Service

  • 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.

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    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.

  • Get the Most Out of Your Customer Service Experience

    From costume ordering to costume sizing, and first-time customers to life-long customers. No matter the topic of discussion, you have their full and undivided attention. You may know them as the Customer Service Team, but we prefer to them as the heroes behind the phone!

    Our Customer Service Representatives take the time to help each and every caller. They are happy to chat, well-educated on dance industry trends, and continuously thinking of creative ways to help each customer reach a solution. Even if reaching that resolution takes five minutes or five hours, you will never be rushed!

    We spoke to Vicky, Customer Service Manager, along with Brittni and Angela, Customer Service Representatives, to collect their best kept secrets. Now, we would like to share with you, tips and tricks to getting the most out of your conversation with customer service.CS-telephone

    What is the most efficient way to reach Customer Service?

    Give us a call (1-888-808-0801) or send us an email [email protected]. These options allow the ability to directly reach a customer service representative. Whereas, all other forms of communication, may hold up communication process. For instance, attempts to reach customer service via social media channels, may delay our response time.

    When is the best time of day to chat with Customer Service?

    Morning 9:00 am EST – 11:00 am EST, we seem to get very busy during lunch hours.

    What should customers know when reaching out to Customer Service?

    Introduce yourself! We love talking to our customers!
    Before we can help any customer we must be speaking directly with the studio contact assigned to your account. If your studio contact needs to be updated, no problem, we will help.
    To verify we are speaking to the correct person, we need to know one of the following: customer number, studio name, billing zip code, or studio phone number.
    Knowing the purpose of your call and details of what you need assistance with, is always helpful. For instance, if you have a question regarding a costume, it helps to know the style number, color, and name prior to calling. We will handle the rest!

    What is new for Curtain Call Customer Service?

    Call Back Feature

    No more music! We understand everyone is busy and may not have the time to be waiting on hold listening to our catchy tunes. So to help, we created our Call Back Feature. When we receive your call, you have the option to receive a call back when the line becomes available. We add your call to our queue and alleviate your time spent waiting. More than 50% of our customers are currently utilizing our Call Back Feature and 100% of those customers are able to use their time waiting wisely.

    Extended Hours

    It’s busy season! During the months of January and February 2018, our Customer Service Representatives will be available Monday – Friday from 9:00 am EST – 7:00 pm EST. Come March, we will be available during our regular hours Monday – Friday from 9:00 am EST – 5:30 pm EST.

    There is no right question or right way to ask. Our Customer Service Team is always ready to help in any way, no matter the size or uniqueness of your issue. They are continuously working to do our very best to satisfy our customers. Feel free to call about your little questions. Even if they may seem silly, that’s what we are here for!

  • 5 Reasons You Need to Leap Over to Your Closest Costume Preview Show!

    By Ashley Zimmerman, National Dance Sales Manager

    Each year, our relationship managers hit the road to meet with studio owners across the country at our highly-anticipated costume preview shows. At the shows, you can view Curtain Call’s latest styles so you can start planning your season’s performances and find the costumes that will inspire you to make your dreams a reality!

    Stop by and visit us at one of this year’s seven full-line shows, or 28 preview shows. Each costume preview show is an opportunity to mingle with other dance professionals, meet your Relationship Manager, enter to win prizes and have some fun. But if that isn’t enough to convince you to join us, here are some highlights from last year’s shows.

    1. Eliminate costly travel expenses - we come to your area! With our Costume Preview Shows strategically located throughout the U.S., we make it more convenient for you! Come alone or bring your whole team for a costume planning event!
      Our 2015 East Coast Premiere Party had quite the layout! Our 2015 East Coast Premiere Party had quite the layout!
    2. Get to know your RM better—they’re fun, we promise! Our relationship managers are just like you – they have extensive dance knowledge, whether as dancers, teachers, or studio owners, so they know what you need to help you through your busy dance season. They’re there for you every step of your journey. Come put a face to a name!
      Everyone enjoyed the 2015 West Coast Premiere Party at the Hyatt Regency Orange County with our RM, Takisha! Everyone enjoyed the 2015 West Coast Premiere Party at the Hyatt Regency Orange County with our RM, Takisha!
    3. Check out the latest styles—it’s way better than browsing online! Our models are actual dancers, making it easy to see how costumes will fit and look on your own students. Additionally, we work hard to ensure that your browsing experience is fun and personalized—you are our VIP!
      Our beautiful models were ready for our Costume Preview Show in Orlando, FL! Our beautiful models were ready for our Costume Preview Show in Orlando, FL!
    4. Mix and mingle with fellow dancers and dance lovers—you may even meet a celebrity or two. With special guests and speakers from all over the country, you can gather the insights you need to help run your business, while gaining inspiration from those who know the industry best.
    5. Enter to win great prizes and receive a $100 merchandise credit, just for attending! We’re excited to show you our new line and want to thank you for coming to our costume preview show by giving you some money towards your next purchase.

    This year we’re excited for even more speakers and fun! Special guests include:

    Steve Sirico & Angela D'Valda Sirico of Dance Teacher Web, MusicWorksDanceTeacherWeb-logo

    Directors--element52

     

    Misty Lown of More Than Just Great Dancing
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    Save the date for an event near you by checking out our full line-up of events here.

  • Rescuing you from an “Oops!” moment

    It’s that time of year again, and you’re starting to run into problems.

    • Did another company let you down?
    • Does the style you ordered not fit?
    • Did you forget to order for an entire class?
    • Are your costumes stuck in customs?
    • Did someone enroll at the last minute?
    • Do you need accessories and props?

