Recital Crunch Time!

To all my N. American studio owners and dance teachers… are you ready for recital yet?  At my studio, the recital is four weeks away!  Some of my dances are ready, others… ehhh it will be interesting to see how they pull together. 

How do you stay organized for the big day?

Here is my quick list for what I prepare as a teacher:

  • I type up all of my baby dances to have them on hand.  Why is it that the simplest dances are the easiest to forget?
  • A list of all of my students for each class as well as their line-up if they are too young to remember where they stand.
  • My ‘backstage kit’: filled with bobby pins, safety pins, shout wipes, band-aids, extra makeup and a little sewing kit
  • Extra props, headpieces, tights and accessories
  • Gifts for my assistant teachers
  • A comfortable outfit for setting up and then a dress to change into for the show
  • A back up CD of my music
  • Snacks and lots of water (and usually a large coffee in the morning)
  • My camera!

I am sure I am forgetting some things…

What do you pack when getting ready for recital day?

Theme Playlist: "Sea"

A theme playlist for all things ocean and sea related! Whether your theme is “Beyond the Blue” or “Sea Cruise”, we’ve got you covered!

Children’s Music for Tap or Jazz
Under The Sea – Pop Version Under the Sea (Pop Version) - Disneymania, Vol. 3
Near TillamookAt The Bottom of the Sea – Ralph’s World At the Bottom of the Sea - Ralph's World At the Bottom of the Sea
Tidepool Boogie – Banana Slug String Band Ocean Rap - Slugs At Sea
Codfish Ball – Shirley Temple At the Codfish Ball - At the Movies: Shirley Temple
Finding Nemo: Ocean Favorites Album Finding Nemo: Ocean Favorites - Various Artists
…and anything Beach Boys Sounds of Summer - The Very Best of The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys

Lyrical / Modern / Contemporary
Sail Away – David Gray Sail Away - David Gray: Greatest Hits
The Ocean – The Bravery The Ocean - The Sun and the Moon
Sea Shells – Sia Sea Shells (Bonus Track) - Colour the Small One (Bonus Track Version)
Sea Lion Woman – Feist Sea Lion Woman - The Reminder
Part Like Waves – Psapp Part Like Waves - The Camel's Back
Wade In The Water – Eva Cassidy Wade In The Water - Songbird

He’s a Pirate – Pirates of the Carribbean He's a Pirate - Pirates of the Caribbean (Original Soundtrack)
My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean - 150 Fun Songs for Kids (Digital Version)
Anchors Away – Anchors Away - Ceremonials

Caribbean Blue – Enya Caribbean Blue - The Very Best of Enya (Deluxe Video Edition)
The Water is Wide – James Taylor The Water Is Wide - New Moon Shine
Aquarium – Carnival of Animals Carnival of the Animals: VII. Aquarium - Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals; Bizet: Jeux d'enfants; Ravel: Mother Goose
Ripples In The Pond – James Newton Howard

Saturday Night Fish Fry Saturday Night Fish Fry - Five Guys Named Moe (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Umbrella Beach – Owl City Umbrella Beach - Ocean Eyes
Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin Beyond the Sea - The Ultimate Bobby Darin
All At Sea – Jamie Cullum All At Sea - Twenty Something
Shark In The Water – VV Brown Shark In the Water - Travelling Like the Light
Rock the Boat – Aaliyah Rock the Boat - Aaliyah
S.O.S. – RihannaSOS - A Girl Like Me

Click here for more playlists…

"Cleaning" Dance Routines

Polishing, cleaning, fine-tuning… whatever you call it, its necessary before a performance.  I thought I'd share some of my favorite techniques that I've picked up over the years as a student and teacher. 

The first key is making sure everyone knows the dance – break the routine into 8 counts, count by count and analyze and correct everything from the head placement, arms, feet, legs (bent or straight), and tempo.  If you're low on time, start at the messiest part of the dance.

Once everyone knows the dance, repetition is key!  One of my teachers will not move on until each section (usually 8 counts) has been performed correctly and cleanly three times… in a row.   If they mess up on the third time, she starts over.  She calls it her "Rule of Three's" and uses it for only the messiest parts of dances because it can get very frustrating, but yields results.

Read more suggestions after the break!

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SOBuzz: Snow Days… When to Close?

If you live in the northeastern US – well, ANYWHERE in the US this past month, you probably just got hit with some bad or unexpected snow.  My friends in the southern states also just dealt with high winds and flooding and all of us in New York are experiencing the brunt of winter’s worst…  So whether its snow storms, flooding, or high winds…how do you decide when to close the studio or cancel a performance? 

When to close?
One easy way to decide when to close is looking at your local school districts.  Generally they have their information up early in the mornings.  I decide my closings for morning classes by 8am.  If the local schools districts are delayed by 2 hours or closed, I cancel morning classes.  With one hour delays, I will check the main roads myself and then make a decision.

For afternoon and evening classes, it is a tougher decision.  I base my decision on the evening weather forecast and how far my instructors have to travel.  I have a few instructors who commute 30-60 minutes to teach and ofter their area gets hit worse with bad weather.

Canceling a Performance
This is one of the hardest calls to make, but is it really worth it to put parents and students at risk to hold a performance for a small audience? No performance– no matter how many hours– is worth that risk.

Should I Offer a Make-Up Class or Refund?

The view from my  window is depressing these days

For classes that clients pre-pay for, such as semester, monthly or yearly tuition, it is good business etiquette to offer a make-up class if you are not giving a refund.  If you offer multiple classes of the same level, you could allow students to attend a second class during the week to make-up their missed class.

For classes that are pay-per-class, no make-up class is necessary since no one is out any money.

We have found that if we plan snow make-ups on a separate day or during spring break, the attendance is poor at best.  So we built in one extra week into the season for the inevitable snow day that happens each year.  We do not make-up the first snow day.

For canceled performances, if you can re-schedule, find a way to do so.  If you can’t, you will have to refund ticket holders.
Keep an eye out for our next post for suggestions on how to get the word out to your students and parents when you need to cancel dance class.

What was the last reason you had to cancel class?