By: Lindsey Blackburn, Studio Go Instructor
As I prepare myself for another season of recitals with Studio Go, I think back to all of the things I have learned thus far in my journey with this company. Studio Go is unlike any other dance education company I have worked with. Their emphasis on character and confidence building, rather than strictly dance technique, is unmatched in the dance community. And I think that’s what makes this company so special. Of course, the main goal is dance technique, and as a teacher for a company with clear monthly goals and expectations, it couldn’t be easier.
One of the aspects Studio Go Dance really shines over other similar companies is keeping all of our teachers on the same page. This is really the key to keeping such wide-spread classes successful; making sure your teachers know exactly what their students need to know by the end of each month. Then, once recital season comes around, schools that are miles apart are still on the same level.
While getting used to the daily routine (or lack there of) of a company with this sort of business model can be tricky, the reward far outweighs the struggles. Watching how my students grow, not only in their dance knowledge, but also as caring and loving humans, is truly my favorite part of what I do. It took a bit of practice and trial and error to find what works for me with this lifestyle of teaching, but it didn’t take long to get a good grasp on how to manage the nomadic nature of this job.
Being a teacher who is teaching not only for Studio Go Dance, but also for a traditional dance studio, I can say with certainty that I enjoy my Studio Go classes more. There is so much more room for creativity, and putting your own spin on classes as a teacher. Especially when it comes to recitals. Since each of our classes gets their own recital, it can be a little overwhelming, but it is so much fun. With a traditional studio, while you may get to pick your costumes (if you’re lucky) and choreograph your classes’ dances, that’s really the extent of the average teacher’s involvement. With Studio Go recitals, the teacher is responsible for literally every aspect of the performance, from setting the date and time, to finding the space (of course with the help of the school), to decorations, to preparing costumes and props, and putting the show together. This is my most favorite part of the year, because it allows me that extra outlet to be creative and do what I love, and show the parents of my students all of the hard work they have done that year. Another aspect of our recitals to note, is that each recital is 20-30 minutes long. I’ll say that again. Each class gets their own show that lasts for 20-30 minutes! So your parents are watching their students dance for about 10 times longer than they would at a traditional dance recital. This gives us the opportunity to really show them everything that we have learned throughout the year, not just a 3-minute slice of it. It has definitely been one of the biggest praises we get from parents at the end of the year. Everyone knows of the dreaded 3 hour recital that goes on and on, and your child is only on the stage for 2 minutes. This model completely shocks our first-time parents who are used to the traditional way, and really is a selling point for a company of this type.
To give you an idea of how my days with Studio Go run, here is an example of a typical day for me with Studio Go:
I arrive at my first school at 8:45am, sign in with the front desk and make my way to the gym, where our classes are held. I unpack my roll book, speaker, iPad, Bitty the Ballerina, and shoes and skirt. I tape the floor with the number of spots I need and an ‘x’ front and center, with one spot on either side to use for across the floor activities. Then I look over my roll to be sure I don’t have any new students I need to be sure to pick up, and remind myself of how many students I’ll be picking up. Once I have the number in my mind, I walk around to each classroom and collect my students, and bring everyone back to our classroom.
I take roll, and each student recites the ‘magic word’ for that day when their name is called. We have our class, get our stamps, and line up at the door to go back to class. Then it’s time to pick up a few spots, because the second class is smaller, and then pick up the next group and do it all over! Once the students are back in their classrooms, I put the room back the way I found it, pack up my teaching supplies, and head to the front desk to pick up anything she has for me (this time of year, it’s recital costume forms!).
Then I pack up my car, and have a couple hours before my next class. So I run errands, pick up lunch, or head to the school early (our class is held in an empty church classroom) and read or do some yoga and stretching. I get this room all taped and ready, just like earlier that morning, while another teacher does the same in the room across the hall. At this school, the preschool is two floors down, so we snag the elevator and make our way down. One of us meets some students in the hallway; while the other goes a little further down to get more. This is a very big group of students (what a problem to have!), so we have two classes running at the same time for both pre-ballet and tap-ballet. At this school, we have to help the students change into their ballet clothes before class, so once we get back upstairs we start to get them changed. We get everyone dressed together, then split the two classes and get started.
