Foresee the Future

Foresee the Future

It’s coming to the close of summer. I’ve enjoyed spending time with my son: days by the pool, movies on rainy days, and trips to visit extended family. If you’re anything like me, recitals are the last thing you want to be thinking about. My May was a recital marathon that included a traditional studio recital (2 weeks of prep and 3 performances) as well as 14 on-site recitals. Recital season is one of the most exciting and stressful times of the year for a dance instructor. The only real comparison is Christmas time. And every year, when it’s finally over, I just want to collapse. I’m very thankful for summer break. It is so nice and necessary to have this rest period. But as I’m collapsing onto the couch, and slowly realizing that I don’t have anything to stress about tomorrow, I pause and ask myself “What did this recital season teach me?” It is so important to take time, once rested, to begin to think of the next year. And when I think of the next year, I always think of recitals first.

 

By thinking of the end goal, I can create a plan going into the new season, and eliminate a lot of stress that occurred in the previous season. It’s only by really looking at what happened before, and acknowledging what I do and do not have control of, that I can affect any outcome in the future. So I replay each recital or dance in my mind and ask myself these questions about each of my classes:

  • What worked?
  • Why did it work?
  • How can I make sure it will work again next season?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Why didn’t it work?
  • Is that something I can control?
  • What can I put in place to combat this issue in the future?

 

Here are two examples of the process that I go through when thinking of the year ahead. One example is from in-studio, and one is from on-site.

 

In-studio:

I choreograph for the company dancers at my home studio. This includes about 50 dancers between the ages of 10-18.

 

What worked?

The dancers knew the choreography. They felt prepared for recital, and I didn’t have to call a lot of extra rehearsals.

Why did this work?

This worked because I started working on the choreography with them immediately in January. Because I was able to bring them together for combined rehearsals during regular class time, it wasn’t a big rush getting everything together right before recital.

How can I make sure that it will work again next season?

I will continue with the pattern that I began. I will start choreography early in the semester, and I will continue to have combined rehearsals throughout the semester. The dancers will be prepared early and not feel so much stress.

What didn’t work?

The dancers were not warming themselves up for rehearsal and were dancing cold which is dangerous, particularly before long rehearsals.

Why didn’t this work?

The dancers don’t actually know how to warm themselves up. This is something that I was taking for granted. I thought that it was knowledge that they should have just “picked up” by now. But upon reflection, I remember being young myself and not really knowing what to do when someone told me to “warm-up.”

Is this something I can control?

Yes. I can give the dancers this knowledge so that they know exactly what is expected of them when they are told to “warm-up.”

What can I put in place to combat this issue in the future?

I will focus the first 6 weeks of class this fall on teaching the dancers a specific warm-up sequence. I will play games with them to make sure they have memorized it. Then they will all use it for the beginning of class, on their own, once choreography begins. I will be able to watch them to make sure they are completing each exercise. I will talk with them so that they understand the importance of each exercise as well as the importance of warming up in general. If they understand why they are doing it, they are more likely to do it and take it with them through their lives.

 

On-site:

This on-site class in a church preschool. It is a ballet class of six 3-5 year-olds.

What worked?

The dancers knew the flow of the recital. They knew the structure and were able to follow me.

Why did it work?

I used specific colored tape, so the dancers knew where to go even though we were in a different space. I used consistent vocabulary to make sure the dancers knew exactly what move I wanted them to do. I had many conversations with them so that they knew what to expect on recital day.

How can I make sure that it will work again?

I will continue my system from last year. But this year, I will start incorporating the specifically colored tape and vocabulary earlier in the season. I will trickle it in more slowly, so that the dancers, and I, will not get overwhelmed. I will also start talking about recital a little earlier in the season.

What didn’t work?

The space was smaller than expected. I hadn’t been on the stage before and didn’t realize how shallow it would be. The students had a hard time seeing me because their lines were so shallow. One dancer got scared and wouldn’t go on stage.

Why didn’t this work?

It did not work for me to go into a space blind. If I had at least seen the space beforehand, I would have put the dancers in one line instead of two. I would have warned them about where I would be standing.

Is this something that I can control?

I can’t control that the dancer got scared, but I can warn the dancers about what to expect. I can’t control where we have class in the school, but I can control how familiar I am with the space.

How can I combat this issue in the future?

