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!

Use Your Studio Time (Even If No Students Are Present)

Have you ever shown up to teach your dance class, fully prepared and ready to go, but no students are there when it is time for class to begin? So maybe you assume they’re stuck in traffic. Five minutes go by. Still no students. Maybe you check your email quickly. Perhaps one student isn’t feeling well. Okay. Cool. Get well soon. Where is the rest of your class?!

If you’re just starting out your dance business, it may be a frequent occurrence that you have an empty studio because students aren’t yet committed to their training, or maybe they’re just trying out your classes and dropping in when their schedule allows. Maybe, despite your best efforts at social media marketing, flyer distribution at local preschools, attending in-person networking events, and trying to get that word-of-mouth marketing going at local playgrounds, you just haven’t had any students showing up for your classes!

Fret not. There are still ways you can use your studio time wisely, whether you are renting studio space for your small dance business, teaching classes for someone else, or directing your own dance studio.

Think of the 45 minutes or 60 minutes as a time to create, create, create. Don’t waste the time or feel annoyed that everyone decided to miss class today. Take your lemons and make some dance lemonade! In the Dance Daze® How to Use Studio Time (When You Have No Students) Checklist, we give you 5 ways that you can you can be productive in your studio space, even if you don’t have students to teach.

Be sure to grab the FREEBIE above, and come back next week for another blog and another freebie!

Chat soon!
Saumirah

I’m teaching my first class tomorrow.

They say that the secret to happiness and abundance in life is to have more beginnings than endings. I’m not sure if that’s possible, but I surely love starting new things. So tomorrow, I’m launching #DanceDazeSacramento — new weekday children’s classes in Sacramento, California, for my studio-based dance organization, Dance Daze, Inc.

If you’ve known me for a while, or even if you’ve been following me for the past few months via DanceEdStartup.com, I’m sure you also know that I’ve been building up my dance organizations–Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools–for about a decade now! I’ve taught dance classes myself for my businesses in different cities and in different spaces, such as schools, community centers, country clubs, and synagogues. I’ve partnered with charter school management organizations and local educational organizations in my city to bring after-school enrichment classes and seasonal camps to students at elementary schools. I’ve worked with universities and high schools to develop and implement paid service-learning internships for college students and high school students as well. Today, I’m working on building my performance program with Dance Daze, Inc., expanding my studio classes to a new city, researching dance educator training in the United States for my doctoral dissertation, and developing a digital course for early career dance educators. So yes, perhaps it is safe to say that, at least with Dance Daze things, I’ve successfully had more beginnings than endings. And I suppose the secret to that success is that I simply never stop. When it comes to getting what I want, I’m pretty relentless (the way all the greats are in my mind).

Now, I’ve done the base work that I walk my students through in my Dance Ed Startup course–I’ve found a beautiful location for my classes, I’ve done some marketing (though, there’s always more marketing that can be done!), and tomorrow is the big day!

Of course, like most of you who have been teaching dance for years, I know in my head what I’ll need to teach. I have my playlists created. My props are organized. Essentially, I’ve got this down. However, I also strongly believe that “A failure to plan is a plan for failure.”

So, I created this little document to make sure I have everything, absolutely everything, I will need to teach a single 45-minute jazz and hip hop dance class to 4 to 6 year old children tomorrow morning.

Like I said, I literally wrote the list, so I’m sure I already know what’s on it. But, when the adrenaline rush hits tomorrow and I’m rushing out of my front door to teach, I will do a quick check of the list, just to be safe.

Click here to grab the Dance Daze® First Class Checklist for yourself, and be sure to check back here at The Happy Dance Blog each week for a new post and likely a new freebie as well.

Have a great week!

Saumirah

Do It for the One

Rachel Hollis talked about it on Amy Porterfield‘s podcast. She said, “We created it for her. The podcast was for her. The second podcast was for her. We’re having the response that we have because the style was entirely my own but the content is in response to what she’s asking for.”

When I think of all my Dance Daze students (both at the studio and at schools across the United States) and when I look at all the memories I have created for my businesses: I think of one child, one day, one family, one teacher, one moment.

When I think of starting that Dance Daze in Schools program in the Bronx, New York, I remember how rewarding it felt to bring in that one male teacher who wore glasses and had grown up there. I remember feeling that, in bringing him onto the team, I got to, in a teeny tiny way, be part of his experience of giving back to the community that raised him. I got to be part of him waking up every day as a successful man, human, and teaching artist.

When I think of the school in Oakland, California, where I had the privilege of teaching dance for an entire year, I remember that group of 6 middle school boys and girls who asked me why I smiled and laughed so much. I told them it was because I was happy.

And when I look at photos and videos of all the performances we are doing today, I’m overwhelmed to be part of creating magical moments for each of my students. I’m overjoyed to be part of helping them fall in love with the art of dance. But really, when I see 15 of my students showing up and dancing on these California roads with me, I think of her. I think of her mom looking at me in my eyes and saying, “She wants to perform. She’s ready.” I remember feeling the responsibility of providing positive performance opportunities for her when her dad asked me when we would be performing.

So when I look at them, I see her. One child, one family, one day, one moment.

And I’m so so grateful that by focusing on the one that I get to be part of the lives of many.

Are you interested in learning more about what I focus on in order to best serve my clients (my students and their families)? Go to www.DanceEdStartup.com and join my mailing list! Each week, people on my mailing list are getting dance-related business tips in my video series called “Two Tips” and this month (May of 2019) they’re also getting a live webinar every Sunday morning! Sign up today!

 

Making Space for Creativity in Your Dance Class

It’s okay to sometimes be a little uncomfortable when you’re teaching. This might sound surprising to some, but it is a fact that I’ve found to be true. I have found this sentiment to be most true when I am working to allow space for creativity in my dance class. Now that I’ve said that, let me give you a little background.

As an elementary teacher for 6 years now, I have spent several years working to find my teacher voice, establish my authority in the classroom, develop my warm/strict mechanisms, and to really just own the idea that I am the “expert in the room” (a validating phrase that I heard frequently at one organization where I taught for two years). But with all of that, sometimes we forget about allowing kids to create. We forget about all of the detailed lessons based in the theory of constructivism that we developed while training to become educators. We forget to make space for our students to experiment, take calculated risks, and to build in their own learning environment.

Also, besides forgetting, sometimes we just get comfortable. We get into a groove, our students enjoy it, we get positive feedback and no complaints (classroom teaching heaven, am I right?), and we decide to not fix what isn’t broken. The problem with that is: stagnation. I believe I heard recently on one of the podcasts that I listen to: “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Call us dramatic if you want to, but I’d bet that for most of us creatives, not moving or making causes us to feel like there’s a piece of us that isn’t really living. (#createordie)

Since we artists, educators, and creators have the intention to always be growing, learning, and making, we have to allow our students to do the same. We have to let them discover the joy that comes from ideating, making, and re-making.

So, let’s get uncomfortable. Sometimes, this can be as simple as adding a song to your class that fits within your lesson plan, theme, or unit, but that might not give you the desire to move in a way that is comfortable for you. It could be as simple as slowing down or speeding up the tempo to a piece, changing the direction of a movement, or releasing some control during a portion of class and passing the ownership of the learning completely to your students.

When you allow yourself to be uncomfortable and force yourself to create in an unfamiliar space, you are modeling successfully working through unfamiliar experiences to your students. You are encouraging problem-solving. You are demonstrating new ways to compose dance using various movement elements. You might even simultaneously challenge and empower your students to trust their skills, in movement and in life, even when the unexpected occurs. And, in the process, you might remind yourself that you have the power to do the same.

Cheers to the discomfort! Let’s keep creating.