June 1, 2021
PART I: GO BACK TO THE MISSION
Since our opening in 2004, one of the driving forces in our creative mission has been storytelling. Lauren and I have written 20 original stories to punctuate the end of each school year. Brought to life by each teacher in their individual classes and enhanced with stage elements by Chris Winkler to dazzle our audiences, storytelling and connection has been a staple at CORE. So when a global pandemic altered our methods, we knew the most important thing to do was to return to our fundamentals. Paused were the monthly gatherings in Studio A with our Early Childhood Program for creative songs and activities. Paused were our quarterly parent visitations and cabaret shows in our classrooms. Paused were creative themes and treats and tidbits in the lobby that helped enhance our overall environment. In place of all of that we worked doubly hard behind the scenes to find out exactly what each student needed. Perhaps the lesson plan needed to be altered because a new executive order kept the kids at home and out of their academic classrooms the week prior. Perhaps the lesson plan needed to be altered because the local community had an outbreak and half of the class was forced to zoom that day. Perhaps it just rained for a week straight and the opportunity to really shake your sillies out just wasn’t there!! Whatever the scenario, the question we strive to answer in our classrooms every week is WHY?
My teenagers, college students, young teachers who have left the nest to build their dance careers outside of core, can all attest to Miss Jaclyn’s classroom notes, “If you can’t answer the question WHY, then its not worth it.” That goes for just about everything in my life, but its a dance arts lesson ingrained in me from my childhood from my greatest teacher, Judy Gozur. When I create a lesson plan, there is very little that falls in the random column. We always have a goal, even if it is disguised in a silly song or an offbeat exercise. When I create a piece of choreography, it starts with an intention and finishes completely. When we write a show, it has to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. This goal is constant. It is alive and well in our studio from the teachers, and through our students. Our teachers work really hard to focus on quality lesson plans and interaction with every student. So how can this be maintained When The World Turns Upside Down?
PART II: REDEFINE OUR WHY
The hardest part for me as a business owner this year was to focus on building something that yielded at a profit, when I knew deep down that Dance Arts are non-essential when it comes to people’s finances. How on Earth could I ask a parent for $100 to buy a sequined dress who is also homeschooling their child, logging in for work from home, struggling with the stress and anxiety of what’s happening globally, and is unsure of when this weird bubble might pop? What do I advertise when the uncertainty of state mandates left me little room to plan more than 2 or 3 weeks ahead? Don’t get me started on CANCELLATIONS, MANUFACTURING DELAYS, AND FINE PRINT!!! We started this year with 100 fewer students than the year prior, we consolidated our schedule and closed our lobbies. Parent interaction was limited to digital communication (ugh) and masks covered our faces 100% of the time. And yet, parents signed up their kids. Kids showed up in-studio and on zoom. Yes, there was an exhausted sense about everyone but inside each classroom’s walls there was ELATION! I recall talking to faculty about how to approach each age group and everyone was happy and surprised to report how little nonsense was present! Listen….. If you are dealing with people, especially kids, there’s going to be nonsense, its unavoidable. But people dropped off their kids and said thank you, our kid’s energy was 100%, and statistically we had the best student retention to date. Aside from some technological difficulties, we were nearly nonsense free.
Teachers kept creative, they stayed connected to their students as individuals. Some weeks, the goal we achieved wasn’t “artistic” at all and yet, our dancers KEPT SHOWING UP.
PART III: AN UNEXPECTED “PROFIT”
So maybe, the sequined outfit is NOT the only reason they show up each year? Maybe the genuine human connection is the story this year? Our kids and teachers profited in the way of some invaluable achievements:
1) Learning how to express ourselves even though our faces are covered. I never realized how much I rely on my face to connect with kids!
2) Finding ways to connect with our peers who are going through their own version of the pandemic. Sometimes a few minutes of “chat” at the end of class was medicine for the soul.
3) Challenging ourselves to think unconventionally. There’s more than one way to… Well, you know how that saying goes.
And for the kids who relied on their dance teacher as their only “in person” teacher for all those months, we learned two things:
1) Consistency is key.
2) Having a leader who truly believes in you is worth more than gold.
PART IV: A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Our end of the school year stories will be quite different than years past. We won’t be gracing a formidable stage or selling refreshments and t-shirts in the theater lobby. You won’t hear relevant voiceovers, nor see theatrical fillers. But we will be showing you each class’s version of success. We will show you WHY dance was essential this school year. And hopefully, you will get to see it in our faces.
With gratitude, Jac
July 27, 2020
November 6, 2019
DANCE can TRAIN your BRAIN!!