I will begin talking with the dancers about what to expect earlier in the season. I will try to find a story book I can read to them about being scared to go on stage. I will also talk to the director and see if it is possible to practice in the space the months leading up to the recital next year. If that is not possible, I will at least ask to go into the space myself a few times early in the year, so that I am more familiar with it.

 

This is the system that I use to make sure each season gets better and better. It is so helpful to have a plan before even stepping foot in the classroom. Some things we can’t control, and there will always be hiccups. But, each season is an opportunity to learn from what happened before and better our craft. By looking at the past, and thinking of the future before it gets here, we are able to become better teachers and serve our students better. This leads to less stress and more enjoyment. And most importantly, we’re cultivating a love of dance!

Cheers!

— Dani

 

*Dani Clark is an instructor at Studio Go, our sister company. Studio Go is an on-site dance studio committed to providing the best in on-site dance and movement throughout Atlanta, Athens, Charleston and Chattanooga. As a fun, upbeat, and positive company, we seek to enhance the lives of children and the schools in which we teach. We absolutely adore Ms. Dani, and she (as you can tell) is an incredible asset to our company’s overall vision. Thanks for sharing your dance insight with all of us, Dani! 
Make Her Day!

Make Her Day!

A smile can change the world …or something like that.

 

I don’t know about changing the world. I teach dance, after all. But what I do know, is that a smile can change your class. We all have heard how important smiling is. It makes you feel better. It makes people want to be around you. It makes life more pleasant. But, I am constantly amazed by the power that a smile truly has in the classroom.

 

I am very discipline-focused. I believe that it is imperative for students to know what is expected of them and what the rules of the classroom are. It is easy for me to get stuck in this and forget to smile. But every time I do, the students lose their attention span, and the class becomes torturous for them as well as me.

 

I remember one particular class last season. It was winter. It was raining. It was cold. This was my first class of the morning. It was a new school, so I was still trying to get the students to understand what was expected of them. I had one student who would continually disrupt the class. She would fall to make everyone else laugh. She would not stay on her spot. She would talk over the music. I was having to continually correct her, and she would ignore me! I was stern. I even had to put her in time out. Not only was she making the class difficult for me, she was preventing the other students from enjoying their time dancing. The worst part was that the director of the school happened to walk by when I was correcting the student. The director asked me if she needed to remove the student from the class.

 

And I had an epiphany!

 

Absolutely not, she did not need to remove the student from class. The student obviously needed this outlet to get her extra energy out and to bring enjoyment to her day. She was not ruining the class for everyone else. I was! It was me allowing her behavior to affect my own. We are adults. We are the teacher. We control the mood of the classroom; therefore, we control whether the students enjoy their time or not. Preschoolers are not aware of their emotions or actions, but we, as adults, absolutely are.

 

It is possible to give a child a skill, teach them discipline, and to have fun!

 

So the next week, when I returned to this class, I promised myself that no matter what, I would continue to smile. No matter what this child did, I kept smiling. I still held my discipline standards. I maintained the order in the class, but I did not allow my students to affect my emotions. And do you know what happened? She listened? She was not nearly as poorly behaved. She was not begging for attention because I was not bringing the mood of the class down with my frustration. She was having fun!

 

A student, who was potentially going to be pulled from the class, started listening. Her behavior continued to become better and better through the rest of the year. By recital, she knew everything that was expected of her. And her classroom teachers even told me that her behavior after dance was better than any other day. She got her ballet bun moment. Her parents were thrilled. And they have memories that will last a lifetime.

 

We are in charge of the mood of the classroom. Regardless of what is going on in our personal life or in the classroom, we can change everything. Even if it is the most rowdy, undisciplined class, we can change everything. Often all we need to do is to take a breath and smile.

 

I know! It’s hard! Maybe we have a headache. Maybe we didn’t sleep well the night before. I’ve definitely had days when all I wanted to do was to take the kids back to their classrooms. But, so what if we’re having a bad day? Our students will remember us better than we remember them. You may easily teach  thousands of students during your career. How could you possibly remember all of their names? But, they will remember their first ballet teacher. How do you want to be remembered? Will your students remember loving dance or hating it?

 

When dancers return from your class, don’t you want them to be smiling and excited? Don’t you want their teachers to be able to tell that they want to go to dance class every week? Those teachers are your communication with parents.

