I treat "recitals" like creating a piece of art. In college I graduated with a double major in Studio Art & Art History from Gettysburg College. My career as a dance studio owner doesn't use my art education background nearly enough, so recital time excites me! At DanceFIT our recitals are LOW-COST and beautiful. As an owner, I contribute $1000 for decorations & roses and the parents purchase headpieces in their tuition and provide the reception treats. I would love to share with you how my recital vision board came to life. With 254 dancers this year (our most ever!) I wanted it to be very special!
Music & theme: To keep my teachers (and myself) focused I pick a theme for the Spring show. We introduce our choreography to the dancers in April. My requirements are to keep it 100% classical for the older dancers, but 1.5 - 4 year olds can have lyrics in their songs because it helps them memorize choreography. This year my team & I chose gardens & fairies. Our dancers performed to You Can Fly! You Can Fly! (Piano version), Ballet Suite No 1, (Ed. Lev Atovyman: V Waltz), Fairy Dance from Peter Pan, Saute the bunny from Fantasy Garden Ballet class, Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker and a couple of our Jazz classes the dancers danced to Itsy Bitsy Spider and Walking on Sunshine. If you follow me on Spotify you can view our recital playlists.
Decorating the stage & studio: Since we don't rent a performance hall or theater, I like the studio to "feel" special & different for the dancers. This year my staff and I brainstormed simple ideas that enhance the show, but don't distract from the beautiful young dancers. Miss Amanda found these stunning paper flowers, and it was a perfect match with our ballet pink curtains and white walls. Between both studios I purchased 20 - 24" flowers some trendy pink/ white & gold tassel banners from Amazon and both studios looked beautiful!
Headpieces: We don't do costumes. The dancers wear their dress code. We purchase beautiful headpieces specific to each class. I love the gorgeous headpieces I found this year. I ordered many of them from the Hair Bow Company and Once Upon A Time Tutus. The ballet teachers and I wear black and pink to keep the focus on the dancers.
After the dancers perform we have an award ceremony where the dancers receive a personalized certificate and a bouquet of 6 silk roses (to save forever) and I tie a big tulle bow on the bouquets. I was able to buy these in bulk from efavormart. Such a great site!
The DanceFIT teachers worked so hard this year; I can't thank them enough for their dedication, enthusiasm, love for teaching and creativity working with children. I gifted them each with fun tank I made in the DanceFIT Store! Thank you to Miss Vanessa for this styled flat lay.
A big thank you to all the DanceFIT parents for supporting your dancers love for ballet and thank you for supporting my small business! We hope your dancers enjoyed their ballet year and can't wait to see many of them in our summer workshops & Fall classes. Please visit our FB page for more sweet recital pictures from both Natick & Brookline.
4th position is a position in which the feet are at right angles to the direction of the body, the toes pointing out, with one foot forward and the other foot back. (At a young age, we do not expect right angles.)
4th position is a very important position for many types of pirouettes. To stand in 4th position, we tell the dancers to begin in first and slide one foot to the front....not too big....just the size of one of your shoes. The legs and feet should be equally turned out away from the center of the body. Just like we talk about in second position, it is very important to not make this too big. At DanceFIT we teach the dancers to line the heel of the front foot with the toes of the back.
Here are our notes this week. Thank you dancers for helping me with all of these tips.
Third position is mainly used to teach dancers how to one day achieve a beautiful fifth position. It is not often used in ballet classes for older dancers or choreography, but since we teach very young dancers, we actually do use third often. Third position doesn't work the muscles of your body as much as fifth because you don't fully cross your legs.
In third position the toes of your feet face away from your body. The heel of the front foot is placed in the middle of the back one. We teach our dancers that the heel is placed at your ballet elastic. When standing in third position, both knees are likely visible.
For our Tippy Toes classes, ages 1.5 - 3 we just teach the arms for 3rd, 4th and 5th and they learn the feet in Pre-Ballet.
Here are the tips my Thursday night Ballet I/Jazz Combo class in Brookline came up with.
Second position is a fun one to teach the young dancers because it is simple to understand. We invite them to stand like a scarecrow, snowflake, gingerbread man, etc...
While it may seem like a very basic step and position compared to others, it is just as important to a solid ballet technique! In 2nd position the feet are equally turned out and facing away from each other. The arms are curved and out to the sides. The shoulders are higher than the elbows which are higher than the wrists.
Last night my Ballet I dancers (Ages 6-7) came up with the following tips to improve your second position.
If you take my adult fitness classes, you know that second position is a staple in balletFIT, pilates and deep stretch classes. Performing ballet plies in second can help tighten and tone your quads, glutes, inside thighs and calves and gain hip flexibility.
Have fun practicing this position with your young dancer this week!
