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Halloween is one of our favorite holidays here at ADC. This season, not only are we having our traditional Frankenstein’s Frolic event, but we’ve turned it into a Descendants dance party too! We feel there is no better way to get in the spooky spirit!  Here’s why:

  1. Spooktacular performances!  From black cats twirling their tails to showgirls in spider hats, there is something for everyone to enjoy! Dancers from SIDEWAYS Contemporary Dance Company, ADC’s ART Company, and the Foster-Schmidt Dance Company will all be putting on an incredible show. You’ll be on you feet ready to move to your favorite Descendants songs with us during our dance party. Learn a few moves from the movies and show off some of your own!
  2. Tons of candy and Halloween fun!  We have so many games and treats you may not even need to go door to door on the 31st! With games like candy corn bowling and bean bag toss you’ll be raking in the prizes. The parking lots will be filled with cars ready for trunk or treat and a hot dog truck for when your sweet tooth has been satisfied. We’ll also have a photo opportunity with the Frankenstein monster!
  3. Bonding with the ADC family!  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of people here at ADC. Through events like these we hope to continue to strengthen the community you have helped us build. We can’t think of a better group to celebrate this wacky, wonderful holiday with!

Join us this Sunday October 15th from 1-3! Costumes are encouraged but not required. Admission is $5 per person or $20 per family and if you mention this blog post we will take 50% off. We’ll see you there!

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Last week, we received an email from one of our dance parents that gave us all of the warm, fuzzy feelings we live for as teachers. Alexis Smith, one of our Mini Company members, has created a beautiful solo to enter in the state-wide Reflections art competition. Their theme for this year is “Within Reach” and we certainly think that her goals are just that!

Alexis chose the music and choreographed this entire piece herself, which is a huge undertaking for a seven year old. We were seriously impressed by her creativity and unsurprised by her confidence. (If you haven’t met Alexis, she’s quite the firecracker.) The piece is full of heart and showcases her skills beautifully.

Her mom, Tara, added along with the video, “This is proof of how much inspiration you all give her every time she steps in the studio.” It is heart-warming to have made such an impact on Alexis, and she has no idea how much this has inspired us in return. We are so proud of her hard work and wish her the best of luck in the contest! Take a look at her solo in the video below!

We all want to be inspired.  It’s a wonderful thing to wake up feeling alive, ready to conquer the day, and to truly love what we are doing.  For the most part, that’s how my life goes and I am so thankful that I followed the path to owning a dance studio.

I am inspired in many ways by the families at ADC.  It’s motivating to see an alumni offered a great job opportunity from another ADC alum or when the three-year old tells me that she wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up.  It’s heartening when a teenager starts taking dance for the first time and is out-of-her-mind excited or when my student teachers can’t sleep the night before recital because they are so excited to watch their students onstage.

I also find inspiration from the parents of our students.  The way each family commits to all the shuttling, quick meal times, and creative budgeting to give their child the opportunity to discover their passion.  Families take care of other families when it’s needed and I’ve watched friendships grow within the walls of the studio.

We certainly are an inspiring bunch!

The way I see it anyone at any age can be inspiring and why not aim to be?  What a better world we would have if that was everyone’s daily goal: just to inspire others to grow and thrive.

“To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible.”

For the ninth season of ADC, the faculty and I can’t wait to see what happens when our ADC families and students commit to this challenge:  Aspire to Inspire.  I know it will be truly incredible!

– Charlotte Foster Williamson, ADC Studio Owner

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We cannot believe that summer is already wrapping up!  We had so much fun with all of the camps, intensives, and technique weeks. Our studios were filled with students who just couldn’t stop moving!  Here are our favorite moments from this summer:

Our awesome Hip-Hop Superheroes saved the day!

Our Summer Aerial dancers soared on the silks!

We celebrated Ms. Leah’s birthday at Be Our Guest camp.


Elsa and Anna came to visit Disney Princess camp!

 

The Micro Minis got crazy with some tutus!

Jazz Technique Week dancers showing off their “jazz hands”.

One of our adorable fairies showing off her new wings!

We had a great time this summer with these amazing students.  Our fall season officially begins on Tuesday, September 5th and we are SO ready to see all of our students back in the studio soon!

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On the last day of the contemporary intensive, the students finished their day with a choreography skills class. Now let me preface this by saying that the day before, this group was very shy in their improvisation class. Moving how they wanted to versus doing specific choreography that was given to them was definitely out of their comfort zone. I was nervous about how open they would be to making something that was their own.

We started off the class creating movement in pairs doing an exercise I call “dance twister”. Each pair has a person “A” and a person “B” and I called out different things for them to do. “Person A, initiate your next movement from the top of your head. Person B, make your next movement have a heavy quality.” etc. By the end of this they had a beautiful duet together.

