We have some great new pieces in our closet. Take a look at this beautiful black and rhinestone ballet costume. With matching male partner costume. Great for a duet.
As well, we have just added 6 new pair of male dance shoes – tap and hip hop. All are in excellent condition.
As always, we are looking for jazz, ballet and tap shoes for our tiniest dancers. Any small sizes you wish to consign would be most welcome. At Second Act, we love the fact that so many little ones are trying out their first dance class. We’d love to help them by having the right size shoes. So check your closet, make a bit of extra cash and keep dancing!
I read a new research study over the weekend that illustrated how young girls who dance can alleviate symptoms of depression, headaches, stress and fatigue. As a dance mom, I’ve always known that dance can make you feel happier and more energetic. I see the effects first hand in my girls. I also see the positive effects it has on their self-esteem and resiliency. It’s nice to now have the research to back up what I already knew to be true.
Anna Duberg, a physical therapist and doctoral candidate at Örebro University in Sweden, studied the benefit of dance training among girls between 13 to 19 years of age. She found that regular dance practice helped to prevent and treat mood disorders and depression. Dance class also helped to foster enhanced self-esteem and a greater capacity to deal with everyday problems. The positive effect of dance persisted at follow-ups four and eight months after the dance classes ended.
Whether your daughter dances for fun, school, competition or just to stay fit, it’s clear that the positive effects are far-reaching and long-lasting. In addition to providing a fun way to exercise, dance class also allows for meeting new friends and socializing in a positive environment. Whatever the reasons, just make sure you get out there and dance!
When done properly, strength training offers many benefits to young athletes. Strength training is even a good idea for kids who just want to look and feel better. In fact, strength training can put your child on a lifetime path to better health and fitness.
For young athletes, light resistance and controlled movements are best, with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing.
It’s important not to confuse strength training with weight lifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These exercises are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven’t yet turned to bone (growth plates), especially when the proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.
What are the Benefits of Strength Training for Kids?
Strength training can:
- Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
- Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
- Improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
Remember that strength training isn’t only for athletes. Even if your child isn’t interested in sports, strength training can:
- Strengthen your child’s bones
- Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight
- Improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem
During childhood, kids improve their body awareness, control and balance through active play. As early as age 7 or 8, however, strength training can become a valuable part of an overall fitness plan, as long as the child is mature enough to follow directions and practice proper technique and form.
If your athlete expresses an interest in strength training, remind him or her that strength training is meant to increase muscle strength and endurance. Bulking up is something else entirely and shouldn’t be done until after adolescence.
Where to Start?
A child’s strength training program isn’t necessarily a scaled-down version of what an adult would do. Keep these general principles in mind
- Seek instruction. Start with a coach or personal trainer who has experience with youth strength training. The coach or trainer can create a safe, effective strength training program based on your child’s age, size, skills and sports interests. Or enroll your child in a strength training class designed for kids.
- Warm up and cool down. Encourage your child to begin each strength training session with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity, such as walking, jogging in place or jumping rope. This warms the muscles and prepares them for more vigorous activity. Gentle stretching after each session is a good idea, too.
- Keep it light. Kids can safely lift adult-size weights, as long as the weight is light enough. In most cases, one set of 12 to 15 repetitions is all it takes. The resistance doesn’t have to come from weights, either. Resistance tubing and body-weight exercises, such as push-ups, are also effective.
- Stress proper technique. Rather than focusing on the amount of weight your child lifts, stress proper form and technique during each exercise. Your child can gradually increase the resistance or number of repetitions as he or she gets older.
- Supervise. Adult supervision is an important part of youth strength training. Don’t let your child go it alone.
- Rest between workouts. Make sure your child rests at least one full day between exercising each specific muscle group. Two or three strength training sessions a week are plenty.
- Keep it fun. Help your child vary the routine to prevent boredom.
Results won’t come overnight. Eventually, however, your child will notice a difference in muscle strength and endurance — which might fuel a fitness habit that lasts a lifetime.
- A three-hour ballet performance is roughly equivalent to two 90-minute soccer games back to back or running 18 miles.
- 31% of ballet dancers have had, or will have, a stress fracture.
- Did you know that dancers have better than average peripheral vision? Head angles are widely used in dance, so dancers have to use their eyes if they want to look to the side, without turning their heads.
- Most ballerinas wear out 2-3 pairs of Pointe shoes a week.
- Dancers are known to be disciplined, focused, and high achievers who tend to be successful students and hard workers.
