Monday, October 29, 2012

Costume time and I'm not talking about Halloween

It's Halloween week and Hurricane Sandy is making sure the east coast will never forget this scary holiday!  Since I'm sitting here in Wisconsin, I'm enjoying some calm weather and took an opportunity today to visit with Curtain Call costumes whose reps were in Madison, Wis. for a costume showcase.  How nice it was to see the entire collection and get to touch and feel it.   I didn't get to any UDMA shows this fall, so this was my first "hands on" costume event for the year.  

Definitely demonstrates again how different costumes in real life and catalog photos can be.  It's important to try to get to see these costumes (from any manufacturer) in person as there were several costumes in the catalog that I would have breezed right on past - the photos simply did not do it justice.   Always read the descriptions!   They had some new multi-facetted sequins that were cool too. 

I'd have to say their new "confetti" sequins are a hit - I'm going to make something work out with my music selections just so I can pick one of those costumes!  In general all the costumes were  well-made and very stylish, as I have come to expect from long term suppliers like Curtain Call. 

Their timing was great because my first set of books is going out to one of my teachers tonight - we have 6 teachers so we need to rotate books and get these costumes picked out before Dec. 1st.  I usually pick only 3-4 suppliers and try to get as many costumes selected from those books as possible.  Why?  First for the discounts and second for my sanity... too many costume suppliers and I start to pull my hair out in the Spring.  

Costumes are so important to the overall tone and polish of your recitals.  And as I've said over and over again, your recital is your single most important marketing technique. If you can't pull of a great show you will not win the competitive battle for children's time.  Recitals must make memories and amazing costumes are one of the elements to acheive it.

I always make a big deal about the "unveiling" of the costume selections in January, the kids just wait and wait for their class to be revealed.  Upon arrival,  for my pre-ballet, first time students, I always tell them how important taking care of their very special costume is: "Take extra good care of it, let Mom hang it in her closet until picture day and recital day ... then AFTER the recital you can wear this costume as much as you want - you can even wear it to the grocery store!" -- and they all laugh, but they get the point.

Later, I get a huge smile when I see one of my dancers in the grocery store the week after the recital. "You know (insert name...she never forgets," says the Mom with a shrug.  Then I smile and say, "well at least you are getting your money's worth!" 

The Finale' - a costume collection at it's best.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Clogging TV shows show love of dance vs. fear of losing

I had a brief moment to watch a new reality TV show called Down South Dance it featured two rival dance companies Sole Impulse Dance and SouthernDanceAcademy.

First the dancer's are great and they have all had excellent training, so my kudos go out to their teacher's Chip Harrison and Sarah Darby and to the students who have obviously worked very hard on their Clogging skills.   But here is my observation... aside from the Dance Mom's wanna-be this show did unveil difference at least in my eyes to why some groups win at competitions and some don't.

At the end of this show it was revealed that Chip's dancers at Southern Dance were beaten by Darby's Synergy Dancers by something like one tenth of a point.   Chips reaction was that Darby should be scared.  They'll get'em next time...he said it came down to Showmanship.   I agree in part.

I would argue that it came down to passion. Chip's girls are scared to disappoint.  They fear Chip and fear their own parents reactions - knowing they have a lot on the line.  Ms. Darby's girls are much more relaxed, enjoying the heart of competition and loving what they do.  You can see it in their faces in the movements they do together as a team.  Yes, a judge might call it showmanship.  I call it lack of fear.

Chip tries to get girls to leave one school to come to the other. I didn't know that he was a lawyer until I read up on him he and his actions makes a little more sense to me.

So, Chip Harrison, if your reading this - try sharing the love of dance, the love of the pounding of feet, the love of the rhythm.  It wouldn't kill you to give the kids some kudos, love and praise either. They obviously RESPECT you, but they don't LOVE you...they fear you and don't want to disappoint. You have a beautiful gift of talent that you've cultivated, now take them to the finish with pride not fear. 

And if you think those other girls are going to jump ship from Ms Darby well.... if they did they'd be a bit crazy since she is home to the winningest record.  And her kids can smile for real not fake.  I did think your distraction strategy was interesting, twisted but interesting.-- hope those Mom's and girls don't fall for it.

You should check out the show was good.  Maybe it will make it as a series after all.  If nothing else Clogging will get some new found respect up here in the North vs.only in the southern states. Break-a- Leg ya'll.

Dancingly Yours,
Ms. DeAnne

Friday, October 5, 2012

5 magic erasers later

Had our first big night in our new studio on Monday...our new studios are beautiful, kids love it, the dancing was great and then...the night was over.  And what did I see?   Fingerprints, handprints, footprints on the freshly painted walls!   Uggg!   Last time I checked I didn't teach kids to dance on the walls, so why are there so many foot marks on the walls? 

Well, nothing a little (or a lot) of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers couldn't tackle - 5 to be exact and they even worked great on the scuff marks on the floors.   Walla!  My new studio was back.

It did make me question my choice of Vanilla Milkshake for my wall color...might have to re-think that choice later.  But for now, the cleaning is proving to be a great workout too.  Cleaning the studio is one of the many behind the scene activities many dance teachers don't talk about, but it's so important. (I've chosen to barter for cleaning services with a parent who runs a pro cleaning business.)
Here's a photo of one of our new studios.  I'm waiting until our first full week of classes are done to post more photos on my studio website and facebook pages to everyone can be suprised at our new look.  One thing I have not added yet are my Releve' dance posters - I wanted to make sure I knew how the room worked before I put the posters up which means that will be my quick weekend project. I'll post those later.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm going out to buy more Magic Erasers...
Dancingly Yours,

Releve' Dance Poster sample

Releve' Dance Poster sample
sample of poster