Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sports vs. Dance

Well, it's come full circle right back to my own kitchen. The discussion of sports vs. dance. Who would think that even the dance teacher's daughter would be so perplexed by this decision? My philosophy has always been to raise well-rounded kids. My own two girls play many sports and dance all the classes we can fit in - they are great athletes in the studio and on the playing field.

This year my youngest auditioned for the Madison Ballet Nutcracker and successfully earned a spot on the cast. It was a proud moment...for a while. Then, she said after studying the audition schedule for the part, "But Mom, I'll have to miss 8 basketball games and maybe even more." She contemplated for 2 days and ultimately decided not to accept the role. Basketball won this time.

I'm OK with her decision, in fact, I give the 11-year old credit for trying to figure out the audition schedule and matching up the game schedule - even I hadn't done the full evaluation yet. But it brings out a great point for all of us dance studio owners. Flexible scheduling is key. You must communicate to parents who are contemplating busy schedules just how to fit dance in with organized sporting activities.

It's tough to keep those high school dance/athletes in the studio, but it's so important to your overall program. I remember our first couple of years at our own dance recitals - with out a senior class- the show lacked a bit of the dazzle. I had to grow them from scratch. You need the older kids with the more advanced choreography to make a complete show.

This year I really looked at the school calendar at our local middle school to try to schedule class times for the older girls that would not conflict with basketball and volleyball games - it takes a bit of work, but we managed to keep all our 7 and 8 th grade students for one more year. Dance won this time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Patrick Swayze

I think it was the Summer of 2006 - Patrick visited with dance teachers at the Dance Teacher Mag. Summer Conference in New York City. I was there with my fledgling ideas for Releve' Dance posters and trying to get some new choreography ideas for my own studio at the conference. The highlight was Patrick... he talked with us and signed autographs for HOURS in the convention hall, staying until every single dance teacher's poster/book/dvd was autographed. I was in line, but my feet got tired, so I went to bed since the line was so long... but he stayed. This is just one example of his character. A character built in a dance studio. His Mom was a studio owner just like you and me! He loved dance teachers and was inspired by us. Let's keep his memory alive and just keep on teaching -- that's what he wanted us all to do--teach and pass along the art of dance to the next generation.

Between Patrick and MJ we could have some great tributes at our rectials this year... just an idea. :)

http://www.patrickswayze.net/ Here's a link to an official fan club if you want to share your thoughts with Patrick's family. While they've been preparing I'm sure this time is very overwhelming from support of fans like us.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grandparents Day Sept. 13

Every dance studio has them...dancing grandparents. And we love them! Increasingly I see more and more grandparents in the waiting room, helping busy families juggle schedules -making sure thier grandkids get to dance class.

And what a welcome help they are. Grandparents also help make tuition payments or even "gift" classes as birthday or Christmas gifts at our school -- I'm sure they do at yours too. Many times if this extra funding didn't occur the students may not be able to take classes. So it is a true gift of love that will live with these students for a lifetime.

To honor them we have a special "Grandparents Day" when only grandmas and grandpas get to visit the classroom to watch class, usually we host them sometime in February when things are really rolling at the studio. Afterall, you always want to look your best for Grandma!

Coming up soon is the National Grandparents Day - Sept. 13. If you have classes in session now remember to honor them with a sign at your studio. Or simply remind your students to give Grandma and Grandpa a big hug the next time they see them and thank them for loving them so much! (I'm sure that will get your pre-ballet students chatting during warm-ups.)

I also thank grandparents each year at the final recital in my remarks because it is such a family committment to support our dancers. Having a grandparent attend a recital means so much to our students and we have grandparents who travel many miles to attend!

Don't forget Grandparents Day Sept. 13.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

H1N1 and your dance school

H1N1 presents many challenges for dance teachers. We have all had ill children attend class from time to time. Stuffy, runny noses are normal in the dead of winter (at least in Wisconsin where we operate). So, how can we control the spread of H1N1?

  • Place hand sanitizer outside your class rooms, encourage students to wash before they enter. (TV tray tables make a quick small table for this purpose.)
  • Buy facial tissues for each room and waiting area. Supply a waste basket and more sanitizer by each tissue station.
  • Spray down waiting areas and play areas for siblings frequently.
  • Have sanitizing wipes on hand for quick clean ups.
  • Post signs to remind parents not to bring sick children (or siblings) into the school.
  • Update your student policy manual to include how to deal with sickness.
  • Remove activities from your curriculum that include holding hands or dancing close/face to face.
  • Disinfect your barre' after EACH use, not just each night. Consider adding it to the dancer's role in the class room just like you spray down equipment at the gym. (there's also a cool product from Gypsy Wraps in Calif. that provides each dancer their own barre' wrap.)
  • Be careful when you teach not to touch children, if you don't have to. I know this is a sad one for me. I love being with the kids and correcting arms and hands. Or if you do, just keep a bottle of anti-bacteria gel/wipes close by.
  • Consider getting a H1N1 vaccine yourself/staff to help you fight off any exposures.
  • If you or a staff member get sick - get a sub or cancel class. Don't work when you are sick. (I know this is easier said than done, but it's just not worth it.)
  • Consult with your local doctor/clinic to ask if they have advice or supplies you could use such as those small face masks. And buy your other supplies now before they sell out.
Know what your plan will be if the schools close or an outbreak occurs locally, what will that mean for your business?

The CDC is predicting this flu season to be really bad. It's time for us to read up on it and stay informed to keep our kids safe and dancing. Sign up for alerts from the CDC and ask your local clinic/school to report any H1N1 outbreaks to you too.

Stay well.

Releve' Dance Poster sample

Releve' Dance Poster sample
sample of poster