5 Ways Dance Daze Dance Boards Can Support Your Goals for the New Year

If you follow me (Dance Daze Dance Boards Co-founder Saumirah McWoodson) online, you may have heard me say before that I’m not the biggest fan of setting new year resolutions for myself. I am more the kind of person to focus on one or a few words for the year (i.e., in the past, one of my words was “community”), and I feel that this really helps to guide my focus on what experiences I create for myself, what I say “yes” to, and what I say “no” to.

So far, I haven’t yet picked my words or specific intentions for the year, but I am focusing on the ideas of moving, creating, and getting out into nature more. Additionally, I’m playing with ideas around shared community — designing and participating in fantastic experiences with others, so that my focus on community will not just be for myself, but so that I’d also be focusing on creating and enjoying with others who are part of that community. (If that makes any sense!)

In any case, perhaps you, too, have some goals around movement, dance, and creating. If so, I wanted to give some suggestions for how Dance Daze Dance Boards might support you in being successful with your intentions for the new year!

365 Days of Movement

In 2021 and definitely in 2020, I saw many people who used social media to share a 365-day dance journey or movement journey. These sort of projects ranged from ballet combinations in home studios to simply twirling around in nature for a few seconds, but the intent was the same: moving, in some way, every single day.

Whether you’re wearing your pointe shoes for 10 minutes per day, participating in a YouTube dance class, or making beats with your tap shoes, your Dance Daze Dance Board can support your goal of moving every day.

Practicing At Home

Life looks a lot different from when I was a child (as it should!), but something I remember about my childhood is that my dance teachers would often recommend that we practice combinations, stretch, or even visualize performing at home.

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely someone who took up dancing at home more frequently during 2020, as did I, but maybe that’s worn off for you as things begin to open up despite the ongoing struggles of Covid-19.

If you have a goal of practicing your dance technique at home so that you’re more prepared and feel more confident when you have time in the studio or during your virtual dance classes, your Dance Daze Dance Board can be there to help you practice when you’re not in class.

Self Care

If you’re the kind of person who loves a long hot bath, giving yourself a facial, painting your. nails or going for a pedicure, or reading a book while listening to light piano music, that’s all great for self care. But if you’re someone who needs something a little different than what is often thought of as “self care,” you might be able to use your Dance Daze Dance Board as part of your “me time” routine this year.

With your Dance Daze Dance Board, not only can you create a special place for dancing in your home, but you can also feel comfortable with establishing a regular routine. This regular self care routine which includes your Dance Daze Dance Board will give you time to focus on movement and how your body feels when moving, create choreography, and free your mind from the stressors of every day life and responsibility.

Exercise At Home

Dance is an art form, but it is obviously an art form that requires a lot of physical strength and endurance! In addition to a variety of dance classes, I have personally seen many dance fitness classes, that are available via Zoom or on YouTube, pop up over the past 2 years.

If you’re looking for an alternative way of getting in some exercising at home, consider incorporating dancing and your Dance Daze Dance Board into your home workout routine!

Develop A Creative Practice

“What’s a creative practice?” you may ask. According to Google, a creative practice is the intentional practice of learning, mastering, and using the artistic, intellectual, and technical skills to develop creative rituals and habits.

Your creative practice might focus on dance, on movement in general, on making/creating (e.g., choreography or percussive music through clapping and/or tap dancing). You might focus on regularly challenging yourself to make something new or to explain an idea nonverbally. There are many different ways to delve into a creative practice, but I believe that if any of the above will be part of yours, a Dance Daze Dance Board will support you in your creative goals.

I hope your new year is off to a great start, friend!

Rest is important, but . . .

Rest is important, but so is doing the work.

Even though I’m privileged enough to live a creative life (“privileged” meaning: only working a full-time job if I feel like it, continuing to pay a car note on an Audi when I could get around just as easily in a paid-for something else, pouring money into multiple business ventures, getting a doctorate in education for fun…), I absolutely don’t feel like working every single day.

While I’m dying to work on my personal projects most days of the week, that’s often because I know I simply won’t have the time or the energy to work on what I’m passionate about later in the day, tomorrow, or next week. (I am often fighting my body to avoid falling asleep before 10:00 pm each night, and I usually feel pretty done with working by late afternoon….)

Do I actually FEEL like writing every day, dancing every day, or creating digital content for my businesses every day? Definitely not. Do I thrive from a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and productivity? Definitely do. So, that helps. But even that’s often not enough to cause me to want to do the work.

What really, really does it for me is reminding myself that I owe it to me. I owe it to my present self and to my future self to give it my all, to not waste my talents, and to work as hard as I possibly can each day to be the person that I want to be. I owe it to myself to go after my dreams like there’s no tomorrow. And, most importantly, I owe it to myself to commit to my practice of doing the work every day.

Cheers to doing the work that’s good for us, even when we don’t feel like it!

Saumirah

If You Write, You’re A Writer

So I’m currently reading Seth Godin’s book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work. In it, he says that if you write, you’re a writer. The point is doing the work and getting the work out there.

So, here I am blogging and being a blogger and all, but it’s not just so that I can update my IG bio (which ya know, I do love to do!). I’m working on changing my habits to develop multiple daily practices because I, like Seth, believe that we are what we regularly do.

