Monthly Archives: June 2016

  • Summer Blues? Put on Your Dancing Shoes!

    By: Stacey Raab, Relationship Manager

    Summer-SunFrom our team at Curtain Call to you: Congratulations on wrapping up what we hope was a successful and fulfilling recital season! You have certainly earned some time to relax, rejuvenate and reflect on your achievements—both big and small—from the past year.

    While the summer months provide an important opportunity to unwind and refocus, they also provide numerous excuses for your students to step away from dance for a few weeks. After competition and recital seasons, many dancers are in their best shape. Stopping cold turkey over the summer may cause them to lose the technique and physicality they worked so hard to achieve during the school year. Occasionally students will take the summer off from dancing then return in the fall to find that they’ve fallen behind compared to their peers who continued their practice year-round. This can lead to hurt feelings or unhappy dancers and parents.

    So while it’s easy to let the summer heat lure your students into a swimming pool or onto a couch in an air conditioned room, be sure to think about keeping them engaged over the summer to set them up for success come fall:

    Tips for Studio Owners

    Consider Adding New Classes. Summer is a great time to test drive classes and assess how popular they may be in the fall. Offering trendy classes like pop ballet, jazz-funk or improvisation may encourage existing students to consider classes outside of their comfort zones and even attract new students who are intrigued by your studio’s unique offerings. Also, organizing classes in disciplines like yoga, aerial yoga, gymnastics and Pilates give your more serious dancers an opportunity to cross-train and maintain the flexibility and strength that they built over the last season.

    Welcome Guest Teachers. To keep engagement and excitement levels high during the slower summer months, welcome guest teachers into your studio to teach a class or a series of classes. Guests can be anyone from studio alumni who are home for the summer to master dancers from out of town. You can even offer workshops to give some of your advanced dancers a chance to try their hand setting choreography on their peers.

    Offer Specialized Camps or Private Lessons. More often than not, parents—especially working parents—are looking for interesting ways to keep their children occupied during the week. To accommodate this desire, consider offering specialized camps that allow students to develop their technique across dance genres while spending time with their friends.

    Additionally, offering private lessons (or offering them at a discounted rate during the summer) is a great way to provide students with one-on-one instruction that they may not be getting during the school year. This personalized attention may help students feel more engaged with their practice and get them excited to excel in their regular classes come fall.

    Participate in Community Events. If your community celebrates summer with activities like festivals, parades and charity drives, get your students involved. Work with the event coordinators to secure a spot for your dancers to perform one of their recital pieces for attendees. Participation in these events gives your students an excuse to stay in shape and also doubles as a great marketing tactic to attract new dancers to your studio.

    Engage Students via Social Media. Consider incentivizing a social media contest that encourages your students to share dancing photos during their summer breaks. You may be surprised by the submissions you receive: arabesques on the beach during a family vacation or even lunch break pirouettes during a student’s first summer job!

    Summer days don’t have to be lazy! With the right combination of summer offerings, your students can stay engaged, flexible and active during their summer breaks, and you can ensure that your studio is set up for a successful season.

    What are your tricks for keeping students engaged during the summer? We want to know! Share in the comments below.

  • How Ballet Got Me to The Olympics

    BalletPic Shannon Miller is a 7 time Olympic Medalist and remains The Most Decorated Gymnast in the United States.

    Like many other children, I began gymnastics at the age of five after my parents became terrified that I’d injure myself flipping off the couch or attempting somersaults on the backyard trampoline (there were no nets and pads back then). I fell in love with the sport from the beginning. I was able to flip and turn to my heart’s content. I was learning new skills and eventually stringing them together to create full routines.

    Those that have watched me grow up in the sport know that ballet was a huge part of my career as a gymnast. Even before I started gymnastics, I was taking ballet. In fact, I wanted so badly to go with my older sister to ballet that I called my grandmother and begged her to talk my mother into allowing me to go. She did just that and even paid for my first lessons!

    As a shy child, ballet class was my first opportunity to begin to understand how I could tell a story through movement. Even at a young age, I loved the practice and precision of each move. Those basic classes helped me with body awareness, flexibility, and timing. Of course, I loved the slippers and tights and really loved recitals. For a shy child, I had no problem showing off to a room full of people….as long as I didn’t have to speak to anyone.

