All Sprung Dance Boards Coming January 2022!

At Dance Daze Dance Boards, we pride ourselves on being a company that celebrates color, diversity, and doing good for the world. One of the ways in which we try to embody our motto of #DanceWellDoGood is by using sustainable materials in our products that will both support your dancing and also improve or do no harm to the earth.

Since January of 2021, we have only used FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified wood for each dance board that we cut, paint, and ship to our customers. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization that promotes responsible management of forests all over the world. In using FSC Certified wood, Dance Daze Dance Boards is supporting the protection of indigenous lands, ensuring that the wood we use is harvested from sustainably-managed forests, and only using harvesting lumber with trees will be replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally.

We are happy to announce that in January of 2022, Dance Daze Dance Boards will continue to create more sustainable products and products that support your dance training by making all of our boards with sprung floors!

A sprung floor is considered the best kind of platform for both dancing and athletic training, as sprung floors help to enhance performance and reduce injuries. Sprung floors are created with a foam or rubber bottom or backing, which absorbs shock and provides a bit of movement (or “give”) in the performance surface. While un-sprung floors can put more stress on the joints and muscles when dancing, sprung floors help to return energy to the feet, joints, and muscles, when dancing or jumping, helping to reduce fatigue and therefore to reduce the chances of injury.

In addition to the above, the foam bottom that we use for Dance Daze Dance Boards provides a slight bounce, reduces fatigue, and provides traction for using your dance board indoors our outdoors.

While our skid-resistant dance boards are great, we want to provide the highest quality products possible to support your dance training, and we believe that sprung floors do this!

Over time, we hope to replace the current foam that we are using with FSC Certified natural rubber, which will further support the protection of forest ecosystems, including the plants and animals that inhabit them, and ensure safe and fair working conditions for the people who harvest the rubber.

Dance Classroom Management: Every Minute Matters

I appreciate the opportunity to share behavior management tips with a focus on Doug Lemov’s Teach Like A Champion for a few reasons.

First, it gives me a sense of reward to feel that I am putting my best foot forward toward (hopefully) inspiring the coming generation of dance educators and aiding in putting good education practices into the ethosphere.

Second, I feel a sense of satisfaction to push myself to further my education outside of my current academic program. For years I have considered myself a “lifelong learner” and to dedicate my time to daily or weekly reading, synthesizing, and applying information gives me a strong sense of fulfillment.

Third, it gives me a chance to create. In re-purposing content to which I was originally introduced as a young educator myself and placing it in the lens of dance education is a creative endeavor for me. And, yeah, I consider myself a “creative.” This is one way that I got my jollies, if you will.

Finally, I feel that I’m providing a little bit of insight into the brain of the mama of Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze in Schools programs. (That’s me. Founder and CEO all day, yo.)

With that, let’s dive into today’s Behavior Management Monday Tip. It’s Technique #31 in Teach Like A Champion 2.0, and it can be found under the larger category of Pacing. It’s called “Every Minute Matters.”

In short, when practicing Every Minute Matters, we are respecting the students’ time by making each minute as productive as possible.

When explaining this technique, Lemov says, “Time, I was reminded… is water in the desert. It is a teacher’s most precious resource — it is to be husbanded, guarded, and conserved. Every minute of it matters” (p. 225).

He goes on to explain in this chapter that if we let students “relax” for just the last 5 minutes of every class for 6 classes in each school year, we are giving up 75 hours of valuable instructional time.

One of my favorite parts in this chapter is as follows:

Mastering Every Minute Matters means spending time with the greatest possible productivity by attending to the everyday moments when time is often squandered. It means assuming that events will forever create new and unanticipated opportunities for downtime to occur, and therefore being prepared with “back-pocket” activities: a high-energy review of what your students have learned, or a challenge problem. It means keeping a series of short learning activities ready so that you’re prepared when downtime threatens . . . . You can, in short, always be teaching. (p. 226)

As someone who has directed summer camps, been a camp counselor, directed after school programs, been a teaching artist, been an elementary classroom teacher, worked as an internship coordinator, and who currently directs my own dance education organizations, I think that the above quote is so powerful and it is one of the skills that impresses me most when I am observing other teachers, both new and experienced. I think that having a “bag of tricks” is one of the most important skills for an educator to develop, and it is something that comes with time.

When I was first working as a teaching artist for Dance Daze in Schools in the Bay Area, I worked very hard to develop my bag of tricks because I quickly realized that the way I had been trained in dance wasn’t entirely working for teaching dance in schools for several hours per week. Back then, I was teaching dance for kids in kindergarten through sixth grades at multiple schools. I worked hard to find ways to blend my knowledge of dance classroom culture (really: dance studio and pre-professional dance training culture) with elementary school culture. One way in which I did this, and, therefore began developing my bag of tricks was reading. I read about different ways to engage students through movement and thus began my person deep dive into the world of dance education.

One of the books that helped me to teach dance in schools was Making Fun Out of Nothing at All: 101 Great Games That Need No Props. I loved this book because it was inexpensive, practical, and full of movement activities that would allow me to break up the monotony of my in-schools dance classes, keep my students engaged, and continue teaching fundamental elements of movement and dance-making in a way that resonated with my students–play. Oh, also, in case you didn’t catch it in the book title–NO PROPS are needed for any of these 101 activities. AWESOME.

So yes, this is one book I would highly recommend for adding to your bag of tricks as a dance educator, especially if you are teaching at a school, camp, or community center.

Be prepared to teach the art of dance in any environment. And be prepared with a deep and interesting bag of tricks so that you can make every minute of learning time impactful and productive for your students.

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

Professional Development for Dance Daze® Interns

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, some of the Dance Daze® in Schools interns attended an arts integration retreat called “Building the Builders”. The retreat was sponsored by Arts Is Education and the Alameda County Office of Education. The event was held at the lovely Peralta Elementary School, an arts demonstration school in the Oakland Unified School District.

We met and networked with wonderful teaching artists, program directors, educators, and school administrators at the retreat. We learned more about the Common Core State Standards and their anticipated effect on English language arts, mathematics, and arts education in schools. Additionally, the Dance Daze® in Schools interns and Dance Daze® founder Saumirah McWoodson presented about their work with Dance Daze, Inc. and Dance Daze® in Schools as part of a Pecha Kucha presentation. We had a great time, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share some of our work and ideas with the public!

Be sure to view some of our photos from the retreat below, and find more of our photos from the event on the Dance Daze® in Schools Facebook Page!

Yoga Classes at Dance Daze

Hatha Yoga Video Lunge Pose - Hanurasana

Yoga has many benefits for dancers, such as increased strength, balance, flexibility, turnout, and stamina. Purifying the body from toxins, relieving stress, and improved circulation are additional benefits.

We at Dance Daze always want to offer a variety of beneficial classes to our students, and we think yoga will be a great new addition! As of January 2011, we will be adding yoga to our class schedule.

Our yoga classes will include:

Baby Yoga for toddlers and preschoolers and Beginning Yoga for children, teens, and adults.  In their Baby Yoga class, our youngest ones will learn toddler-friendly yoga poses. Each class will be enhanced with songs, stories, and games. Children’s Beginning Yoga will allow kids to learn yoga poses through acting out a fun, imaginative story. Teen/Adult Yoga will include yoga poses and balances, cardio aerobics, and core-strengthening exercises.

In addition to our new yoga classes, we will also be starting a monthly Nutrition and Weight Training series in the New Year! These classes will be taught by a healthcare professional and a professional trainer. Keep following us for more details!