• Y.P.A.D.™ Certification: Thoughts from our Relationship Managers

    We reached out to a few of your favorite Curtain Call Relationship Managers to see what aspects of Curtain Call's Y.P.A.D.™ Certification stood out to them the most, here's what they had to say:

    What aspect of the Y.P.A.D. Certification stood out to you most?

    Some of the facts and statistics shared during the certification program are mind boggling. It’s easy to have a knowledge of what you think may be going on in our industry, but not an understanding. What stood out to me the most is probably the effects of social media. I don’t have children, so I don’t have to monitor the social media in my household. If I see something that is bothersome, I can simply scroll past it. Unfortunately, today’s youth are exposed to the world via social media, yet, they don’t have the life skills to know how to handle all of that information. The certification has definitely made me more aware of how dance and social media can occasionally intertwine negatively, and how to keep it positive and uplifting. – Ameila Fazio

    The dangers of oversexualizing children was a huge eye opener for me. Not only the dangers from sexual predators, but also for a child’s self-esteem and body awareness. I think I have been exposed to the dance world and what has become the “norm” in dance trends for so long, I have become partially numb to the reality that, children were no longer dancing or dressing like children. I would watch routines and think “they are talented enough to pull it off”. The actuality is talent should have nothing to do with how children are portrayed and viewed as a dancer. Growing up, children are exposed to the harsh realities of this world so quickly, we should absolutely not be rushing maturity upon them. – Christine Luca

    What stood out to me the most was the feelings the surfaced throughout the certification. Being involved in the dance industry my whole life, whether being a student, a performer, a teacher, and now a marketer of dance apparel, I have seen and witnessed many instances that Y.P.A.D. is addressing. There is a sense of relief that an organization is addressing these issues and making the dance industry aware. – Cori Callahan

    To be certified by an organization that provides standards and values that I am passionate about. To have knowledge, support and resources available and to be an advocate in the dance industry. – Debbie Carr

    What do you believe is the #1 benefit of the Y.P.A.D. Certification for our customers?

    Becoming YPAD certified is a whole new way of thinking and doing business. For me, it represents a complete change in mindset about things I previously knew, I would imagine it would be even more impactful for studio owners. The benefit of that shift in thinking is the effect on those people our studio owners serve, from the students, to their parents, siblings, and even friends. – Ameila Fazio

    Parents will feel assured that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment, which will help grow their business as a trusted establishment in the community! – Christine Luca

    TRUST. Our customers can trust us that we will deliver a product they can be proud of. – Cori Callahan

    For our customers the certification is beneficial to them in knowing that we have and will continue to provide costumes that meet the Y.P.A.D. standards. – Debbie Carr

    Why should anyone choose to gain their Y.P.A.D. Certification?

    Our world is changing every day, whether we like it or not. The certification will give you the tools and training to understand issues students and parents may be faced with, and how to help them through. Everyone from teachers and office staff, to studio owners and industry professionals, should take this certification seriously. – Ameila Fazio

    As dance professionals, I think it’s important to be educated on all of the potential risks involved with children in the dance industry. There are many things that most people would never think of that may be harming children under their watch. – Christine Luca

    It take a village to raise our children. As dance educators, they are a part of this village. Our dancers deserve to be guided by positive, healthy and happy ways. – Cori Callahan

    They should choose to gain certification to become educated and gain resources. To be an advocate that will positively impact their customers and improve their business model. – Debbie Carr

    Stay tuned for more insight from your Relationship Managers on Curtain Call's Y.P.A.D.™ Certification in the next segment of our Y.P.A.D.™ Certification series! 
  • See the Sparkle for Yourself

    At Curtain Call, we understand how important it is for you to be able to see and touch our costumes in person. Even better, being able to experience the flow of a contemporary dress, the shimmer of sequins, and the movement of fringe by having models bring the costumes to life! This season, we strategically placed a number of Curtain Call hosted costume preview shows throughout the country for your convenience.

    Why should you attend a Curtain Call hosted event?CCWelcomesYou-2016
    • Get an exclusive, in-person look at our new 2018 Curtain Call®, Perform®, and NX3® Collections
    • Meet your regional Relationship Manager
    • Learn about our Curtain Call for Class® program and see the latest collection
    • Come alone or bring your whole team for a costume planning event
    • Mix and mingle with fellow dance enthusiasts and dance studio owners
    • Learn about our Curtain Call Rewards program

    NEW this season… if you attend a Curtain Call hosted* event you may be eligible for a 5% Show Bonus! This show bonus, Curtain Call Cash, can be earned on all orders over $1,000 placed by November 27, 2017 and is in addition to any eligible discount! Learn more about this exclusive offer!

