Why Do We Make All of Our Dance Boards with Sustainable Wood?

First, you may be wondering: What is “sustainable wood”? When we speak about the wood we use to create our dance boards being sustainable, we are referring to the way in which the wood is sourced. Sustainably-sourced wood comes from forests where logging is minimized and animal habits are protected and preserved.

You may have seen us post on social media about how the wood we use for our dance boards is 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified. This means that the wood we use comes from forests that are responsibly managed and that are used to benefit the environment and society.

When you purchase Dance Daze Dance Boards, which are made from FSC Certified wood, you are supporting sustainable forest management, protecting wildlife habitats, and reducing the emission of greenhouse greenhouse gases.

Additionally, all FSC Certified forests are required to prioritize the rights of indigenous people and their land, and all FSC certificate holders must ensure that forced labor, child labor, and discrimination in employment are eliminated and abolished.

We want you to improve your technique, build your confidence, and have fun while using your Dance Daze Dance Boards. But we also want you to know that you’re using a product that is made with you, other humans, and animals in mind. We want you to DANCE WELL and DO GOOD right along with us.

If you’re doing good for the world–by volunteering, donating, mentoring, and more–be sure to use the hashtag #DanceWellDoGood so that we can see your hard work and share it on social media!

5 Reasons Why You Might Need A Dance Daze Dance Board

As business owners, we love creating high quality products that solve problems for our clients.

At Dance Daze Dance Boards, we work to support the work of recreational and pre-professional dancers. This means that we design our portable dance floors in consideration of what recreational children and adult dancers and pre-professional dancers between the ages of 9 and 18 might need when in terms of practicing, supplemental training, creating influencer content, traveling for different dance opportunities/experiences, and more.

If you are a recreational or pre-professional dancer, keep reading to learn about why you might need a Dance Daze Dance Board in your life.

You participate in virtual dance classes via Zoom, Instagram, TikTok, and more

While some of our clients were already participating in virtual dance classes before 2020, a lot of our DDDB family began dancing at home after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many fantastic programs launched in 2020 that were completely virtual, including those that were only temporarily virtual and those that began as online programs and will remain as online programs so that they can serve a wider audience all over the world.

Personally, I’ve lived in a variety of spaces including college dorm rooms (both in the United States and abroad!), simple apartments and luxury apartments, and homes in both rural and urban areas. So I know that the space we have in our living areas can vary! Some years, we may be able to grand jeté across a huge backyard and in other seasons of life, we may be fearful of scraping our elbows if we attempt a pirouette turn in our living room.

With differences in living spaces in mind, Dance Daze Dance Boards come in a variety of sizes, that we hope will be helpful and meet the needs of dancers practicing at home, whether they have a small space or a large space in which to practice dance.

For those with limited space — perhaps in a small bedroom or in a section of a shared college dorm room — we have our Jet Setter dance board. At just 23 inches in diameter, this board can be used to practice non-locomotor movements, simple jumps, and long and short tap dance combinations as well.

Additionally, our Jet Setter can be easily stored in the trunk or backseat of a car, under a bed, or in a closet. Beginning this year (2022), our Jet Setter dance board comes with an adorable carrying tote so that this board can be easily taken on trips. And, there is even enough room in the bag to add some extra dance clothes, tights, leotards, and a makeup bag too, if you’re heading to a dance convention or dance competition!

You travel for dance competitions and dance conventions

If you’re someone who travels for dancing — whether you attend dance conventions in order to learn from the best dance teachers and to about the latest dance products, if you’re a dance educator who attends arts education seminars in different cities or in different states, or if you’re an adult ballet dancer who goes to summer intensives designed just for adults in different cities across the U.S. and abroad — we believe a Dance Daze Dance Board will fit your life style!

You regularly create dance content, both inside your home and outdoors

Another trend that became huge in 2020 was creating content on platforms such as Instagram Reels and TikTok!

Whether you’re someone who creates aspirational or educational dance content, likes trying out the latest TikTok dance moves, or enjoys goofing off making content with your friends and family, you can probably use a Dance Daze Dance Board in your videos!

I personally love using my Dance Daze Dance Board when I’m creating educational ballet and tap content, when I’m showing off some original choreography, or when I’m taking a popular trend and “making it ballet” or adding a tap dance twist to it.

I also love having 2-3 boards with me when I’m outside so that I can use one board to hold my iPhone tripod, one board to step on/sit and put on my dance shoes, and one board for posing for photos! Dance Daze Dance Boards are great for dance photography as well. And, your dance photos you take with your Dance Daze Dance Boards are perfect for seasonal or end-of-year time-lapse videos!

You like practicing new combinations outside of the studio

When I was training as a pre-professional dancer (and even now, any time I pop in for an adult class of any kind!), I loved going home and practicing what I’d learned in class.

Now, as a child who was also a competitive tap dancer (before I began my pre-professional classical ballet training), this could be slightly problematic when I thought the best place to tap dance in the house was on the kitchen floor.