 

Make her day better because she had dance that day. Make dance day be the day she looks forward to every week. Make her parents know your name because she says it all the time with love. If you make her day, you make her life. Every child should have the opportunity for their ballet bun moment. And the way we do that, is to smile.

 

So here are my tips for a smile-worthy dance class:

 

  1. Use music that they enjoy. They are young. It is okay if they sing along. I try to use at least one song per class that the dancers have probably heard from somewhere else. They are always so excited to hear a song from a movie they love or that they have heard riding in the car with their parents.
  2. Use music that you enjoy. You’re probably going to be listening to the same song over and over again. Boredom leads to frustration.
  3. Breathe before ever giving a correction. Ask yourself, “Can I still smile while giving this correction?”
  4. If you do have to correct a student, have a conversation with the student that got in trouble to make sure that they understand why. Kids are smart. They will understand. Actions do have consequences.
  5. Make sure the students know what is expected of them. Go over the rules and expectations more than you think is necessary. Young children need to know the rules. It is only by creating a consistent learning environment that the students will know what is expected of them and then feel safe. 
  6. Smile! It truly does change everything, especially after reprimanding a student for breaking a rule. Bring the rest of the class together with a smile, move on, and bring the mood back up.

 

We are in charge of the mood of the class. Period. We are adults and we are the teacher. As long as you can keep a smile on your face, your students will enjoy their time with you. If they enjoy their time with you, they will go back to the classroom happy. The rest of their day, and their classroom teacher’s day, will be easier. Everyone will notice.

 

I believe that our job is to make sure that our students enjoy dance. We have the youngest dancers. We hold the future of dance in our hands. The dancers we are teaching are the ones that will change the industry in generations to come. That may seem crazy to think about, especially when teaching young, recreational classes, but that is where it all begins. We hold the key as to whether our dancers continue dancing or not. So in some ways, our smiles actually ARE changing the world.

 

— Cheers!

Dani

 

*Dani Clark is an instructor at Studio Go, our sister company. Studio Go is an on-site dance studio committed to providing the best in on-site dance and movement throughout Atlanta, Athens, Charleston and Chattanooga. As a fun, upbeat, and positive company, we seek to enhance the lives of children and the schools in which we teach. We absolutely adore Ms. Dani, and she (as you can tell) is an incredible asset to our company’s overall vision. Thanks for sharing your dance insight with all of us, Dani! 

 

Out and About: My Latest Amazon Hacks

Out and About: My Latest Amazon Hacks

It’s that crazy time of year, y’all. #recitalseason All dance teachers, rejoice – WE ARE SO CLOSE! 

 

 

As many of you already know, I’m all about a deal and I’m always here for products that make my life simpler, more convenient and ultimately more joyful. Here is a rundown of my most recent Amazon finds that may help you during #recitalseason too! 😉

 

All of the items below are less than $30!

#1: H2O

This is the SECOND time I’ve shared a water bottle on our blog. Recently, I’ve purchased a gallon-sized bottle that is saving my life (quite literally)! For 2 months, I’ve been able to keep this up. Some days I miss the mark, but I can’t tell you how much BETTER I feel now. (Also, some days I need even more. Craziness.) I’m just now realizing how dehydrated I lived for YEARS.

#2: Audible

Recently on a Weekly Wine Down, Leah and I discussed inserting elements into your busy recital prep days that bring you focus and joy. I mentioned that listening to audio books does just that for me! Do yourself a favor and snag an Amazon Audible membership. You’ll receive one book credit per month with your subscription. It’s a fabulous deal as all new releases are credit-eligible! I listen to books in traffic, while I’m folding laundry, while I’m resting and when I’m doing busy work! Love a good story!

#3: “The Whole-Brian Child”

So, I offer this book to you as a slice of sanity. This will change your perception of your students, for sure. Ever find yourself trying pointless, useless tactics to get your students to behave or understand you? As educators, we need to be informed on what our students’ brains are experiencing as they develop. I’m still in the middle of this one so I can’t speak to it’s entirety, but so far I think it’s a great read that will make me a better teacher ultimately.

#4: “The Road Back to You”

Shocker. 3 of my 9 suggestions are book related. I promise we’ll move on after this one! “The Road Back to You” is all about the Enneagram. This is a wildly fascinating personality system that helps one understand their motivations. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed diving into this topic over the past several months, and you better believe that most of my family trip this summer will be spent analyzing each other through the lens of the Enneagram. My sisters are obsessed already. Mom, you’re next.

