Month: September 2010


Visiting the Old Studio

Went for a drive today and ended up at the old studio at Bowling Alley Lane. It’s now home to the Wabi-Sabi Thrift Store. A Nonprofit Network, that exists to help local organizations and individuals more effectively meet the needs of the community. That is cool.

There isn’t much left to say that the space was ever a dance studio except for the 1000’s of dollars of dance flooring that you walk upon as you enter the building.

One would think you could take that floor up and sell it. One would think. The full length mirrors are being used in the dressing rooms.

Oh, I found an old dance jacket there; it completes my collection of 12 years. I now have all the jackets. Spent a whole $1.25 for it.

There really isn’t any other memorabilia left out there. Wabi-Sabi was kind enough last year to give us the remaining 85 trophies.

A down town studio would be much better. One with main street frontage, lighted parking, and crosswalks. Kind of like the studio up in Roosevelt Utah. Right there on main. Great location. Location is everything.

Just a blast from the past. Thought I’d share.

Reaching Beyond

Sometimes you have to push yourself a little harder to get to where you want to be in life.  That doesn’t mean it will be easier, but if you work hard – chances are it will be better.  Your life will be better.

Dance is that way too.  All you have to do is be good!  Good enough to make those spots.  Good enough to feel good about yourself.

Reaching for greater heights in your dance is what its all about.  Challenge yourself to learn a new skill, or master one that has been keeping you back.

If you believe in what it is you are doing – you can do anything.  It’s not about what your neighbor is doing, or what your friends are doing.  Dance is about you and what you put into it.

All you need in life is skill and ability to use that skill.  Don’t let others keep you from achieving your dreams.  Reach beyond the pack.  You will be surprised at how good it feels.  Make the Grade Kids.  Make the Grade.  Reach beyond the pack, beyond the norm.


Love you guys


Asking for help

When you are dancing in school, the idea of becoming an “alumni” might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. But after you have been out of school and away from dance for a while, it takes on a whole different meaning.

Maybe you have kids of your own now – maybe even grand kids! The alumni of any school, studio, or national organization is what brought you to where you were in the first place – the dance floor. It is there that your memory, your past, and in some cases your future were formed.

Most alumni’s have been known to do a host of charitable events, sponsor dancers, and even kick in money for rooms and travel for active members. You might find yourself looking at your past team and all those coming up behind you. -How are they doing? -Is there a need? -Could you help? Sometimes helping means getting on the phone, making calls, or handing out flyers. For others it is cash donation. As an alumni you are probably more than happy to help out.

Doesn’t matter how you choose to help, be that organiziing a fundraiser, sponsoring a trip , or just paying for car wash tickets. Help those dancers who may be looking at cuts during their dance season regain hope.

Most of us have danced just about everywhere. We’ve danced in hallways, commons, cafeterias, outside, on the side of a mountain, and even on an old city park stage filled with splinter wood. We’ve danced in the streets, carrying flags, and wearing batman costumes. We can always find a floor. What we can’t always find is the funding for costumes, travel, and fees. That is where we need our alumni.

My freshman year we bought used costumes from dancers who were graduating high school. We didn’t have bags that year unless someone gave us one. We were paying off prior team debts, with current funding. So this isn’t a new thing. Parents from my studio days helped make costumes and props.

A list of alumni should be available at your school district or local college, university, or studio. You should always be including them in your plans. Alumni like to be recognized too! Sponsor your own alumni dance. Most alumni would be grateful to get back on the floor and perform – just for kicks and giggles.. You could get your school to sponsor a basketball game and give the money to your team to help with dance costs.

The community sitting on the stands are packed with alumni. Most alumni don’t mind paying for an alumni shirt to dance in, and to pay for a special dinner. $50 a pop – you keep a cut. That is what alumni can do for you!

Sometimes the need is money. My university dance team alumni, the Crimsonline, sponsors the Utah State Drill every year. It is their largest fundraiser. The Crimsonline has been successful enough to even be able to award small scholarships to the members of their team. That was a nice perk! The Crimsonline also dances at at drill state; they also invite BYU’s cougarettes, UVU wolverines; SUU has also attended in the past, as well as other college and university teams throughout the state. The idea is that all the dancers throughout the state get the chance to see ALL the alumni state wide. You set your rivalries aside for this. Here – all teams are equal. We are nothing without each other.

You need your alumni. Many scholarships are awarded from various alumni associations. At the high school level, you still can solicit your alumni to help you in time of need. Alumni can work with your school in helping with travel, motel, and chaperone costs. You may have to get volunteers to help with your choreography, rather than purchase it.

