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5 reasons why summer dance is special and important

Unplug this summer and unleash your creativity with summer dance! Summer is on it’s way and we are gearing up to beat the heat!   We’ve got the perfect cure for the summertime blues with our line-up of summer classes.  With all of choices that are available to families over the summer, we’ve put together our top 5 reasons why summer dance is special and important! 

  1.  Engage your brain!
    During the school year children are learning all day, every day.   Summer dance camps are a great resource to trigger young minds through physical and observational learning.   Students are memorizing sequences of steps, spacing, music, formations and keeping their brains active!  Studies show that when we make split-second, quick decisions (like when we dance), we create new neural pathways that increase our intelligence. Give your kids a break from school but keep their minds engaged through dancing!

  2.  Beat the Heat!
    While summer weather encourages us all to enjoy the nice weather and cool pools, a break from the heat is always appreciated.  Our dance camps take place inside with snacks and crafts included.  Switch up your summer camps and give your dancer a variation with their summer camps.

     
  3. Discovery!
    Dance is a great way for children to discover what they are passionate about.   Many of our camps offer a specific style or fuse several styles together within the week and focus on fun!  If one of the styles isn’t a good fit for whatever reason, a dancer will quickly move onto another style within a day or two.  Maybe it’s the discovery of music, or, maybe it’s the opportunity to discover how good they are at something.   Discovery is a wonderful thing for every child regardless of age.  It fires the imagination and allows children to dream. 

     
  4.  Engage in maximum creativity!
    If your child is drawn towards creativity, summer dance camps are a perfect fit!  Dancers have many opportunities to get their creative juices flowing through movement, arts and crafts, games and songs.  Some camps even involve costume design, hair and make-up techniques for the stage, set design and more!

  5.  Make new friends
    One of the greatest benefits of summer dance is getting the opportunity to work with new teachers and meet new friends.  Dance involves a team like atmosphere and in many of our camps dancers spend several days together forming new friendships.  Receiving instruction from a new teacher is incredibly helpful and super fun!

1/31/2017

It's #teachertiptuesday and today we are talking about nutrition! As we are rounding out our body awareness month, one subject we are always talking to dancers about is how to appropriately fuel their bodies for success. While we have a snack station in our office, it's always a great idea to keep some handy items available in your dancers bag for a quick pick me up after school or a long practice. What would be the best option for fuel? Take a look at this great article by Dance Informa with some healthy snack options and dialogue on why this is so important! #thsdsalina#bodyawareness 
http://danceinforma.com/2014/06/03/high-energy-snacks-young-dancer/

1/25/2017

Happy Wednesday! We enjoyed having so many dads with us last week for class! Adult classes have started this week in Yoga, Barre Fitness and Tap. This month we have been talking with our dancers about body awareness and as adults, dance is important too! What does dance do for adults? Check out our below for the 9 health benefits of dance!

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/health-benefits-of-dance.aspx

9/21/2016

The following article from the Facebook page:  Getting Grounded, had so much great information that I just had to share!  Take a peek below to discover more about the wonderful middle school age.  What a fun, fun age!

When you're feeling frustrated with your middle schooler, keep these facts in mind. Middle school is also one of the hardest times in a growing child's life. The biggest struggle I hear is that the expectations from parents get so much bigger, but the kids still feel stuck between little kid and big kid. Make sure your expectations are in line with good mental health. What are your expectations based from.....fear? Other people's expectations? What your parents did? Life isn't a race, take care of your child's heart and mind before you take care of expectations.

9/12/2016

As we start back to a new school year, a new dance year, new schedules and a fall full new adventures, I wanted to share an article that many may have seen before.  There are so many skills and character lessons that our children learn through their extra curricular activities.  Take a peek at the article to see how this father felt about his investment in dance:

Why I Don't Pay For Dance Anymore

6/7/2016

The following article aims to outline why it is important to include work on hands and knees in dance class, and the many benefits to doing so, as well as a few words of caution.

  1. Dance class is often the first, formal physical training that an individual gets. 

  2. Many children miss out crawling for various reasons

  3. Crawling helps activate important muscular and fascial slings that are essential for dynamic stability

  4. Poor stability in these slings results in difficulty maintaining a good posture in class and with movement

  5. Research indicates many cognitive benefits to crawling and cross-pattered work 

  6. Simple and fun ways to include crawling in class

Click HERE to read more about the importance of crawling.  This is definetely a skill we add into warm-ups with stationary movements that help to coordinate that cross body movement!  Such an important skill!

