Inside a Dance Studio is a blog hosted by Pegasus Studios with the aim of celebrating, discussing and learning about how dance can help support and foster healthy and happy children, adolescents and adults. This blog is inspired by our experiences as teachers and owners of Pegasus Studios, a dance studio primarily dedicated to art and health in children, from the ages of 2-20, give or take a few years!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We're Back! And New!

It has been a very long time since we posted on here. Well, we’ve been busy!
This spring we began the process of renovating Pegasus in several ways. If you are coming to class each week or have passed by us, I’m sure you noticed our new look! One of our alumni, Andrea de Keijzer, is the photographer of that stunning picture that is hanging in our window. We love Andrea’s work and choose this picture for our front window because it captures the joy of dancing that we are always trying to pass on to our students.
But that’s not all we’ve been doing… This spring was also the beginning of a huge project to renovate our costume reservoir! That’s right, a reservoir! We have been renting recital costumes for all of our 24 years and it was about time to ditch the old and revitalize the new. And, it was time to find more space for all these costumes, so we went up! Our costume storage got lots of brand new double racks, so now we can hang twice the amount of costumes!
But why was that stopping us from blogging? Because we also started renovating our website! This was the biggest renovations this summer, and they are still going on! Our website is not just getting revamped, it’s getting in shape! All summer we were busy working away on design and content and this fall we’ve been putting all that into place. The website will have lots of information, in fact, all the information you will need, whether you are new to Pegasus, been with us for a few years, or are just investigating potential dance schools for the future. As we move more and more into this digital age, we want our website to have all the information our front desk staff would give you, while still conveying our welcoming atmosphere.
And guess what also got a reno? You guessed it, this blog! We re-designed our blog to have a similar feel to our website, as well as getting a new name! So consider this a sneak peek for what’s coming!
We hope you have had a smooth transition from the summer vacation back into the school year! And now, that you have a smooth transition into the winter vacation. Stay warm!
Remember, look for our website, it’s on its way! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Young Child's Need For Movement

Jane Davis-Munro, co-founder and Artistic Director of Pegasus Studios, has been teaching children dance, music and art for over 34 years. Through her extensive and continued research and training in working with young children, Jane has learned the importance of movement for children. Jane has put together some of her research to give us a better understanding of why the young child needs movement.

Movement is life. The human body begins movement at conception and continues in some form until death. The young child uses movement to explore and experience their environment and therefore it is one of life’s primary tools for learning. To ask a child not to move is to ask them not to breathe.

New research in the development of function of the human brain is reinforcing the importance of encouraging movement activities for young children. The more movement the more efficiently the brain becomes at processing motor responses. Children’s brains exercise three major steps when formulating movements;

1. The brain selects an appropriate cue and then forms a mental picture of the desired outcome.

2. This information is integrated with past experiences so that they can form a strategy.

3. The brain forms a pathway that gives feedback about the appropriateness of the mental image and the selected plan.

Once the plan is in place an opportunity to practice the skill is necessary to increase their efficiency. This is not as time consuming and complicated as it sounds, but when children are given the freedom to move, the brain becomes efficient in procession these steps. For example, when a child masters how to move in a specific space allocation, he has also learned about concepts of space, shape and abstract thought.

Early childhood is not a time to be limiting movement experiences but involving children in opportunities to develop creativity and expression through movement and music.

Friday, March 19, 2010

How Can Dance Improve Grades?

In several studies it has been proven that children who participate in dance classes or dance related activities achieve higher grades. At Pegasus we have witnessed our students go on to earn many academic achievements at the secondary and post secondary level. Many of our students are on the honour role and have been through high school and into university. Why is this? The studies will explain that dance exercises both the right and left side of the brain at the same time and helps students build the necessary brain muscles needed to be successful in Math, Science, English, and other subjects. At Pegasus we are not neuroscientists, but we are child educators and from our 24 years of observation we have seen that the discipline, creative and physical outlet as well as a positive and encouraging environment has helped our students reach success in their academic education. Dance classes allow students to get all their pent up energy out. The energy that gets stored up because they are sitting at a school desk all day is allowed to be expressed in the high energy level that a dance class requires. We have also noticed that because dance is a form of creative expression, students feel more at ease in their lives. They are not searching for a way to express their emotions and their creativity. The dance class allows students to use their emotions and creative nature in a positive and safe environment, a part of life that often gets pushed aside to make room for all that science! And speaking of a positive environment, at Pegasus we believe that every child, no matter their dance ability, is a valuable person and a valuable artist. We believe in encouraging every student that comes through our doors and by creating that type of environment we encourage our students to be the best that they can be, and we know they can be great! And the last factor that we’ve seen help improve our students grades… discipline. On top of a creative, emotive, and energy outlet, dance classes rely on discipline to operate. Dance in itself, like a sport, requires discipline in order to continue learning and expanding skills. Through dance our students have learned the importance and the basics of discipline and we’ve seen them transfer the disciplined practice they use for dance to their homework. And practice makes perfect!

