How to Use Dance Daze Dance Boards

While there are so many ways to use Dance Daze Dance Boards, our co-founder Saumirah McWoodson loves using them most for doing outdoor ballet barre classes and for learning tap dance combinations from YouTube!

Throughout 2020 and 2021, Saumirah says that using her Dance Daze Dance Boards helped her to establish consistent practice routines, improve her ballet technique, and to develop her own creative practice.

While Saumirah is most experienced in classical ballet and tap–as those are the styles of dance she began studying as a child and continued practicing and training in through her adult years–those who practice other styles of dance love using Dance Daze Dance Boards as well.

Dance Daze Dance Boards can be used for practicing balancing, turns, and non-locomotor movements in any style of dance. Our boards are also great for building a home dance studio, to include as a fun prop in dance photo shoots or video shoots, and even for creating a simple stage when teaching dance classes to large groups. Also, while many tap dancers love our boards, our boards are perfect for practicing Irish step dancing as well!

How do you think you’d use a Dance Daze Dance Board? Let us know in a comment!

How My Dance Background Helps Me As A Business Owner

I had my first dance lesson at the age of 3. I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember two things about it.

First, I remember there were weird stuffed animals in the window area that creeped me out. Second, I remember that I didn’t like it, and I kept going to my mom to ask for more snacks.

So from there, my mom enrolled me in acting, modeling, piano lessons, and gymnastics. And, while gymnastics was a very close second, by the age of 5, and after trying out my first tap dance class, I knew dance would be my thing. (I’ll forever be grateful to Ms. Vanessa, my first tap dance teacher who told my mother that I was a natural and that I should join her competition class after the first time she saw me dance.)

So, how does my background in competitive tap dance and my pre-professional classical ballet training help me as an entrepreneur? I think there are a few ways.

  1. I’m not afraid to fail when it comes to entrepreneurship. (Now, if we’re talking about with my every-day psychoses, fear of failure is a big thing in my life as a Type-A, over-achiever, and possible perfectionist. But if we’re just talking about entrepreneurship, then I’m good. ;) I know that I will always, always have more ideas. I know that I will always be able to make some kind of money from those ideas ( . . . It’s truly amazing what it does for the brain when you think of something, create something, put it on the Internet with a nice bow, and make a few hundred dollars from it. The first time that happens, you know you can make much, much more. Making money straight from your ideas is a game changer, folks.). I also know that I can always get another job if needed. Yes, I have a couple of university degrees under my belt, and I’m working on another, but, in addition to that, I have some crazy good life experience, drive, and I’m not afraid to get things done when I need to pay the bills. With dance, even when you do actually “fail” — have a bad class, mess up a performance, get an injury — there’s usually an opportunity to do better in the next class, try harder at the next performance, and to increase your strength so that you’re less likely to get injured in the same way in the future. Failure may exist, but only as long as we dwell on that feeling instead of focusing on ways to improve.
  2. I know that pain is temporary. Nobody likes pain. In fact, I’ve carried aloe vera, Band-Aids, and Advil in my purse since I was about 14 years old because I hate pain and I refuse to not be prepared for it. But, since I’m a dancer, I know that most physical pain will heal over a short time. In business, when things are uncomfortable, or when I’m learning systems that I don’t want to learn, I know that it’s part of a temporary pain that will soon go away and that my life will likely be better after I push through to get to the next level. (Disclaimer: I know dancing through injuries is a big problem in the dance world, especially in the world of classical ballet. I’m not endorsing that mindset, but I am saying that that mindset can be helpful in terms of being an entrepreneur. Sometimes we feel like it’s the end of the world. Later, we realize that it wasn’t. We just had to keep going. And that’s my truth.)
  3. I’m aware of a certain *magic* that exists for us artists that I’m not sure others are as keenly aware of. Maybe it’s from spending my childhood performing. Maybe it’s because my mother let me me dance around the living room for hours, re-enacting entire movie scenes (and often, as much of the movie as I could remember, which was typically a good amount). Maybe it’s because I’ve worked at summer camps for children, where “creating magical moments” was literally in my job description. But like, I know that magic is real. I know that it’s possible for us to create the life of our dreams. I know that the only real limits that exist are those that we place upon ourselves. (And this is not to discount systemic problems in the world, by any means. This is to say that, whether to my benefit or detriment, I’m a believer in fairy-tales and dreams that become reality.) They say that those who often succeed are those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. I think that’s true of dancers. We know that the possibility of living in a world of wonder is real. So we keep dreaming. And we keep doing.