 

5/19/2016

Our "Student of the Month" program is one of my favorite new programs that we have rolled out this year.  Each month every staff member will nominate a student for student of the month. One student will be chosen in each category: Preschool, Elementary, Junior High, High School.  Students are nominated for coming prepared, showing kindess, using manners, setting a good example, having a postivie attitude and many other postive attributes.  Help us in giving a virtual high-five to our students of the month this past Spring!  What a fun surprise to find this sign in their yard!  We look forward to many more years of showcasing the great work that our students are doing.

 

 

 

5/3/2016

We are in the home stretch until our year end Spring Showcase and our students are equally in the home stretch until school is out!  For many of our students, this is a very busy time of year with concerts, banquets, extra curricular activities and extra school work/testing as well as weekly dance classes and rehearsals.  It can all often feel like a balancing act with your dancer gently tip-toeing along.  

Our friends at Tutu Tix have put together a wonderful article on balancing dance and school!  Take a peek at their great insight including:
1.  Getting a planner
2.  Timing it Right
3.  and MORE!

Visit the Tututix Article on Balancing Dance and School HERE!

4/26/2016

It is a busy time of year when we are gearing up for our year end Spring Showcase!  Many of our students are also involved in extracurricular sports, school projects, extra dance rehearsals and more.  The extra push and less rest physically can sometimes lead to injury.   

"Everyone’s had one of those moments where you come down on your foot wrong in class or worse yet, you’re doing something completely unrelated to dance and you go over on your ankle and you know that something is really wrong.

In this video we want to share with your some of the things that you can do right at the point of injury to stop it from getting any worse and to help you learn how to treat a dance injury much more effectively."   

Visit  http://www.theballetblog.com/portfolio/how-to-treat-a-dance-injury/  to view a short video on dance injuries and some of the things that you can do right at the point of injury to stop it from getting any worse and to help you learn how to treat a dance injury much more effectively. "

Credit to www.theballetblog.com and Lisa Howell for her fantastic information for dancers!

 

4/18/2016

5 reasons why summer dance is special and important

Unplug this summer and unleash your creativity with summer dance! Summer is on it’s way and we are gearing up to beat the heat!   We’ve got the perfect cure for the summertime blues with our line-up of summer classes.  With all of choices that are available to families over the summer, we’ve put together our top 5 reasons why summer dance is special and important! 

  1.  Engage your brain!
    During the school year children are learning all day, every day.   Summer dance camps are a great resource to trigger young minds through physical and observational learning.   Students are memorizing sequences of steps, spacing, music, formations and keeping their brains active!  Studies show that when we make split-second, quick decisions (like when we dance), we create new neural pathways that increase our intelligence. Give your kids a break from school but keep their minds engaged through dancing!

  2.  Beat the Heat!
    While summer weather encourages us all to enjoy the nice weather and cool pools, a break from the heat is always appreciated.  Our dance camps take place inside with snacks and crafts included.  Switch up your summer camps and give your dancer a variation with their summer camps.

     
  3. Discovery!
    Dance is a great way for children to discover what they are passionate about.   Many of our camps offer a specific style or fuse several styles together within the week and focus on fun!  If one of the styles isn’t a good fit for whatever reason, a dancer will quickly move onto another style within a day or two.  Maybe it’s the discovery of music, or, maybe it’s the opportunity to discover how good they are at something.   Discovery is a wonderful thing for every child regardless of age.  It fires the imagination and allows children to dream. 

     
  4.  Engage in maximum creativity!
    If your child is drawn towards creativity, summer dance camps are a perfect fit!  Dancers have many opportunities to get their creative juices flowing through movement, arts and crafts, games and songs.  Some camps even involve costume design, hair and make-up techniques for the stage, set design and more!

  5.  Make new friends
    One of the greatest benefits of summer dance is getting the opportunity to work with new teachers and meet new friends.  Dance involves a team like atmosphere and in many of our camps dancers spend several days together forming new friendships.  Receiving instruction from a new teacher is incredibly helpful and super fun!

 

 

 

4/12/2016

If you were to peek into our children’s ballet classes, you might see a teacher and preschoolers lying on their bellies and swimming.  All the while they are imagining themselves swimming through the ocean looking at all of the captivating coral and the beautiful fish all while building strong back and leg muscles.  They perch themselves upon a rock and wave their mermaid tails and smiling at their mermaid friends.
Or you might see us tip toeing very slowly and quietly. However, in our imaginations, we are creeping through the jungle, trying to spot different animals. We move like each animal we encounter—swimming, crawling, galloping, and soaring. This is a glimpse of the excitement in store for young children who experience creative dance.