I used to teach dance all the time (in person, to actual humans). I watched videos about how to teach dance. I read articles about concepts to teach and ways to teach them. I chose music that would best enhance my dance classes. I wrote lesson plans for my dance classes. I was a dance teacher. It’s what I did. It’s what I was. (To be clear: I am still a dance teacher, but I’m re-developing the way in which I deliver information and engage in the process of educating through the medium of dance.)

You may or may not know that I have a professional background in education. I have a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I taught kindergarten through second grade for 6 years. I’m currently earning a Doctor of Education degree. So yeah–professional background in education.

You may or may not know that I love creating – creating digital content, Reels, TikToks, blogs, social media plans, dance boards, etc. I’m a maker. And I once heard a poet at some event I attended in New York City say something like “My best days are when my art and my life are one in the same. I’m trying to have more of those good days.”

So, in an effort to live the life that I love, have as many good days as possible, and to get my creative work out into the world as the homie Seth is recommending to me, I’ll now be developing my creative and professional practice as an educational content creator for Dance Daze, Inc.

To start, I’ll be focusing on two topics that I absolutely love: Ballet and Creativity.

To catch my latest deep dives into living my best life as an educational content creator, check out the Dance Daze, Inc. Instagram page. I have some cool stuff shipping out!

More to come.

Saumirah

What Are Students Learning in a Dance Daze® Creative Movement Class?

Saumirah McWoodson, dance educator, researcher, podcaster, blogger, former classroom teacher, and the founder of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools, has been developing the Dance Daze® Creative Movement curriculum for over 10 years. Often the most popular studio-based class that is offered by Dance Daze, Inc. in each seasonal session, this class is a great introduction to dance for children between the ages of 2 and 4 years who are ready for a structured, high-energy experience and to move and grove while their parents watch from the sidelines. (For children who prefer dancing with their parents, we recommend Dance Daze® Dance With Me.)

In this class, students are introduced to the basics of dance composition and movement analysis, expression through movement, identifying shared and personal space, and so much more. We use fun, colorful props in every single Dance Daze® Creative Movement class, which we believe ads to the understanding and gives a deeper opportunity for exploration during that portion of the class.

We are active in this class, and we try to keep students moving as much as possible with very little downtime, as we discover different rhythms and develop our love for movement while listening to music from different time periods and from various cultures and genres.

If you think your child would have a blast in a Dance Daze® Creative Movement, sign them up today at DanceDaze.org.

Creativity Is Definitely A Habit

So does it seem like I’m super into everything related to Dance Daze, Inc., Dance Daze in Schools, and, my newest, Dance Ed Startup? Well, that’s because I am.

But does that mean I like doing every single thing associated with running those businesses and projects? Absolutely not.

Earlier today, I was thinking about a comment from my very first mentor teacher when I was in an intensive teacher training program, credentialing program, and accelerated Master of Arts degree program to become an effective classroom teacher in one year. I must have asked her something like, “What do you not like about being a teacher?” I remember her response to this day–it struck me because I felt like she was either lying through her teeth or delusional. She said, “I like everything about this job.” I simply couldn’t believe her. In fact, I still don’t.

When people talk about their “life’s work” or “walking in their purpose” or “doing what they love” and all that sort of stuff… YES. I 100% GET THAT. Those are ALL the feels I get from running my dance organizations. But, I wasn’t raised to lie. And I’m not in denial. I know what lights me up and what things I completely avoid. (I even know exactly why I’ve gotten behind on this blog… It’s because I hate editing my podcast transcripts. Even though I completely love having a podcast, getting my voice out into the world, developing new skills like audio editing and transcribing audio that I’ve never previously had to do at any j-o-b I’ve ever had… But I still hardcore procrastinated on doing my last two transcripts, which got me completely off track with my little blog pattern I’ve been working on keeping up here.)

All of the above to say: I think I’m a super creative person who is lit up by the work that I do for my businesses. But, if I didn’t make myself do some of the stuff, it would simply never get done.

For example, I love teaching dance. I love having spending time creating learning objectives, structuring activities, challenging my students, and creating incredible experiences through the medium of movement in my classes. I love when parents and other family members enjoy the experience too. It all makes me feel like I’m a super awesome person who is having fun, getting paid, and helping other people have fun and enjoy watching their kids develop into awesome people because of their experiences in dance education.

HOWEVER, I almost always wait until the last minute to plan my classes. The “artsy” part of me feels like it is part of my process to “get inspired” at the last minute then rush to create well-executed masterpieces.

But what did I tell you in my last blog? I totally believe that a failure to plan is a plan for failure.

So how do I satisfy the super prepared and always 10 steps ahead part of me with the wait-until-the-absolute-last-minute-to-produce-your-best-work part of me when it comes to planning dance classes?

I’ve created a habit.

I give myself the “thrill” of planning my classes at the last minute by waiting until the morning of my classes to plan them. But I stay 10 steps ahead by giving myself like 5 hours to do the planning and get to the studio.

That’s right. Most mornings that I’m teaching, I’m up by about 5:30 am to plan my classes for the day.

Crazy right? Probably. (I’ve even gotten up that early on Saturday mornings after being up after midnight. But if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I can function like a somewhat normal–if not hyper-cranky and hyper-emotional–human on just 5 hours of sleep. And I can fake it on less than 5 hours of sleep. So there’s that.)

So, in my opinion, am I still being creative? Absolutely.

And, am I still planning ahead? Probably not as much as the next gal, but I’ve never been one to do things in a typical way anyway.