Dance Fun

  • Movement: A Language Beyond Words

    Y.P.A.D. Advisory Panel Member, Jen Ray, shares Y.P.A.D.’s standards; choreography is about more than movement, and that there is more to these choices than meets the eye.

    When infants are learning to speak, they make all sounds possible before learning how to combine the correct ones to communicate an intentional message. Through interaction, guidance, and by example, eventually they become fluent children and freely expressive adults.

    It’s no news that dance is a language, but it may be news that it has evolved so rapidly that we have lost track of what it means, or even the will to question. Ever spent time with a curious toddler? They are always asking “but why?!” It could feel pesky or unnatural at first but, if you’re not already doing so, it’s about time to take this approach to dance: to pause and consider the meaning beyond the movement, and the values being portrayed.

    Y.P.A.D. believes, and has proven with research, that music and movement teach children expectations and boundaries for their own bodies, as well as others’ bodies. The internet and social media have made available more information than we even have time to process. Being extreme is a requirement to stand out from the crowd, as is seen with the rise in hyper-mobility, unsafe stretching, the rise of sexualization, etc. Y.P.A.D. has been following these trends in dance culture and it appears as if we are all lobsters in the pot, in a situation that’s boiling hot! We must learn to separate pop-culture examples “out there” in the world from those that we choose to bring into family-friendly and child-oriented environments, such as dance studios and events. Humans are wired for affirmation and, once dancers are on stage, it is even more so their goal to be celebrated by those watching. It matters what standards we set for success, who they are being, how they are costumed, and what is being celebrated about their time on stage and in the studio.

    Y.P.A.D. does NOT want limit artistic freedom. Rather, we encourage a cultural shift towards a dance experience that puts our children's physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual safety first! The pedagogy of teaching the art of dance is agility, flexibility, strength, technique, advanced skills within various disciplines, as well as performance, musicality and texture. Costuming is a major conceptual and visual element of every performance. The choices we make when costuming children and teens teach them lessons about their bodies, personal expression, the purposes and possibilities of how we present ourselves to others.

    jen ray post

    Dance educators play a strong role in allowing children to look like children, while exploring these formal elements of the art dance. We have partnered with Curtain Call® to ensure children can look like children, explore storytelling and character without being exploited or misguided. Dancers can have the transformative learning experience that comes with thoughtful, artistic expression and exploration, rather than being objectified. Education leads to self-regulation, and real empowerment is giving youth the tools to advocate for themselves, so they can mature into self-sufficient and autonomously expressive adults.

    Y.P.A.D. has made this easier with our Tools Not Rules: Standards, Recommendations & Suggestions handbook (available in digital and print format for $24.99 ) Inside you’ll find detailed listings of commonly choreographed but inappropriate movements, helpful solutions, including how to navigate situations, such as freestyle and contact improvisation.

    Some key points include:

    • Consider the “cumulative effect,” how all elements of production (including, but not limited to, costume, facial expression, movement, music, props, lyrics, etc.) convey a cohesive tone and message.
    • Maturity in life does not automatically equal sexual maturity. There are many themes than can be mature and relevant to kids and young adults (self-acceptance, bullying, boundaries, conflict, etc.) that are not sexual in nature. Bonus: when your dancers can relate to experiences, they can convey them more authentically!
    • Obscene gestures or references to drug or alcohol use, gang activity, violence, adult sexuality, are all inappropriate for children and teens.
    • Props can be suggestive and illustrative. Some depict violence (whips, chains, guns or knives) and may only be appropriate in a certain context (Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.). Rest assured all Curtain Call® costume props, characters, and concepts are appropriate for children and teens to wear in family friendly settings.
    • Age-appropriate also means physically safe. We don’t put dancers in pointe shoes unless they are adequately developed, and this should apply when we introduce any potentially risky tricks or techniques.Curtain Call®’s Sensory Icons, featuring: fidget friendly, glitter free, sensory friendly, adjustable straps and compression, fulfill Y.P.A.D.’s ambition for a happy, healthy and safe experience for young dancers. Every design is appropriate by Y.P.A.D. standards, meaning any cutouts, nude fabrics, every detail of every design is thoughtfully crafted to be classy, functional, and fabulous. Not only are dancers more physically comfortable, audiences are more mentally and emotionally comfortable.
      It is a privilege to be entrusted with the education of another, especially when their body and personal expression are involved. We are not just teaching dance, we are teaching values and reinforcing them every time we make a choice about music, movement, costuming, and more. It matters what we expose young people to, and what we cultivate in them. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and their expression can be limited to trickle-down effect of pin-ups and pop culture if we don’t offer and encourage healthy, creative alternatives. Dance is a language – let’s give the next generation the vocabulary, tools for artistic exploration and creative expression that they deserve.