    If you’re not able to visit us at one of our hosted shows, stop by and visit us at one of the four UDMA events!

    For details about our Curtain Call hosted shows and to RSVP, view our Upcoming Events!

    We look forward to seeing you soon!

  • The Psychology of Fashion in Dance

    By: Leslie Scott, Founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance

    Christine Luca - Curtain Call Relationship Manager, Jerica Robinson - Curtain Call Relationship Manager, Leslie Scott - Founder of YPAD, and Katie Gatlin - YPAD Advisory Panel Member teaming up at Dance Teacher Web Live in Las Vegas!

    As the founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) and on behalf of our community and Advisory Panel, I am thrilled that Curtain Call has answered the call of youth advocacy by becoming the World’s FIRST YPAD Certified Costume Manufacturer! By becoming Certified, Curtain Call leads the dance costume industry by incorporating diversity, inclusiveness and safety in how costumes are designed, photographed and promoted. This is a historical and pioneering moment that raises the integrity for dance apparel around the globe!

    The Psychology of Fashion has been a field of study to assist YPAD in understanding the impact of fashion trends on young dancer's emotional health, self-esteem, body image and social media choices. Costume manufacturers influence dance industry trends and the self-esteem and body image of youth. They also influence the costume choices made by the adults in charge of youth dancers. Whether witnessing a stage performance, flipping through a catalog or consuming images of children and teens modeling costumes through social media platforms, costume companies, whether consciously or not, are educating the public on what is appropriate regarding fashion for youth in dance. In that is a call for accountability that we are so encouraged Curtain Call answered with an all-in attitude of excitement and unity!

    Over the last decade, some costume designs have started to resemble the mature clothing of adult celebrities and pop stars, but scaled down in size and marketed to children and teens. YPAD has also seen an increase in photographing children and teens in sexually mature positions and equally mature facial expressions. The verbiage used by costume companies during photo or video shoots regarding the aesthetics and abilities of the dancers showcasing their designs are important moments for youth in dance. Certain comments may have a harmful impact on self-esteem and self-compassion. Positive reinforcement based on a dancer's character and work ethic can uplift a dancer's confidence and feelings about their body, self and even each other. The choices of photos, designs and even names of costumes in catalogs send powerful messages regarding gender stereotypes, body image, diversity and more. When YPAD launched the world's first certification training for costume manufacturers that addressed these topics, we were excited to find the right fit for who would be the first to unite with YPAD! Together, we will actively counteract harmful trends and promote diversity, inclusion and holistic wellness, using costumes as the vehicle for change.

    Curtain Call not only went through YPAD Certification, but they otook it a step further in their genuine care for youth in dance. They partnered with YPAD to conduct market research on how costumes impact body image and what costume designs may be a better choice for children with sensory sensitivities. The result of this endeavor is an icon legend in Curtain Call’s catalog that share with consumers which costumes are sensory friendly, fidget friendly, offer compression, are glitter free and have adjustable straps.

    Our belief is dance is for everyBODY, regardless of size, height, shape, ethnicity or ability. As leaders, we can take thoughtful steps to give children a higher chance of success on the dance floor. When they feel confident and secure in their costume they can absorb themselves in self-expression and the joy dance has to offer. I was honored to organize and work with industry experts from YPAD’s Advisory Panel on these important endeavors. I would like to first acknowledge and thank our Advisory Panel Member Lisa Phelps the creator of SB Dance Sugar, a dance advocacy site in Santa Barbara. Lisa is the lead developer of the YPAD Certification and an amazing human and champion of youth in the arts! I would also like to thank Tiffany Prout-Leitao, Tricia Gomez, Katie Gatlin, Misty Lown, Dr. Christina Donaldson, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Ph.D., and Vanessa Terrell along with the Curtain Call team for making this campaign come to life. Tricia Gomez of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance and Katie Gatlin led our committee on costumes for children with sensory sensitivities and the development of the icons I mentioned above. Misty Lown owner of Misty’s Dance Unlimited/More Than Just Great Dancing and (YPAD’s First Visionary Sponsor!), Tiffany Prout-Leitao owner of Center Stage Dance Academy and Vanessa Terrell owner of The Pointe School of Dance spent hours conducting market research on their amazing students. Dr. Christina Donaldson and Katie Gatlin served on our Body Image committee and Tomi-Ann Roberts, Ph.D. served on our committee for Healthy Presentations of Youth in Dance for Print and Media. YPAD Director, Joseph Zanovitch, and myself managed these projects. None of this could be possible without the selfless investment of time and energy on behalf of the YPAD Advisory Panel. For more details on the exact hours and research participants read this awesome blog from Tighe King, Curtain Call’s CEO!