June 15, 2018
“My child wants to take dance. What do I do?”
This is the most frequently asked question! Like many parents, your child comes to you with a request to take a dance class and you don’t know where to start. First, always begin by asking to talk to the studio Directors. We always know the whole program and can advise based on a few key factors; your child’s age, experience, and the style they’remost interested in. I always invite a new student to the studio to visit a class they might enjoy for a week or more with no cost or obligation. It’s the best way for a child to see the environment and get a true sense of what happens in class from beginning to end. This is also a perfect opportunity for Mom and Dad to sit in the lobby and ask fellow parents questions about the school, meet the faculty and get a sense of the studio. It is important to then trust the experience and judgment of the faculty and Directors to guide your child to the best fit. Give me a call to schedule a visit at CORE, 856-778-5955, ask for Jaclyn
June 1, 2018
At CORE, part of our mission is to provide a rich learning experience by highly trained professionals that specialize in Early Childhood Dance Ed. By simply having a loving and QUALIFIED instructor, we are setting up our students for continued success in dance and in life!
We are particularly proud and dedicated of our Early Childhood dance program. We spend much of our summers researching, training and creating fun and effective learning syllabi to span our ages 18 months to 8 years old. This sets up our school year so we are organizing our lessons to serve the big picture- regardless of whose class you take, you are learning similar target lesson.
Parents often ask “What is creative movement?” The terms dance and movement are interchangeable when referring to creative movement. Creative movement is an art form whose medium is the human body in motion. The four basic elements of dance are the body and its different parts and range of movement, and space, time, and energy. Understanding and using these four elements can open up a range of imaginative possibilities.
Body part movement variations: “Can you march with your arms up high?” “Can you clap? Touch your knees?” “Can you march bending one knee and keeping the other leg straight? On your tiptoes? Lying on your back with your feet in the air?”
Spatial variations: “Can you march backwards? Low? High?” “Can you turn?” “Can you march in a square pattern on the floor?”
Time variations: “Can you march in slow motion?” “Can you march for seven steps and then freeze? Let’s count together.” “Now, march as fast as you can!”
Energy variations: “Can you march as if your feet are caught in quicksand?” “Can you march and stomp through mud puddles?” “Can you march as if you are in bare feet on a hot blacktop driveway on a summer day?” “Can you march without making a sound when your feet touch the floor?”
The possibilities are endless. Children can perform the variations according to their individual abilities and imaginations. Creative movement gives children opportunities to move in new ways and helps them learn that there can be more than one solution to a question, a problem, or a task.
Come and see for yourself!
Time and time again, I hear people ask, “Aren’t they too young to be dancing?” The truth is, as long as you find age appropriate dance classes, no. The ability to start dancing develops in children before they can even form words! Dance is a primal part of human experience across all cultures and time periods that unites us all no matter our age. The benefits it has on early childhood development is definitely worth understanding.
Physical development is one of the most obvious benefits dance classes have for children. They are learning a great range of motion, body awareness, balance, muscle strength, coordination, and endurance. Movement patterns require the child to use their entire body to reach a level of fitness that is unparalleled by other activities. Through dance classes, kids begin to understand that the possibilities of movement are endless and fun to explore.
In dance classes, children have the opportunity to learn in a comfortable social setting. They must take turns, work as a group, cooperate, share, understand space, form lines, watch and support one another, perform, and interact. They learn that communication can occur through immediate and effective movement to express an idea. The group dynamic in dance classes also challenges young ones to respect others as they share and move through space in unison. Many times you will see a very strong bond between dancers because of these efforts no matter how old they are.
At a young age, children understand that movement can be used as a response to an idea or problem. This creates a cognitive link to a solution or outcome. This type of cognitive development creates an awareness of how to function in the world. For example, it is very common in dance classes for children to be taught to leap over a “river” (scarf or mat) so they don’t get wet. This idea achieves several different concepts… leg extension, transferring weight, problem solving, imagination, balance, space recognition, etc. The idea is that physical expression or solutions give young ones another way to handle the world while their verbal communication develops.
Because dancing is also an art form, children are learning how to creatively express their emotions as well. There are endless opportunities to share and be aware of various emotions as students experience one another and themselves through movement. Dance classes provide a structured outlet for a healthy physical and emotional release that helps devolop emotional maturity.
Scientific research has barely tapped in to the benefits of dance classes for early childhood development. I think we can all agree by saying that they are definitely not harmful. Well, unless you are involved in something like the show, “Dance Moms”… but that’s a different blog post. Stay tuned!
Dance classes are an amazing tool for teaching children basic life skills that can be used for throughout the rest of their lives. So many different skills and rules are needed to be successful in this world and kids are never too young to start learning them.
