Friday, December 30, 2005

Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom Dancing is the newest dance form on my daughter's list. She took Argentine Tango a while back, but now has been taking lessons daily since August. Loves it! She has learned the foxtrot, waltz, viennese waltz (however it's spelled) and the Tango. She is also learning the latin dances. It's interesting to note that after fifteen years or so of ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and modern that ballroom dancing uses entirely different dance muscles. Isn't that strange?! Anyway, the technique is entirely different and she just loves it! She enters her first competition in January. Can't wait to learn all about this new endeavor! We won't return to NYC for a couple of months. Taking a break to prepare for ballroom competition.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Work, Stretch and Dance CAREFULLY!

Dancers: The colder months are upon us. Many of the dance injuries that occur happen in January, February and March .... when the cold is bitter and dance studios keep the studios at subzero temperatures. Be sure to warm up your bodies properly.

Try taking a hot bath before class, bring extra socks so you can change wet socks and keep your feet warm, bring some cushy slippers to class so you can warm your feet during off times!

Eat! If your energy is down and your body is cold, you will be more prone to injury. So, bring little snacks and nibble between classes. Also, drink lots of water.

You can also heat up one of those corn filled heating pads that you microwave and stick it in your dance bag to heat your feet up on or to warm your shoes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Broadway Dance Center Needs Your Help! Read Please!

After reading this blog, please link it to your blog or sent it via e-mail to people who may be interested in this topic. Speading the word is the best help I can provide to this cause. Thanks. Here is an article from Backstage and other links.

Dancers Rally for NYC Center
December 01, 2005

Dancers rallied Thursday morning in support of the Broadway Dance Center, which is in the midst of a legal battle to retain its space on West 57th Street in Manhattan.

About 150 people gathered at the facility, said Bruce Cohen, press representative for the center, on Thursday afternoon.

For two decades the center has served the rehearsal, training, and conditioning needs of thousands of dancers, according to Cohen.

"More [than] 40,000 members, including Rockettes and Broadway chorus line dancers, consider the Broadway Dance Center their professional home and the place to stay in shape," said a press release announcing the rally.

The New York Times reported on Nov. 23 that the dance center might lose its home, a victim of Manhattan's "heated real estate market," which "is squeezing arts groups in the city."

The center is involved in a legal battle with its landlord, the Extell Development Company, to keep its space at 221 West 57th St.

Extell purchased the building and an adjacent site in June for a reported $67.5 million, according to the Times story, which added that the Broadway Dance Center's lease expires in 2012. Allison Ellner, chief executive officer and director of the center, told the Times that Extell had offered her $1 million to leave the space but that she had declined and that she had estimated the relocation cost at $3.4 million.

Franklyn Snitow, an attorney for Extell, told the Times that the company was prepared to operate the building "while there are existing valid leases for the premises." He would not comment on negotiations for relocating the dance center, except to say, "We were not willing to accept the dollar figure they presented."

-- Roger Armbrust

Also visit the new BDC Support site:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Great Suggestion from Julia

Fellow Blogger Julia Wrote .........
She can still do her breathing excercizes and do gentle humming excercizes and other voice related practise that doesn't make a lot of noise. Perhaps her teacher can show her some for the next time, a soundless workout for the voice! ........

Thanks! What a great suggestion! We'll do that at her next session.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Holiday Struggle

We went visiting this Thanksgiving. It was tough for my daughter to keep in shape with all the food and lack of dance classes. She went to the exercise room daily and rode the stationary bike, elipical rider, roman chair and lifed weights. She recently got the New York City Ballet Workout I and loves it! She remembered the exercises and did them in the apartment we were visiting. It all worked and she is in great shape, but, wow, it took a lot of dedication to keep going every day!