    Thank you Curtain Call for being more than costumes, letting kids be kids and always putting the Holistic Wellness of the dancer before potentially harmful trends and profits. Parents, dance teachers and studio owners who want to support dance organizations who represent YPAD Values can trust Curtain Call’s integrity and leadership!

  • 2018 Collection: Share the Joy of Dance With Everyone

    We are always excited to launch our new costume line, and this 2018 collection is our most amazing yet! But Curtain Call is more than costumes. It’s about sharing the joy of dance with everyone. Your performance, both on and off the stage, continues to be our passion. Our ongoing mission is to support you, the artist, the visionary, the teacher, and the business owner- so you can perform at your best, and inspire the next generation of dancers. Supporting you means we strive to lead the costume industry by offering quality, value priced styles, exceptional service, and reliable peace of mind, so you, and your dancers, can perform at their best. This season, it also means we strive to recognize and support the mission to celebrate and protect all dancers.

    Curtain Call is proud to be recognized as the first Y.P.A.D™ Certified costume company! Y.P.A.D. stands for Youth Protection Advocates in Dance, and is a nonprofit dedicated to building empowered dance communities to keep youth happy, healthy and safe in dance. By becoming certified, Curtain Call leads the dance costume industry by incorporating diversity, inclusiveness and safety in how costumes are designed, photographed and promoted.

    With the help of Y.P.A.D.’s Advisory Panel members of industry experts, we have dedicated over 100 hours to developing, organizing, and implementing market research and analysis to help studios choose costumes that specifically support children with special needs. The market research was led by Advisory Panel Member Tricia Gomez, the creator of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, a rhythm and dance program designed for those with individual learning differences and other special needs. In this ground breaking project, 23 amazing children ages 3-14 were involved to help determine which costumes accommodated diverse needs. Using this research, we developed and assigned helpful icons to specific garments in the 2018 collection to help assist you in selecting the right garment for your dancers.YPAD-icons

    “Curtain Call’s willingness to go through Certification training and coming alongside us in this partnership is absolutely monumental for the dance industry. They continue to set a standard for the dance apparel industry which is to always put the emotional and physical wellness of children before profits and potentially harmful trends.” – Leslie Scott, Founder of Y.P.A.D.

    We hope this new 2018 costume line will inspire you with ideas for choreography and performances, as well as inspire you to learn more about how we can all support our youth and #LetKidsBeKids. We are proud to share this new collection with you, honored to support the Y.P.A.D mission, and grateful that you will consider Curtain Call for your costume needs this season.

    On behalf of our entire team, we hope you have an amazing year!

    Tighe King, CEO and the Curtain Call Team

     

    Special thanks to:
    Curtain Call would like to express a Special Thanks to members of Y.P.A.D.’s Advisory Panel of Industry Experts!
    Without their efforts, this project would not have been possible.

    Tricia Gomez, Rhythm Works Integrative Dance

    Katie Gatlin, M.S. Mental Health Counseling/Dance Educator (Committee Leaders)

    Misty Lown, More Than Just Great Dancing™ and Misty’s Dance Unlimited™

    Vanessa Terrell, The Pointe School of Dance

    Tiffany Prout-Leiato, Center Stage Dance Academy

    Dr. Christina Donaldson, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

    Tomi-Ann Roberts, PhD, Department of Psychology, Colorado College

    Leslie Scott, Founder of  Y.P.A.D.™

    Joseph Zanovitch, Director of Y.P.A.D.™

  • The Woman Behind the Camera at Curtain Call

    Ever wonder what its like to be on set for a Curtain Call catalog photo shoot? Our long time photographer, Pammi Simone, shares her passions and favorite tips, while giving you an inside look at her life behind the lens.  Pammi

    Where did you gain your professional experience in photography?

    My ‘formal’ education was a vocational program during my last year of high school. I immediately began working at a studio and learned most of what I know and developed my photography skills on the job.

    How many years of experience have you had?

    I have twenty years in the field.

    When did you initially know photography was your calling?

    When I was 17 years old, and the instructor at the vocational school I was attending had to kick me out of the darkroom well after the school day had ended.

