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, March 31, 2011

A Look Ahead

Here is what we have up our sleeves for April blogs:

Inspirations: Twyla Tharp
Spotlight: Recital Costuming
Health Smart!: Caring for Injuries
The Parent Toolbox: What to ask when shopping for a dance school

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Parent Toolbox: Everything you will need on exam day

Although most of this checklist is specifically for the exam candidates and not the parents, we’ve made sure to include a few things you might want to pack along with the list of what your child needs to have on the big day.
In the dance bag:
·         Uniform – everything washed, ironed, polished. New tights (or somewhat new) are good as they will be clean with no chance of runs.
o   Leotard
o   Tights or socks
o   Waistband
o   Ballet slippers
o   Character shoes (Grade 1+)
o   Character skirt (Grade 1+)
·         Hair Kit
o   Elastics
o   Pins
o   Hair net
o   Brush
o   Hair spray
·         Water bottle
·         A snack for after the exam – they take a lot of energy so a granola bar or piece of fruit is really nice for after
For Parents:
·         Camera
·         Coffee and book – once you arrive at the studio and the preparations begin it can be a lot of sitting and waiting

Monday, March 21, 2011

Health Smart! Remaining Focused on personal goals rather than competition

One of our core values at Pegasus is that each person that comes through our door should be valued for their unique qualities. We’ve built our dance program off this principle and it is one of the reasons we rarely participate in competitions. We try to focus on what each student’s personal best is and encourage them to reach it… and hopefully going far beyond it.
This month’s blogs are focused on ballet exams and we wanted to take this health section to talk about the mental health that surrounds a high stress situation for children. Last month we talked about how to encourage children through tough times and one of the suggestions from the experts was to help them focus on their personal goals. A ballet exam, dance competition, recital or even just day to day class, is the perfect forum for setting personal goals. In each situation a dancer will be surrounded by number of other people who all have their own talents and challenges. In our society we are encouraged to compare ourselves to those around us and in the dance world this is very prominent - those mirrors don’t help at all. Comparison can be very intimidating and in the end can turn out to be very harmful. So this month… try setting goals for just you. Are you going to work towards relaxing your hands during ballet class, landing the double pirouette in jazz, get all the sounds in a delayed wing in tap class, or be able to run through the entire routine without forgetting what comes next in modern?
What is always helpful in reaching personal goals is to tell someone what they are. Teachers are a great person because they can they help you stay focused on your goals in class and they can guide you towards reaching them. So… why are YOU doing a ballet exam this year? Or, taking musical theatre for the first time? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spotlight: A Day in the Life of an Exam Candidate - by someone who did a few!

Although most days would be spent going to school during the day and spending the evenings in ballet class learning and perfecting exam material, this spotlight will jump to the most important day… the exam day!
I remember the night before was always the most scary. Of course everyone, teachers, parents, friends, all said, “Get a good night’s sleep.” But that never happened. Before bed I would always double check my bag. ‘Do I have my uniform? Are they all in good shape? Do I have my hair kit? My good luck charm?
I’m reassured that my bag it ready, so now time to try to fall asleep. Snuggle into bed, turn off the light, shut my eyes… fall asleep… fall asleep… go to sleep… GO TO SLEEP! But all that is going through my mind is the exercises. Plie on one, rise on two, arm to second on three, head turn on four, and on and on and on. I play the entire exam in my head as I lie in bed. I can hear the music; see the examiner and my friends in my group.  My partner for the character dance and I have been in total sync for the past week. We’ve got that down. I’m sure of it. But what about the study I do alone? What if I forget what comes next. ‘Just breathe and try to sleep,’ I tell myself in between the exercises happening in my head. And eventually I do drift into sleep.
In the morning the panic sets in. This is it. The day. I carry my bag downstairs and leave it by the front door. It’s ready to go. Breakfast is eaten but it doesn’t taste quite as good because of the nerves. I pack a bottle of water and get ready to go to the studio. Butterflies fly through me, but I try to appear cool on the outside.
At the studio I find all my friends in the same state as me. We have got to breathe and relax a bit if we are going to enjoy this at all. After our hair is finished – a very tight bun that doesn’t let any little piece of hair get loose – we start to warm up together. Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned to support each other, to work together, to calm each other. I know that I will have friends to my left and right that will always smile back even if the examiner isn’t.
It’s time. We line up at the door, our character skirts folded neatly over our arms, our shoes in hand. We have perfect uniforms, perfect hair and perfect smiles. We’ve practiced the examiner’s name over and over again. We are ready. The bell rings. The door opens. And…
About an hour later we emerge. Life is back to normal, relaxed. “How was it?” someone asks. “Great!” I say, “so much fun!” Fun? Not often a word one hears alongside “exam”. But, this exam was fun. It was a chance to be in front of an audience, even if only an audience of one. I performed with my friends, we showed off the skills we’ve been working on all year and most of all we got to dance, dance, dance! No stopping for corrections from teachers, no pausing to ask a question, just straight dancing!  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dance as Inspiration

Famous dance quotes can be found from sources as varied as dancers, philosophers, and ancient proverbs. Some of the most frequent themes in these quotes is a spiritual connection that dance brings as well as dance as a form of poetry. What is great about the quotes that we’ve put below is that in a short sentence or two the emotional aspects and benefits of dance is expressed. 

So… here is a dash of inspiration in the form of quotes:

Let us first teach little children to breathe, to vibrate, to feel and to become one with the general harmony and movement of nature.  Let us first produce a beautiful human being, a dancing child. - Isadora Duncan

Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances. - Maya Angelou

Dancing is like dreaming with your feet! – Constanze

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and its music. Bodies never lie. – Agnes de Mille

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. – Unknown

There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them. – Vicki Baum

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. – Martha Graham

To watch is dance is to hear our hearts speak. – Hopi Indian Saying

Dancing is the poetry of the foot. – John Dryden

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. – Japanese proverb

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Month Ahead...

Here is a look at the posts we are planning for March:

Inspirations: Inspiring Dance Quotes
Spotlight: A day in the life of an exam candidate
Health Smart!: Remaining focused on personal goals rather than competition
Parent Toolbox: The exam Toolbox - everything you will need on the big day