    Jen ray 3Jen Ray  is a Y.P.A.D. Certified Educator, Adjudicator, and Advisory Panel Member that believes the holistic and mindful approach Y.P.A.D. takes is an antidote to many difficulties dancers face in today's culture. Through her Discover Dancinema workshops, as co- director of The JaM Youth Project, and Y.P.A.D., Jen Ray's influence is one that inspires a culture of well-rounded, critical-minded, and multitalented individuals. Her company Dancinema, started while completing her B.A. Film Studies at UBC Vancouver, has quickly evolved into a respected international brand producing dancefilms, workshops, and events including Cascadia Dance & Cinema Festival (Vancouver, BC) and Capitol Dance & Cinema Festival (Washington, DC). She has enjoyed and appreciated opportunities such as Cucalorus Festival's Residency, screening at many festivals including Los Angeles Dance Film Festival, being selected for twice Dance Teacher Magazine, and collaborating with The JaM Project on their productions at Dancerpalooza's 25Live! and The Kennedy Centre, to highlight a few. The most rewarding and close to her heart are projects and partnerships such as Curtain Call®, where innovation and the healthy development of young people is the central focus.

  • Curtain Call® 2019 Favorites

    It has been my privilege to work as a Relationship Manager for Curtain Call for several years. Truthfully, I consider my job as a Relationship Manager to be pretty great. Not only do I have the opportunity to continue working in an industry I love long after I hung up my pointe shoes, but I have the chance to work with studio owners and teachers on a daily basis. I joke with many of my customers that I live vicariously through them and I have lots of fun helping them select recital themes, costumes, and more. I love seeing our customers’ visions come to life on stage. I work very closely with many studio owners throughout Georgia and Florida and every year when our new line is released, our customers ask me about my favorite styles. I always have my own personal favorites whether it be a very on trend Jazz look, or a really gorgeous and flowy Contemporary style.

    2019 favorites

    However, not every one of my personal favorite costumes is good for every customer. Sometimes, the style doesn’t work within their overall theme. Occasionally, the style isn’t the right choice for the age group of the dancers who would be wearing the costume. Whatever the reason, as a Relationship Manager, it is my job to think beyond my own personal style choices and think about what is best for the dancer, the dancer’s parents, the teacher, and the studio owner.

    As a manufacturer and supplier of costumes, it falls on us to think beyond the style itself and to think about the needs of our customers. Perhaps what makes a style a “winner” isn’t just that it is a pretty costume, but that it is in stock when the customer needs it. Maybe the costume is selected because the style would look good on a class of dancers where there is a big age range and the costume needs to look great on everyone. Or, maybe the costume works well for the customer because it isn’t a specific look, meaning it would work just as well for a jazz class featuring 5 and 6 year old dancers as it would for a fun hip hop routine featuring 12 year old dancers.
    To that end, we have curated a list of our “Favorites” – an initial collection of styles that we love, not only because we love the look and feel of the costume, but because of their versatility. Consider our Curtain Call 2019 Favorites not just our recommendations, but also styles that will meet your needs.

     

    It is also our personal commitment to you to ensure the following:

    • Every Curtain Call 2019 Favorite style is guaranteed to be in stock and ready for your orders by the end of October.
    • Every Curtain Call 2019 Favorite style is a Y.P.A.D. approved costume, age appropriate, and fashion forward.
    • Every Curtain Call 2019 Favorite style will be available to be viewed at costume shows, whether it is our new full line show in Baltimore, our regional shows hosted by your Relationship Manager, or UDMA.

    You may also reach out to your Relationship Manager to ask more about the selection of styles, or ask to view samples of the costumes. Does this mean these are the only costumes we recommend to you? Absolutely not! We have three catalogs full of beautiful and on trend costumes: Curtain Call, Perform, and NX3. Our goal with our Curtain Call 2019 Favorites is to reinforce our commitment to you to be a company with fashion forward, in stock styles, which meet you and your dancer’s needs.

    Shop our Favorite styles now

    We hope you love our new line and we can’t wait to see you at shows this fall. For those of you in Georgia and Florida, I just may have a few themes and ideas ready to share with you. I’ll keep planning imaginary recitals in my head just in case you could use a few new ideas.