The singing practice just stopped for seven days. We were visiting out relatives in an apartment building and no noise was allowed. So practicing sing was just OUT!!!! We both became very aware of the struggles of people who don't live in neightborhood housing. Very difficult to be a singing or musical instrument artist if you live in an apartment building where you have to be quiet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nicest Dance Teachers on Earth

There are two sisters who run a dance school. They are both extremely talented and actaully the sweetest people on earth! No, really, they are incredibly sincere and would literally give you the shirts off their backs if you were in need. You don't meet many people like that and when you do, you are obligated, under the rules of the human race, to acknowledge that sincere, nonmalicious, kind and giving people actually exist. I didn't really believe it, at first, and then I watched them interact with people for a year. Unbelievably giving. Never two-faced or insincere. Never .... can you believe that? It's true.

We stopped by to see them yesterday to let them know about my daughter's latest adventures in dance. It was great to see them both and hear what their school and kids were up to. This was the school that my daughter attended in her last year of dance before turning 18. And, guess what ...... they just hired a voice teacher so they could add voice to their regular weekly dance classes ..... these ladies really know the business of dance!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another dance pic

This is a pic from her jazz solo. Although you can't really see it clearly, I made both of these costumes and I'm very proud!

My daughter dancing

This is my daughter one year ago, doing a layout in her modern solo.

I'm really impressed with the voice teacher!

She had her second lesson in voice. The voice teacher records each class so she can take the tape home and repeat the lesson and practice for the next week. I don't stay for the class, but I did hear her practice today. Wow, what a great class!!!! The entire class is packed full of vocal excercises to build the voice. I do hear a lot of improvement, even in one week. The last 15 minutes is devoted to a audition song. They haven't chosen a song yet, but he has some really intelligent choices for next week. I like what I hear!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

You know what this is about.

Yes, another dance school, another rant. I shouldn't even have to title the topics anymore because each paragraph seems to be the same thing. My complaining about, yet another, teacher or school. This time we tried out a new place. This school is a 'professional' ballet school located in a nearby city. It runs the dance program for a local university and has a VERY good reputation. With that said ..... we will never attend classes at this reputable school again! What a let down. Granted, it was a 7:30 pm class for ages 15 and up to adult. Not one student was stretched, not one student could extend past a 90 degrees (and 90 is a generous description). Every student fell out of turns.... all of them. The teacher did not know how to choreograph safe moves (no linking steps). I was in fear for my daughter's legs and ankles. Leaping .... well, lets say hopping .... didn't go well for them either. Techno music from the seventies ..... enough said.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Singing Lessons - Books for Vocals

The vocal coach gave my daughter some great tips. He said that when you audition for musical theater (which he has performed in on Broadway and off), you will have to sing your audition piece in the key that the musical is in and that plain old piano music isn't always in the key that you need it to be in. He recommended the series of books The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology which comes in different singing styles such as Tenor, soprano, etc. We haven't purchased the specific book yet, but when we do, I'll write about it.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rude, Rude Dance Teachers!

