Late to Dance Class? Here’s a guide to do’s and don’ts!

Hi Dancers!

Stuck in traffic, couldn’t find your dance bag, your sibling’s basketball game went into overtime (is overtime the right word for basketball?  Go Sports!) . We’ve all been late for reasons out of our control, and while some studios won’t let dancers into class late, we understand that it happens!  We joke in our house that we run on Watson time, which is consistently like 20 minutes late-this drives me crazy because Roessel time is consistently 20 minutes early 🙂 But there’s a difference between quietly and respectfully entering class to minimize distractions, and running in spilling your Starbucks every where, throwing your tap shoes around and yelling “oh my gosh I’m so late!!”  News flash-we know!  Being on time for every single class isn’t always possible, so here are some things your teachers would like you to know for those times when you arrive to the studio after class has started.

Do-

  • Get yourself completely ready for class in the lobby before entering the studio.  Take your coat off, put your dance shoes on, finish your bun or ponytail, etc before you come into class.  That way when you enter the studio you can jump right in and minimize the distraction caused to the other dancers.
  • Apologize to your teacher at the appropriate moment.  In the interest of minimizing the distraction to your classmates, the second you enter the door is not always that moment.  But in between exercises, or at the end of class might be a good time, and believe me, your teacher really appreciates an “I’m sorry I was late today!”
  • If the class is running choreography when you arrive, please wait until the end of the dance to enter!  We know you want to jump in right away and practice.  But if everyone is in the zone concentrating on their recital routine and you run in throwing your stuff down as you hop to your spot with one shoe on, it can really throw everyone else off their game.  Wait until the teacher turns of the music and then enter ready to dance!

Don’t

  • Please don’t expect your teacher to stop what they’re doing the second you walk in to catch you up to speed.  If we’re reviewing choreography, or dancers are doing an exercise at the barre that you missed the explanation of, we’re not always in a position to stop everything to catch you up.  Do your best to jump right in as soon as possible.
  • Following up on the above-don’t stand in front or at the head of the barre if the class is in the middle of an exercise that you missed the explanation of!  Find a spot behind another dancer that knows what they are doing so you can follow along!
  • Don’t try to jump into leaps and battements across the floor if you’ve just run in from the subzero temperatures outside.  Again, we know you are just raring to go!  But we’d rather you do a few jumping jacks, stretches, etc quietly on the side rather than hurt yourself trying to do leaps when you aren’t warmed up.  If it’s a ballet class, it might be appropriate to stand at one of the moveable barres on the side of the room and do some pliés and tendus before you join in with what the class is doing.  If you aren’t sure what you should do, quietly ask the teacher what they’d prefer.

At the end of the day, we are just happy that you made it to class!  But we also want to make sure that class isn’t being disrupted for the other dancers.  If there is a reason that you’re going to be consistently late to a class, please let us know!  If you have any questions, please talk to your teachers and they’d be more than happy to share their preferences!

Happy Dancing!

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The Power of Visualization

Hi dancers!

The last couple of blog posts I’ve been talking about self talk and affirmations and the impact they can have.  In the past few weeks of trying to change my own self talk to be more positive, I’ve definitely noticed a difference.  I realized how many times negative self talk crept into my day, and while it’s not easy to change that, I’ve really been making an effort to try!

Since we’re on the topic of positive thoughts and affirmations, I’d love to talk about something else that I think will especially be interesting to our competition team dancers who are heading into the heart of their season-visualization.  Visualization is a useful technique that can help you reach your goals!  The concept is simple-you visualize what you want to happen in great detail.  So, if you are getting ready to take the stage, you might visualize yourself in costume, on stage, performing your solo perfectly-nailing all your turns, remembering all your steps, and performing with lots of energy and facial expression.  Here’s a really interesting quote from The Success Principles:

“When you perform any task in real life, researchers have found, your brain uses the same identical processes it would use if you were only vividly visualizing that activity.  In other words, your brain sees no difference whatsoever between visualizing something and actually doing it.”

Isn’t that incredible?  Visualization can have tremendous power.  There are many examples of athletes who have used visualization to improve their performance.  Spend a couple minutes in the morning and before you go to bed visualizing your goal, filling in as much detail as possible!  Even try to imagine the emotions you’ll be feeling.  I encourage all our dancers to try visualization this week and see what happens!  And as always, please comment and let me know what you think!

Happy Dancing!

 

Tell Me Something Good!

Hi Dancers!

I hope you read my last blog post about the self-talk loop and the power of affirmations!  It meant a lot a lot to me to write it, and I hope it resonated with you.  I’m back today to pick up where I left off-and to share with you something I’m going to try with my classes this week!