    Happy dancing,
    Amelia

  • Recital Ready Dance Bag

    There are always a million things to accomplish the weeks leading up to recital. Our goal is to help you make your big event as stress-free as possible! We have collected a list of the top essentials for your dancers to have a Recital Ready Dance Bag! This way you can focus on the things that really matter, and not a hair emergency! Print out this handy packing checklist to give to your teachers and dancers. PS, don’t forget to customize the spaces we left blank, just for you!RecitalBag

    • Costumes – double check that you have all your costumes, accessories, props, hair pieces, etc.!

    PRO-HACK: pin each individual piece to the costume so they don’t get mixed up or lost. Don’t forget to label each style with first and last name!

    • Dance shoes – make sure shoes are clean and ready for the stage! Place first and last name inside all shoes.

    • Tights – be sure to have the right color and size. It’s a good idea to pack extras, just in case.

    PRO-HACK: use clear nail polish to mend a last minute run in your tights.

    • Beauty – pack your essential hair and makeup needed for the show. Things that might be helpful: small self-standing mirror, deodorant, nail file, baby wipes, tissues, and cotton swabs. Pack extra bobby pins, hair ties, hair nets, and hairspray – in the dance world, you can never have enough hairspray!

    • Miscellaneous – warm-ups, healthy snacks, reusable water bottle, first aid kit, safety pins, extra undergarments, feminine products, mini sewing kit, superglue, static guard, scissors and a lighter (for mending pointe shoe ribbons).

    Print your own check list for a complete Recital Ready Dance Bag – Packing List

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  • Y.P.A.D.™ Certification: The Impact

    wordcloudWe asked a few of your favorite Curtain Call Relationship Managers what their thoughts were on the impact of Curtain Call's Y.P.A.D.™ Certification, here's what they had to say:

    How do you believe the YPAD Certification/relationship will impact Curtain Call’s position in the industry?

    I truly believe that the relationship between YPAD and Curtain Call Costumes positions our company to be the standard in the industry. I have already heard from excited customers who now feel empowered to make different, sometimes difficult, choices that will benefit the students and families they serve. Curtain Call was already a leader in our industry, but now, we are the first to step forward and say “we stand behind these values”. It’s a big deal and I know studio owners across the country and beyond will respect our choice. – Ameila Fazio

    Only time will tell, but I truly think this will be a game changer in the costume industry. The safety of children has been and will continue be a top priority in the eyes of a dance teachers and I think they will come to expect this to be a top priority for costume companies as well. – Christine Luca

    It already has! I am proud to announce our partnership with YPAD and my customers are proud to purchase from a company that has a partnership with them. It is giving the voice back to the children in an industry that is run by adults and their bottom line. This partnership is going to have a HUGE impact with Curtain Call’s position! – Cori Callahan

    The YPAD certification positions Curtain Call as a leader in the industry who truly cares about their customer. The certification will give studios peace of mind and assurance that they can trust the products they are purchasing will meet the YPAD standards and values. Curtain Call’s commitment to excellence is reflected in this commitment to certify their employees. – 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!
  • Putting the Style in the 2018 NX3® Freestyle Collection

    By: Danielle Sten-Guillermo, On the DL

    Introducing the fashion minds behind the collaboration of Curtain Call’s NX3 2018 Freestyle Collection – Danielle Sten-Guillermo and Lance Guillermo! Danielle has shared her insight on the process, purpose and vision behind the collection!dan'lance

    When Lance and I first met in the hallway parallel to a stage door, we never realized what was to come…a forever vow in love, marriage, dance, and fashion. A companionship that took two people from two opposing worlds in dance and united them, from once a confusing manner, to the very vessel of what makes us – On the DL. The short synopsis is this: I am a stage dancer and Lance is a street dancer; I am classically trained in ballet, jazz, and contemporary techniques; Lance is street trained in the original styles of hip hop. I started dancing at the age of 3; Lance started dancing at the age of 19. Our journeys with dance did not start the same way, but it brought us together, and now, we are creatively sharing our voice in dance and in fashion.

    After establishing On the DL in 2008, Lance and I focused on fusing our techniques of movement and style into our compositions and dress. Since then we have worked in TV, Music, and Film; choreographed for companies across the country; directed/choreographed original stage performances; and instructed dancers young and old from all over the world. We both remember the first time we stepped on a movie set, the commotion, the excitement - the sheer number of people it takes to put together such a huge production - no other career can offer such a thrilling environment; and then allow you to come home to your home-base studio to create with your dancers that you help raise, mentor and inspire. We get the best of both worlds; we create for those you already know of, and then motivate the ones that you will soon get to know.