O.K. I'm going to rant, yet again, about dance teachers .... believe me, there are plenty of dance teachers I adore. It's just that those teachers run a class as it should be .... there's nothing to rant about, because the are simply exceptional people and teachers. But, after my story, I'm sure you'll agree...... My daughter had to hit a ballet class with real people. She's been doing David Howard video classes and just needed to take a class with a real teacher and real dancers. So, we went to the professional ballet school she attended last year. Well the place was shook up last year and the ballet mistress left and, well, new people have taken over. Still, exceptional instructors ...... except for one....... Get this, in the middle of ballet barre, the instructor who choreographs the Nutcracker for the weekend rehearsals comes in ..... with her three year old. We all know that three year olds are full of energy and run everywhere and get into everything we don't want them to get into. This three year old was no different.... full of energy. So, the ballet instructor, is giving this incredible sophisticated and packed with knowledge class and ..... the visiting ballet instructor .... gives her kid a TAMBORINE!!!!!!!!! A three year old with a tamborine in the middle of the classroom, during ballet barre..... (feeling my rant yet?). She made the stupid little comments that most horrible parents make when they know their kid is disturbing other people "now play quietly little, Johnny." and she also pulled him into the hallway, every once in a while so he could continue his tamborine playing in the hallway .... as if the teacher and dancers couldn't hear him play by the door. hmmmmm. Then she just left him...... all alone. And of course, being the typical three year old, he wandered back in with all the dancers and sat in the middle of the classroom for .... about ten minutes as she sat in the lobby (where I was sitting watching this horror) talking with the members of the board and who appeared to be her father. I could hear that the boy was in the classroom and that he was, indeed, becoming very skilled on the tamborine. After a while she finally went in and took the tambroine away..... well he cried.... so she gave it back to him and GRABBED A TAMBORINE HERSELF .... SO THAT SHE COULD JOIN HIM IN PLAYING!!!!!!!!!! (FEELING MY RANT YET???????) At this point, I got up and walked out into the hallway and stayed there. You may be saying "Why didn't you say something?" Well, the answer is simple. I have spent my daughter's entire life clearly saying something and she asked me to let her handle everything herself now. So I let her handle it. How rude some people can be. If you have kids, please don't be this rude.

Cover Up Fat Dancers

I think it's fine that fat girls want to dance recreationally. If you're going to dance and you have a choice of what to wear, please (and I'm pleading with you here), please don't wear two piece dance costumes and costumes with no back. I attended a competition yesterday and there was a good combination of dancers, thin, fat, short, tall. The thin girls had long sleeves and closed front and back dresses....the fat girls wore short, backless and two piece costumes. Now come on ladies! I don't want to see your four inches hanging over your pants and jiggling when you dance. Really....I don't. Save the skin dresses for those who can wear them.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

First Private Voice Lesson Today

Just got back from her first private voice lesson. Excellent teachers. Husband and wife team who actually perform in theater ... often. Learned a lot. Can't wait until next week!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Kareoke Backing Response Question

We did look at the Kareoke Backing option. However, do you know if the backing instrumentals are instruments or techno music. If I were to purchase something like that, I'd want the instrumentals to be good enough to use on stage eventually, if needed. I know some performers who buy performance tracks of their song.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thanks for your helpful comments!

Yes, musical theater is much different than regular dance! We were actually given the impression for many years that musical theater was a "lesser" form of dance that only loser dancers did. WRONG! Musical theater is absolutely technique driven with the addition of actually using the face and body to "act"! Then add the voice on top of that. It is, in my opinion, the most complete form of dance. Although, all forms of dance have a place. We finally saw musical theater done the right way once we started going to NYC and were just floored at the training necessary to pull it all together! Both of our impressions about musical theater (from what some unnamed dance teacher implied!) changed immediately. It is now my daughter's favorite type of dance.

Choir is a great idea, but not an option for us. However, we do have a great selection of CD's and piano sheet music at a library near us. Still, there can never be enough music to choose from.

Thanks for your helpful comments! Good luck!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Holding Back Dancers - Learn to sing!

Who would have imagined after all these years of tirelessly training in dance, that singing would hold back a dancer! Well more and more dancers are finding that to be the case. No singing ability, no job!

Does my daughter sing? Not a note! Now, however, we have hired a voice teacher, read the "Singing for Dummies" books, purchased mulitple "how to sing" dvd, vhs or whatever is available so she can catch up. Gee, this would be another instance where her "teacher", and I use the term lightly here, might have clued her in to needing to sing in the professional dance world. I am the type of parent that says "If you need it, we'll get it." However, if I am not a professional dancer and I was not involved in the performance profession, how am I supposed to know what training is needed or not needed. Oh yea, that's the part where I hire a "professional" to give my daughter and I "guidance". Nope, well it didn't happen here (except at the last school she attended the year before she turned 18 -- too late!).