I’ve been thinking a lot about changing negative self-talk to positive-in the book I’m reading, the author suggests that before you go to bed, you talk to yourself in the mirror and tell your reflection all the great things you did that day, and all the things you’re proud of yourself for.  Again, doesn’t that sound crazy?  Because how often do you tell yourself “good job?”  Probably not very often.

Another thing that’s been on my mind is the impact that social media has on our self-talk.  What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?  Probably scroll through Facebook or Instagram, right?  And we can’t help but play the comparison game when we’re looking at social media.  Whether it’s comparing the filtered and highly curated images we see to our own reflection, or comparing the number of likes we got on our latest post to those of our friends, it’s an inevitable and constant part of life these days.  And I see so many people that write wonderfully kind comments on their friend’s posts, but how many of us give those compliments to someone’s face? It sometimes can be hard to compliment ourselves, and other people too.

Then, I heard about an idea from another dance teacher-Tell Me Something Good.  The idea was that her students came into class having chatted out in the lobby and would tell her something good that happened in the day of a classmate.  I think this is a pretty cool idea, and I’ve decided to adapt it in my effort to work on positive self-talk and self-image.  Here’s how it works-at the end of class, each dancer will tell us something they think they did well in class that day, and something they think a classmate did well!  It could be anything-from recognizing that you nailed a turn, remembered a new piece of choreography, really concentrated during barre, or did your best to finish all the crunches.  This gives our dancers the chance to give themselves, and someone else, a compliment!  I’m going to try it with my classes this week, and we’ll see how it goes!  If you’re one of my students, I’d love to hear what you think!

Happy Dancing!

Talking To The Voice In Your Head

When 2019 started, I was thinking about New Years resolutions-I don’t do resolutions per se, but I do like to reflect on things I’d like to change or accomplish for the coming year.  The thought that kept popping into my head was “I need to stop being so mean to myself!”  I realized that I was in this cycle of negative self talk, and was saying things to myself (in my own head of course, I don’t talk to myself out loud……that often anyways) that I would NEVER say to another person.  Things that were downright mean!  Like many dancers, I’ve struggled with body image over the years, and since we spend hours at a time in a room where one wall is entirely mirrors (most people’s worst nightmare), I realized that every time I saw my reflection I was tearing myself apart.  Thinking things about myself that I would NEVER think about someone else.  If a lesson plan or choreography didn’t work out the way I wanted, that little voice inside myself told me I’m not a very good teacher.  When laundry doesn’t get put away, or the dishes pile up in the sink, that voice tells me I’m a disaster and can’t keep a house clean.  So when I was thinking about 2019, I decided that one of the things I needed to change was the way I talk to myself.

Fast forward to last week when I started reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.  I got to a chapter titled “Release the Brakes”, and I couldn’t believe how much it resonated with me.  I thought it was really interesting, and I wanted to share it with all of you.  This diagram caught my eye:

Canfield-SelfTalk-Loop-480

It’s essentially saying that when we trap ourselves in a loop of negative self talk that affects not only how we think, but also how we behave!  I started thinking about my younger days (wow does that make me sound old) performing and about the ABDC students who competed last weekend.  I’m sure I’m not the only dancer who’s ever watched someone else dance and thought “oh man, I’ll never be as good as she is”. Can you see how that fits into the diagram above?  My self image changes, which affects my performance, and there goes that voice in my head again!  “See?” it says.  “I told you so!” And dancers are known for being hard on themselves, and there are so many scales on which to compare ourselves.  My kicks aren’t as high as hers, I can’t turn as many times as he can, he can jump higher than me, she remembers choreography much easier than I do.  Is your head spinning yet???

affirmation

As I read this chapter, I started thinking about how I can change this cycle in my own head, and also help my students too!  The first way it discusses to change this endless loop is with affirmations.  This is an “I am” statement that you repeat to yourself.  “I am feeling confident and capable” you might say.  Is your goal to ace your history test?  “I am feeling awesome having gotten an A on my history test.”  Want to work on your fear of public speaking?  “I am feeling confident presenting my paper in front of the class.”  Feel weird to say out loud?  I’m with you!  Like I said before, I realized that most of the time the voice inside my head wasn’t being very nice, so these affirmations sound weird, but they are proven to work!

So in all my classes in the coming weeks, I’m going to be utilizing this idea of affirmations, and changing the way we talk to ourselves.  Goodness knows there’s enough negativity in the world without it creeping into our subconscious!  I see in all my student such wonderful qualities and talents, and I think they should not only see those things in themselves, but also TELL themselves about them!

bigstock-Affirmations-98518817-1024x1024

Do you use affirmations?  Do you feel yourself ever getting into the self-talk loop, and what strategies do you have for getting out of it?  I’d love to know!

 

Ways to Make Your Dance Teacher Smile!

Hi Everyone!