Once our pre-ballet classes are done, their parents pick them up and sign them out as the second group is coming in. Once the tap-ballet group gets settled with their tap shoes behind their spots, we get started just the same. We make it through the class, and the students change into their outside shoes (because tap shoes are so loud in the hallway!) and line up at the door to be picked up and signed out. I, once again, pack my supplies, make sure the room is the way I found it, and head to the car.
And these days, that’s it! Done by 2:30! What more could you want? Getting home in the afternoon before traffic (at least in Atlanta!) gives me so much time to get other things done. I can work on choreography for our recitals, plan out classes or recital decorations, submit my invoice, any number of things. While we do have classes that end later in the afternoon (5:00-5:30), the majority are over earlier in the afternoon. It is definitely a benefit over a traditional studio with exclusively evening classes.
All in all, Studio Go Dance has changed the dance education game in Atlanta, and our other markets. Leah has taken the traditional way of offering dance classes and really made it into something so marketable and unique. Her commitment to keeping things fresh and professional, while still offering quality technique and performances makes all the difference in attracting new students. I have loved every second of working for this company, and I look forward to many more seasons in the future.
Have you ever felt down-in-the-dumps, depleted of energy, and lacking inspiration in your baby dance classes?
I can certainly say that I have been there from time to time! After-all, we teachers are human and it’s impossible to keep the pace of your classes at maximum level 24-7. (I would venture to say that your average civilian would be amazed that we do this day-in and day-out after spending just one hour with 13 three-year-olds. Let the record show: WE ARE FREAKIN’ ROCKSTARS.)
If you happen to be in one of the “lower“ moments of your personal professional roller-coaster ride, allow me to introduce you to a dance educator who is rocking my world on social media.
Little Lights Dance,
a studio in Australia, is owned and operated by Sonja Ebsary. Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, I feel like we would be BFFs were we not operating on opposite sides of the planet. Experiencing her Instagram feed gives me a glance into the way that she views preschool dance and let me tell you – it lifts my dance-teacher-spirits on the days when I am in a slump. She reminds me why I told my parents that I would be a ballet teacher when I was four-years-old after my very first
I think we could all use a small spark like Sonja that reignites our passion every now and then!
My favorite recent post from Sonja revolves around the class theme “Le Petit Cirque” in their classes. The props and costuming that they utilize in are amazing. These kids are never without reason to engage in their class. So much of what we do as dance instructors requires us to capture the imagination of our students and then maintain it for the entirety
of our lesson. I often wonder what Little Lights’ props inventory must look like!
But, I bet if we had the chance to “pick her brain” she would probably say that she reuses and recycles her materials from theme to theme. These people seriously speak to my crafting inner goddess, y’all! Hobby Lobby people, unite!
(SIDE-NOTE: My Family and friends know how obsessed I am with John Crist. 👆🏼 He’s hysterical!!!!!)
While we’re on the Sonja train, she just posted the following quote:
“Create what you want to see in the world.”
If that doesn’t prove my point, I don’t know what will. >>>>>> So, what do I want to see in the world?
I want to see people being more kind to each other.
That was easy. Now, you may be thinking, “what in the world does this have to do with preschool dance?” It has everything to do with it, my friend! Asking myself this question realigns me with my bigger purpose, especially as it pertains to my job. It refuels me to continue creating preschool dance content that revolves around character development. Our Concierge members (monthly subscribers) received their October content on Monday. Put simply, we’re focusing on perseverance this coming month.
🎃 “Fall Into Dance: Learning Perseverance and Determination!” 🎃
Our clients will be instilling these traits in baby ballerinas all over the world for the next several weeks. THAT reignites my fire to keep going! So thank you, Little Lights Dance. I’m refueled and ready to go!
What are you putting into your mind based on what you’re consuming in social media? Are you following dance educators who constantly complain? Or, are you following other masters of this craft that ignite flames of excitement and energy for you? I urge you to consider using your fancy “unfollow” button if need be!
Be sure to follow Little Lights Dance by clicking HERE.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired by a whimsical idea that invigorates your approach to preschool dance!
Ever had one of those nutty weeks where you feel like you can’t keep up? That’s been me this past week. 🤦🏽♀️
Luckily, 9 times out of 10 I am a member of the “Type A Energizer Bunny” club. My dad lovingly describes my personality as “kill it and drag it home.” (Can you tell I’m from the South with THAT kind of reference?) 😉 I operate on all cylinders, at max capacity for most of my waking moments. However, just like everyone out there, there is a dip in my roller coaster of life from time to time.