    What was your first experience in the field like?

    I began as an assistant. I remember showing up to the job interview, all dressed up with portfolio in hand. The owner of the studio breezed through it, snapped it shut and said… “these are nice… can you lift a heavy trash can?”

    What/ who are you greatest inspirations for you work?

    First and foremost Bill Simone. He taught me almost everything I know about light, composition, and professional conduct. Other inspirations have come from studying the work of Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Phil Marco and Terry Heffernan.

    When did you begin working with Curtain Call?

    Curtain Call was already working with the studio when I began as a teenager. I assisted on their catalog projects, loading film magazines and raising 80 lb. backgrounds.

    What is a day on set at Curtain Call like? What are some of your roles?

    We have a lot of fun while we work through the Curtain Call shoots. Dance and photography are both creative fields, and the team at Curtain Call pulls together talented minds for collaboration. There are costume designers, graphic designers, textile experts, choreographers, myself as the photographer and, of course, very talented dancers and gymnasts.

    Do you have any funny experiences that come to mind since working with Curtain Call?

    There could be a “top ten” quotables list somewhere of phrases like “back shot!” and “you’re kinking it!” that will always bring a laugh to the team as we work. We also frequently recall models that were in catalogs of years gone by, and talk about where they are currently in their dance careers and share laughs over what they were like as a three year old.

    It’s recital day, my dancer is all dressed-up with their hair and makeup done, how can I capture the best picture of my dancer with my smart phone? Where should I go?

    Smart phones are so advanced today compared to what you had even just five years ago. Have fun with some of the different features available like speed ramping video and film effects. However, any image will be improved if you first begin with good light and good composition. Try to find large, soft sources of light to stand your dancer next to: patio doors, the shady side of a building, a large window. If those backgrounds don’t measure up, try finding a plain wall or place them far away from a background and zoom in so the background goes out of focus.

    While taking pictures of my dancer, how can I pose them to capture the best photo?

    Standing with hips straight on to the camera will surely add those ‘ten pounds’ if you are an adult female dancer. Try angling your dancer to one side or another a bit, then turn their upper body back to the camera. If this looks too ‘posey’ just have them stand comfortably and shift all of their weight to their back leg, away from the camera. Of course, a well executed dance move- in costume and at the right angle will always make a nice shot! Wide angle lenses will exaggerate anything that is closest to the lens. Zooming in a bit will diminish that effect.

    I’m sitting in the audience at my dancer’s first recital, how can I capture the best photo of them from my smart phone?

    Often times the wide angle lens of smart phones makes the stage look very small in your photo. If you are able to, get closer to the stage so you won’t have to zoom in as far. Also, levels of light are very low in the theater, and very high in contrast on the stage. Smart phones have a hard time with this.

    Getting closer will also fill your frame with more lit objects, and give the impression of a clearer image. You can engage the HDR function of your smartphone to reduce the contrast.

    There is often a delay from the time you touch the screen of your smartphone to the time it actually captures the image. Try to anticipate the moment you want to capture and be ready for it.

    Do you have any generic tips to avoid?

    Hmmm, the obvious:
    Don’t force a small child into posing for a shot when there is something they aren’t happy about.
    Most people don’t like butt shots of themselves.
    A real smile or laugh is always better than a forced one.
    Don’t give up on the first try if you are doing a dance move. We always do more than one take!

    In general, if you have a DSLR with a high ISO capability and a long lens, (and an understanding of how to use them) you will be able to achieve images that are more on par with what you might see in dance articles and magazines. You’ll be able to freeze action better and adjust for carrying lighting conditions. However, if you know the limitations of your smart phone (i.e. when to stop zooming in, how it handles low light levels, etc.) you can work within those parameters.

  • Competition & Recital Makeup Tips & Tricks from the Beauties Behind the Curtain

    We know that a dancer's love and passion for dancing is what really makes them shine when they're on stage, but a great costume and a pop of makeup and really accent their look, too! We chatted with our very own photo shoot stylists to get their take on the best tips and tricks for perfecting your stage look!
    Holly&Kimberly

    Meet Our Stylists
    Holly Boyer, owner of Extreme Beauty Makeup, has had over 10 years of cosmetology. One of her many inspirations is Pat McGrath, who is a front-runner in her field and one of the most innovative artists in the industry. Holly’s favorite look for the stage is a good neutral smokey eye and a killer pair of false eyelashes!