What about you? What childhood activities or hobbies help you in your current business or career path? Let me know in a comment!

What Makes Dance Daze Dance Boards Different

As a small business, there are many things that differentiate us from bigger companies out there that are producing dance boards.

As a company that was co-founded during one of the craziest years ever–2020 if it needs to be named–our business is extra special.

Our business was born out of a genuine desire to positively impact the world during a time of duress, uncertainty, and the onset of a pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, our co-founder Saumirah McWoodson immediately began creating free educational content for kids, adults, and anyone who had an internet connection. Saumirah knows that when it feels like the world is spinning out of control, she has the ability to create her own sense of stability and structure. So, in addition to supporting children in continuing to study dance and spreading positivity, she wanted to help to create a regular structure and give both her (then, newly virtual) students and herself a stable foundation on which to stand in unprecedented times.

Seeing Saumirah’s hard work and also the joy which dancing around the house or outside, reading educational books to children, and renting studio space to record full-length dance classes for kids inspired her partner Jeff to want to get involved and to support Saumirah’s efforts. He offered to make a quality dance board that she could use inside or outside and wherever she was creating content and dance videos to share with others.

Today, we still handpick each piece of wood ourselves. We either rent a truck or drive the wood home in Jeff’s Jeep. Each board is then cut with our own tools, painted and glossed by hand, then driven to our favorite mail delivery store so that it can be packed and shipped to your door.

We are familiar with the pattern of each piece of wood. We know the places where the wood is darker is lighter. We look at each letter of paint and decide if it needs an extra coat or if it’s ready to be left to dry.

Maybe it won’t always be this way. One day, we hope to have a team of people who create each Dance Daze Dance Board and who examine each board with as much care and thoughtfulness as we do, admiring each individual board as its own work of art.

But for now, it’s still just Saumirah and Jeff.

And that, friends, is what makes Dance Daze Dance Boards different from the rest.

What makes YOU different? Drop a comment and let us know!

Be sure to check out DanceDazeDanceBoards.com to see what we are up to!

What We Realized Many People Didn’t Know About Dance Daze Dance Boards

Our Co-founder Jeff just got back from a few days of camping. Our other Co-founder, Saumirah, could spend an entire day laying out at the beach with good friends, good music, and good food. And, as you likely know if you’re reading this blog, Saumirah absolutely loves dancing outside. I could go on and share about how Jeff was a Boy Scout as a kid or how Saumirah has volunteered with several nonprofit organizations that regularly pick up trash, but the point is this: The founders of Dance Daze Dance Boards love the earth. We want to heal the earth, protect it, and enjoy it.

So it only makes sense that we’d be really sensible when it comes to only using wood that is ethically sourced for building our dance boards, right? As a company, we made a decision to actively do this a few months ago, and we’re super happy about it.

So, let us tell you a little bit more about the kind of wood we use to create Dance Daze Dance Boards. Because, we realized, most people don’t know that this is something we’ve thought about. And, as it is, we’ve actually thought about it tons!

The wood we use for every single one of our Dance Daze Dance Boards that has been mailed out side January of 2021 is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified. The mission of the Forest Stewardship Council is to manage the world’s forests in a way that is socially beneficial and environmentally sound.

Some of the FSC’s principles include honoring the rights of indigenous people and respecting their land, conserving biological diversity, and maintaining or enhancing the longterm well-being of forests workers and forest communities.