However, singing is like ballet. You have to learn the foundation technique before moving onto the more advanced techniques. It is not simply something you "catch up on" as I said earlier. But once you're over 18 and you need a job, "catch up" is what you have do! So parents, if your kids are young. Get them voice lessons before it's too late! If you can't do voice, do band, play the piano ... anything to give them a foundation in music so that they can later take voice. Luckily, my daughter played the tenor saxophone in band and also had piano lessons and ear training. So she isn't entirely in the dark. The music background has helped a lot!

Expensive? Yes. We purchased sheet music, then purchased the cd to listen to the song, dvd if it came from a movie, background music to practice the song with the instramental. That would be "per song". Voice lessons are $25 for one half hour and $45 for an hour. New York City BDC lessons are $20 per hour, but it costs a lot for us to drive two hours, take the train and eat for the day. Then, as all dance parents know, you add that cost onto the cost of dance training and equipment and you have to mortgage your house!

It sure would have been nicer to know about this years earlier!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lazy Dance Teachers

Let me start by saying that we have been very lucky in that the dance teachers that my daughter has taken with were very attentive and professional. However, there have been some, as the commenting blogger pointed out, that are lazy. Laziness seems to take shape in "Recreational" classes. In EVERY recreational class I've heard the teacher say "Well the students take this class because they want to get a little exercise and have fun doing an activity." I think that's fine, however, these teachers follow this statement up with less effort in the Rec classes. They don't correct technique and, from what I've witnessed, get downright sloven in class. Sloppy, sloppy work, appearance and attitudes.

I'm a bit angry about this subject! My daughter was in rec classes for years. When she was young I could not pay for competition classes or more than two classes a month. Most of the little kids took 4 or 5 classes. Ballet, tap, jazz, acro and lyrical. Naturally, those who took 5 classes gained lots of skill and became little "naturals". The teacher would say "See, there's a natural." Not understanding that little Suzie had already been in over 260 hours of class since the age of three! Of course Suzie's a natural! Those 4-5 hour a week kids were also streamlined into the competition classes which are always more intense with lots of focus on technique. I saw this opportunity slipping by because I could only afford two rec classes for her. It was frustrating!

Eventually, after about seven years of dance, I began to make more money and she began to take 5 plus hours of dance a week, sometimes reaching 10 plus hours. She also began to compete in all the major dance areas, but was far behind the others technically. To get back to my rant on Rec Classes .... if the lazy teachers took the attitude that they were being PAID to teach kids dance .... CORRECTLY!!!!! My daughter wouldn't have been sooooo far behind. She might have been a little behind because she wouldn't have been in as intense of a class, but at least she would have a basic GOOD foundation in technique.

Now, she has EXCELLENT technique..... all credit to her hard work and sucking the information out of the brains of dance teachers whether they liked it or not! Credit also to some very caring dance teachers who did corrective dance surgery on her technique! But wouldn't it have been nice if she was just taught correctly in the first place?

Follow-up on Stage Moms from a fellow blogger

A fellow blogger wrote this in my comments section:
Drama Mom said...
I totally agree and would like to add that it has been my experience that most of the time dance instructors want to work with the most "naturally" talented students because it is much easier to teach someone that is natural. It is laziness. Like a teacher who only wants to work with the smartest children.... lazy....

Also, to me, a stage mom is someone that is doing it for themselves and not the child. Performing should be the desire of the child not the mom. If she is pushing her terrified child out on the stage or reprimanding her for not winning. That is my definition of a stage mom.
We both are obviously like minded on this subject. It is really silly to me when I hear teachers talk about "natural" talent or people saying that Olympians are born. Well my daughter also does figure skating and gymnastics. Those kids are at the skating rink or at the gym DAILY ...... FOR HOURS! That is NOT natural talent. That talent is earned and learned. Where she skates many National and World Gold Medal winners also skate. They practice hard every day. It's true that genetics may help bring an olympian along, but even a "born" olymic champion won't become that champion without hard work.