- A male dancer lifts over 1 ½ tons of ballerinas during a performance.
- The average dancer does 200 one leg landing jumps per class – These jumps can produce a force equivalent to 12 times the dancer’s body weight.
- 90% of ballet dancers have clicking hips.
- One tutu requires 60-90 hours of labor; over 100 yards of ruffle and can cost up to $2000.00.
- On May 24th, 1998, the greatest ever number of tap dancers gathered for a single routine at the Stuttgart City Square in Germany
- Social dancing is equal to the exercise of a four mile walk
- Instead of going to a movie, try going out dancing together on a Saturday night; casual social dancing is the equivalent of going for a four-mile walk. If you do high-energy salsa dancing, you’ll get an even better workout!
For many parents, when their daughter asks to join a dance class, they immediately get visions of tutus and sugar plums. But when their sons begin to take an interest, they often get a squeamish look in their eyes, falling for the current perception is that dance is not a “manly” activity.
Dance is a sport that required a great deal of strength, agility and stamina. It’s a great way to stay fit, develop self-confidence and have fun. The road of dance for boys, however, can be difficult as the male dance will often face ridicule from their peers and from society. It’s so important to help change the perception as boys are missing out on the many valuable skills taught through dance. As the parent of a male dancer, it’s important to encourage your boys and emphasize that dance is fun; educational and even fills that need for competition.
The Benefits of Dance for Boys
- Dance is a great way to start building your son’s core muscles. It helps teach boys control of their bodies and how it moves.
- Dance helps with coordination, balance and good posture.
- Dance is a healthy, aerobic experience that helps develop stamina and build endurance.
- It benefits the girls. Boys bring a power and a force to dance that is very different from what girls can bring. The result of boys in class is a well-rounded class with the potential for excellent choreography.
- Dance builds confidence. Mastering increasingly complicated dance steps can boost their belief in themselves and they become more confident in their abilities.
- Dance helps boys learn to connect with girls in a non-threatening, non-sexual way.
- Dance teaches boys self-discipline, self-motivation and self-awareness. It teaches them to look inside of themselves, trust their gut and push themselves.
- Dance teaches boys to be mentally focused, respectful and accepting of new challenges.
- Dance teaches boys how to be part of a team. It teaches respect for authority and provides a structure and discipline that will last a lifetime.
Dance is one of the most physically, emotionally, mentally challenging experiences one can have. It encourages so many lessons of strength, and pushes the mental, emotional and physical boundaries of the dancer. It prepares them for the world in a way no other activity can. It prepares them to always keep their eyes and ears open. This is especially true for boys.
One of the most important tools we can teach our children is the importance of physical exercise. Children are naturally active and love to run, dance and play. As they get older, it becomes more and more challenging to ensure they are staying physically active as school demands, a busy family life and a lack of active role models often get in the way.
Despite these factors, there are things parents can do to help establish healthy exercise patterns that will last into adulthood which potentially could help them live a healthier and more productive life. I have always believed in the saying, “Health is wealth.” It is pretty difficult to enjoy the other aspects of our life if we don’t have our health.
Choose an age-appropriate activity.
To prevent boredom or frustration, try to choose activities that your child likes and can succeed at. The Kids Health website provides excellent age-appropriate activities for your preschooler, school-age child or teenager.
Provide many opportunities for them to be active.
Taking your child to a playground or involving them in sporting activities are key. Provide kids with choices to see what they really enjoy. When they’re young, it may take a few tries to find an activity that they like. There are so many to choose from. By giving them opportunities to try out different sports, they can find what they truly enjoy doing.
Keep the focus on fun.
Again this goes back to finding physical activities they enjoy. According to Kids Health, it is recommended that children six to 17 years of age do at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The activities could include riding their bike in the neighborhood, free play at home, recess, and active time at school or structured sports. I think most parents can attest to the fact that their children fall asleep faster if they have had a full day of activity. Which is a good thing for everyone.
With Visions of Sugarplums beginning to dance, it’s time to start thinking about a time-honored Christmas tradition. The Ballet Jorgen is once again putting producing Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and the auditions are getting closer. This beautiful Canadian Ballet takes audiences on the familiar journey of Klara but with a twist when she arrives in Canada and experiences winter landscapes filled with snowflakes, Mounties and woodland creatures. The Ballet’s second act is remembered for its varied dances and celebration of all woodland creatures. The show stopping pas de deux in the final act is lovingly danced by Lord and Lady Birch as they guide Klara safely home from her adventures. The Nutcracker will be performed at Centerpointe Theatre on December 15th and at The Shenkman Art Center on December 17th and 18th, 2012.