    Kimberly Harvey has been turning her friends' hair and makeup into masterpieces for as long as she can remember. At the age of 19, she began working professionally in a salon, in the following years continued to work in the industry with different makeup companies. Recently, she has began to focus on the bridal industry, special events, and photo shoots (like Curtain Call)! One of her inspirations in the hair industry is Celebrity Hair Stylist Jen Atkin, and for makeup, Tom Pecheux! Kimberly's go-to look for the stage is a pretty neutral eye shadow, HUGE lashes, and bold lips!

    Tips & Tricks:

    • When applying false eyelashes, allow for the adhesive to dry for 30–45 seconds before adhering to the lash line. In doing this, the adhesive will become tacky and allow for easier application.
    • Use a damp beauty blender sponge to pack on a no-color powder under the eyes. After applying concealer, allow for the powder to “bake” for 5 minutes before dusting away the excess powder.
    • Use a sponge to press powder into the skin rather than dust, this will allow for a longer wear.
    • For those that may not have a steady hand, use an angled brush when applying liner. To even out any imperfections, use a similar color shadow to smudge out the liner.
    • For younger dancers, give them a more natural look with neutral eye makeup and a pop of lip gloss or a tinted lip balm.
    • When using a curler to style hair, start off with a setting spray before curling and top it off with a finishing spray for extra hold.
    • Primer, Primer, Primer! It’s a girl’s best friend! Use a primer before applying eye shadow or anything to the face to increase wear time.
    • For the stage, use a foundation one shade darker than natural skin tone to avoid appearing pale from the stage lights. Bronzer works well too!
    • Always set makeup with a setting spray after applying makeup, then apply a translucent powder to lock in your look and cut down on any dewiness.
    • Avoid setting powder flashback by blending it extremely well during application.
    • Avoid using cream under the eyes, it will make the under eye look dry and potentially cakey in photos.

    Top Ten Makeup Bag Essentials:
    1. Urban Decay – All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray1
    2. BECCA – Shimmering Skin Protector Pressed Highlighter2
    3. Laura Mercier – Translucent Loose Setting Powder3
    4. Anastasia Beverly Hills – Brow Wiz Pencil4
    5. i.ENVY – Super Strong Hold Eyelash Adhesive

    5
    6. Ardell Professional – Demi Wispies Eyelashes

    6
    7. NARS – Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

    7
    8. Clinique – Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm 8
    9. Crest – 3D Whitestrips

    9
    10. Tweezerman – Tweezers

    10

  • Let's Celebrate: National Dance Week 2017

    NDWF logo transparent w name

    As a leader in the dance community, Curtain Call® is passionate about spreading positivity throughout the dance world! Every year, we celebrate National Dance Week by raising awareness about the benefits of dance and supporting our dance community. This year we spoke with Cathy Graziano, the Executive Director at National Dance Week Foundation, to learn more about their mission and how Curtain Call can help support it. We are excited to share this information with you and celebrate this year’s National Dance Week, February 24 – March 5, 2017. Mark your calendars!

    Can you tell us about the mission of the National Dance Week Foundation (NDWF)?
    The overall mission of NDWF is to expose and introduce as many people as possible to the enjoyment and benefits of dance through promoting dance in schools, expanding community awareness, and increasing professional development. To ensure this happens, we have created year-round dance activities and initiatives. NDWF encourages dancers and dance organizations to take the lead and use their power of dance to work together towards the greater good.

    A call to action has been sounded to first, take the lead in creating more dance opportunities for those with special needs- A Chance to Dance and to second, stand up against bullying – Kick for Kindness initiative. I am very passionate about both of these issues. All NDWF activities, like the Dance Mob, help create awareness about dance, while supporting and raising awareness for these important initiatives. Each year, the last Friday of February we begin our National Dance Week (NDW) celebration for ten days. Each day we promote a different scholarship winner, contest winner, or those who took part in dance activities and performances. It’s like the NDWF Academy Awards!

    What about your work inspires you to continue spreading this mission?
    What inspires me is the interchange of encouragement that comes from within the dance community. My efforts are continuously inspired by those whose lives are positively influenced by dance. I love hearing their stories!

    What can we, as members of the dance industry, do to help spread this message?
    The best way to spread this mission, is getting together today, and getting involved. The more we work together, the more effective we can be – I am a big believer in positive synergy. The easiest way to get involved is through our NDWF Ambassador volunteer program. These Ambassadors work throughout the United States to lead their communities toward our goals. Since NDWF is a non-profit, we rely on support and donations from other organizations, like United Dance Merchants of America (UDMA). A large portion of our support and donations come from t-shirt sales. Studios that purchase our t-shirts, directly fund our scholarship and educational programs.