    All of that is what you get to see on the surface; the product of what we do from day to day. When Lance and I create moves or design articles of clothing, there are people that influence us in our most conscious mind. For dance, Ken Swift, Donald O’Connor, and Pina Bausch are three artists who provoke us with rational and irrational feelings. They challenge our bodies, initiate us to examine our process, and make us question our vision, leaving us every morning to hope that we have a new set of eyes to explore the world around us. In fashion, we look to icons like Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and Mos Def. The three of them are uninhibited in the way they present themselves; they can be vibrant without color and chic without simplicity. Gwen, Pharrell, and Mos Def we thank you for seeing a trend, but instead creating a movement.

    From this you have gathered that we are emotional, with a desire to be challenged, all while seeing the world with a new set of eyes. I know, I know, we are artists - so cliché! But dance and fashion should make you FEEL something, and that feeling is the very thing that keeps us ALIVE. That emotional charge is the budding factor of my chic, clean, and statement-making style; and Lance’s classic, fun, and fresh-to-death fashion flair. So when we were asked to collaborate on the NX3 Fashion Line, without hesitation we said “YES!”, and immediately got to work on putting together pieces that could be worn on stage, or on the streets; that would represent the hip hop fashion culture; and most importantly, provoke a feeling inside of all of you.

    So in the end, Lance and I leave you with this – no matter your dance journey, no matter your style preference, BE ORIGINAL…TAKE CHANCES…and MAKE A STATEMENT. Those are the reasons why we created these pieces for NX3.

    Stay Fresh,
    Danielle + Lance
    On the DL

  • Y.P.A.D.™ Certification: Special Guest - Katie Gatlin

    We are excited to share insight from YPAD Advisory Panel Member, Katie Gatlin, B.S., M.S.

    katie-galtinOver the summer months, Curtain Call and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD), joined forces to collaborate on a Body Image and Special Needs Initiative. The Body Image Initiative focused on a dancer’s experience while trying on costumes, while the Special Needs Initiative promoted inclusiveness in dance by providing a photo shoot with a variety of dancers and providing icons (for sensory integration needs) in the costume catalog. Both initiatives were pioneering!

    I have been a dance instructor for 19 years and owned a dance studio for five years. I have my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling/Psychology and work with adolescents with a myriad of special needs and/or mental health disorders. Being a lead on the initiative committees was an inspiring and humbling experience. It is my opinion, that not only are these initiatives important but that Curtain Call has raised the standard for costume companies. Creating icons for costumes that cited a source for compression needs, fidget needs, and which fabrics are not as itchy; (to name a few) not only assists instructors in choosing a costume for individuals who have special needs but also dancers who have sensitivities. It would have been invaluable to have notation regarding a variety of sensory needs when I ordered countless costumes while I owned a studio. The process of developing icons and categorizing the costumes allowed me to truly conceptualize and appreciate the various nuances of costuming that may affect dancers differently.

    The Body Image Initiative was particularly intriguing but also a bit triggering. When in college I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa and costuming typically triggered me and my disordered eating and body image. A dancer has a multitude of opportunities to scrutinize their bodies. Dancing in front of mirrors, seeing videos and pictures of themselves, and trying on countless costumes. Although many dancers are excited to receive their costumes, some may experience anxiety and/or deflated body image and self esteem. Through a variety of medias, females learn to view their bodies as objects rather than the intricate machines that they are. Media portrays a narrow and strict definition/idea of what a body should look like or what is socially acceptable. Those that do not fit that definition/idea may feel shamed. That is then compounded by adolescence and their perception. It is a slippery slope and one that needs to be acknowledged and discussed. The Body Image Initiative provides a qualitative glimpse of this process and also provides insight and talking points for studio owners and instructors.

    For many, dance is cathartic and a form of release and expression; however, during a variety of experiences (costuming, competition, recital, etc.) dancers’ insecurities can be magnified. Both of these initiatives revealed a plethora of talking points in regards to the costuming aspect of the dance world. Dance is more than just movement and counts, it is a total body experience that requires the mind, body and spirit of the being. Understanding all that encompasses a dancer’s experience will allow us to better serve our dancers and their needs. The popular YPAD hashtag, put the dancer before the dance, is given clarity through these initiatives. Curtain Call leads the industry in this standard and has proven time and again to put the dancer before the dance.

    For more information regarding YPAD, please visit ypad4change.org.

    Read the full Body Image and Costumes Exclusive YPAD Research article.

  • 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!

  • 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-Leitao, 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.™

  • 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

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    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.

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