We are so proud of our students, past and present and we believe that with high energy level, creativity, emotional expression, positive environment, and discipline, all children can achieve positive results in the school system and beyond.

Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 Dances of Offering

Saturday night, February 20, 2010, marked the 8th annual Dances of Offering, Pegasus Studios benefit show. We packed the Betty Oliphant Theatre on Jarvis St to almost full capacity! The Pegasus students shinned alongside the professional performers and it was very special to have former Pegasus students, Jessica Houghton and Catlin Chin choreograph pieces for the show. The dance was complimented by some musical pieces from Etobicoke School of the Arts and an original song by Jeff Wilston who performed with Dan Munro. Miles Faber, from So You Think You Can Dance Canada, hosted the night. But the best part… Liam himself was in the audience! Joined be his parents, Liam from the charity we were celebrating, Liam’s Light, watched the show from box seats. His mom, Deborah, talked to the audience at the start of the show to explain the charity that raises money and awareness for pediatric transplants at Sick Kids Hospital. Sitting in the box, Liam was a constant reminder throughout the 2 ½ hour show that we were all there, audience and performer alike, to help the children at Sick Kids. Thanks Liam!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inside the Dance Bag

What’s inside your dance bag? We asked the dancers at Pegasus to find out what goes inside the perfect dance bag!

We got some pretty funny responses, like; a grandfather clock, ham and whipped cream.

But here’s a list of what our dancers seriously put in their bags:

• Dance outfit

• Water bottle

• Character skirt

• Ballet shoes

• Pegasus T-shirt

• Dance sweater

• Brush

• iPod

• Hairpins

• Pencil or pen and paper

• Hair elastics

• Hair band

• Foot Undez

• Crackers and cheese or a granola bar

• Book

• Name tag

• Hair spray

And lots of other good stuff too. The most important thing about a good dance bag is to make sure the essentials are ALWAYS in there. What are the essentials? The three things that you can’t dance without: class uniform, hair kit and a water bottle. Although, some of the things on the list above are also really important. It is a great idea to bring a snack. After a dance class or between dance classes it is important to nourish yourself, a granola bar is an easy and mess free snack to keep in your dance bag. A name tag on your dance bag and your other dancewear is important when you have the same uniform as everyone else in your class. It can be difficult to distinguish between two pink leotards without a name tag! A dance sweater is always nice, especially in the winter. It can be cold at the start of the class before you’ve fully warmed up, so a proper dance sweater that still allows you to move can be nice and cozy for the first few exercises. But remember, let your dance bag breathe now and then, take your shoes out and leave it open one night.

We'd love to hear what you have in your dance bag. Use the comment feature below to let us know.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The History of Dances of Offering

Dances of Offering began nine years ago in 2001. The dream was to create a show that joined the talents of professional performers with those of students to raise money for a local charity. The first shows were held at Pegasus Studios but in 2007 we moved to the Al Green Theatre at the JCC. Last year’s performance took place at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts and this year we are excited to be at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. As our venues are growing so are our profits. In 2001 we raised around $2,000 for donation and last year we raised over $5,000, with a sold our performance! Our charities are chosen specifically to reflect the values of Pegasus Studios and the issues that resonate with the faculty and students involved in the show. Our past charities have included Sheena’s Place, The Food Bank, Red Door Shelter, Robin Rock’s On and others. This year we are proud to be dancing in celebration and support of Liam’s Light! Hope to see you at the show!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2010 at The Pegasus Dance Bag!

Here at Pegasus we are excited to start a new year and a new season of blog posts. We hope that everyone has had a safe and fun transition into 2010.

Follow our blog as we take a look back at 2009, look ahead to 2010, countdown to Dances of Offering, consider how dance class can improve school grades, and other interesting discussions and news from Pegasus.