    These moments of panic create additional stress during an already hectic time of year.  But no matter how well we plan, surprises will always come up.  “Oops!” moments happen, but they can be less painful when you have trusted help standing by.

    With a wide array of styles, colors and sizes in stock and ready to ship in two business days or less, you won’t have to settle for something less than perfect for your performance. To make last minute shopping even easier, you can view live inventory of all styles online, so you don’t have to call and guess what may be available.

    Accessories complete the look and add extra pizzazz to every performance, but they are also the easiest things to forget or lose! It’s exactly that reason that we stock thousands of hats, gloves, headbands and hair accessories.

    We know you work hard…but when the unexpected occurs—and it often does—we can help you find the answer.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for online, our team of relationship managers and customer service representatives would love to add extra assistance.

    Can’t find what you’re looking for in stock? Our customer valued record of 100% on time shipping does not go unnoticed during this busy time of the season and we offer one of the shortest lead times for items not in stock.

    So spend your time focusing on the many other details that must come together for the 2015 performance season and trust every “Oops!” to us. Learn more about our in stock availability (and even score some discounts).

     

  • Traditional Meets New Age: Relationship Managers Rely on “Personal Touch”

    Author: Ashley Zimmerman

    In a world that’s increasingly high-tech, with so many impersonal interactions taking place via email, text messages, and social media, it’s nice to take a step back and connect with people on a personal level. Curtain Call’s relationship managers do just that.

    One thing that really differentiates us from other organizations—not only in our industry, but also in many others—is our focus on building personal connections. We really get to know our customers, we pride ourselves in serving as their advocates and we absolutely love being there to brainstorm new ideas with them.

    From talking about ideas that make a performance really special, to making sure that everything arrives as planned and on time. From following up after the show to hear about how it went, to discovering new opportunities to not only meet—but exceed—customer expectations. These personal connections are priceless both to us and our customers.

    I’m one of 12 dance relationship managers at Perform Group. We’re your voice to the company—to design, to customer service, to the president of our company! One of the favorite parts of our job is getting feedback from our customers to understand their pain points and to help remove them.
    We are trained ballerinas, competition dancers, and hip-hop street dancers. From picking out costumes to discovering new industry innovations to make their businesses run efficiently and successfully, we work as a team to ensure the best experiences for our clients.

    We also understand their customers. And, because we’ve worked with clients all around the country for 45 years, we’re able to bring our clients best practice ideas and emerging examples of what we’ve seen work for other dance studio owners.

    Our relationship managers are all about personal touch so once you’ve browsed through our costume options—in one of our exquisite hard copy catalogs, or online—we love to brainstorm with you about how we can help make your next performance memorable. We’ll work with you to make sure that no details are left to chance, that your deadlines are met and that your order is exactly as you expected.

    We also like to hear from you after the performance. That’s when we often learn the most about your needs and how we can deliver even more value the next time around.

    If you’re one of our customers, and are comfortable sharing a story, please do. Even if you’re not a customer yet, we’d love to hear from you! Share your comments below, or give us a call. We’re here to help. It’s what we love to do!

    Feel free to take some time to learn more about our Relationship Managers.

  • Perform Group Celebrates 45 Years!

    In August 1969, Tighe King was a young, and newly retired Air Force fighter pilot who had flown 158 combat missions in Vietnam. He returned to his hometown of York with his wife, a young child and a plan to work at his parents’ sportswear business, King’s Sportswear, for a year.

    Fast forward to today and that business, now known as Perform Group LLC, is celebrating its 45th anniversary and is widely recognized as an international leader in dance and gymnastics wear. The journey from fighter pilot to athletic designer and manufacturer might appear unexpected, but as King said, “Anything and everything I’ve done, I’ve done with a passion. When I joined the business, I wanted to see where I could take it.”

    The young father immediately applied his military sense of order, planning and teamwork to grow the business. In 1969, he acquired Curtain Call Costumes (today Curtain Call®), tripling its market in his first full year. Nearly a decade later, he formed a new division of gymnastics apparel called Alpha Factor®. The company was renamed Perform Group LLC in 2006 and began focusing on both mail order and direct sales of specialty performance apparel. The company’s brands now also include Curtain Call for Class® and Aerials by Alpha Factor®.

    What has—and will continue to—set Perform Group apart, said King, is a focus on quality, value and customer service. “Anything I said I’d do, I did it,” he said. “If I made a mistake, I corrected it. Both our competitors and our customers know that our approach is grounded in integrity and honesty. That has always been our base and foundation.”

    Perform Group was one of the first big manufacturers to bring technology into the manufacturing process, from computerized pattern making and cutting to a high-tech production system. It pioneered the use of spandex in costuming. It also led the way to better customer service management, by installing relationship managers around the country to provide support to dance schools and gyms—anything from locating product samples to ensuring proper fit and sizing for athletes.

    Along the way, the apparel manufacturer outfitted the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team on its way to its first-ever gold in the 1996 Atlanta games and the Russian men’s and women’s gymnastics teams in 2012, when they earned silver. The company’s dance costumes have appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, at the Super Bowl and at Kilgore College, worn by the legendary Rangerettes dance team.

    Although today not heavily involved in day to day operations as he once was, Tighe is seriously involved in strategic development and assuring the values of the company continue to be retained going into the future. “My biggest motivation has always been to do something better today than yesterday,” he said. “As time goes on, we want to continue to do what we do to the best of our ability.”

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