can, at our expense, to get the costume fixed or altered so that it fits your child. So we are stuck fixing someone else’s mistake, and losing income on it to boot.

There is also the challenge of changing ship dates. Once you place an order, you are given a date on or before which your order will ship. If you are lucky, you get your order on time. But lots of times, your date passes, no order. You call the company (who didn’t feel it was necessary to call you), only to find out that a particular fabric has been unavailable and it has delayed your entire order by two to four weeks; two to four precious weeks that could be used to alter costumes that we can’t exchange, make fixes to anything didn’t come in as expected, create hairpieces/props/accessories that match, etc. Then, when on picture day, we are handing out these items at the eleventh hour, who looks unorganized? Yep, it’s us.

Someday, maybe a strong group of studio owners will band together and boycott the costume companies until they move their businesses to be in line with the tide of today’s current economy and meet our needs with more efficiency and courtesy. Heck, maybe I’ll lead them.

There have been two companies that have particularly gone out of their way for us recently, and I am most appreciative of them. They still don’t meet our needs with current technology, etc, but they will be getting more of my business in the coming years because they went out of their way to rectify errors they made.

Making Our Littlest Stars Shine EVEN Brighter!

Getting the most out of Your Child’s “Baby Class”

How exciting it is to sign up for your child’s first dance class! Perhaps you danced as a child and hope for your little girl or little boy to have the same joyful memories. Or maybe your little one loves music and has a lot of energy and you’re looking for an outlet for some of that energy. Parents sign up for what we in the industry lovingly call “baby class” for a variety of reasons, and the road to that first recital sure is an exciting one!

Here are some tips to get the most out of your experience.

Make it Routine

Our little dancers generally do well with routine. Knowing what to expect often brings comfort to this age group. Although it may not always be possible, try to have the same caregiver bring the child to class each week. If you have a morning class, it’s helpful to have each dance class morning be as close to the same as possible. You’ll notice that the teacher will most likely make it a habit of lining up the same way, entering and leaving class the same way, and often beginning and ending the class with the same opening and closing song each week. This further enforces the feeling of routine and expectation for our little ones.  Along the same line of thought, keeping good attendance will keep your youngster comfortable.  Parents might notice that students who have been out for a few weeks in a row may step backward a little bit in regard to willingness to participate or ability to concentrate. Of course, life happens, and chances are your child may miss a class during the year! If you need to miss, no worries. You are always welcome to make the class up at another scheduled lesson.

Come Bright and Early

It is always helpful if you make it a habit of arriving a little early so the atmosphere is relaxed in preparing for class. Use the restroom, even if the child doesn’t need to go at that moment. (Using the restroom during class is often contagious for our dancing friends!)  Having time to take off shoes and coats, put on dance attire and shoes without rushing can dramatically improve a child’s mood for the better. If you feel rushed, most likely your child will pick up on that and feel the same way. Some children also experience anxiety over entering class late. Of course, things happen and every once in a while you’ll be late. Your teacher will welcome your child and try to make them feel included right away.

Have a Good Breakfast or Snack

If you offer your child something that will provide nourishment and lasting energy prior to class, it helps budding dancers stay focused and full of good energy. As tempting and convenient as it may be to hit the drive-thru on the way to class, sugary items (like doughnuts and doughnut holes for breakfast) make for an overly energetic child at the start of class and often a tired one by the time the end of class rolls around. Likewise, fast foods generally make for a tired child right from the start. Suggestions for good pre-dance class choices include fruits with nut butters, whole grain bread items, eggs, yogurt (not sugary ones) with granola (again, not sugary), and cheese.

Praise Often

Always praise your little dancer when they finish class. Remember, everything is a learning process! Most little ones haven’t had a class experience like this, so just learning how to be in that environment is a huge part of what we are teaching. If you watched the class, think of something you enjoyed watching them do. Did they smile like crazy during their favorite song? Maybe they participated in a song they’ve been skeptical to try before? It could even be something as simple as waiting patiently for their turn or deciding to use their “walking feet” instead of their “running feet” when transitioning from one activity to another during class. If you are excited about what they accomplished, so will they be, and this leads to confidence!

