Spotlighting Our 2021 Best Seller: The Jet Setter Dance Board

Our smallest dance board and our best-selling dance board in 2021 is The Jet Setter. We designed this board because we wanted an extremely portable, affordable dance board that recreational and pre-professional dancers could use to practice their technique at home or on-the-go.

Co-founder Saumirah discovered that, though it is only 23 inches in diameter, the Jet Setter is still perfect for practicing tap dance combinations (it really forces you to dance with your feet underneath you!), non-traveling pointe exercises, and even pirouette turns if you’re already a somewhat strong turner (otherwise, you may fall off of the board, so be prepared for that!).

https://www.instagram.com/balletgisselle/ (Gisselle is posing on her Manhattan Dance Daze Dance Board in this photo, but it’s such a great snow photo, that we had to add it to this post about Jet Setters! ;)

Some of our DDDB Brand Ambassadors (search for the hashtag #DDDBambassador across social platforms!) have shown us that they really DO use their Jet Setter in ways that we intended and beyond! Meaning, we’ve seen Jet Setter Dance Daze Dance Boards in college dorms, in front of coffee shops, acting as a solid platform in the middle of a field covered in snow, and more! Basically, our Brand Ambassadors are truly the jet setters that we imagined they would be!

With that in mind, but also with the knowledge that we’re still a small family-owned business, we wanted to create a way to make it easier for our community to carry around their Jet Setter dance boards. We didn’t want to cut a space for a handle in the board itself because we didn’t want there to be any less space on an already small platform or to break up the smooth surface for tap dancing and pointe work that our Jet Setter dance board provides. Additionally, we didn’t want to add a piece of fabric for a handle that might not be secure enough with glue alone. And, we didn’t want to ruin our beautiful Jet Setter boards by sticking nails through the wood in order to secure a handle to the back side.

Therefore, at the end of 2021, we decided that we’d begin selling all Jet Setter dance boards with a simple tote bag *included in the regular price, at no additional charge*!

So, beginning in January of 2022, all Jet Setter Dance Daze Dance Boards purchased will not only come with foam padding at the bottom to create a sprung board (oh yeah, that’s another change we made to Dance Daze Dance Boards this year — ALL of our dance boards are now sprung floors!), but they will also come with a carrying tote! We are so excited to make it even easier for you to carry around your Jet Setter dance board, whether you’re bringing it on a road trip, to the park, to a friend’s house, to a dance convention, and more!

We can’t wait to see where you’re dancing next on your Dance Daze Dance Board. Remember to share your photos and videos with us with the hashtags #DanceDazeDanceBoards #DancingColorfully and #DanceWellDoGood!

Let’s chat again soon, friend!

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!

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!

The Importance of Flexibility

I recently posted a few polls on the Dance Daze Dance Boards™ Instagram account asking which kind of dance education content my audience there would be most interested in seeing. One of the top-voted content choices, receiving 88% of votes, was information about improving flexibility.

As a dance educator and as a former pre-professional dancer, I know that many benefits come with improving flexibility. I’ve listed some below!

  1. Makes Dancing Easier

When our flexibility improves, so does our range of motion. Simply put, having a greater range of motion allows dancers to do more movements with greater ease (as long as our strength and muscular development progresses along with our flexibility). For dance and other forms of movement (such as gymnastics) that require a variety of movements with different body parts, having more flexibility and the ability to move more easily in a variety of ways makes it simpler for us to perform different movements.

2. Reduces Risk of Injury

If we are working on improving our flexibility, it is likely that we will begin stretching more regularly, thus keeping our joints fluid. When our joints are fluid, not only does this slow joint degeneration and improve our posture, it also makes it less likely that we will be injured when we are dancing. Flexible joints and muscles are looser and require less energy to perform moves. This means, we are less likely to strain when performing movements repeatedly or when attempting a new movement for the first time. We do not have to fight our body in order to achieve the desired look of a certain movement, and our bodies are able to withstand greater physical stress when our flexibility improves.

3. Improves Overall Health

One reason that yoga is so popular is that stretching gives us a more positive and relaxed state of mind. We tend to feel really good after stretching. Also, even when we are not dancing, greater flexibility in general allows us to better perform all physical movements.

In addition to all of the aforementioned benefits of increasing flexibility, I personally know that I tend to feel 100% better in my body every single time I stretch.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be aiming to focus my video content on simple stretching exercises that I personally believe help to increase flexibility and also help keep me going throughout the day!

You can catch my video content on the following channels:

Talk soon!

Saumirah

Insights from Last Week

I had some great insights in my classes last week that I wanted to share with you!

First, I realized that 1 hour per week is simply not enough to train a budding ballerina! I’ve been working with one of my students for about 6 weeks now, and I simply love how willing she is to work hard at improving her ballet technique. Yet, every class we had together felt so very rushed to me! In each of her classes, I’ve been including floor barre, barre, center, and traveling exercises, and though I’ve written and re-written her classes several times to try to make everything fit better, it simply wasn’t working out. So I spoke to her and her parents about it, and we all agreed that it would be best to not only extend her class time to 90 minutes per class, but also to increase the number of classes she has per week! I’m so excited to begin this new system, where we won’t feel pressured to skip exercises and shorten explanations, all for the sake of time! Now, with 3 hours of training per week, I know we’re going to make great things happen for her!

A ballet dancer doing barre work.

Second, I learned a new trick for getting my youngest ballerina babies to really use the brushing movement of their front leg when doing grands jetés! Many of my young Creative Movement students also take gymnastics classes, so, even at only 4 and 5 years old, they are more aware of how to use their bodies than the average young dancer. This is really helpful for me as a dance teacher. We usually do leaps over colorful noodles at the end of our 45-minute classes. Two weeks ago, I began having them jump over colorful yoga blocks, positioned so that the students have to jump higher to get over them.

Yoga Blocks on DanceDaze.org

This was great to have them understand the feel of really using their pliés to really get off the floor and into the air.  Last week, I wanted them to really start brushing and extending their leg in the air for a greater amount of time. I stared at those foam boxes for a few moments, and it finally came to me: I needed to have them start their jumps farther away from the item they were hurdling! To do this, I needed to have them jump over more than one item.  So I started putting my foot in front of the foam boxes.  This forced them to do several things:

  1. They had to run really fast to gain enough speed to start their jumps farther back.
  2. They had to focus on the actual jump more to make sure they wouldn’t trip over my foot or knock over the foam box.
  3. They had to really throw their leg up in front of them and extend it to get over more than one item.

Still, a few students were afraid to really commit to the jump.  The greater distance required to leap over 2 items was a bit intimidating to them, so they would do half-run, half-skip sort of thing up to my foot, then sort of pretend to jump over my foot and the block one at a time. I can remember having some of the same fears when I was their age.  I think some of my biggest fears were the vault and running and jumping into a forward roll in gymnastics practice. Maybe in the coming weeks, I’ll move away from improving technique and place more attention on dispelling fears.  :)

I’m having so much fun working as a dance educator, and I can’t wait for all the new discoveries I will make as I continue this work that I love!