Here we are at the end of Term 2. It’s cold and the whole family are very tired. Getting the kids to school and their activities has been challenging at times. Suddenly while eating breakfast one morning your child says that they want to give up dancing. You stare in disbelief, shocked and don’t know what to say. Think. Don’t react. Take a moment to compose yourself. You don’t have time to discuss this with them now. There’s work, shopping and everything else that needs to be done. Tell them that you will discuss this together tonight so that they can explain their feelings to you. Maintain a calmness on the outside while you search your mind for the signs that you may have missed.
Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration but wasn’t it a fun way to visualise this possibility. Everyone suffers from the Winter Blues.They can suck the energy right out of you. As you can imagine there are many reasons for the Winter Blues, some easy to fix and others may take a bit of work and negotiating to solve. You will have questions flying around in your head about commitment to other activities. Why the change of heart? How can you solve this without your child resenting you? Your list is like a mind full of snakes trying to send you batty. Here are some possibilities and solutions to consider if you find yourself in this situation.
“I’m bored! We are doing the exam stuff and I don’t like it. Dancing isn’t fun anymore”
Do any of these comments sound familiar?
There are some children that lose interest in Dancing and really want to try something else. There are some children who just want to do what their friends at school are doing to be part of the group. Some find their classes difficult to master and others may feel that they aren’t challenged enough. Children substitute the word bored for different emotions so you will need to do some detective work to get to the bottom of this one.
If you find the reason is that the class is too difficult or not challenging enough chat to the teacher and office staff about options you may have. We have so many styles available that they may just need to join another style or another level. This should rekindle their love of dancing.
If the reason is due to exam work you may find that encouraging them to continue is the best solution.We focus on exam syllabus in many of our classes during Term 2. It’s easier to encourage the students participating in exams as they understand that they need to know the work. Those students not participating in the exams need encouragement and reminding that it will help them become better dancers. Our teachers always mention this in class but you may need to reinforce this at home. Just like at school, doing these exercises every week will make you a better dancer. As we sit our exams at the end of Term 2, you can assure your child that concert preparation begins as soon as they return to class in Term 3. We strive to end each the class with a fun activity during Term 2 but the syllabus is very important to their progress as a dancer.
Take a breath kids as the concert excitement is about to begin!
Anxiety and Awkwardness
Although these are different issues they often result in the same emotional experience. Students sometimes hang at the back of the class & don’t want to participate in combinations or routines when completed in pairs or small groups. This could be due to anxiety or awkwardness but will in both classes leave the student feeling very anxious. Teachers approach parents under these situations to find out the underlying issue.
Awkwardness requires encouragement at class and at home and the understanding that it will become easier. We have many tools available to assist so check in with your teacher or the office and together we will devise a plan to help your child overcome their awkwardness.
Anxiety both social and performance related may require the teacher, parents and director to assist the student. Each student will respond differently but they need to be supported to work through their anxiety. Dancing can be liberating for them as long as they are nurtured.
If your child comes to you with the Winter Blues and wants to stop dancing, don’t panic.
Stop, breathe and take some time to find out the cause. Be patient. Don’t throw the towel in. There are solutions available as long as you are willing to explore them.
We have found that most issues can be worked through with support. We are here to help.
Before you know it you will have your passionate dancer back, twirling around and practicing their concert routines at home. Dancing requires commitment and sometimes that commitment needs some extra support from a grownup.
Don’t forget the concert is less than 4 months away. Let the fun begin!
When did you start dancing?
I started at the age of 9 years old because my sisters best friend started her own dance school.
What’s your favourite part of teaching?
My favourite part of teaching is seeing improvement and watching their faces when they realise they have improved or achieved something they couldn’t do before.
If you weren’t teaching dance, what would you do?
Something to do with art.
What is your life outside of Stepnout?
My life consists of cinema outings with my husband, studying exams for my dance examining and spending time with family and friends.
What’s your favourite dance step?
My favourite dance step is a chaine, I love doing fast turns continuously.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Wish I had trained harder as a younger child because I found it harder to catch up the older I got.
What’s your next holiday destination?
Rome, and the states!
Who is your favourite performer?
I do not have a favourite performer but I love so you think you can dance!
What was the last show you saw?
The show I saw was Kinky Boots.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Not quite sure. I try not to look too far into the future and live for the moment.
Exams – Best Wishes to Everyone Participating
This week I want to focus my blog on Exams. We have many students completing their final week of class and personal preparations for their dance exams next weekend.
How are they going? Are they ready for their exam? Will they be okay on the day?
These questions and many more why fly around in both your conscious and subconscious mind over the next week. As parents we hope that our children will perform well in their exams but more importantly, we hope that they are mentally able to cope with the exam environment. As students we hope that all the hard work has paid off and that we won’t forget everything when we walk into the room.
Exams are a wonderful experience that will assist you greatly through life. Discipline, self respect, focusing on technique and coping in a heightened state of anxiety, just to name a few. Parents and students experience the anxiety but don’t forget that dancing exams assist dancers in their journey towards greatness. They do not determine who you are but certainly help build strength in character. Remember this is one way to improve as a dancer and the examiner is one person. Focus on being confident and trying your best.
Today is about the final preparations. By now our students should be at the fine tuning stage of the exam syllabus. It’s time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. You should be able to perform all exercises and the routine proficiently and theory should be known. Listen to your teacher and follow their advice. Remember technique, musicality and performance quality are what the examiner is looking for.