Keep Expectations in Check

Remember, to your teacher a successful class is one where everybody had fun and leaves feeling good about themselves. All children acquire motor skills at different paces, so even if your three year old isn’t skipping along with the rest of their class, no need to worry. It will come! It’s quite an accomplishment for a little one to complete a full class, and the chances of them being the perfect dancer for every activity is fairly low. Sometimes a child may choose not to actually dance during a song, simply absorbing what’s going on around them. They are still learning, and although the teacher will encourage them to move with the group, it’s ok if they are simply enjoying the show for the moment. Talking to a youngster about a behavioral issue should be saved for before next week’s lesson, and celebrating the good behavior and progress should be the focus of after class conversation.

Keep Distractions at Bay

It’s so fun to wear a huge, puffy tutu or a new piece of jewelry. However, those items should be left outside of class. Before class is a nice to time for you dancer to show his or her teacher all their new swag!  Extra clothing like sweaters, jewelry and headbands are pretty distracting for a little one. Usually, the teacher will end up holding them anyway once the child realizes the item is in their way. Remember to dress your dancer according to the dress code. Looking different from the rest of the group can be a surprising distraction.

For those of us that teach babies, it is often the highlight of our week. I look forward to seeing all those little faces line up in my lobby, excited to share their weekly tales and show me their “Good Toes”. The pure joy of movement and love of expression is rarely seen more in any other class in my weekly schedule. I hope watching your little ones dance is a highlight of your week, too!

Miss Laura

A’dress’ing Some Questions

A ‘DRESS’ING SOME QUESTIONS

Lots of students, especially teens, ask me why my studio has to have a dress code. From the students’ perspective, it is often an out dated and unnecessary rule that takes away their opportunity to be an individual and express that individuality. Shows like SYTYCD, Dance Moms and more have made popular the booty short and sports bra phenomenon which has swept the dance world by storm. Tights have all but become a thing of the past in all dance styles outside of ballet and musical theater.

While, I strive to remain current and on-trend in the dance world, there are a lot of good reasons why a dress code still has a place in today’s dance world, especially in the world of classical training, and why I have chosen to maintain a traditional approach to what I allow for dance attire in our classes at my studio.

First and foremost, a dress code allows the teacher to see a dancer’s alignment and positioning so that technical errors can be explained, analyzed and corrected. Most dance studios require students to wear a leotard and tights for ballet (if you ever check out a ballet class for children where leotards and tights are not required, run for the hills!). Wearing pink tights accentuate the lines of the dancer’s legs, once again helping the teacher to see the student’s body and provide helpful advice. Loose clothing or clothing that doesn’t stay in place properly distracts the dancer. The constant adjusting of clothing items severely impairs a dancers’ ability to focus on the teacher and the work, and often times creates a feeling of self-consciousness because things aren’t in the right place.

A dress code will also teach students discipline, helping with overall focus and energy. By “dressing the part,” dancers feel like dancers. Dress codes can also create unity among the dancers instead of causing a few dancers to stand out for any reason other than her dancing. Dress codes go a long way in minimizing distractions, and help give classes a unified look. A unified look further aids the teacher in noting inconsistencies within the students’ lines, timing and technique.

Hair is another distraction for a dancer. Hair falling in the face during turns presents a huge barrier for learning and practicing the correct technique of spotting. Insecure hairstyles (not sprayed or pinned properly) fall down during class and require the dancer to either dance with hair in her face or take time out of class to restyle her hair, often with poor results that continue to recur throughout class.

Kids that come to dance looking like they just rolled out of bed generally dance like they just rolled out of bed… with a lack of interest, energy and focus.

Finally, it really is a life skill to dress for the occasion. It does make a difference. I can already tell much of how well a dancer will do in class on any given day based on how they look when they walk through the door. Those that consistently come neatly dressed according to the dress code with all their equipment and shoes are far more confident and progress more quickly.

Students are allowed a bit more freedom when they get older, and are given the opportunity to choose their dress in jazz/lyrical class. I have mixed feelings about this, as so often dancers choose trendy street wear that just doesn’t stay in place, comes over their heads in floor work and generally gets in the way of their comfort level during stretching and any high impact dancing. It is my hope that a dancer will learn from their errors in choosing their dance clothing and find items that not only help them find that individuality they are looking for, but also serve the purpose of providing them freedom of movement with the confidence of knowing that their boobs won’t fall out in the middle of a turning handstand. It’s hard to watch these mistakes in dress walk into my classroom, but sometimes I feel like dancers need to learn for themselves what works and what doesn’t. Boy, is it hard to watch, though!