Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The ripple effect of dance in a small town

As a dance school owner in a small town, population less than 4,000-- in rural Wisconsin I have a very typical dance program. Over the past 10 years I've had the privalage to share my love of dance with more than 200 students each week. Well, last weekend our local high school hosted a Show Choir Invitational with high school show choir teams from all around the state. As I sat there watching I realized what an impact my program has had on the kids in our town. You see some of my first dancers are now in high school - so it was really cool for me.

All of the choreography for the Middle School and first level High School choirs was created by 3 of my dancers. High school students themselves, two of the girls are or have been assistant teachers and the third was a long time student. Those three girls took what I taught them and shared it with 50 more kids. And they did great!

Then, when I looked at the front rows of both these choirs I see them filled with my dancers too. Some past, some present, but all students we've touched in someway through our dance academy.
It was proud moment.

I know many dance school owners struggle with keeping the high school age kids in their programs, we do too. There's so much competition for their time. But now I see how those first foundational years in dance can impact a high school in both their show choirs and other extra curricular events. So, I'm ok with letting these kids fly away from a weekly dance class to strut their stuff in school plays, musicals, sports and show choir. The confidence, poise and technical abilities we gave them will last a lifetime. And right now, high school is the most important part of their world. I'm grateful that they are using all their talents to represent their school and make our community proud.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hey Ms. DeAnne, do you watch Dance Mom?

At class this week I finally had a young student ask me if I watch Dance Mom on TV. Here was my response: "Yes I have watched it but I really don't like it much." To which the student replies, "I like the dancers but that teacher really scares me! I'm glad you aren't like that Ms. DeAnne"..."Well at least most of the time," she added with a smile. To which I smiled back because I know I'm not at all like that teacher, Ms. Abby. "The parents scare me more," I responded.

I shared with the student that it's great for her to watch the dancers for ideas on choreography, but that she shouldn't compare herself to them unless she practices as much as they do. I reminded her that they practice everyday and take classes every day. "Did you know that?", I asked her. She replied, "Well I know they practice a lot more than I do because they have better turns."

I'm glad she noticed that the other dancers were better than her and that they are good because of their work ethic in the classroom. I made sure to remind her that she could be just as good as them with more practice and boy did she SMILE!

I know we've bashed the Dance Mom TV show before in other posts, but perhaps there's a light at the end of this tunnel afterall. Students can learn that to get to a level of dance they see on TV they are going to need to make sacrifices and put in the studio time to do it. Not a bad lesson to learn. Disney Channel and all the other cool dance shows do make it all look so easy - they don't show the hours of rehearsal that it takes to make it all look so great. Dancing with the Stars is doing a great job of showing the hard work it takes. So, while I don't have time to watch that show either I do like it on premise.

But for the record, I still don't like the Dance Mom show on TLC - I think it has become like Desparate Housewives- full of Botox, big lips and big hair. Those Moms are really scary.

Releve' Dance Poster sample

Releve' Dance Poster sample
sample of poster