At ABDC, we have a fantastic team of teachers who love and support you, and are jazzed (see what I did there??) about seeing you in class every week!  Behind the scenes, they are spending hours editing your recital music, choosing costumes, coming up with choreography and planning lessons.  The time you spend with them in class barely scratches the surface of all the time they put in to making sure you have the best possible dance experience!  Here are a few ways to make them smile 🙂

  • Be prepared for class!  Nothing makes us dance teachers happier then when you come into the studio dressed to dance-hair up, shoes on, and positive attitude at the ready!  Running a few minutes late?  It happens!  Please take off your coat, put your hair up, and shoes on in the lobby and then sneak into class as quietly as possible!  Running full speed into the studio yelling “sorry I’m late” while running across the room to throw your Starbucks cup in the trash distracts everyone (and usually makes us teachers forget what we were doing….oohhhh I remember!  Pliés, guys)
  • Show us that you’ve practiced!  The new step we’ve been working on, your recital choreography, even just remembering where you stood in that last formation we did.  It makes us SOO happy to see that you took the time to practice at home, because guess what?  We did too!
  • Move with purpose!  We can get so much more done if everyone does this.  (Meaning more time for freeze dance, you little Monday maniacs!) . This means if your teacher says “okay guys, can you go to your first spot for your dance?”…..you go there!  With purpose.  Not like “first I’m going to tell my friend what I had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day this week and then I’m going to retie my shoe six times and then I’ll show you my impression of a sloth.”
  • Listen while we’re talking!  We have some knowledge to share.  Plus some funny stories, I promise.
  • Answer our questions!  Please?  There is nothing harder than trying to guess what a room full of teenagers is thinking.  Well, maybe herding cats.  Or trying to get your dog to sit still for a photo.  But still, it’s hard.  So if we ask “any questions?” it’s because we want to know if you have any questions.  If you don’t, a simple “nope” is grand!  But staring back at us without saying anything while we try to Jedi-mind-trick our way into your brains makes our brains hurt.
  • Please tell us before class if you have a headache, a stomachache, are having a horrible day, or broke your foot.  We promise we won’t be mad.  But if we don’t know, we’re going to tell you to point your feet, and then when you finally tell us “I can’t, my foot is broken” we feel really bad.  You understand.

Last, but not least…..the number one way you can make your teacher smile?  Say “thank you!” after class!  It doesn’t go unnoticed, I promise you!  Jazz hands are good too.

Happy Dancing!

Eden’s Favorite Dance Movies

Hi Dancers!

When the weather gets snowy and cold, it’s time to snuggle inside and watch dance movies!  Anyone else with me?  A cup of cocoa, a big blanket, dance movies-nothing could be better! Here’s a list of my favorites!

Favorite Movie Musicals-to get you singing, dancing, and channeling your inner movie star!

  • High School Musical (if you haven’t seen this one yet, watch it before you see our awesome competition team production number!)
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers-okay guys-I’ll be the first to admit, the plot to this one has not held up.  But the dance scenes are incredible!  I mean Jacques D’Amboise, c’mon (what??? you don’t know who that is??? Google.)
  • Grease-need I say more.
  • Hairspray-because…Zac Efron
  • Singing in the Rain-because Gene Kelly is even more amazing than Zac Efron.
  • Top Hat
  • Chicago
  • West Side Story
  • White Christmas (if you haven’t seen this, watch it next holiday season.  It’s one of my favs)

Dance movies (non-musical)

  • Center Stage
  • Save the Last Dance
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Footloose
  • Happy Feet
  • Fame
  • The Nutcracker (did you guys know you can watch this on Netflix??? Game changer)

Documentaries

  • Born to Be Wild (I could watch this all day every day)
  • First Position
  • Alive and Kicking
  • Falling Down Stairs

There are so many more, I’d love to hear some of your favorites!  What’s your favorite dance movie?  Also-I own a few of the ones I’ve listed above, let me know if you’d like to borrow any!

Happy Dancing!

Turn Out, Tune Up!

Hi Dancers and Happy New Year!  I am so excited for 2019 and all the new challenges and adventures it will bring!

Today I want to talk to you about something new we’re doing this year called “Turn Out, Tune Up Check Ins!”  Each dancer will receive a “check in” for each class they are currently enrolled in with notes from their teacher on things like technique, attitude, etc.  We are hoping these check in’s will help establish open communication between students and teachers, and give our students a focus for the second half of the year.  Here’s a bit more info on the thinking behind this!

Why are we doing these?

These evaluations will give our teachers the opportunity to give each student personalized feedback that we hope will guide them as we enter the second half of the dance year.  It gives students the chance to check in and reflect on their progress thus far, and will open the channel of communication between the student and the teacher to discuss their goals and how our teachers can help them reach those goals!  It also gives dance parents a chance to see this feedback as well, since they’re not in class with us every week!