As future alumni yourself, you may have to begin working a little harder than you had in the past. Bump it up a notch. You may have to do a number of extra fundraisers to help those who struggle financially – get costumes. Take a step back even future into your past and see if you remember doing a lasagna dinner to get your fees paid? A spook alley? How about selling cookie dough?

Programs come and go. Alumni’s remain. It is the one thing they cannot take from you. It is the one position that you can help with the most. Financially, teams need all the help they can get. If your program is looking at serious cuts – don’t wait until they take it away. You need to be on you’re “A” game – the “Alumni game” now. You need to be actively going after the help and support of those that have gone before you. Embrace them, or you might not be dancing at all. Call on all your resources. The alumni may be what is standing between you and your ability to go to drill state, that special completion, or next years camp.

I just finished up my first reunion with my alumni. It was a wonderful experience. All members paid in advance to carry the fees for costumes and dinner. It was well organized and it was great to be back out on the field in front of 40,000 university fans.

It’s your turn! Keep the dream alive for someone who is coming up behind you. Donate where you can, get involved. Call your high school or local college – let them know you want to help. If a current member gives you a call – tell them you will help.

Leadership..tough job

Nothing is more heart breaking than having a kid feel like they have been signaled out or excluded from an event. Too often you see this scenario repeated in schools and extra circular events. Someone is bound to get their feelings hurt.

My concern is, what is left for those kids who have been left behind – for whatever reason. Is there a good enough reason? I don’t think so. Adults who lead often become so absorbed in the actions of an event that they lose sight of those kids who are falling between the cracks.

Compound the fact, with juvenile peer pressure, and you have a real situation on your hands. Some actions, or lack of actions, can have a detrimental effect on a young mind. I’m not talking just hurt feelings, but a total loss of self esteem.

Adults who are in charge need to lead everyone, not just those who are draining their attention. It’s the student who is non-attentive, that is often over looked – the one left behind.

School outings and events aren’t just for the social elite, or those who have money and can buy their children a spot. Events are for everyone. I’m not being rude or ignorant, I’m telling you the truth.

The answers people will give you when they know they are caught in a lie, not towing line, etc., will baffle  you. Here are a few:

It was a paper error.
It was coach error.
It was a volunteer error.
It was the drama mama.
It was the Captains.
It was – “oh it just happened. Well, we will do something with them when WE get back”.

So why didn’t someone fix it? How devastating is that to a child? Not just to the child, but to their entire family sometimes.   You may think you are a leader, a teacher, a parent volunteer – or whatever. You may think your child is a leader. But, if you leave one member of your team behind you failed the test. You failed to lead.

Students tend to bully other students who they perceive as inferior. Where is the teacher during all of this? It is the adults who fail to lead which help to potentially place those very labels on kids.  The most typical answer is “girls will be girls”, or “boys will be boys”.  Not real imaginative.

Is your community failing the test? A child can’t lead but through example. What type of leader are you?  What example are you setting. A child is watching.

Real leaders are leaders who listen, observe, and then make decisions.  Don’t open your mouth too quickly, and thus burn bridges – rebuilding is rough, and can take years.

If you tell the truth to being with –  there is a better sense of trust that is developed.  Hiding or fabricating your experience is not leadership – far from it.   It is what it is – a lie.

Good leaders know that it takes everyone on a team to be successful.  If you leave someone out,  then resentment and turmoil usually follow.   The younger your team, the more chance that a student will mis-communicate your words to family and friends.  Most just do not have the training and experience that they will need to rationalize out a difficult situation.

Sometimes leaders have to step up to the plate and give  bad news to a dancer(s). It is only through maturity that a dancer will learn to handle constructive criticism.

By listening, and actually hearing what your students or team mates are saying, you are giving them the best gift you can give them.  You are recognizing  them as a person.  You are respecting what they have to say.  It is always important to hear both sides of a situation before you make a decision.

There does come a time when you may need to shut down the rhetoric and move on.  That is the hardest time for those in leadership positions.  It is here that friendships can, and will be tested.  The truth hurts sometimes.  Sometimes we have to tell our friends no. Leadership doesn’t involve picking favorites.   Leadership involves  picking the most talented individuals.  If one of the most talented is a friend – good for them – good for the team. Same goes for family members.

Did your ego get hurt when you took on the role of “leader”?  Was it automatic?  Did you expect that to happen?  So quickly?  Welcome to being a leader.  It is now your job to sort out all the problems.  As you learn and grow in your leadership position – it will hopefully get easier.   Everyone has a learning curve.   Some of the best leaders are listeners.  Lead by example.