Then, plot twist! They had to turn their part of the duet into a solo. I got several “deer in the headlights” looks, but reassured them to trust the process. After several minutes to themselves to figure it out it was time to perform in random groups of three. The work all of the students created blew me away, but one group really stood out to everyone.

This trio had such a wonderful flow. It looked as though they had worked together, even though they hadn’t. Suddenly they all made the same shape at the same time. It was a moment of pure dance magic. The whole room gasped together and some whispered “woah” to their friends. It was such a beautiful thing seeing a room full of kids, who had been skeptical about the exercise at first, see the kind of wow it could create.

Making moments like the one that happened in this class is what most choreographers aim to do. We want to stop the audience in their tracks and command their attention. But there is something so powerful about this happening organically, like it did with these students. Take a look at the video below of this group sharing their work so you can feel the magic too!

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I was working with a student on her tap skills. This particular child was very timid in classes during the year. I could barely hear the sounds coming from her feet, and she would physically back away from me when I would move in closer to listen. In this private lesson we took the time to break down steps that had been giving her trouble and suddenly a new confidence started to show. I saw her eyes light up as she accomplished skills that had just moments earlier seemed so far out of reach. It gave me goosebumps seeing this transformation not only in her tapping but in her whole demeanor.

Private lessons may seem intimidating at first. But just like tutoring can greatly improve a student’s grades in school, these one on one sessions can really make a difference in one’s dancing.

Lessons are uniquely yours! 

No two students are alike, therefore no two private lessons are the same. Because there is just one dancer, the teacher is able to address specific details that there may not be time for in a larger classroom setting. The individualized lesson plan they are able to create for the student can cater to their needs allowing them to have maximum potential for growth.

In a regular classroom we focus on teaching technique to an entire room of students and the goal is to get these concepts across to everyone. With just one dancer we can dig into what they need to improve and find some strategies for them to use while they are in their normal classes.

Trying out something new! 

Private lessons can be a great place to take a new discipline of dance on a test run. The dancer can decide if it is something they want to pursue without any pressure. Instead of coming to class feeling self-conscious because they don’t know the terminology or how to execute the movements, they are able to start at the beginning with a teacher who knows what building blocks they will need to excel in the fall classroom.

Time to get serious.

For some dancers, private lessons are the place to get really serious about their training. This means it is a chance to hone in on their technique and really perfect their skills. Most students with these aspirations in mind want to maintain what they have already learned and push even farther. Fine tuning like this is hard work, and isn’t the right thing for every student, but some crave this extra challenge.

Thinking about the goosebumps I got with my tapper gives me so much hope. Seeing such a dramatic change in only 45 minutes is inspiring. I cannot wait to see her continued growth as well as the growth of all of the other students this summer! If your dancer is interested in a private lesson please contact us!

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Whitney is the “Beautiful Dreamer”

Every year at the recital we celebrate a Dancer of the Year!  The Dancer of the Year is chosen from the students who were nominated for Student of the Month over the course of the year.  This year we are excited to congratulate our 2017 Dancer of the Year: Whitney Cookston.

Whitney started dancing at ADC in 2010.  Since then she has taken several different classes.  Over the past couple of years we have watched Whitney not only fall in love with dance, but really dedicate herself to being the best dancer she can.  She is always in class, ready to go, with a positive attitude.  In jazz class she jams out to the music and in contemporary she truly expresses herself with the movement.  Whitney joined the performance class this year.  She has always been a good performer, but this year she went the extra step and her performance stood out on the recital stage.  We have loved having Whitney in the ADC family for the past 7 years, and are very proud of her accomplishments.

How old are you? I am 15 years old.

When did you start dancing?  I started dancing when I was three years old in tap and ballet.

What is your favorite style of dance and why?  I like contemporary because I have more freedom to move and express myself.

What is your favorite thing about dance?  After a long day at school, I love coming to dance because it helps me relax.  Dancing makes me feel calm and less stressed.

What has been your favorite recital dance so far?  I liked this year’s red riding hood themed contemporary dance.

What is your favorite food? Tacos

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I want to be an interior designer!

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Becky and Charlotte!

Charlotte Flood is finishing her fifth season at Atlanta Dance Central, and we are beyond excited to announce her as our Student of the Month.  Charlotte has been dancing at the studio since she was 3 years old.  She began in our Ballet for 3’s kinder class, and worked her way up through our kinder program in Ballet/Tap and Jazz/Acro.  After 3 seasons she graduated into the youth classes and has been taking acro ever since!  Charlotte has been catching our eye for years and this is her month to shine!  Here is a note from Ms. Michelle about why Charlotte was nominated:

Charlotte Flood has been an exemplary student this past month. Recently perfecting steps that she once was nervous to attempt, she has shown how determination can pay off. She listens intently and applies corrections quickly. Her kindness and support of others in class shows a great deal of self confidence and humility. We are so proud to have her in the ADC family.