With a Dance Daze Dance Board, I’m able to practice a variety of styles of dance in my home without ruining any floors! This is another way our dance boards serve both children and adults who are dancing at home.

You enjoy creating your own choreography at home

One of the main ways I maintained my sanity during 2020 was creating, creating, creating. I spent most of my shower time making up tap dance combinations or thinking about what songs I wanted to use for my weekly “Monday Funday” Instagram Live Ballet Barre class that I taught on Monday evenings for most of that year.

Additionally, I spent about 3 hours per week recording content for an online dance program for children.

As a dance educator, creating choreography and warmup combinations for children and adults, a Dance Daze Dance Board can be perfect. Using a Dance Daze Dance Board can remind us of the small space in which our students may be dancing at home. Additionally, it can remind us of the myriad ways in which we can use our bodies to make BIG movements and shapes, even when we are confined to a small space.

If you have a Dance Daze Dance Board, how has it helped solve problems for you? Let us know in a comment, email us at info@dancedaze.org, or text co-founder Saumirah at 916-378-1952.

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!

What Is Your Primary Responsibility As A Dance Business Owner?

If you are a dance studio owner, if you run a dance education program that serves children in your local community, if you run any kind of business that provides the service of dance to clients, what is your primary responsibility?

Some might say their main responsibility is to introduce students to the art of dance and to help foster a love for dance for all students.

Some might say that it is their responsibility to properly prepare all students for professional careers in dance, including careers in dance performance, dance education, arts marketing, arts fundraising, dance research, and more.

Some might say they are focused on using dance as a tool to empower their students, giving them a lens through which to see the world and a voice for self-expression.

Perhaps your primary focus is social and restorative justice. Maybe your programs are focused on repairing and uplifting the people in communities that have been forgotten and neglected.

Maybe you feel that you’ve moved on from all of the above. Now you’re focused on making money. It is a dance business after all, right? If you don’t meet your bottom line, the business ceases to exist.

Maybe you love the marketing, the digital content, the UX design, the social media. Maybe that’s your primary focus and responsibility. Because, no matter what you’re doing, if you aren’t bringing in clients, you can’t really do what you want to do anyway, right?

Is your primary focus simply being organized? Handling registrations, hanging those flyers, getting those dance team jackets out, directing rehearsals, overseeing end-of-semester surveys and technique progress reports, making sure every student has the correct front-stitched leotard or slip-on jazz shoes, ensuring that all students and their parents know how to correctly sew elastic onto their ballet slippers?

Maybe you have mastered the art of delegation, and you are now primarily responsible for making sure your team does all of the above. Your team has to know and live out the values of your organization, manage the day-to-day tasks, communicate effectively with students and families, be a positive representation of your dance program in the community, ensure that regular outreach is happening, manage the social media accounts, teach the classes, keep students engaged and challenged, and more.

So what do I think? What is the primary responsibility of someone who owns or directs a dance business?

All of it.

Yes, when you’re running a dance business, your primary mission is to make sure that all.the.things are getting done, every minute of every day, by any means necessary.

I talked about how challenging finding balance can be in Episode #7 of The Happy Dance Podcast. I also talked about how we may sometimes be doing really well with doing the things that naturally bring us the most joy, while simultaneously failing (yes, failure is a thing… it’s just not a forever thing) at doing all the things that are the most tedious, the most time-consuming, or the most stressful.

So how do we do it? How do we stay motivated? How can we keep worrying about things like performance costumes or even on innovating within our established programs when we are in the middle of a slow season and we want to dedicate all our time and all our funds to marketing and outreach?

We can leave for a while, but we have to come back. This is a paraphrasing of some advice I got from my world religions teacher in high school, by way of my mother. I remember my mom told me that, during a parent-teacher conference, my former teacher mentioned to her that I spaced out during his class sometimes. He was fine with me letting my mind wander, as long as I always brought myself back.

This is what I believe we need to do as dance business owners.

We literally are some of the people in the world who DO IT ALL. (See also: women, moms, stepmoms.)

It can be daunting. It can be exhausting. It can be overwhelming in a terrible way. It can be impossible.

But impossible is nothing.

If you’re a dance educator reading this, you likely already know that huge responsibility that we have in the world as well as the great opportunity that we have to make an impact.

Follow your dreams. Model your educational philosophy. Develop great dancers and great citizens. Live your business mission and see the vision through.

Do it all. And if you ever just can’t do it all, then leave it for a minute… then get up and get back to work.

The Best Mindset to Start A Business

mark-adriane-muS2RraYRuQ-unsplash.jpgThe next launch of the Dance Ed Startup Course is happening in just over 5 weeks! This has gotten me thinking a lot about the first module, which is called The Pre-Game Head Game Work.

So what is this first module of the course all about? It’s about getting in the right head space to win. It’s about being prepared to lose. It’s about feeling completely ready to soar when your idea becomes a reality and you are suddenly speaking with real clients and running a real business.