At DanceFIT, we give all our dancers a position worksheet each week. Our dancers are creative, artistic and love to color, but as dance professionals we also know how important visuals and repetition are for young children. When you begin learning ballet, one of the first things you will learn is the five basic ballet positions, normally referred to as positions one through five. They are important because every basic move in ballet begins and ends in one of the five positions --- and are referred to regardless of level.
This week we launch the start of our Winter session (still a couple of spots left in Natick & Brookline!) and begin with first position.
Although we begin teaching our toddlers to put their heels together like a piece of pizza, this position goes way beyond that.
This week we review how to improve our first positions! See our notes and brainstorm below! Thank you to my Tuesday dancers who helped with this exercise.
I hope you enjoy coloring this and practicing with your dancer this week!
I teach a lot of dance and fitness classes, some days 5 classes in a row! That is a lot of sweating. I also drink a lot of coffee! I need more water in my life.
And so do you!
Dancer or not, there are 100000% reasons why you should drink more water. Adequate hydration is an essential part of my ballet nutrition. Water makes up almost 60% of our body weight.
When I am dehydrated I am tired, and I lose my posture and form. When I drink water, I feel happier. I know that sounds weird, but dehydration can lead to grumpiness! When I am dehydrated my skin looks dry and wrinkled...well, yes, the wrinkles are coming with age, and lack of sleep ha, but more water helps my complexion maintain a fresh, soft and smooth appearance. In pilates, ballet and my cardio workouts my muscles don't perform well if they are lacking nutrients and proper hydration.
Drink water so you can feel stronger and have a more effective workout.
A few tips that help me stay hydrated:
1) Start the day with it: I drink a water bottle while my morning coffee is brewing
2) Add fruit: I add a couple frozen raspberries. It looks fancy and adds a bit of flavor.
3) Keep it with you: My water bottle is ALWAYS with me!
4) Keep track. I'm a dork and keep a tally in my paper planner. I know there are some great apps for tracking your intake too.
5) Drink a glass with each meal.
6) End your day with water.
Do you drink enough water? Please share with me your hydration tips!
1. A dreamy tutu: Every dancer dreams of performing in a fancy romantic tutu. Watch your little one twirl around the house in this! You can accessorize too with an elegant rhinestone tiara.
2. Music box ballerina: In my Tippy Toes & Pre-Ballet classes, I have a great music box song by Dale Freeman. We look at the special music box and then return to our shapes, get in our own imaginary music box and the ballet teachers wind up the dancers.
3. Position games, books, posters: A dancer is never too young or too old to review their ballet positions. Here are our favorites:
Ballerina card game,
Ballet position poster
Angelina Dance With Me Game
Fantasy Garden Ballet Class: This is the music we play in class...coupe the cricket, plie the poppy, etc.
4. Ballet books: We love Tallulah books at DanceFIT! For the older dancer, I highly recommend Misty Copelands version of Firebird. Misty Copeland fans (like myself), check out the special Firefird barbie!
For all my boy dancers, here are my favorites The Only Boy in Ballet Class
5. Warm ups, hoodies & wraps: As the weather gets cooler, we love seeing our dancers in DanceFIT hoodies, ballet wrap sweaters & cozy legwarmers. OR for ages 8+, we found this great kit to make your own legwarmers!
6. Dance equipment & fun trends: We believe strength & conditioning is very important to creating well flexible & strong dancers. Purchase a theraband. This latex resistance band is used by dancers of all levels to target specific areas of the body that need strengthening. Keep up with the latest trend with ankle boots for warm ups! And no, you can't wear these all class ;) And throw in a colorful hip alignment belt too of your dancers favorite color. Our water bottles are a great stocking stuffer!
7. Headbands & bun covers: Keep your short hair out of your face with a thick headband.
or a beautiful bun cover.
8. Give the gift of dance lessons! If your child has not started dance yet, we would love to have them begin in our program at DanceFIT Studio!
9. Nutcracker tickets: Give the gift of a memorable experience. My best ballet memories are dressing up and seeing the Nutcracker with my mom in San Francisco! We are so lucky to live in an area with so many amazing options to see The Nutcracker. Get dressed in your fanciest clothes, and get to the theater early. I recommend popping a paperback book of the Nutcracker in your purse and read the story to your dancer before the Nutcracker starts and then enjoy your child's excitement as it comes to life.
10. Lastly, the BEST gift that costs nothing! Rearrange your living room so there is a great dancing space. Turn on some music and pas de deux with your dancer all afternoon!
I would love to hear! What does your dancer have on his/her wishlist?
Mom of 3, wife, business owner, ballet teacher and fitness instructor. Trying hard to raise healthy, happy and grateful children while running the studio of my dreams. Trying to stay FIT, flexible, stylish and take care of myself in the process!