If she's not already on your radar, up-and-coming contemporary ballet dancer Kayla Mak should be. The 16-year-old has trained from the age of 3 at Westchester Dance Academy in Westchester, New York, under the direction of Kelly Burke (Dance Teacher, October 2015). Of late, Mak has been stunning audiences on Season 3 of NBC's "World of Dance." "The exposure on this show is so great," she says. "I'm so excited to open the door a bit wider for contemporary ballet and television."
After years of throwing summer parties at your studio, you're likely fatigued by coming up with themes and event details. You want your students to have a good time, but you're also up to your eyeballs in choreography and costume decisions.
Never fear! We've come up with party themes and activities to do during the event. Delegate tasks to your teachers and office managers, and voilà! You have a stress-free party ready to go.
Q: I have a ballet student who feels a click in her working knee every time she does a fondu in any direction. It happens just as she straightens it, and it seems to be relatively painful. What do you think is happening?
Nikki Calonge at Jaya Yoga Center in Brooklyn. Photo by Rachel Papo
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously asserted "Life is flux." Dancers most certainly know this to be true. Whether they are early in their training or seasoned professionals, change is your students' persistent companion. Dancers must nimbly adjust to shifting expectations, choreography and opportunities, as well as to transformation within their very own bodies, the instrument of their art. Physical change occurs, for example, as young dancers come into physical maturity and as adult dancers meet the natural process of aging. Dancers of any age may face change in their bodies due to injury.
As dance teachers, we don't have much patience for goofing off. Case in point: Some of our trademark phrases are, "Stretch your legs not your mouths," and "If you have time to talk, you have time to go over the choreography." We are all about efficiency 💁♀️. So, the idea of celebrating National Goof Off Day may sound like the most absurd thing in the world to you, but hear us out. Your dancers work hard, and they sacrifice so much in order to pursue their dreams with you each day. Odds are, they need a break, and one day of goofing off may just be the thing that will help them recharge and come back more focused than ever.
Here's what you can do during class that will help your dancers grow as artists, while allowing them to let loose and chill out. Enjoy!
Q: My daughter was recently told that her hyperextended knees are causing her hips to sway out, which is inhibiting her ability to get over on the box of her pointe shoes. She had a significant growth spurt in the past year, could this be part of the problem? Can things be corrected, and what kind of time frame am I looking at?