#5: Hairspray

This stuff is concrete in a can, I swear. I’ve been using this exact brand since my pageant days. (Don’t be tempted to fall down a google rabbit hole… Just trust me. I lived, ate and breathed Miss Georgia and Miss America for a decade straight, back in the day. Good times were had by all.)

I don’t know about you, but I sweat big time during recital shows. We’re running around, lifting props, setting up, tearing down, dancing in the wings, shaking hands, kissing babies, taking countless photos, smiling, chatting up the room, basically running a marathon. I.don’t.have.time. for my hair to be falling and looking a hot mess. Because we perform with our smallest dancers on-stage in our class-demonstration model, I wear my hair in buns on show day. This stuff keeps me looking the same way after shows from when I left the house at 8am. You need it, just buy it.

#6: Turtle Pillow

I just went on a trip to Maine with my husband this past weekend for a little getaway before my weekend schedule gets crazy. I’ve been hearing about this travel pillow on Instagram for quite some time now. I decided, “what the heck?” and gave it a go! Guess what! I slept on a plane for the first time IN MY LIFE. I’m into it, y’all. I could see this being so helpful during show season. Have a break between rehearsals? Run out to your car and grab a little cat nap. Have an hour between shows, find a cozy spot in a quiet dressing room. I’m convinced that sleep and water are our only hope in surviving until June. And wine. Lots of wine.

#7: Flonase Sensimist

Keep those allergies at bay! Ain’t nobody got time to get sick.

#8: Unisom

Reference back to my statement in #6. SLEEP, PEOPLE. You need it. This over-the-counter sleep aid is just the trick to help my stressed brain relax. According to the label, it’s non-habit forming, so I say go for it!

#9: Speaker

As I mentioned, our shows are run as a demo of an actual class. Our students stay on-stage the entire 20-25 minute show, and our instructors put on a show for each of their classes. (We’re an on-site dance company! If you haven’t checked out our sister company Studio Go yet, visit our website HERE!) All of that to say, our teachers need dependable sound systems that are portable and get the job DONE. After I had one “die” on me during the school year, I found this one on Amazon and have LOVED it. The sound quality is amazing! The best part is that this thing is waterproof, so that means listening to that audiobook or my favorite playlist in the shower at the end of long, exhausting show days. Do yourself a favor and treat yoself!!!

 

I hope something in here brings you a bit more peace, health, knowledge, rest, or practical help otherwise! Comment below with Amazon finds that you can’t live without!

 

— Cheers! Lauren

(P.S. Studio To Go is an Amazon Affiliate, which means we may be financially compensated for sales.)

What’s Your Why?

What’s Your Why?

Let’s get real. Let’s get personal here. By now you know that Lauren and I are pretty straightforward people and like to tell it like it is. So, in that spirit, I want to talk about my why. It’s these people .👇🏼 I love them. Can we talk about how cute they are? I’m so lucky to call them mine.

There are lots of sacrifices we make as business owners, right? There are lots of sacrifices all dance teachers make as well. I see you, too. The truth is I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my family for my business. I am all about building a thriving business, but my family comes first every single time. I often get asked why I didn’t open a traditional studio, or if I have plans to in the future. The truth is I don’t have plans to, and I never have. I deeply, deeply respect all you hard-working women (and men) who are out there doing the dang thing. But, for me, it just isn’t what I want for MY life and family.

Why? Well, the sacrifices are clear. Late nights, long weekends, and lots of time away from my family. That’s the nature of the beast. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I think, “Gosh, it would be nice to have a space to walk into and call my own.” Or, “Man, I do miss working with older/more-talented dancers”. However, none of these fleeting whims could ever compete with how much I would miss out on if I did own a physical studio.

I am present. I am at the Valentine’s Party for my son, I am cooking dinner and drinking wine with my husband in the evenings, I am there to put my kids to bed each night (complete with bubble baths and story time), and I am there when a girlfriend asks about dinner on on a random Tuesday night. As a matter of fact, my husband and I are going to a concert 2 weeks from today, on a random Wednesday night. Woot! Woot!