What will these check ins look like?

For each class, you’ll receive some comments from your teacher on attitude/classroom behavior (which includes things like dress code, classroom etiquette, etc), and technique/skill (specific or more general things to work on in class).  Please free to discuss these with your teacher if you’re unclear on what they mean, or want more guidance on how to work on the things mentioned!  If you have specific goals for yourself and your dancing, we’d love to hear those too!

What should we do when we receive these check ins?

You’ll receive your check in forms in the mail at the end of January/early February!  If you’d like, you can discuss them with your teacher if you have any questions, or if you want to ask for any guidance.  We ask that you please do not share these with your classmates as these are intended for you alone.  Each student progresses at a different rate based on a huge number of factors and no two students are alike!  We do not want our students to compare or compete with each other, instead we hope our students will continue to support each other, encourage each other, and build each other up.  Thank you for understanding!

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Happy Dancing!

Things to be Thankful For!

Hi Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and food!

Every Thanksgiving, I think about how much I have to be grateful for-and this year I think there’s even more than normal!  Seeing the destruction caused by the fires in California, I’m so grateful that our studio and studio family is safe this holiday.  I try not to take for granted how lucky we are to have a wonderful space to dance and gather. The generosity of our families is overwhelming, and I’m so grateful to everyone to donating to Northern California Ballet (we’ll still be collecting donations after Thanksgiving).  I love our community and it’s willingness to help others.

I’m also so grateful for everyone’s cards, congratulations, and love this past month!  Our wedding was a dream come true, and our studio family was so amazing in helping us celebrate!  I’m so excited to celebrate our first holiday season as a married couple and all of you have made married life so special thus far!

There’s also no way to express how grateful I am to Brittany, Mariah, Marisa, Melanie, Jen and Robin for everything they do for ABDC.  From choreography, to picking costumes, editing music, planning classes, etc etc-there is SO much that goes on behind the scenes.  They are absolute rock stars, and I am so grateful for them (and I know our students are too).

What are you grateful for this year? ❤

Weekly Meal Prep Tips!

Hi Everyone!

Now that wedding/honeymoon madness is over, I’m starting to get back into my usual routine.  I’ve found that something that really makes a difference is taking some time to meal prep-as dancers we need to fuel our bodies for peak performance, but we are always on the go!  It can make it really hard to eat properly, and if I haven’t planned ahead I wind up eating chips for lunch and dinner 🙂  I’m going to share with you a few tips that help me meal prep, and some of my favorite blogs and recipes!

  • Meal prep foods that you actually LIKE to eat.  This seems obvious, but in the past I’ve made recipes that I know I won’t like just because it seems healthy.  But then I don’t eat them, the food gets wasted, and it’s back to chips for dinner!  Now I have a bunch of recipes I know I’ll be excited to eat, so I stick with those.
  • Plan ahead!  When I’m meal prepping, I’ll try to make my grocery list on Thursday, go food shopping on Friday, and then prep my meals on Sunday.  Once you get into the groove, it doesn’t take too long!
  • Get all your ingredients out before you start.  Maybe this is just me, but I tend to skim recipes, which often leads to me leaving out ingredients.  If I set everything out on the counter before I start, I’ve found I’m less likely to leave things out!
  • The crockpot is my best friend!  Dance classes from 4-9 means I’m eating dinner when I get home, and trust me, I’m not going to spend time cooking.  If something is ready in the crockpot for me when I get home, I’m a happy girl.  We just got an Instapot too, so I’m excited to try that out.
  • Quick, healthy snacks are also a must!  I don’t plan out my snacks per se, but I try to have things on hand that are easy to grab and are healthy-bananas, rice cakes, string cheese, and pretzels are a few of my favorites.

 

Here are a few of my favorite things!

These are Ahhhh-mazing for putting together freezer meals that will go in the crockpot.  I’m obsessed. https://www.amazon.com/Baggy-Rack-Sandwich-Storage-Solutions/dp/B0049NQEKO/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1542035393&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=ziploc+bag+holder+stand&psc=1&smid=A35F40ABDRFXKY

I love these overnight oats recipes.  They make life so easy on busy mornings.  My favorite is the banana chocolate chip. https://wholefully.com/8-classic-overnight-oats-recipes-you-should-try/

This blog is one of my favs for meal prep recipes! https://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/

I LOVE chickpeas!  Roasted chickpeas are my new favorite snack.  Check out these recipes at https://www.thisgrandmaisfun.com/roasted-chickpeas-recipe/ . My favorite is sesame!

Have any favorite recipes or tips for meal prep?  I’d love to hear them!  I’m always looking for new recipes (especially for the crockpot-did I mention I love my crockpot?)!

xoxo,

Eden

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!