    Can you explain the mission of A Chance to Dance?dance-week-shirt crop
    Realizing that so many children with special needs and learning differences are being excluded from dance class and knowing that most people understand the physical and emotional benefits of dance, really made me question why there aren’t more of these classes readily available.
    Since this realization, I have met many wonderful teachers who have been able to create a dance space specifically for this purpose, and many that weren’t exactly sure how to get the ball rolling. As a result, A Chance to Dance was born. Our missions is to first, create awareness and second, provide education through scholarships.

    So far, we have gained great awareness with our Mannequin Challenge and Photo Contests. In order to provide education, support, and the tools needed, we have teamed-up with Tricia Gomez's Rhythm Works Integrative Dance and Wingman for Dance. To fund the scholarship, we sell A Chance to Dance t-shirts and NDWF dancewear – the more we sell, the more scholarships we are able to give. In 2016, we were thrilled to award four scholarships.

    What do you wish other people knew about those with special needs or learning differences?
    I feel the fear of not knowing, or initial discomfort is probably why many have shied away from helping. What many don’t realize, EVERYONE benefits from this mission, not just those with special needs or learning differences. Learning to dance together will benefit all dancers and give everyone memories to cherish for the rest of their lives. Dance is meant for everyone!

    Why do you think this mission is so important to share?
    It is necessary! Right now, we have only been able to whisper, our goal is to be able roar! That roar can only happen if the A Chance to Dance initiative grows every year – and with your help, NDWF is going to work hard to make that happen!

  • Get a Fresh Start: Tips for Cleaning Your Routine

    CC_Blog_CleaningRoutine

    By: Jerica Robinson, Relationship Manager

    Cleaning a dance is one of the most vital steps in preparing a routine. Whether it's for competition season, community showcases, or dance recitals, this process can become extremely stressful. And at this point in the year, our students become complacent. I'm going to share a few techniques you can use to clean a routine, while incorporating some fun! In my experience, three of the most helpful ways to clean a dance are breaking them into sections, video-taping, and something I like to call, adding-on.

    Break It Up

    Breaking your dance into sections will help you understand when and where your students are struggling. I like to break my dance into three different sections, and then two eight-counts at a time. By doing so, they can easily learn each section FULL OUT!! After cleaning each eight-count, we gradually speed up the tempo, before adding the music. Once all three sections have been completed, we will then take our dance in halves, using the same process. Although the process is lengthy, it works wonders.

    Hit Record

    I like to videotape the class twice, once with counts and once with music. By watching each video, I can clearly recognize when a student is delayed or anticipating a movement. You can also view the video in “slow motion” which helps you to see simple mistakes. Using this technique, it also allows the class to see any errors for themselves, while also utilizing constructive peer-editing, rather than hearing critiques from their teacher.

    Add On

    The last technique is where the fun begins, add-ons! Breaking the class into two groups is the best way to approach this technique. Starting with two of your most precise students, instruct them through the routine, critiquing as needed. Slowly, add another group of two, and so on, and so forth. By seeing routine in groups and critiquing in real time, each routine will come out cleaner than the last.

    Each of these techniques has a unique benefit and I hope you find them helpful! I also suggest, if your dancers need a little bit of a break, it's always fun to let them do the routine in groups or with an assigned partner. Like I always say, “sometimes hearing a critique from a peer, is a lot easier than the teacher drilling every week”. Remember, you want to keep things exciting to ensure a positive attitude throughout the class.

  • A Dancer's Guide to New Year's Resolutions

    By: Jordann Smith-Kingston, Curtain Call® Intern and Model

    1M-T4060As a college student majoring in dance, I not only spend a lot of time dancing, but also writing, talking, and thinking about dance. My improvements in dance determine my grades, and with constant new ideas, it can be difficult to stay focused on improving. I often easily forget the reason I love to dance. To gain direction and reset focus, I have found goal setting to be an effective solution. The start of a new year is the perfect time to reset the stage and rework the choreography. Here are my 10 resolutions of 2017:

    1. Dance Anytime, Anywhere!
    I often find the urge to do a grand jete or pirouette unbearable. Though, I always refrain, knowing the strange looks that will follow from bystanders. This year I hope to say, “so what?” to the onlookers and move freely, as I wish. I hope my joy for dance will remind me, life is a performance and I don’t need a barre or a class to justify dancing.