None of these things would be possible if I had gone the traditional studio route. Owning an on-site dance studio has afforded me so much freedom. You know what else I really love to do? Travel. In the last 8 months of 2018 I was able to travel to 4 countries with my family. In 2018 I had 10 weeks of paid vacation time. That time off would have been hard with a traditional studio, and it is something that I cherish so much. My 2.5 year old talks about taking a train to Brussels on a daily basis. I wouldn’t trade the memories we’re making for anything, nor would I want him to not be able to experience different cultures and places. Fun side note: thanks to points from my business credit card, all of these international plane tickets were free. That’s right, my business also helps my family travel. If you want pointers on how to make this happen, email me. I’m glad to give you my tips and tricks!

The second reason I chose this route is I have an entrepreneurial spirit. This business model makes more money. Period. And who doesn’t want more money in their pocket? Sure, I love what I do, but this is a business…I am doing it to make a living. I have bills to pay, mouths to feed , and a whole world to see. Which brings me back to my why. I have more money to be able to do more things with my family.

I’m on maternity leave, which many studio owners aren’t able to take. Yes, I am still working some, but it’s a choice, and not something I do everyday. As I type this, I have a sleeping baby on my chest. I just got back from eating lunch with my 2.5 year-old because he ran into my office (with no pants on…I mean, would any of us wear pants if it were acceptable not to? 😂) and crawled all over me. So I took a break. The fact that I have a home office and can work from the comfort of my home and have help with my child so I can work when needed, but take him to the park when I want to is a beautiful thing. I can’t imagine living life any other way.

This is my journey and these people are my why. For some of you not owning a studio might be a non-negotiable, and that is awesome. For others, you might feel just like I do. Whatever your journey, let it be authentic, be present, and do it big! If you feel like this spoke to you and you would like to learn more about this on-site dance business model, I encourage you to look into our Beyond the Studio course where we will share all of our tips and tricks. It’s like a course and a coaching program had a baby! I’d love to share my tips and tricks with you and help you have more time with your family…and more money in your pocket.

I love sharing our content and tips with you guys. Thank you for being a part of our little corner of the internet!

Cheers,
Leah 🥂

On-Site Dance = AMAZING

On-Site Dance = AMAZING

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ve more than likely heard us talking about our sister company Studio Go, which is an on-site dance education company. You may have found yourself asking, “What in the world are they even talking about?” Or, you may have seen other companies out there attempting this business model and (how do I put this lightly?) not necessarily executing it very well…

 

Today, I’m going to introduce you to Studio Go, and I plan to dispel some myths about our approach to dance education. Lastly, I will tell you why your studio should have an on-site leg as well. If you’re not a studio owner, you may be an on-site one by the end of this blog post. 😉

1. Meet, Studio Go

First, I encourage you to visit our website by clicking HERE! Studio Go is a mobile dance studio committed to providing the best in on-site dance and movement throughout Atlanta, Athens, Charleston and Chattanooga. Basically, we partner with schools, churches, preschools, synagogues, rec centers, and community centers to provide dance instruction to a variety of ages, mostly focusing on the preschool ages. We realize that we are tasked with more than just teaching dance, we also aim to create a caring, nurturing environment where kids can be themselves. In our program, children learn proper technique and concepts of dance, all while learning self-awareness, grace, poise, social skills, and much more inside the comfort of their own learning environment.

 

The long and short of the company’s inception is that Leah (and I) both worked for a different company that offers the same type of services. But, Leah had fabulous ideas for taking it to the next level. We wanted to bring dance education into the 21st century with technology, current educational trends, and modern music/resources that best serve the young family of today. Studio Go is dominating our industry in the Southeastern US, if we must say so ourselves; however, our parents & location partners say the EXACT same thing.

 

“I have known Leah for three years both as a colleague and as my son’s movement teacher at the Alefbet preschool. As a teacher in the preschool I have had the opportunity to observe Leah’s professional skills as well as interpersonal style. She is always pleasant and full of energy, with a big smile on her face. In her class she makes sure to welcome each child and provide individual attention. The children love her and look forward to her class every week. The classes include both a mix of routines that the children love and new activities and music from week to week to keep expanding their skills.
Leah has been very professional in working with the rest of the staff at the preschool in cases where children are delayed in gross motor skill development. She has provided good advice in helping us with activities to encourage development in needed areas for these children.”