Don’t forget that your appearance says a lot about you. An integral part of exams is grooming and etiquette. Your hair should be perfectly tied back. Your uniform and shoes should be immaculate. Makeup, jewelry, nail polish and tattoos are to be removed. Your behaviour in the room is part of your overall mark so be respectful and on your best behaviour. Listen carefully, don’t chat, fidget or slump. Don’t forget to thank the examiner at the end. Examiners take on this role to assist students in the development as dancers. They wish and hope for great success for all students participating. This is your chance to shine and showcase your ability.
The night before your exam relax, have a bath and go to bed early. Meditate or watch a favourite movie. Don’t get too focused on that last minute preparation as it will only increase your anxiety. Make your last thought before sleep happy and relaxed.
On the exam day eat light, healthy meals and keep hydrated. Arrive 30 minutes before your exam and start warming up. Your body won’t perform well if your muscles aren’t warm and relaxed. Take the time to breathe through each limbering exercise.
When you enter the room breathe deeply. Allow your mind to focus and calm. Listen carefully to every instruction. Remember that each exercise is only a part of the exam so don’t become flustered if you make a mistake. Breathe and calm your mind. Stay focused on doing your best throughout the exam. The routine is your chance to really shine. Show your personality and perform! Treat the opportunity as though you’re on the stage. The examiner wants to be “wowed”!
Parents: Don’t panic because if you do, your child will. Breathe and don’t fuss. Any sign of nervousness from you will rub off onto your child. Show them how proud you are of their achievement and the hard work that has gotten them here. If humour is your thing, lighten the mood with some laughs. Relax, breathe and enjoy the ride.
Best wishes to you all. We are so proud of you all for taking on the challenge of exams. They make you work harder but they also make you stronger and more accomplished dancers. Have fun and shine!
What is your life outside of Stepnout?
Being a mother to my gorgeous daughter. I only have 1 child but she certainly keeps me busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s your next holiday destination?
Austria. I just had to answer this question because I’m so excited to be going. I haven’t had a holiday for years so thought I would make it a big one. I can’t wait for the adventures that we will have.
What was the last show you saw?
I was fortunate enough to experience Matilda. It was amazing. I love going to see Musicals but Matilda was magical in so many ways. I’m so glad I was able to take my daughter to experience it. By the time this is posted (as I’m the one organising these posts) I will have seen Aladdin. I really do love my Musicals!
What is your greatest strength?
I would say my commitment and my love for children. All kids are awesome but I do have a very special spot for little ones. I can sometimes be just a bit crazy when I’m hanging out with them in the waiting area. I love having the opportunity to teach and share the love of dance with your children. I’m committed to being the best teacher that I can be.
What do you feel most proud of?
My greatest creation, my daughter!
What was one of your most defining moments in life?
You guessed it….becoming a mum. There are no words to describe just how magical that moment was when I first heard my daughter cry. A joy beyond words that still brings a tear to my eye.
What are you most afraid of?
Honestly, leaving this world before my daughter has reached the new middle aged.
What is your strongest personal quality?
I am very loyal and trustworthy. I will have your back and keep your secret.
What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
Diplomacy. As my daughter gets older I realise that I may need a lot of this to navigate life.
How would your friends describe you?
Crazy! Probably loud! Fun loving! Caring! Bubbly!
Take a look at our June newsletter to see what has been happening and write down all your important dates.
Winter is here!
Just in case you have been away or living under a rock…..Yes it’s that time of year again. I always like the first time I get to wear my winter coat, jumpers and my cool winter boots. I enjoy sitting in the heated lounge room watching a favourite show.
Enjoyment is now over as the cold weather starts to settle into my bones. I may be exaggerating just a bit but you get my drift. The mornings are freezing and some days the sun does not appear in our wintery sky. I know it could be snowing or we could live somewhere that rarely sees the sun but this is my version of reality. I am a summer girl who prefers not to look like a Michelin man everytime I leave the house.
The reason for this blog is to remind everyone to rug up. Parents, the waiting area is quite cold throughout the winter months. You may need to adopt the Michelin man fashion while waiting for your children. Don’t forget your coats, scarves, gloves, – sitting around can be very ‘cooling‘ to say the least.
During the cooler months it is most important that children rug up for drop offs and pickups. For those who live close, your car may not even warm up before you arrive. Others may need to put coats on to exit the car with the sudden drop in temperature. After class is the trickiest. As the students are warm from dancing they may not want to rug up but to assist their muscles and joints in the correct cooling down process they do need to exit the studio rugged up. Not to mention the colds that they are encouraging by not being appropriately dressed.
The students will warm up during class but will definitely need extra layering to start. Please remember that they must all be in uniform. We have burgundy crossovers for the girls who wear leotards and studio hoodies available from Size 6 up. If your child is wearing a long sleeve top please ensure that it is fitted so that it doesn’t impact on dancing. No oversize jumpers are allowed as teachers need to always see their body shape. We have leg warmers and tights available at the office. Black dance pants, black leggins, can be worn to class. Hip Hop classes and boys only can wear black tracksuit pants. Please keep this in mind as you dress your child for classes. Please remember that All students are to wear the Stepnout Uniform.
Keep warm and enjoy the brisk days ahead. I am counting down the days until the studio is warm and I’m wearing my t-shirts again. Summer…..come on down!