Children move the instant they are born and the moment they wake up every morning. Moving is one of the first and most important ways infants and toddlers explore and learn about the world, and this process continues as they grow and develop. According to the National Dance Education Organization, “dance embodies one of our most primal relationships to the universe. It is pre-verbal, beginning before words can be formed. It is innate in children before they possess command over language and is evoked when thoughts or emotions are too powerful for words to contain. Children move naturally. They move to achieve mobility, they move to express a thought or feeling, and they move because it is joyful and feels wonderful. When their movement becomes consciously structured and is performed with awareness for its own sake, it becomes dance.”

Dance training for young children builds upon several basic skills.  These skills are often used as indicators of ‘readiness to learn’ academic subjects.  The learning and mastery of several basic skills lead to the composition of complex skills.  Skipping is a skill many students are expected to know how to do but a skill that is often overlooked as dancers’ progress through their curriculum.

Listed below are 12 basic skills that should be focused on prior to teaching children to skip. These skills are expected to be learned around the age of 6, but there are children who will still not grasp skipping right away.

Twelve Pre-Skipping Skills

1. Standing: Stand evenly on two feet, feet matched, arms relaxed at sides. Lift arms straight up to a natural 2nd position, slightly below shoulder level, hands facing the floor. Child should show good symmetry, and good balance.

2. Walking: Walking should show a smooth action, steps of equal length; equal use of both legs. Arms are relaxed and freely moving in any pattern natural to the child.

3. Running: Runs are executed with smooth action, steps of equal length; equal use of both legs: arms relaxed and freely moving in any pattern natural to the child.

4. Crawling (creeping) on hands & knees: The knees are picked up, not dragged. Child allows equal use of both sides of body, good sense of balance, arms and thighs used approximately perpendicular to the floor.

5. Jumps (on two feet): Child shows an equal or nearly equal use of both legs, correct knee action. Child also pushes some with feet to help himself or herself get off the floor.

6. Hops (on one foot): Child shows an equal or nearly equal use of both legs, correct knee action. Child also pushes some with feet to help himself or herself get off the floor.

7. Arm Movements: Child can swing arms forward and back, in unison or alternating.

8. Head Movements and Balance: Child’s head is generally held upright, level, balanced, and centered over the shoulders. Child can do the three basic head movements: nodding up and down, turning from side to side, and inclining to right and to left with face to the front.

9. Feet flexing and extending: Child can flex and extend feet at the ankle joints.

10. Marching: Lift thighs to a horizontal alignment, arms swinging in any pattern natural to the child.

11. Galloping Forward: Child should be able to use either foot in front. Arms are left free to move as is natural to the child, or hands can be placed on waist.

 12. Side Gallops: Child should be able to go both directions.

 

Our dancers love developing these crucial skills as well as skipping through each age level of our Leap N’ Learn curriculum.  Fundamental coordination development is crucial throughout the beginning years of ballet, otherwise how can we build without a foundation?

 

4/5/2016

A shout out today to our children's ballet curriculum:  Leap N' Learn.  Leap ‘N Learn is an effective, safe, progressive, and developmentally appropriate dance program for creative movement to beginning ballet. Designed by master teacher Beverly Spell and expert child psychologist Dr. Annie Spell, the curriculums combine the healthiest practices for teaching children ballet technique, while simultaneously encouraging pretend play amongst the youngest students to maintain a positive and fun environment.

Visit their web-site at www.leapnlearn.com for wonderful parent information.   We are sharing a fun blog article from their web-site with FIVE great articles to read/view.  Enjoy!

Check these out, and let's dance into the weekend together...

  1. Five ways to raise kind children from a Harvard psychologist. (washingtonpost.com)
  2. Lucy Gray spent 14 years photographing the journey of three prima ballerinas balancing dance and motherhood, and the photos are stunning. (fastcodesign.com)
  3. Wow, still choreographing and dancing at 100-years-old! (abc.net.au)
  4. A great article on how dancers learn choreography. (theguardian.com)
  5. Dancing balloons, a fun and educational activity for little dancers cooped up inside. (babbledabbledo.com)

What was your favorite thing about this week? And what are your plans for the weekend?