For the kids who people see as not having natural talent, they most often have not been introduced to the dance or sport until they were older and simply won't have as much practice as those who are percieved to have natural talent. I've seen plenty of nontalented kids study for a few years and blow right by natural talents! So there!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Full Day in NYC

We did visit the LaDuca dance shoe store. Wow! We could have purchased every shoe in the place. Beautiful dance shoes. The softest leather! The MOST flexible shoe! Really top rate stuff. The store was located in the garment district and I couldn't have been happier walking by all those cloth stores! We had to buzz the door to get inside and the woman who helped us was incredibly professional. She laid velvet cloth on the floor so that the shoes wouldn't be damaged from the floor when my daughter tried them on. Clearly, the shoe is superior.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Off to NYC again this morning.

Here we go again. Into the city! In the rain. This will be a new experience. We're going to check out LaDuca Shoes today. About $250.00 for their cheapest shoe. How exciting (sarcasm). It really is in a way, to learn new things about the dance world and how we'll never buy Capezio again. Goodbye cheap dance shoes! It really was interesting, however, to learn that LaDuca is one of the only shoes that allows dancers to point the toes completely. I also learned that the heel of the character shoe is much wider and helps to support the dancer for leaps and turns. It all makes so much sense I wonder what all these other dance shoe manufacturers were thinking. Anyway, gotta go.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Don't Bash Competition Dancers!

My daughter has attended several dance conventions. At one convention, the owner of the event took a good 20 minutes to bash competition dance saying that it was just big business and that the wrong focus is put on dance. Also, emphasizing that dance is about performance and competition is not performance. Less experienced dance parents nodded their heads agreeingly and joined in to the grand competition bashing. I disagree. I think that dance competition is extremely helpful to dance and dancers! Here's why: 1. Competition gives students the opportunity to get up on stage MANY times a year. Most "performance based" noncompetition studios that we've attended don't give a lot of "performance" opportunities (no the mall doesn't count). 2. Preparing for competition gives students practice with organization skills - getting costumes, makeup, dance shoes, directions ready (but only if parents don't do the entire thing for them - which they shouldn't). 3. Competition is vital to networking. My daughter has competed nationally. She sees dancers from all over the country again and again at different conventions. She now sees many of those dancers at professional auditions. They talk about other dance opportunities within the professional world. Students from studios that only "perform" often don't leave their geographic area and won't have anywhere near the networking opportunites that competition kids do. 4. Students getting to know other competition students, get to see the personality of one another and can later, evaluate whether the personalities can work together in a professional environment. 5. In addition to networking, most professsional dancers go off to NYC or LA to dance. No one can afford apartments and most dancers have to room with someone. It is much easier to find a dance roomie if you already know someone. 6. I would like to also note that three of the four finalists on "So you think you can dance" were competition dancers. They all rose to the challenge because they had been practicing being challenged for years. They all did an excellent job!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Mirrors ....FINALLY!

The mirrors were finally installed! If you have a young child who might want to go into dance, buy mirrors NOW! What a difference it has made in my daughter's dancing! Much different from using mirrors in the studio. I think it must have to do with the private time of experimenting in front of the mirror without ten thousand students watching and/or interrupting. Great time for perfecting body placement. We bought two 5X6 foot mirrors. So the whole wall is covered. It's great! The good and bad news is that now I am faced with a full-body image of MYSELF!!! Hahaha.... Well it's inspiring me to exercise more...:)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Only in New York Part II

The audition took about five hours, so I was on that concrete slab a very long time. I was sitting adjacent to a fire hydrant. I looked up and saw this blind guy walking his dog. He took off the harness so that the dog could do his business and the dog promtly got busy. Now, I'm from the country, so I'm no stranger to deficating dogs, but we don't clean up after the dogs way out here in the wilderness..... so I wondered to myself ..... does New York make blind guys pick up poop? What if he can't see the poop? .... must be an icky situation....