Starting a business takes a lot of risk. It takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of preparation and planning. So the first module of the Dance Ed Startup Course is a little quick-check for you and for me to make sure that you have your head in the game so that we can work together successfully over 8 weeks to start, streamline, or grow your dance businesses.

To do that, we are going to make sure a few specific expectations are in place. We will do that with the following 5 action steps.

1: Envision Yourself Winning

Before you start a business, or before you start focusing on specific ways to streamline and grow your business, you need to be able to see it happening. When I had a single student in a hip hop dance class of mine for a solid 8 months, I always knew there was a possibility that more students could show up for class that day. I could see the room full of students, and I would prepare music playlists and lesson plans as if I had a full class of students coming. I was able to see my future success (and I was also accepting the success of having a single consistent student, because 1 is better than 0!) before I had it.

Whether you’re enrolling in the Dance Ed Startup Course because you have been teaching dance classes for others for years and are ready to break away and launch your own program or start your own studio or if you’re an experienced dance studio owner looking for innovative ways to revitalize your existing programs and better support your new hires, you need to be able to imagine your success.

2: Be Prepared to Lose

There is risk involved with starting any new venture. Even when taking the most calculated risks, you will lose something. You will be making investments toward what you truly desire, but you will be giving away many things. You must be prepared to give away time, effort, and monetary resources. You may lose some time with friends and significant others. You will be giving away some mental space required for planning your next steps. You will need to invest financially in the business processes, studio space, props, or any area that you want to improve.

Also, you may need to toss out some old ways of thinking. By forging the new business and lifestyle that you want for yourself, you will be sacrificing your old beliefs and mindsets. If you’ve been struggling–with student and teacher recruitment, maintaining consistent income, marketing, or anything else–and if you’ve gotten used to the feeling of struggle, you will have to rid yourself of this.

Finally, be prepared to lose clients, even the ones you adore. Interests, finances, opportunities, and moods change frequently. This means that sometimes you will gain clients, and sometimes you will lose them. It is all part of the process of growth and change.

3: Have A Plan (A Failure to Plan Is A Plan for Failure)

Throughout the Dance Ed Startup Course, we will be creating lots of plans. We want to plan to start and grow your business with strategic marketing. We are going to plan class schedules, class themes, learning objectives, music playlists, reward and consequence systems, and more. We want to make plans for the business as a whole and for the day-to-day operations of working in dance education.

Maybe it is because of my background as a classroom teacher, but I love using the summer months to plan for the year ahead. In fact, I like to plan out the schedule for my entire dance year–from September through June–by June of the previous year. I also like to plan learning objectives and class themes for my classes at least one session (8 to 10 weeks in advance) at a time.

Students enrolled in Dance Ed Startup will learn the ways I do all of the above, and they’ll also be empowered to put their own spin on creating and planning themselves.

4: Think Big (Treat Your First Like Your Last)

Even when I only had a handful of students in my classes, I worked hard to maintain consistent marketing strategies and communication with my clients. Even though my studio is not as big as many dance studios out there, I work hard to maintain a professional website, active social media presence, and quality class programming.

In the Dance Ed Startup Course, we will use our mindset shifts, business plans, marketing plans, operational plans, and lesson plans to prepare for the eventual growth of our businesses in a big way.

We will treat each of our first projects as if they are the last creative works we will put into the world. We will give it our all.

5: Know When It’s Time To Walk Away

I don’t think of myself as a quitter in any way. In fact, I’ve been kicking hard and strong with my dance education organizations for about a decade now, and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. However, there have been many ideas that I’ve abandoned over the years.

For example, I used to have class punch cards to encourage students to come to dance class regularly. When students got 10 punches, they got a free water bottle, dance bag, or leg warmers that I purchased from DiscountDance.com. While I still think this sounds like a great idea, it simply didn’t work well for my studio-based dance program. Though the built-in reward system was nice, the majority of my students were too young to be interested in having a punch card or in keeping track of where the card was between classes, which means parents had to do extra work to keep track of the tiny card. Also the cards and prizes cost money that wasn’t being directly being put back into the business. After the students received their bags or leg warmers, there was no lasting effect that clearly positively benefited both my students and my dance program. Finally, when I was running this reward system, the seasonal sessions of my program were running in 8 week blocks, though the cards required 10 punches to be complete. While I thought this was an extra incentive to continue into another session, I believe it created more inconvenience for families rather than an exciting reward system that enhanced their experience in my program.

The above is a simple example of walking away from a very small part of a business. However, there may come a time that you will decide to walk away from your dance business entirely.

You may lose interest, acquire unmanageable debt, receive lucrative opportunities for full-time employment in a different field, or you may even get a new idea for a dance or performing arts-related business that would take too much time away from this venture.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that if your work (not your job, but your work) doesn’t completely and entirely light you up and inspire you in limitless ways, you should leave it. So if any of these situations occur, you may have to make the difficult choice to leave something that you’ve built.

But unless or until that time comes, please believe we’re going to thug it out as hard as possible and grow our dance businesses!

I hope you’ll join me in the Dance Ed Startup Course, launching again on September 9, 2019!