3/29/2016

Eliminating Distractions: Yong Pratt

Last week, I shared my new morning routine with you.  While I’m not 100% with it just yet, I’m making every effort to carve out time to plan my day and my life.  As a mom and a business owner, it’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions all day and feel unproductive.  Today, we’re going to talk about the art of managing distractions.Before we get there, though, I want to know how YOUR morning routine is going?  Have you carved out some sacred time (even 10 minutes) to center yourself and set intentions for your day?  If you haven’t done so yet, make a plan for it otherwise it likely won’t happen.If only life was as simple as engaging in a morning routine. But alas, after our morning, there’s a lot more day to live and we all could use some ninja tricks to be productive and manage those pesky distractions.

In our hyper connected world, it’s sooooo easy to get distracted.  Even when you intentionally carve out time to be productive, there always seems to be something to distract.  Whether it’s phone calls, texts, or notifications from email and social media, the distractions can be relentless.It’s no wonder that we can easily go through our days feeling zombie­esque and overwhelmed by our long list of to­dos.

Well, as part of a 15­day blogging challenge, I’ve set out to attack enemy number numero uno: distractions.

Where to begin?  Here are 5 steps that I use to keep myself on task.

1. Disable notifications ­ 

Yes, you read that correctly.  But where would I be if I didn’t know the neighbor’s dog is in my garden again you may be wondering?  Think back to a time when you weren’t attached to your cell phone 24/7 and relish in the peace and quiet and in talking to your neighbor rather than reading about the incident on Facebook.

2. Turn off your phone: Unthinkable? 

Think again.  For the next week, I’m turning off my cell phone as soon as I walk through the doors of my house.  I also don’t turn on my phone on Sundays.  Saturday night, my phone gets turned off and I don’t turn it back on until Monday morning.  What if there’s an emergency?  We still have a home phone and two other cell phone users in my house so I know I’m reachable in the event of an emergency.

3. Schedule time for emails and social media:

Being hyper­connected and reachable at any time has its drawbacks.  Decide on a block or two of time to be reachable by email and to post to social media.  If you’re a gmail user, install Boomerang which lets you write emails now and schedule them to be sent later.  That way you don't waste and entire hour emailing back and forth.  Go old school: Pick up the phone and call if there's that much back and forth.  

4. Close your browser and email:

This one’s a bit tricky for me as a great deal of what I create and the programs I use are online.  For me, the key is only having tabs open that I am using for the current project, otherwise, it’s so easy to be sucked into the link game.  You know the one where you read something that has a link. You follow it and before you know it, two hours has disappeared.  Unless email is my current project, the application is closed and notifications are turned off so I’m not distracted.  For those projects that don’t require the Internet, same rules apply.  Close that puppy so you’re not tempted to do a “quick search.”  Is there even such a thing anymore?

5. Set the timer:

Set the timer for 50 minutes.  Work on one project only during this time.  When the timer dings, take 10 minutes to stretch, grab your kids or your cat and have a mini dance party, and grab a drink.  As the great Tony Robbins says, motion creates emotion.  Get your body moving and the blood pumping after focused time to reset and prep for the next block. Now it’s your turn.  Tell me about the ways you keep from being distracted during the day.  Perhaps you'll incorporated one of these tips and create your own.  I’d love to learn from you.

Before I sign off, you may be wondering what managing distractions has to do with raising smarter kids.  One word: ­ everything.

Our children look to us for guidance and support.  Their own personal habits and behaviors are modeled after what they see.  Let’s demonstrate single­minded focus to them. This focus, especially when it comes to time with them, will be a lasting memory so let’s make it the best it can be.

Cheers my distraction­free warriors!

Yong Pratt, wife and mother of 2 daughters, is on a personal mission to help parents raise smarter kids through the arts.  She is the CEO of Art Smart Parenting, Host of the Raising smART Kids 2.0 Podcast, and Founder of Academy of the Arts located in Elko, NV.  Miss Yong holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Education from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Master of Science Degree in Kinesiology and Health from the University of Wyoming.  In 2010, she presented Dancing Through the Spectrum: Dancers as Decision Makers at the National Dance Education Organization’s Annual Conference. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Miss Yong danced professionally throughout North America and Europe and served as an Adjunct Professor of Dance and Choreographer at Great Basin College.

Connect with Yong
www.artsmartparenting.com
www.elkoarts.org
http://www.facebook.com/YongPratt

3/23/2016

Welcome to our blog page! Please check back in often for blogposts and articles on all things dance and THSD!