This is when I rely heavily on the help of companies like Amazon, who have wonderful solutions for busy-bodies like me. My Prime Membership allows me to enjoy 2 day shipping, directly to my front steps!
Studio To Go is a proud Amazon Affiliate, and today I’ll be sharing items from their enormous array of products that I can’t live without from 6 areas in my world. Plus, I’ll take you on a spin through the organization-loving, clean freak obsessed, bookworm life that is shamelessly mine.
Best part of the items below? They’re all under $20!
I am really big into celebrating small moments with my co-workers, family and friends. There are few things I love more than throwing a small gift together on my way out the door that commemorates an event for a buddy of mine. Whether someone I know is heading off on a big trip, proud of a work accomplishment, or needs a little “I see and hear you” pick-me-up, it’s a true joy for me to mark that occasion in a small way. I even have a table set up in my basement with a drawer-system to organize my gift-giving and wrapping quirk!
Generic, Easy, Cute Finds:
Grab this travel, padded wine carrier and/or these funny novelty wine socks for the fellow winos in your life. PSA for all my personal friends out there: If I’m texting you about a bad day, I’ll take either one of these with a large glass of wine, stat. Please and thanks! These are both easy to store until that perfect gift-giving moment presents itself!
Having a set of beautiful blank note cards is great for anyone. You never know when you’ll be inspired to send some old-fashioned snail-mail love to a friend. This set of cards with gorgeous watercolor designs comes in a pack of 48. Wrap a few bundles of 8-10 cards in a pretty ribbon and you have a sweet, thoughtful and useful gift for someone in your life! (You may even use a few yourself with the leftovers!)
When you have a little more time to plan out a gift, I LOVE this personalized necklace from Amazon. I ordered one for my sister for Christmas with her step-sons’ names and her husband’s name engraved on it. She thought it was precious!
#2: Household Cleaning
Who has time to swing by the grocery store today? Not this chick. Why not hop online between emails during your workday and order a few things your pantry is desperately needing? Here’s what helps my family!
Air Wick Scented Oil – I’m pretty sure the “Fresh Waters” scent is what heaven smells like. Gimme the biggest pack you have, Amazon.
Baoer Eraser Magic Melamine Cleaning Sponge – These things are so good it’s kinda scary. I’m a HUGE Harry Potter nerd and sometime I seriously feel like I’m wielding my magic skills when I use these little pieces of sorcery!
Cold Iron Wrinkle Release Spray – One of my sisters suggested this stuff and I am ALL IN. Apparently, it’s plant-based without chemicals. I don’t know about you, but I certainly did not have time for ironing during this marathon week of mine.
Dixie Disposable Paper Plates – Not as cute as my wedding registry formal china, but it’ll have to do during the workweek when NO ONE has time for dishes. Save yourself the “I-wish-I-had-time-to-wash-this-mess-in-my-kitchen-sink” negative self-talk. Hey, this is starting to feel a bit like therapy… Ok by me!
Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissues – This one is about as self-explanatory as they come. Flu season victims, we’ve got your back. Well, technically we have our own because AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR YOUR GERMS. If your family is rejoicing in the fact that you survived several bouts with the flu already, stock back up!
#3: Office & Organization
Huhuhero Fineliner Pen Set – I can’t live without fun pens that don’t bleed!
Romoss Power Bank – I drive all over Kingdom-Come for my job. While in my car I’m all set with my car-chargers, but when I’m out teaching dance losing battery charge on my iPad, iPhone and or computer is the WORST. I really need to take my own advice and buy this sucker. To-Do item #4356 on today’s list! 😉
StorageWorks Storage Cube Box – These are foldable and therefore the best thing since sliced bread. If your world is cluttered, my suggestion is to buy several of these. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to get after your messy desk, crazy laundry room, kids’ playroom or your pantry that causes confusion and mild heart attacks on a daily basis.
“Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” – A friend of mine gave this book a glowing review. While I have not read it personally, this is definitely on my TBR list (“to be read”).