    Making the transition to gymnastics did not mean leaving ballet behind. In fact, it was my dance background that helped me understand who I was as a gymnast. During that time, the primary gymnast body type was more of a powerhouse like Mary Lou Retton and then Kim Zmeskal, and the floor routine was energetic, even cutesy.

    I can recall one choreographer trying to get me to shake my hips and my shoulders and “be cute.” Instead I just broke down in tears. I knew it wasn’t me. I knew that if I didn’t love it and didn’t feel comfortable, then the routine would fall flat with both the audience and judges. Ballet was my comfort zone. I wanted violins and dramatic movements.

    I wasn’t particularly powerful. I had these skinny legs and knobby knees. I wasn’t the most flexible or the most naturally talented. However, I loved gymnastics and soon found that I could combine those skills learned through ballet with my gym training to create something incredible.

    Ballet had given me a basic understanding of posture and how important it is to have a solid foundation for larger skills. Ballet helped me understand “grace” in a way that I may not have understood through gymnastics alone. As I grew in the sport, I continued with ballet at least once a week. I found that incorporating what I learned through ballet allowed me to excel on balance beam and floor exercise. I was able to differentiate myself through my dance and attention to detail.

    When someone asks me about my favorite moments, it’s difficult not to think of my floor exercise routines. One of my favorite quotes from a commentator was, “Shannon just pulls in every note”. My goal with the choreography was to stay true to myself. I may not have had the most or even best training, but that foundation through ballet allowed me to connect my movements to the audience, to truly tell a story.

    While I became known for the artistic portion of my gymnastics as much as for my difficulty in skills, I don’t consider myself a great dancer, but rather, a lover of dance. I will always be grateful for my grandmother who gave me my start, for my parents who helped me follow my dreams, and for my coaches who understood the importance of ballet to my overall training and success.

    SM-blog

  • Beyond the Dollar Sign: The Benefits of Classwear Partnerships

    By: Amelia Smith-Fazio, Relationship Manager

    Benefits of Classwear-CC4C--Dancers-in-BlackAs a studio owner, you have a decision to make: to offer classwear in-studio or not to offer classwear in-studio. Providing classwear is one way that you can ease parents’ entry into the dance world, giving them easy access to the trendiest apparel while also offering top-notch costumer service and robust class offerings. Some studio owners offer classwear to create an additional revenue stream, but there are other benefits that you may not have considered. Classwear programs provide convenience for parents, keep your studio organized and encourage studio pride.

    1. Provide Convenience for Your Customers: Parents see you as a trusted resource, so they can breathe easy knowing apparel you select will be the highest quality and will allow their dance student to practice at their very best. This means that parents won’t have to take the time out of their hectic schedules to visit several stores or peruse multiple websites looking for the correct, best or most durable outfits for their dancers. They can bring their money to a familiar place, instead of traveling to a store or navigating a website that does not offer the customer service and attention that you provide. In short, providing classwear puts a parent’s mind at ease. Additionally, for recital and competition seasons, partnering with a classwear vendor ensures that everyone has the appropriate tights, shoes and accessories to make the dancers look uniform on stage.
    1. Keep Your Studio Organized: Many studio owners coordinate their students in colored leotards by age or level to distinguish classes easily with one glance. For example, some have very young students in lighter colors and older students in flattering darker colors. Advancing through the colored leotard tiers help students build confidence as they progress to each new level and establishes a sense of pride that radiates through each class. Designated classwear can keep students more focused during their class, establish a sense of discipline and level the playing field amongst students.This color coordination can also be helpful to studio owner operations. During busy class schedules, coordinated classwear helps you identify levels or ages quickly so you can direct them to the right studio or warm up location.
    1. Encourage Student Pride: Customized gear helps students demonstrate studio pride. It also drives brand awareness while at events, unifying the whole studio across ages and technique levels. Customized studio gear is perfect for all--from excited little ones participating in their first classes to older dancers who have grown to love their studio to supportive parents. Consider stocking your studio store for a special milestone, such as a studio anniversary or a great competition season. With many apparel and accessory designs, you can choose items that reflect your studio’s unique personality.

    If you’re interested in learning more about Curtain Call for Class, check us out here or contact your Relationship Manager

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