    2. Clean Out That Dance Bag
    My dance bag has everything from old homework and orange peels, to athletic tape and bobby pins. It is easy to quickly cram everything in and decide to deal with it later. But, later, is now. A clean dance bag, is a clear mind… which will help me easily find the things I do need, (like the left shoe that always disappears just before class). Keeping the stinky dance shoe smell away is important, too. I recommend after-use spray for shoes, scent balls made for athletic gear, or small bags of lavender.

    3. Ice, Ice Baby
    Icing can help with treating an injury, coping with an ongoing pain, or even preventing a future injury. For many dancers, including myself, this is often ignored advice. The constant strain our bodies endure from dance and other activities increases our risk of overused joints and shin splints. Icing more frequently will help me approach every class and rehearsal more fully charged.

    4. Eat Healthy
    Our diets play a large role in our attitude, energy levels, skin, digestive patterns, and so much more. For dancers, it’s difficult to balance a healthy diet with rigorous rehearsal schedules. To focus on a well-balanced diet, I have decided to implement a few little tricks. Packing light, energy loaded snacks of almonds, berries, or rice cakes with peanut butter, for long days of rehearsal. Precooking my meals, rather than buying on-the-go, to control portions and regulate healthy ingredients. Controlling indulgences, rather than letting the indulgences control me. And lastly, listening to my body and not overeating.

    5. Cross Train for Cardio
    Stamina is my weakest point of dance. To improve this, work must be done outside of the studio to concentrate on strengthening the heart. For dancers, the most beneficial activities are low-impact: swimming, elliptical, hot-yoga, cycling, or Pilates are some excellent examples. These exercises will also build muscle in areas not always utilized through dance.

    6. Get Back to the Basics
    Continuing to take beginner level classes helps to concentrate on basic technique. It is the perfect opportunity to remove the complexity of phrases or movements, and focus on small details, like muscle initiation or positioning. After all, life is about enjoying the little things, like nailing a triple pirouette en pointe for the first time!

    7. Wear Supportive Gear
    Although it’s easy to throw on a pair of flip-flops in the summer, they provide minimal support. Make conscious decisions when choosing proper footwear. Choose something that protects your feet, while supporting your arch and helping you to maintain proper posture and weight-distribution.

    8. See More Professional Dance
    Living in D.C., there are always popular groups or individuals coming to perform. Immersing yourself in professional performances allows you to see things differently or learn something new. Supporting other artists helps to find fresh inspiration and is also a great way to network with other dancers!

    9. Rehearse Before Rehearsal
    Rehearsal is intended for learning new choreography and reworking to perfect technique. It is not, however, time for reviewing old material. By rehearsing before, more time can be spent cleaning and the choreographer will view you as a well-prepared, professional student.

    10. Dance for ME!
    Every dancer has reasons for staying up late and spending hours in rehearsals and class or enduring large amounts of pain. Whatever the reason is, it always boils down to a love of dance. This year, I plan to keep that focus in mind as a mantra. I refuse to dance in order to make someone else approve or to try to dance like someone else or to try to change myself. I will dance because it has been and always will be my first love. It is the one constant in my life and brings me an inexplicable resounding joy that I want to share. Dancing defines me!

  • Dance Studio Owners: Here’s How to Make This Your Best Year Ever!

    Angela&SteveBy: Steve Sirico and Angela D’Valda Sirico, Dance Teacher Web

    "Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination" -Fitzhugh Dodson

    Every year around this time we love to reflect over what has taken place during the past year. Once the New Year hits it is important to have your focus on track as to what you want to achieve for the New Year. Not thrilled about something that has taken place at your studio? Don't fret, now is the time to throw out the things that are dragging you down and replace them with a new and fresh outlook.

    Keep in mind that you are the leader of your dance studio. If you are distracted and unhappy that will spill into your business. We believe your business is a reflection of you!

    Here are some quick tips to help you to have the right mindset for the New Year.

    1. Make your vision a priority. We have had studio owners who are, in our Dance Teacher Web consulting program, tell us that their clients are tough to deal with. That they are demanding and push them to the limits on everything. We tell them that the only way to change that is to set your standards and don't change them for anyone! We believe that if you let your customers push you around they will continue to push you around and it will only become worse, not better. Take a day and write down the perfect picture you have of your studio. How the parents, students, staff and faculty act. Now visualize ways that you can create that in your studio. Don't think for a minute that it can't happen! Share your vision with your team and let them know this IS going to happen. Set your standards and you will be thrilled and proud each day that you walk into the studio you have created.