Anyway, the maintenance guys that took care of the block buildings were just coming out the door for their lunch breaks .... this was right before the dog got busy.... It became apparent to me that this was not the first time they saw this particular blind man and his dog. I watched them as they watched the blind guy and glared down his deficating dog. They walked three quarters of a block and kept turning around and laughing to eachother. Interesting, I thought ... and wondered what the whole story really was...... Then my previous question was finally answered. New York, does, indeed, make blind men pick up poop.

The guy pulled out his bag and began the process.... I found myself increasingly interested in the process of picking up poop without being able to see the poop. I laughed at myself as I wondered ... "I wonder if he heard where the poop dropped ..." Then, of course, immediately discounted the idea of blind mans poop sonar. It's strange how your mind works when you're bored. Well, he was very good at locating the poop, but did miss a plop .... He left and the next part of the story continued ...

In New York, there are street sweepers everywhere.... Just guys hired to sweep up cigarette butts and bits of trash. Well, one such street sweeper entered the poop zone..... I found myself wondering, as he daintily swept up cigarette butts around the poop, if he would, in fact, sweep the poop into his little sweeper container.... the final answer is no .... and that is the end of my odd day of waiting.

Only in New York! Part I

New York City is the one place you can sit on the sidewalk for hours and be entirely entertained! I was waiting for my daughter to finish an audition the other day and grabbed a slab of concrete. The police drove by a few times, one on a motorcycle driving down the sidewalk, a couple of cruisers and a tow truck ..... About an hour later I saw the bike cop and the tow truck trying to draw this parked, little white car out from its parking spot where it was wedged tightly between a truck and another car to the front. Quite skillfully, the police officer grabbed the front tires of the car with a chain, drove a bit with the towtruck and the front of the little white car ripped away from its spot and was ready to the towed.

Just at that moment. A skinny man ran out from a building and started pleading with the police officers. (I noticed that the car had Michigan plates) The poor guy was crying and pleading with them not to tow his car. The car, from my view, was still "all four tires on the ground" and the officers could have just recognized that they guy was from out of town and just didn't get the parking sitch in New York..... but nope, after 15 minutes of pleading and tears, they lifted the car onto the tow and drove away .... leaving the guy standing in the street watching after his car. Only in New York!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Who Steals Ruby Slippers from Children?

"GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. - A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" and insured for $1 million is missing from a Grand Rapids museum.....The children's museum houses the Judy Garland museum, which displayed the same pair of slippers last year. Garland was born in Grand Rapids in 1922...."The slippers are a major attraction at our museum," Kelsch said in a news release Monday. "It is our hope that the slippers can be recovered immediately." -ET, Yahoo News

OK, so the slippers were insured for $1 million. But, taking away the main attraction of a children's museum? I don't know. Sounds fishy, but whoever stole them will surely burn in hell for disrupting entertainment education for kids! GIVE BACK THE SLIPPERS!

Monday, August 22, 2005

New York City - I met a guy named Joe!

We go to NYC all the time now.... for dance, of course. I love everything about it! Since L dances for 8+ hours every day, every trip, I have a lot of waiting to do and I'm having a great time meeting all types of people. People who are on the go, getting things done and going places. Even the "little people" seem to be motivated!

I met a guy named Joe who sold tickets for the Improv Comedy Club while I was sitting in front of Virgin Records. That guy must have been rejected in a hundred different ways by a hundred different people. It was quite funny to watch, but impressive too. Each time that Joe was rejected, he'd just smile and move on to the next potential tourist. As we talked, I learned that he usually sells about 8 tickets a day and that he was on ... something like his 54th job in the city. He'd originally moved to NY to make films. During the hour or so that I was waiting, I saw Joe put on at least seven different accents ... how impressed I was with his acting abilities. I'll definately go back and buy some tickets from him ... simply because he really worked hard to earn a buck .... plus I really do like comedy.