Wood that is FSC Certified is considered the “gold standard” of wood. All FSC Certified wood is harvested from forests that are responsibly managed and socially beneficial.

So, when we at Dance Daze Dance Boards are choosing to only use wood that is FSC Certified, we are joining with companies who care about supporting native cultures, protecting fragile ecosystems, and preventing illegal logging.

While no company is perfect, all pieces of lumber that carry the FSC logo have met the high standards of the FSC certification program, which includes ensuring that the wood has been harvested from a sustainably managed forest.

We love the earth, and, as much as possible, we want everything that we produce to do no harm.

In the future, we hope to create products that use recycled wood, among some other ideas. But for now, we are so happy that all of our Dance Daze Dance Boards are made with FSC Certified wood!

Using Your Dance Daze Dance Board for Photo Shoots

Have you ever had your own photo shoot, where you were the model, photographer, lighting director, and stylist? 

Dance Daze Dance Boards Co-founder Saumirah McWoodson does this all the time.

Keep reading for some tips about how to use your Dance Daze Dance Board in your own photo shoot, with just you, your board, and your phone!

#1: Prepare all your materials in advance. When planning a solo photo shoot, Saumirah likes to get out everything she needs so that she can be efficient with her time (and also so that she can simply get the shoot done quickly, because people may be watching!). Saumirah typically gets out the following items for a solo photo shoot:

  1. iPhone
  2. Tripod (Did you know they have tripods made exclusively to hold cell phones? They are only about $20 for a really basic one on Amazon.com.)
  3. Small, folding tables (Saumirah uses 1 or 2 dinner trays because she always has these at home, they’re lightweight, and can be easily taken outside or placed in the backseat of a car.)
  4. Outfits (An easy way to “change” outfits is to wear all black or all white, styled with bold, colorful jewelry and a bright sweater, statement jacket, or hat that can easily make it seem like you’ve changed your entire ensemble, when you’ve only changed a single clothing item.)

#2: Find the best lighting. Saumirah’s favorite place to take photos is outside on her front lawn! She likes to do this anytime between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm. Yes, this happens to be the hottest time of the day, which isn’t pleasant. Some people prefer to NOT take photos directly in the sun and to sometimes use a simple reflector device to create the best lighting. But since Saumirah likes to keep things simple, she typically likes to face the sun so that in captures her natural glow. When facing directly into the sun; however, take note of how it may be reflecting on your face or clothing! (If you are wearing makeup for your solo photo shoot, you may want to keep face powder on hand to aid in blocking out some of the sunlight that may show directly on your face.)

#3: Play with your angles. Since you’ll likely be doing a dance-related photo shoot if you’re on your Dance Daze Dance Board, Saumirah recommends playing with different arm positions, showcasing different positions of the legs (even when that means showing off your foot that isn’t the most arched or your leg that doesn’t have the highest extension!), and even showing off different shoes in close up photos. If you’re doing your solo photo shoot outside, be aware of where your body may be casting shadows on your legs or other body parts. (Saumirah has ended up deleting many photos because she was casting a shadow on her face with the position of her arms.)

#4: Take your time. And user your phone’s timer. It is common for Saumirah to take anywhere from 10 to 20 shots in the same pose to try to get 3 to 5 that she LOVES! Even though it can be time-consuming, after each photo, she typically looks at the picture to analyze what she likes or doesn’t like about it. For example, she will pay attention to whether or not her legs or dance shoes are covered by a shadow; she will take note of whether or not the merchandise (i.e., a DDDB shirt or hoodie) is bunched up in a way that doesn’t showcase it in the best way, etc. Typically, taking about 20 photos, using the 10-second timer on her iPhone, will only take a few minutes.

#5: Have fun! What’s better than being completely in your own world, twirling around on your Dance Daze Dance Board, and taking photos?! Sometimes, absolutely nothing is more fun. So enjoy it, friend!