— Parent & Studio Go Partner Employee

 

 

2. Dispelling the myths!

A- This is a cheesy, rag-tag approach to dance.

Simply put, NOPE. It’s all about your approach. Scroll back up and look at our SG logo. Does that branding/messaging read “we don’t know what we’re doing and these are super corny, cheap classes.” Not in my book!

 

If you put quality content at the top of your business’ priority list, you won’t face this problem at all. A perfect example of this is our monthly preschool dance subscription.  It was created for Studio Go initially, but is now used in physical dance studios all over the world. Shameless plug. 😉 Our curtains are currently closed for enrollment, but they’ll open back up in the summer of 2019! If you have questions, email us cheers@studiotogodance.com and we’ll fill you in on all the juicy deets!

 

Whether you own a physical studio or an on-site one, you control your own quality. Your instructional skills and desire for solid classes will follow you, whether you’re teaching a kid how to perform a “tendu” in a beautiful NYC ballet studio, in your local gym, or in a church fellowship hall. WE PROMISE. 

 

B- The kids won’t receive a top-notch education because there are no ballet barres or mirrors in their classes.

This is a very common statement that we hear in our line of work. Let’s talk, dance professional to dance professional for a sec. Remember when I said that we mainly focus on preschool ages? That’s typically the “meat” of our clients. I’m going to say 3-5 year-olds are about 95% of our clientele. In what dance studio is this age-range allowed at a ballet barre? Mayyyybe that’s the case for a 5 year-old at the very end of the school year, who has been taking dance since the age of 2. However, to maintain a proper class for the others who may have started dance this year, most ballet teachers will NEVER let kids this age head to the barre. It’s not the right size for them yet, it’s a behavioral distraction to deal with the temptation to swing on said barre, and the technique that they are working on simply doesn’t require this tool yet. 

 

As for the mirrors, y’all. Y’all. Y’ALL! That’s one of my biggest pet-peeves when teaching 3 year-olds in a studio. Love it, love them, love my job. Truly! But, they are so incredibly distracted by seeing themselves in that massive mirror. I’ve met instructors who don’t allow preschoolers to face the front of the room in class due to this problem. You know! I don’t blame the little guys. It’s quite appealing and interesting to see oneself in that way. It’s pretty, sparkly and drives the imagination to exciting stories and thoughts. I get it! You’re little and you’re mesmerized, but we have a class to run here! Trust us, not having mirrors in our classes is NOT a bad thing. 😉

 

(We do instruct several toddler classes down to a year-and-a-half or two. Same thing I stated above applies here. They won’t be anywhere near a barre for a lonnnng time. Additionally, we do offer several Elementary classes that range from Kindergartners to “3rd-ish” grade. Keep in mind, most of these kids are recreational dancers. They are looking for an activity to keep them healthy and active. In most of these situations we are contracted by a 3rd party afterschool program who is looking for vendors to provide skills and services to their clients to keep kiddos entertained and busy in the 3pm-5pm range of time after school. Again, these parents are more than likely not looking to send their kid to Julliard. We are there to teach them a new skill, expose them to art, and keep them active! Those are 3 things that are totally possible without a barre or mirrors.) 

 

C- I’m going to miss my physical ballet studio if I leave it and open an on-site studio.

First of all, you don’t have to leave your studio to open an on-site portion of your company. In fact, this route could end up being a feeder program to your studio. Offer classes during those coveted daytime slots at schools and local facilities that offer young childcare. Then, when they “graduate” and are still serious about continuing their dance education, badda bing badda boom… Come on over to my studio in the afternoons! (You can thank us later!)

 

Secondly, there are MUCH fewer overhead expenses for an on-site studio. $$$ That means higher profits for you! $$$ You’re not paying a power bill during this class time, you’re not repairing ruined marley floors for these classes, and you’re not having to staff a front-desk worker for it either. And those examples merely scratch the surface! You may miss the beauty of your studio room, but you won’t miss paying for that expensive heat in the middle of the winter!

 

Also, if you did decide to go solely the on-site route, you can still teach at another dance studio in the evenings if you miss the physical space and older kids that much. We have many instructors who work for us up until 4pm, and then they head straight to the studio afterwards! Take our word for it… Again, you won’t miss paying those bills, constantly refilling the toilet paper dispenser and wondering where ALL OF THOSE d@#$ CRUMBS KEEP COMING FROM in your lobby!!!! Been there, done that.

