The Baltimore Mayor’s Christmas Parade is on! If you are marching with us, meet at 12:00 at Poly/Western High on Falls Rd. We are in section 2 so if you don’t see us check with the section 2 marshal. Daphne the Dancing Dog will be there too! It is going to be extra special with the snow! Pics to follow.
As a dance teacher, one of my pet peeves is students (and their parents) who ignore our dress code. Sending a child with stained leotards or street clothes, hair that looks like it hasn’t been brushed in a week, and a dirty face is just unacceptable. Not only is it disrespectful, but it can be dangerous to not dress appropriately. In dance, we have certain attire such as leotards, tights, etc. for a couple reasons-it was not arrived at randomly. In ballet, a uniform appearance is what we strive for to create the lovely picture of the corps de ballet posed in a dream-like setting. Imagine how distracting it would be if one of them had black ballet shoes instead of pink, or one had sloppy hair while everyone else was the picture of perfection. A neat tidy appearance is part of the discipline of ballet but it is also for safety reasons. It is necessary to keep hair out of the face for turns so the dancer can see to spot their turns and so that the hair does not hit the dancer in the eyes when they snap their head in a turn. Hair should be in a secure bun that does not have to be readjusted during class. This wastes time in class and is a distraction to the dancer, their teacher and classmates. With all the new hair accessories that are in the stores now, there are no excuses for not having hair in a bun unless a child has very short hair. If done properly, a good bun can be done in the morning before school and will last all day only needing a touch up before dance class. A uniform appearance for all in class also makes it easier for the teacher to see important corrections. Jewelry is dangerous to the dancer and other students, baggy legwarmers, street clothes, etc. keep the teacher from seeing the child’s muscles and alignment. As we mentioned before, and in our dress code, the bedroom slippers that Target markets as ballet slippers are unacceptable. They are very dangerous because they do not fit the foot snuggly like ballet shoes and are very slippery. Following the rules and practicing good grooming at dance class teaches children respect and discipline that is essential for success in any career and in life. It is also very frustrating to other parents and students who DO follow the dress code. It will also affect how teachers/directors treat you and your child, especially when considering them for performance opportunities. Parents, we are counting on you to back us up the same way we will back you up when it comes to your child following your rules. As always, thanks for reading and please tell us your tips on how you get your child properly dressed for dance class.
It is Baltimore School of Dance’s #TipTuesday! So you may have noticed there was no tip last week. I was very sick. I had felt it coming on for quite a while and ignored it. That was a very bad idea. However, it did give me a good idea for our Tip Tuesday series for parents! I firmly believe in the “lemons to lemonade” approach to life. So the topic today is preventing burnout.
Burnout can take many forms: fatigue, illness, depression, anxiety, irritability, apathy, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and in extreme forms mental confusion. The causes of burnout vary. I know when I experience burnout, it is usually when I feel overwhelmed and bombarded with work and problems from several areas in my life at one time for an extended period of time. We all experience times in our life when we feel like we just cannot deal with everything being thrown at us. At these time, we need to ask for help, which can be very difficult for some people, so a good support system is a must. Sometimes that can be as simple as having someone just listen, without judgement or advice offered. So parents, just listen to what is bothering your child without trying to “fix” it.
Other simple things to help someone who is burned out is to:
1) Ask what you can to do to help. When someone offers to help, it is a little easier to ask for it. Most people don’t want to bother others by asking for help.
2) Offer words of encouragement or a compliment. When a parent or student goes out of their way to compliment me on my work, it reminds me why I do what I do and makes the long hours of hard work and personal sacrifice worth it.
3) Give a favorite treat. It is amazing how well a little chocolate works to lift my spirits.
4) Get the person to take a break to enjoy their favorite activity. Sometimes getting a little distance from a problem can give much needed perspective.
Rest: Dancers and other high level athletes need more rest and sleep (8-9 hours) than the average person. The body needs time to repair itself on a daily basis and so does the mind. Getting enough sleep helps prevent disease and mental illness.
Relax: I find it very helpful to relax and pamper myself when I feel burned out. I get a massage or sit in a hot bath or sit by my pond in my garden and just watch the fish, birds, and insects do their thing. I can’t tell you how many times an answer to a problem or inspiration for choreography that I was stuck on has come to me when I finally quieted my mind and stopped thinking about it.
Eating: I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat well to combat or prevent burnout. Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with anti-oxidants and nutrients which are essential to helping our bodies heal from injury or everyday training, combat or prevent disease, and provide energy to go about our day. Fast food, processed food, etc. are lacking those nutrients and have chemicals in them that can actually make you more tired, depressed, etc.
Spirituality: While it may not be for everyone, my strong Christian faith keeps me going when nothing else does. I have achieved goals, endured tragedies, rose above difficulties because of my faith in God. It gives me comfort and the motivation to keep going when all I want to do is give up.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any tips for preventing burnout please share in the comments below.
From October 22, 2013:
It’s #TipTuesday! Today we are continuing our series for parents on how to support your dancers and today’s topic is -conquering-favoritism. Some favoritism is natural. Dance teachers naturally gravitate to students who enthusiastically want to learn. Are you/your student doing things in class that are off-putting without realizing it? Check out our post from last week about etiquette. Click below for an article by Pointe magazine on how to deal with favoritism in the classroom.