I also met a guy named Mo et. Not sure if I spelled it right, but he was there trying to sell the Hip Hop CDs that he made on his computer. I think I shocked him. I was standing there talking with Joe, the comedy guy and mo et was looking at me saying "do you like hip hop?" ... well, at least I though he was talking to me ... hahaha. When I said "yea", his eyes widened and said "YOU!! like hip hop?" Understand that I'm 43 and a bit rotund and, well, I'm momish. hahahaha. Well, he did let me listen to a bit of cd that he tried to sell me for $10 out of his bag. I really liked it ... a lot! I will go back and buy one from him one of these days when I have an extra $10 ... if I can find him. If you hear of him, give his music a try!

Here is pic of L on one of our long walks back to 42nd Street! Love Time Square!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Get out of my way!!!!!!!

Rude dance parents drive me nuts! Recently I was watching my daughter in a dance class. Just sitting there minding my own business, quietly sitting next to the other dance parents who were watching their kids too. Then these two mothers come into the room and stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!! Of course, they were blocking my entire view. I waited a minute to see if they were just temporarily looking into the class and then moving on. When it became clear that they had chosen their viewing spot, I nicely asked the mother blocking my view if she could move over a foot because she had blocked my view. She threw me the most annoyed look as if I had a lot of nerve to ask her to move. She did end up moving... Now, I'm confused.... she was ruder than rude, but she was annoyed with me? First, I want to know why people think they are the only ones that exist in society, that they are the more special than everyone else. Why did this woman feel that she was more entitled to see into the class than I was? Or was she that oblivious that she just didn't think that her wide posterior might have hindered someone's viewing pleasure! But this is not the first, nor the last viewing situation I've found myself in ....

I was sitting in another classroom with lots of space around the sides of the room and these two male dance students, approx 20 years old, walked into the room and stood right in front of me. They were literally five inches from my face.... butts five inches from my face!!!! The didn't even turn to notice that I was there. They just stood there, closely enough so that I couldn't see anything. They never moved and this time I was just too tired to say anything and the class was almost over, so it wasn't worth it. But, I ask again, why don't people pay attention? In this case, how does one hold one's butt five inches from someone elses face and not notice it? I could've bitten you! .... a thought I'll keep for next time! Argh!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Reality - So you think you can dance!

Not going to NYC this Sunday, as planned. Instead, we're saving the money for mirrors in the dance studio. $400.00!!!! Hope we can get them by October. Our mailman must be on vacation because our issue of Backstage hasn't come yet. I'm kind of pissed off since it cost $150.00 for the subscription and we didn't get this weeks copy. But who do you get mad at? The girl who substitutes for our mailman doesn't really pay attention... on a regualr basis ... and if I complain, she'll just fall apart. Can't wait till he gets back ... best mailman we've ever had. Ha! I'm watching Trading Places with Eddy Murphy and Dan Akroid. I think it's true ... people really do adapt to their environments... or at least they try to. My daughter and I have had a lot of fun watching "I want to be a Hilton"... Brainless fun and escapism! I enjoy 'reality' tv. Yes, we are watching 'So you think you can dance' L, my daughter, studied with one of the choreographers in NYC, so we're watching to support him. The dance world is very small, so we know of a few of the contestants too. It's been fun to watch, although mostly not up to the caliber of dance we're used to.

Stage Mom My Ass!

Stage Mom My Ass! One of the most frequently used terms in show business and young performers is 'Stage Mom.' I've known a lot of dance and performer moms throughout the years. I've never met a stage mom ... at least not one that fits the standard definition. Seems to me that the term is now used for ANY parent who speaks up about wanting to get his or her child more training or solo training or more into the spotlite. And what is wrong with putting your child into the spotlite? If no one knows you're there, no one will hire you. If no one knows you're there, no one will see you. If no one knows you're there, no one will call you to do anything!!! Talent or no talent!