1. Spacial Awareness: Kids learn about spacial awareness pretty quickly in dance classes. In many young classes, you will see teachers using colors, spots, or shapes to keep the kids standing in a certain area. When teachers use props like these, they are also teaching kids to not play with them or move them so they stay in a formation or line. In the real world, we all get a little offended when someone gets in our personal bubble, don’t we? Teaching kids to be aware of space at a young age will help avoid some conflicts at school and on the playground.
2. Taking Turns: Dancers must take turns going across the floor, sharing information with their teacher, standing in the front, freestyling…the list goes on! Knowing when it is our turn to do something is a skill that everyone uses constantly to get through every day life. The sooner a child understands this, the sooner they understand how to interact better with others, and the less conflicts they will experience.
3. Standing In Line: Throughout dance classes, dancers will stand in lines to keep things efficient, organized, and visually appealing. When people are not in lines when they should be, it can create a sense of chaos. Imagine Disneyland, the grocery store, or the freeways without lines! School teachers, camp directors, and other program leaders rely on lines constantly to get from place to place and teach this lesson over and over to run successful programs. Why not reinforce this skill in dance classes to help kids be more acquainted with every day expectations?
4. Listening: Dancers are taught to listen and watch more than speak. They must listen to their teacher, to the music, and to the sound of their steps. The more a dancer can listen closely, the more they can stay on beat and develop their musicality. Good listening skills are one of the most important things you can teach a child. It helps them be successful in school, understanding rules, and communicating with others.
5. Talking When Appropriate: How often do you correct your child when they speak out of turn, interrupt, or talk back? This happens almost all day long until about college, right? Dance classes teach kids to be quiet while stretching, waiting in line, while the teacher instructs, and so on. If the teacher is experienced, they will create moments for their dancers to talk so kids know when it is and isn’t appropriate to share. You can’t expect a kid to be quiet for an entire hour while they are having fun, but you can teach them when it is ok to share their ideas.
6. Respect: Respecting other dancers and well as your teacher is a huge concept in dance class. Kids are taught to share, respect space, take turns, listen, clap for others… the whole shebang! Teachers really tend to drive this point home when students start dancing in groups to perform for each other. Dancers are always taught to clap for one another, give each other compliments, and never make fun of anyone for their dancing. If the teacher does it right, s/he should be creating an environment that feels safe and loving for kids to build their confidence. The more dancers respect one another, the better they will all feel and the more they will grow.
7. Good Posture: Part of good etiquette is having good posture. Dancers are taught to keep their heads up, stand up straight, and keep their shoulders back. Younger dancers don’t always learn these skills in too much depth but they start learning not to hang on ballet barres like monkeys, to lift up to stand on their toes, how to shift their weight quickly, and to change how high or low they are dancing. The muscles that create good posture are being developed whether they realize it or not. Dance classes force kids to start having body awareness which translates to posture and good body language a little later in life.
8. Following Directions: Kids are all in the process of learning how to follow directions. Children who dance really get this reinforced throughout the entire class. Dancing is one of the only activities where one must follow the direction of their choreographer, the music, fellow dancers, and their own bodies all at the same time with precision and while looking good. There is a lot of direction going on there! We all know that following directions is a huge skill that dictates the majority of our lives. Again, let dance classes teach them while they are young!
9. Sharing: Young dancers often get to use props in their classes because it is a creative way for the teacher to keep them engaged in what they are learning. With the use of props, students are typically sharing through using them as well as bringing them back to the teacher. It’s amazing how willing a young child is to help clean up, isn’t it? Many times tiny tot dancers can get into little tiffs over who gets to give which prop to their teacher. Sharing is encouraged during clean up and in dance games to coincide with the lessons kids are being taught about sharing in school and at home.
10. Dressing To Impress: Many dance studios ask that dancers have their hair out of their faces and are wearing dance attire. Dress codes help dancers focus so they aren’t fidgeting or confined to their clothing. You don’t tend to see too many sloppy dancers out there now do you? When we learn to dress to impress at a young age, it sends a message of structure, organization, and cleanliness. We make better first impressions and become more appealing to others when we take good care of ourselves.
Many children’s activities teach or reinforce similar life skills but the way dance classes do it is unparalleled. Combine a great teacher with music, movement, precision, athleticism, beauty, grace, fun, games, props, and energy and you’ve got a recipe for an amazing experience! Try out a dance class and teacher that engages your child for a while and you’ll be surprised at how quickly these skills kick in gear! We all know how important each and every one of them are in our every day lives, develop them in your child through dance!