Congratulations, Charlotte!
What grade are you in? 1st
What is your favorite subject at school? Art
What is your favorite thing to do besides dance? Soccer
What is your favorite summer activity? Going to the pool.
Why do you love dance? I love doing cartwheels and all that, and I love just dancing!
What is your favorite movie? Moana

We are four weeks out from recital which means our recital day countdown is officially underway!  Costumes are here and choreography is finished.  In these last few weeks we will practice the dances to make sure dancers are confident and the dances look polished.  After that our youth dancers will have two opportunities to show their family and friends what their hours of hard work have produced.

History behind two performances.

A few years ago we only had one youth program recital.  Dress rehearsal was Friday evening and the official performance date was on Saturday.  Saturday came around and we ran into an interesting predicament.  Our youth recital had sold out.  While we celebrated the fact that we had enough students to sell out a 600+ seat theater, it was upsetting to tell family and friends who came to the recital that we didn’t have enough space for them to watch their dancer perform.  For that reason, we added a second show!

Benefits from the perspective of a dancer.

No matter how much practice we get in the studio, performing on stage brings a different energy to our dancing.  Whether it’s nerves or excitement, things just feel different which can cause our dancing to be shaky, less grounded, or even cause mental blips.  The desire to impress and entertain family and friends is something that can’t be replicated in front of a mirror.  Friday night shows are amazing because of that energy and anticipation.  As a dancer I know that on Friday I go all out because of it!

I may be dancing with more energy on Friday, but on Saturday I’m always able to dance with more confidence.  I’m more familiar with the stage, my spacing, and the light cues.  I also can relax more and my dancing looks more polished.  It’s also nice to get a second chance to perform if something didn’t go as planned the previous evening.  During the Saturday night show I’ve found my groove and feel like everything has really come together.

Benefits from the perspective of a viewer.

Watching a dance performance twice is similar to watching a movie twice.  The first time I watch a performance I don’t know what to expect.  As I watch my eye may be directed to one area of the stage while something different is happening in another area of the stage.  When I’m piecing together the meaning of the dance, I may miss how it correlates with the song lyrics.  Similarly to performing, sometimes I’m so excited to watch a dance performance that the actual viewing experience may be overstimulating.

The second time I see the show I always see things I didn’t notice the first time.  I have a greater understanding of what is going on and can make the connections between the dancing and the story.  Also, if my eye was pulled to a certain part of the stage the night before, I know I can watch what is going on on the other side this time.  There are even times when something really cool happens – a lift, a turn, maybe a jump I’ve never seen.  Going twice means I get to see it again!

Benefits from the perspective of a teacher.

Dance is different from a lot of activities because parents may not be able to witness their student’s progress on a weekly basis.  Dancers may practice from September – May without their parents ever being able to see what we see in the studio.  Recital is the only time that year that the students have to celebrate their accomplishments and be proud of their hard work.  Performing twice not only gives them a chance to show off how far they have come, but also give them the opportunity to learn and grow from one night to the next.

Join Atlanta Dance Central for our recitals:

Youth Recitals: Friday & Saturday, May 12 & 13 at 7 p.m.
Kinder Recitals: Saturday May 13 at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.

All recitals are held at Blessed Trinity High School.

 

Congratulations to our March Student of the Month, Natalie Merritt!

Natalie started dancing at ADC in the Ballet for 3’s class, and is now in Ballet/Tap for 5’s.  This is her last year as a kinder student!  Natalie was quick to develop a passion for dance.  Ever since her first year, Natalie has been a very sweet student who is eager to learn.  She is always focused, on task, and friendly to all of her class mates.

This year Natalie has started a new tradition among her classmates.  Her class starts in tap shoes and half way through they have to change into ballet shoes.  Natalie is a super speedy shoe changer, and Ms. Andrea quickly noticed.  Now, she and her classmates have a friendly “Shoe Changing Olympics” each week to see who can change their shoes the quickest.  Natalie doesn’t always receive the gold medal, but she is always at the top of the class and has a good attitude regardless of who wins.

As she has gotten older, Natalie has really taken hold of her dancing and can remember dance theory and vocabulary.  She is also working on memorizing the recital choreography without needing help.  We can’t wait to see her perform her very first tap recital dance in May.  Wonderful work, Natalie!

How old are you? 5

What is your favorite color? Pink

What is your favorite movie? Beauty and the Beast

What is your favorite food? Spaghetti

What is your favorite flavor ice cream?  Chocolate

Why do you love coming to dance class?  Because you’re my teacher.  (Awwww.)

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