I once knew this woman and her daughter. The daughter was good at some things and absolutely horrible at most everything else. Everyone labeled her as a girl with very little talent. There was NO chance she would be selected to solo. Her mother practically camped out in the dance studio office constantly asking about solo opportunities, private lessons, auditions, etc. She drove her daughter to NYC at least once a week for auditions (which she got sometimes) and demanded that she be given special attention by asking for private lessons so her daughter could improve on the areas where she was lacking. Well in this studio, private lessons were reserved for kids who demonstrated natural talent. When the mother got upset because the dance teachers would not give private lessons to the girl, they labeled her as a stage mother ... and the worst kind. The mother left the studio ... and rightly so ... as I heard the 'after hours' gossip and her daughter would never have had a chance there. The girl ended up at a studio with a lesser reputation where they were not too proud to give the girl a solo and she grew into a beautiful dancer who started winning lots of dance awards. I saw this girls mother as a good mother who stood up for her child and fought for the good of her child ... not a stage mother. If that's what a stage mom is, then anyone who is not a stage mom should be ashamed.

I find the term stage mom is most often used by studio owners and instructors who ... after closer investigation, aren't giving that child what they need and the parents say something about it. Sure, there are some kids who clearly lack talent ... but where do these instructors think that the talent comes from? ... That is, after all, what kids take lessons for. I'm so sick of hearing that a child is hopeless if they don't have "natural talent" ... like these people know talent when they see it. In fact, I've seen many kids who "lacked talent" leave one studio, only to flourish in another studio. It is true, that sometimes parents see more talent than really exists, but many times when a parent points out the potential for talent, they are labeled as a stage parent.

I should have spoken up more for my daughter. I should have tried to earn the stage mom label a little sooner. I should have been loud and requested more than she got. Fact is, that because I was quiet and followed the rules of the studio, my daughter suffered. Only after I realized that my complacency was hurting her, did I begin to speak up and get her what she needed. It took her a lot of work to catch up and thankfully, she did. So, if you ever run into anyone who is labeling another parent a stage mom, they probably have some kind of motive behind calling them that. It's probably because they don't want to do what the parent knows is best for their child. It's probably because the parent wants to be in control of their own kid ... which is kind of their job as a parent, isn't it!

Friday, August 12, 2005

My life as a dance mom! The Journey Begins!

"When I grow up, I either want to be a baseball player or a ballerina!" How was I supposed to know, nineteen years ago, that she was serious?! By the way, the baseball thing . . . . didn't work out. That's her on the left in her first ballet studio.

My name is .... well, let's just call me Dannielle. That's the name I chose for myself when we were forced to choose a name for College French when I was twenty. It's pronounced with a bit of a flare 'Don Yellll e' with the tongue held against the back of teeth a moment longer than any normal person would feel comfortable holding it and then add a whispering little grunting noise when expressing the 'e' at the end. Don Yelll e. Makes me sound sexily foreign and intriguing . . . . o.k., maybe it makes me sound a little dramatic, but I like it that way!

Back to my story. It all began, like I said, about nineteen years ago. I was a young mother charged with the seemingly simple task of finding a place for my little princess to take some dance classes. Sounds easy, right? WRONG!!!! It was to be the beginning of my journey to the guilt ridden world of making wrong choices in dance. If I only knew then what I know now....

If you're an experienced dancer, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Silly things like turnout and the bones fusing together at the hip before a poor dance mom has a clue that turnout has to be developed before age twelve ... or else! Argh!!! That's where my guilt begins, I didn't even know what turnout was until she turned fourteen.... just when she decided to become a professional dancer. I'd unwittingly ruined my three year old daughter's wish to become a professional ballerina ... even before her first audition! O.K., I hear you all "Don't be so hard on yourself. How were you to know?" Well I agree. How was I to know... THAT, after all, is why I hired a professional dance teacher!!!!! #@!%$# $#^@^% #$#$@ #$@%$!!!

In case you're all wondering, she is a wonderful dancer and is on the professional dance track. We travel to New York City two to three times a week for auditions and training. However, I often wonder if it's too late for her to start in baseball .....