On October, 19, 2012, Ottawa auditions will take place at the Nepean Creative Arts Center in Bell’s Corners. Dancers must be 8-17 years old and have had previous dance training. Dancers interested in auditioning must register for a specific audition by filling out the online registration. Those selected to perform will be required to attend rehearsals for the entire Audition Weekend, as well as mandatory weekly rehearsals from that weekend forwards. They must also be available for every performance, without exception.
What you need
For the audition:
Students should wear the dance clothes and ballet shoes normally worn at their local dance classes. There is no need to prepare a dance piece or bring a portfolio or bio to the audition.
For the performances:
Costumes for the show are provided by Ballet Jorgen Canada but participants will need their own undergarments and shoes, equipment students already own for their regular dance classes. Upon cast member registration each participant will have the opportunity to order a keepsake 2012 Nutcracker Tour Shirt. A Company and Youth Cast photo will be taken at each performance and be made available to cast members at the end of the Nutcracker performance season.
So fill out your online registration form, grab your ballet shoes and good luck to all who are going to audition!
Halloween is coming up and if your kids are anything like my kids, the talk is all about costumes. And if you’re like me, you hate paying big buck for costumes. So lucky for me, I stumbled across this little tidbit on Facebook today: National Costume Swap Day.
National Costume Swap Day Canada builds on the movement started in the United States and October 13th is the first ever Canadian National Costume Swap Day. National Costume Swap Day provides a central meeting point where communities from across Canada can begin greening their Halloween by setting up, publicizing and hosting costume swaps at their local community centers, halls, churches, schools and other public places. These swap events help parents save money while still giving their kids fun and cool costumes that they haven’t used before.
This year, in Ottawa, 4Cats Arts Studio is hosting a swap on October 19th (not officially swap day but still a great day anyway). Just bring your clean costume to their studio by Wednesday, October 17th so they can sort them for easy swapping. If you can’t make the swap at 4Cats, check out the National Costume Swap Day site to find out more and where other swaps are being held.
This is a great way to promote recycling, reducing and reusing. Plus, the kids get to have fun and get a cool, new (to them) costume. Parents will come home with a strengthened feeling of community and will have emptied out a box or two from the basement (which is a definite plus!).
Most moms have images of their three-year-olds starting dance class for the first time twirling happily in pink and learning to skip and prance all over the studio. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are times when your three-year-old clings to your leg with tears streaming down their faces, pleading for you not to leave.
Some three-year-olds are just not ready for dance class. Many parents feel that if their child is sufficiently potty trained and has demonstrated an awareness and control of their bodies they are ready to dance. More importantly than being potty trained, however, is the ability to separate from their moms and follow directions from the teacher.
Young children react to separation anxiety in various ways. Some children leave their mothers without a backward glance. Some children merely need them to sit by the door for the first few minutes of class. Some children cannot be consoled if their parent leaves the room.
The first class can be a very bumpy ride as the teacher sorts out who is (or isn’t) ready for class. It’s not always instantly clear: a student who sat out most of the first class could happily join in by the second week. Those first moments of class may be difficult, but generally once tiny dancers become immersed in activity they have no further trouble with separation.
The ability to follow directions is another developmental marker. Fear can sometimes paralyze a very young child. Yet a child who is oblivious to classroom rules and who insists on engaging in her own activities is too immature for a structured lesson. Children who cannot separate from their parents or who do not follow directions should wait before joining a dance class.
Determining readiness can be difficult. Many teachers allow a child to try the class three times before making the decision as to whether the child is ready, basing it in part on the child’s reaction to the strategies for engaging her in class. Will the child come into the room if asked? Will she engage by holding a magic fairy wand if her mom sits near the door? Once she is in the room, does she participate, even if it’s from her mother’s side? If she joins the group and her mom slips out, how does she react?
If the child still cannot separate from her parent by the third class, it’s usually a sign that she needs to wait although some teachers are more flexible on this. Sometimes a child whose mom sits by the door for most classes just needs an occasional “run and get a hug” break that doesn’t disrupt the class too much will be tolerated. It usually depends on the size of the class.
Although most moms are excited about the prospect of their child starting dance class, not every young child is ready for the structure and expectations of dance class. Dance should be fun and enjoyable and when they’re ready, your tiny dancers will be jumping, hopping, and skipping with joy.