“A Breath of Snow and Ashes” – This is book 6 of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I’m dying over these books right now. If you want to hop on the bandwagon, do start with book 1. I’m finishing up book 4 currently. Book 5 is already on my shelf. So, this one will probably be my next book-click!
#5: Treat Yourself & Take Care of Yourself
Viva Naturals Coconut Oil – Many of you probably already know about the benefits of coconut oil, but here are a few in case you need a reminder: skin and hair health, weight management, baking/cooking uses, digestion support, etc. The list goes on much further, y’all! Get into it!
Waterproof Bluetooth Shower Speaker – How nice would it be to hop in your shower after a long day and enjoy an audio book, your favorite podcast or a lovely playlist of songs perfectly matching your current mood? Let me tell you… It’s amazing!
Nalgene BPS-Free Water Bottle – Need help with that stressful day? Hydrating will solve many of those issues. Once you’ve made it through several of these in a day, then you can reach for that glass of wine to treat yourself!
Well, guys! That’s all I have for today. Happy shopping and comment below with the items that YOU can’t live without in during a busy workweek!
— Cheers! Lauren
Looking back at the fact that I have a 12 year old daughter, I realize that dance has had such a positive effect on both my girls and on me. When you think of the sweet little ballerina twirling around in pink this and that, you have no clue what dance will actually teach your child. Determination, perseverance, organization, team work, and time management are just a few. Who knew that dance could have such effect on character building?
Seeing how my daughter dances, plays in the school band and still manages to get fantastic grades in middle school is a testament to the lessons dance has taught her. Dance made her determined to learn something new every time she was in class, which carries over to her school work. She continues to persevere in becoming a better human and friend because of dance. She’s organized in what she needs for performances and class, as she is as organized in knowing what test is coming up. Dance is a team activity just like working on a team for a science project. Somehow she manages to make it all happen at the age of 12!
I can’t imagine if either one of my daughters did not dance because it is what I have done for several decades now and am still going strong! I know at some point that time could come and I would be heartbroken, but I would be happy knowing that having danced they became better people and learned many life lessons. Not only did they get to twirl across a stage decked out in sequins and tulle, but they learned that they are a gift. Dance is a gift. Dance is beauty. Dance is everything.
At Studio To Go we pride ourselves in developing and molding students into wonderful little people that are kind, determined, grateful and happy. Of course you can’t forget to mention that they sure can tear up a dance floor!
We’ve all been there. That moment where it dawns on you and you wonder, “How am I going to get through the next hour?” Maybe it’s because you’re a brand new teacher, or maybe it’s because you have a splitting headache. Chances are you might be here not because you have those thoughts, but you wonder what it is that your staff is doing in their classes. Are your students getting the dance education that you expect and demand?
Well, luckily, that’s why we’re here. In essence we created Studio To Go to take the doubt out of dance education. Much like you order food To Go when you’ve had a rough day, are in a hurry, or don’t feel like cooking. Our syllabi are packaged up for you and ready to implement, whether you’re looking for a cohesive syllabus for all of your staff, you are a new teacher who needs a little help with creative content and classroom management, or whether you’re simply looking to spice up your classes and add some fun to your repertoire. If any of these sound like you, we’ve got your back.
We’re a team of friends, dancers, and entrepreneurs who teamed up to create a pretty bad@ss product. Just like you, we’re dance educators. We’ve dedicated our lives to this. We’re passionate about the same things you are. We’ve not only walked in your shoes, we’ve danced in them.
We have sort of a six degrees of Kevin Bacon thing going on. Our lives and paths have crossed and divided and crossed again, and we’ve found ourselves at a wonderful intersection. A couple of years ago we all found ourselves working together again. The school year after that we implemented a monthly progressive syllabus for our classes. Instantly, we noticed a shift in the quality of our classes.
Not only were our teachers solid and their class content polished, but now we had a cohesive front and all students were on the same page. Communicating with parents became easier, expectations for our dancers became more well-defined, and our end product (recitals) became better. Overall, we overwhelmingly thought, “We’re onto something here.”
And here we are. Ready to share this research, hard work, and awesomeness with you. Most of all, we want for dancers everywhere to get an awesome dance education. It’s what we love! Secondly, we want to get to know you and we want you to know us. Seriously, y’all. Who else understands dance life other than dancers? We’re all in this together.