 

D- How do you teach a dance class in a school cafeteria, gym stage, or preschool classroom?

E- I have no clue where to even start in creating this kind of business.

I’m going to loop “D” and “E” into one answer with a pretty little bow on top. Beginning Feb 22nd, we are launching our online course “Beyond the Studio,” which has been created with these very questions in mind. We will walk our customers through the process from setting up the business, to hiring the right people (they are very different from studio-only teachers), to establishing proper systems of a remotely run company, to equipping your staff to teach on the go, to legal considerations that are unique to this business model. This is a brief overview of the topics we’ll cover, but we are very thorough and no stone is left un-turned from our YEARS of experience successfully running an on-site studio! 

 

More on this course will be announced later… For now, join our waitlist HERE to stay “in-the-know!”

 

3. Why you should open an on-site studio!

Please refer back to everything above. Haha! Seriously, we could talk about this topic for hours and share the multitude of benefits that this company has had for both Leah and myself. In fact, we have two more blog posts coming your way that detail more of these perks soon. Lindsey, one of our Studio Go teachers, will be sharing on-site dance from a teacher’s perspective, and Leah will be sharing some major benefits to her company specifically revolving around her family life. Spoiler alert. Her family life has enormously changed for the positive since she began operating on-site many years ago!

 

 

That’s all I have you today! Thanks for reading along and learning more about why I love on-site dance. I truly hope you’re interested and excited to here more about our “Beyond the Studio” Course. Don’t forget to sign up for the waitlist HERE, and send us a message if you have questions thus far!

Cheers,
Lauren 🥂

5 Items Every Preschool Dance Teacher Needs in 2019

5 Items Every Preschool Dance Teacher Needs in 2019

Dance teachers, pull your dance bag out of hiding. Classes begin Monday for us at our sister company, Studio Go! I typically clear out all dance materials out of my car over a holiday break. Something about that helps me downshift into “real me” mode. When I don’t see preschool props, dance shoes, and music materials floating around in my vehicle, I’m more likely to relax and not think about work over a break.

Well, those days are over so it’s time to not only give my dance bag a clean-up, but it’s also time to revive my teaching materials! Get ready for a new year of preschool dance instruction! Read on to hear what I think every preschool dance teacher should have in his/her repertoire in 2019!

(FYI, the bolded items below are easy clickable links!)

 

 

1. Ribbon Ring Set 

Team, this is our best selling preschool dance prop. I just prepared a shipment of these beautiful rhythm props for a client in Australia, earlier this week. My students think it’s so special when we pull these out of our dance bags. They are whimsical and dreamy! These are great for “free space time,” an organized follow-me rhythm dance, or even as an across-the-floor prop.

For traveling activities like the latter, I prefer to place a pile of them on one side of the room and allow my dancers to approach them one at a time to select their own ring. They perform a traveling step of my choice like tip-toe walks, gallops or hopping on one foot, to name a few. Once they get to the other side, they get to perform a quick dance of their own choosing and show off their favorite move before they place the ring down in a second pile on this side of the room. Works like a charm!

2. Hand Sanitizer

This one needs very little explanation. Little kids can be gross. We love them. But they’re gross. 

Snotty noses, sneezing, slobbering, potty accidents, upset stomachs… You name it. We’ve all seen it.

Do yourself a solid and buy these for every classroom in your studio. And grab one for your car too. There’s no need to bring that mess home to your people! (We linked an aloe sanitizer above… Winter months here in the States are tough on our skin already, so make it easier on yourself!)

3. Shameless Plug – Our Concierge Monthly Subscription! 

We’re not ashamed to stress the value of our subscription, y’all. It’s the bomb. Lesson planning? Thing of the past. Boring, out-dated music? No more. Repetitive choreography? Not an issue. Worrying that your clients (the parents) aren’t sure they’re getting quality instruction? No under-informed folks over here. Students misbehaving because they’re not challenged or engaged? Not our style. Feel like your sticker or stamp “rewards” aren’t cutting it for today’s young kids? Not us. Staying up past your bedtime creating all of the above items? Not gonna happen anymore.