     

    1. Get rid of the bad apples. Yes, I know this may be difficult but if you have a teacher, staff member, student or parent that is constantly a pain in the neck, you must make the move to get them out of your studio and life! No one should steal your joy. NO ONE! You work too hard and give too much of yourself. You deserve the utmost respect and happiness. Just before or right after the New Year are great times to meet with the problem people and inform them that your studio is just not the right fit for them. Thank them for being a part of your studio and wish them all the best but let them know that as of the New Year you are moving in a different direction without them.

     

    1. Keep your mind in a good place. Running a business is hard work. There are and will be challenging moments, Lord knows during the 30 years we have had our studio we have had plenty of those moments. But if you keep your mind thinking about how you can make your studio better and how you can increase your business you will see improvement. Opportunities are all around you if you are looking through the right glasses. Try not to focus on all the problems, I know that is not easy at times, believe me, but when you focus on what can be instead of what isn't then you will be shown the way to resolve any troubling issues you may be facing.

     

    1. Set your New Year goals. This is the fun part. Look at where you are right now and then decide where you would like to be. This overview may include your student count, income, faculty, choreography, competition results and anything else you can think of. Don't forget your personal ones as well. The only advice we would give in the goal department is, BE BOLD! We have always set lofty goals. Now we can't say that we have attained them all but we have had a lot of fun trying to achieve them and we have improved in any of the areas where we have put our focus. And, we have exceeded many as well!

    Now It’s Your Turn…

    Once you have finished reading this article please get a brand-new note pad or planner and start to make notes to yourself. You can name it something fun like My 2017 Goal & Idea Planner.

    On the first page write in big bold letters:

    I can easily achieve all my goals!

    I have everything in place right now to build the studio of my dreams!

    Focus on ideas no matter how big or small they are and ways that you can turn them into reality. Let’s face it, who knows your studio better than you do? You know all the good and all the not so good. But there are also hidden gems right under your feet at your studio. You just need to take some time to think about what can you do better, differently or completely new! Hopefully you don't have anything negative happening at your studio but if you do, start making plans to eliminate whatever it is. Keep your mind positive even in trying times and set those lofty goals. As the saying goes, "Go Big or Go Home!"

    We wish you a terrific New Year where all your dreams become reality!

     

    About D’Valda and Sirico

    Angela D'Valda Sirico and Steve Sirico have owned and directed a very successful dance studio in Fairfield CT for 30 years. They also have been teaching master classes, choreographing and producing shows. In 2007 they founded Dance Teacher Web now the #1 online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide. They produce the live event every summer called Dance Teacher Web Live Conference and Expo . Steve and Angle have partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to create Dance Teacher University a cutting-edge teacher certification program that offer two exciting levels with a diverse curriculum. They have also co-authored two books “It’s Your Turn!” The success blueprint for the dance studio owner and for the dance teacher with motivational guru Robert Landau

    In 1979 they formed the Adagio team of D’Valda & Sirico. Their performing credits include "Scala" Barcelona, Spain, Casino Estoril, Portugal, Theatre Royal, Oxford, England, Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, Hotel Tequendama, Bogota, Columbia, Teatro Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep's smash hit "Dash", Dominium Theatre, London.

    They were featured artists in Royal Command performances in Spain and had the privilege of performing for Princess Diana of Wales. D'Valda & Sirico's many television credits include "David Letterman", "Star Search", and "Tarde Para Todos" as well as variety shows in the U.S.A, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, Italy and Argentina. Their combination of explosive choreography and exciting partner work has been given rave reviews both nationally and internationally. Their choreography for the acclaimed "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" was commissioned by Boston Ballet II and performed by the company. Angela and Steve have owned and directed the D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre Fairfield, Connecticut since 1987. Their students have received scholarships and contracts to American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Hartford Ballet as well as the National tours of "Fosse", "Fame" and "We Will Rock You" and on Broadway in "Chorus Line".

    Angela and Steve have been on the faculty of Dance Educators of America’s Teacher Training program. Steve is the author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and together they authored their Partner syllabus both used for Teacher Training worldwide. Angela served as Chairperson for the Tri State panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and they have taught as guest faculty for Mt. Holyoke College, Michigan State University, The University of Arkansas, Yale University and University of Nevada Las Vegas. They teach Master Classes in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical Jazz and Partner work all over the world including residencies in England, Spain, Costa Rica and Mexico.

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