What We Learn By Watching

As the school year flies into full swing, so do the back-to-school colds, ailments and injuries, so I thought I’d post on the benefits of watching your dance classes if you’re unable to participate.  Now please don’t get me wrong, I by no means want dancers to drag themselves to class to watch when you’re throwing up, have a fever, or are contagious!  However sometimes dancers are able to come and watch class even if they aren’t fully able to participate, and this can still be hugely beneficial! Here are a few reasons why!

  1. Sometimes when you’re dancing, there are so many things to focus on, it can be hard to process your teacher’s corrections!  When you’re sitting and watching, you can really listen to the corrections the teacher is giving and think about how to apply them to your own dancing.
  2. It can often be a challenge when you’re dancing, trying to remember steps, and watching out for your classmates to really see the shapes that you’re making in the mirror.  When you’re watching your classmates dance (and watching your teacher!), you can clearly see the shapes that you’re meant to be making.  This is often really helpful for applying to your own body when you are back up and dancing.
  3. Oftentimes, it’s easier to see what is going right, or not so right, in someone else’s dancing then it is to feel it in your own.  You might notice for example, that your classmates arms aren’t very rounded in second position in ballet.  This will hopefully lead you to re-evaluate your own body positions to see if you can fix those things.  The opposite is true too!  Maybe while watching, you really admire the way one of your classmates is using their upper body, or using their feet in their transitions, or the quality of their performance.  You can really study their movements, and what you like about them, while you are watching and then incorporate them into your own dancing!
  4. When you watch, it can sometimes be easier to see the progression of the class and how things are building on each other.  You might notice the teacher giving your classmates the correction to put their heels down when they land their jumps, and you can connect that to the same correction that was given in pliés at the barre.  It can help your brain connect how all these things build on each other as class progresses!

All our teachers at ABDC really understand the importance of watching class and how much you can learn!  And while, we know you’d rather be up dancing, we hope you can see how watching can still benefit you!  At ABDC, if you come to watch class, your teacher will give you a “Classroom Observation Worksheet” to fill out-this will get you thinking about the corrections that are being given and how you can use them to improve your own dancing!  And of course, lots of hand sanitizer and vitamin c to ward off those back-to-school bugs never hurt, either 🙂

Happy Dancing!

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Your Dance Journal!

Hi Everyone!

How’s back to school going?  I hope everyone is settling back into the routine and I’ve loved seeing you all back at the studio!  It’s going to be a great year, I can tell!

Hopefully if you’ve been back in the studio for class, you were given a dance journal!  We wanted to give you a place to write down all things dance related this year!  Here are a few ideas for what you can use your dance journal for!

  • Draw dance pictures!  You can draw pictures of your dance friends, moves you’ve learned in class, or famous dancers!
  • Use it to keep your stickers that you receive after a job well done!
  • Write down your goals!  It’s been shown that if you write down your goals you are more likely to achieve them.  So write down your goals for this year-whether it’s general things like working on your turnout, or specific steps you want to master.  Write them down and bookmark the page so that you can look at them often!  Don’t forget to write down HOW you are going to achieve your goals.
  • Write down corrections you receive from your teacher!  Take a minute after class and think about all the corrections you were given (things like pointe your feet, work on your spot, etc) and jot them down.  That way you can look at them before class the next week, and really try to fix them!
  • Write down your recital choreography!  It makes learning recital choreography so much faster and easier if everyone remembers the steps from week to week.  So write it down!  Even the act of putting it to paper will help you remember.  You can write down the steps and the counts (don’t worry if you don’t know the correct spelling-as long as you know what you mean!), draw pictures of what your poses look like, whatever works for you.  Everyone has a different system-you’ll find what helps you remember the most!
  • Write down your formations in recital choreography! Obviously you won’t have everyone’s spot memorized.  But even writing down a brief note about where you stand will really help (“on the chassé, I move to the 5 next to Sally” for example).
  • Write down any stretches or exercises that you really like!  That way you can remember to do them at home.

What are you planning to do with your dance journal?  We’d love to know!

Dress to Dance!

I can’t believe the dance year is just around the corner!  The summers always go by so quickly, and a new dance year is upon us.  We are so excited!  As we enter the first week of classes, I wanted to take a minute to talk about our dress code and why it’s important.  Like any other sport, dancers have a uniform they must wear.  Our dress code has a lot of flexibility, but it is still important to dress appropriately for class, and here’s why-

  • It helps your teachers give you better feedback and corrections on your dancing.  Our teachers want to help you improve and be the best you can!  It can be hard to see if your knees, hips, ribs and elbows, etc are properly aligned if you’re wearing baggy sweatpants and teeshirts.
  • It helps YOU feel like a dancer and do your best!  Imagine going to take hip hop class in a black leotard, pink tights, ballet slippers and a bun. You’d likely feel a little out of place, which in turn will translate to your dancing!  Really want to have some swag in hip hop?  Put on a swag-tastic teeshirt.  Really want to nail your epaulement in ballet class?  You better rock that leotard and tights!
  • It’s tradition!  For years and years, ballet students have been wearing the classic black leotard and pink tights.  At ABDC, we allow you to wear any color leotard, and you can wear a ballet skirt as well, but you’re still joining a long history of ballerinas who wore similar ensembles before you.
  • It shows that you respect your teachers and the process if you arrive to class dressed appropriately and ready to dance.
  • In dance class, you need to be able to move around and concentrate!  Bulky clothing, dangling earrings or oversized jewelry, improper footwear, etc, can all make movement difficult and be distracting.  Jewelry can also present a danger when doing partner work-trust me-you do NOT want your hoop earrings getting tangled in someone’s hair in a cool lift!
  • Our dance floors are very special!  They are made of a certain material to give you the best surface to dance on as possible.  Wearing street shoes from outside into the studio not only makes the floors really dirty, it also can damage them.  This is why it’s important that you change into dance shoes in the lobby and wear shoes for hip hop that you do NOT wear outside!
  • Some dancers don’t love wearing tights, but it’s really important that you wear them for ballet class, or for your other classes if you are going to wear dance shorts.  Tights are important for keeping your muscles warm, and preventing floor burn when you’re doing floorwork in contemporary or hip hop for example.  You can also wear leggings or dance pants for many of your dance classes, but if you’re going to wear shorts, don’t forget tights!
  • Proper hair is also important!  If you’ve ever tried to spot with your hair down, you know that it just doesn’t work!  Plus, there’s no pain like whipping the end of your ponytail into your eyes-that’s why we dancers love a classic bun!  Don’t worry-we’ll do another blog post featuring tips and tricks for the perfect bun!

I hope that this helps you understand why we have a dress code!  More than anything, we want you to feel comfortable in class, so if you have any questions, please just ask your teacher!  We are here to help you feel safe and secure, as well as to help you dance your best.  Tell us-what is your favorite dance outfit?