We offer two monthly subscriptions (ballet only, ballet & tap) and two payment options (monthly, yearly). All content is created with 3-5 year-olds in mind; however, our material is flexible and can be molded into your needs! Access to our private VIP Facebook group is also included in your purchase. This is where we gift members freebies year-round and provide feedback to all your dance questions/needs. We’re pretty creative ladies and we LOVE helping out our Tribe!

Curtains only open for enrollment twice a year, in January and the summer months. Guess what time it is?! JANUARY! If you’re interested in receiving free preschool dance content to “test drive” what our subscribers enjoy, click HERE and leave us your email address. The week of Jan 7-11, 2019, we’ll send you all kinds of materials for FREE. Our cart opens for purchase for one week only Jan 11-18, 2019. Stay tuned and join in on the fun!

4. Class Mascot

At our sister company where we teach about 800 preschoolers every week, we feel very strongly about having a stuffed animal or doll in each of our classes. Five reasons:

1. Behavior – Let your kids know that Bitty (or whoever you name your mascot) is watching. If she reports poor behavior to you after class, students may not receive their rewards. I will say  “Oh, Bitty does not like it when my dancers talk in class. We don’t want to disappoint her!”

2. Leaps – It’s an age-old concept… Give your smallest dancers something to physically jump over in the leaps portion of class. It’s concrete and helps them understand that height is needing while leaping.

3. Connectivity/Comfort – Ever had a hesitant little one in the lobby? Passing a classroom mascot to small dancers gives them comfort and welcomes them into class. Anchor them to the space by providing them with someone else to take care of. I’ll often tell my nervous babies that “Toula is a little scared to leave her mommy too. Would you mind holding her so that she feels better in class?” I’ve not only validated that dancer’s feelings, but I’ve given her a job to do that gives her motivation to join class.

4. Engaging Imagination – Let’s not downplay the affect of imagination on a preschooler. It’s our job to whisk them away to a land of magical wonders in dance class. You wouldn’t believe the sweet things I’ve heard my dancers say through the years about Bitty Ballerina!

5. Simulated Audience – Come showtime, you’ll really appreciate your classroom mascot. Place her on a chair in front of the mirror and tell your students that we’re performing for her. Use that as an opportunity to mentally prepare them for people watching them at a show. Explain that they’ll clap, stare, and maybe even giggle a little bit. We’re making them smile, and that’s a good thing! This audience member also helps them step up their game a bit in final rehearsals.

Click here to purchase Bitty, Toula or Bo from our shop. Handmade in England just for us, these dolls are provided to each Studio Go teacher at our sister company! Rave reviews all around!

If you’d rather go with a mascot who’s already in your studio, that’s great! We also found this precious ballerina bunny on Amazon. She’s gorgeous, delicate, and sweet. Whatever you choose, we know that your students will love him/her!

5. Bullet Journal

I’m extremely new to this. Like, I’ve purchased the journal that I linked above (in the 7.1″x10″ version), but I haven’t actually jumped into it yet. That’s number one on my list for this weekend before real-life starts back on Monday! Do a couple of searches on Instagram and Google on this topic and you will be amazed at the stories and examples you’ll find.

Basically, this is a totally custom calendar where you can store notes, ideas, to-do lists, to-read lists, shopping lists, habit tracking, and pretty much any other thing in your life that’s trackable. There are some impressive (and intimidating) artists out there who seriously go crazy with the cheeze-wiz out there. Don’t let them fool you into thinking that this practice isn’t for you, or that you’re not artistic enough to keep up! The bottom line is to plan your days, time-block your work-week, and tackle both long-term and short-term goals in a format that some fancy planner-designer could never have foreseen as useful for YOU.

We dance teachers have busy teaching schedules, high parent expectations, tons of craft projects, gobs of music editing, emails waiting on thoughtful replies, choreography to be created, and about a million other small things in between. Get yourself organized and prepared to be the best dance teacher you can be!

(Shout out to my sister Courtney who convinced me over Christmas break that I need to get on the bullet-journal train immediately. Good call, girl.) 

via GIPHY

 

Guys, that’s all I have for now! Believe me, the preschool dance classroom ideas up my sleeve are endless, but I decided to keep it short and sweet. These are the ESSENTIALS! Hop to it… The back-to-school clock is surely ticking!

Cheers,
Lauren 🥂

*** Please note that some of the links are affiliate links. There is nothing extra on your end, but we may receive a commission if you choose to buy a product. We only support products that we believe in and love! ***