Book Premiere! What Dancers Look Like

OMGEEEEE. You Guys. Today is a big day. Why? Well, just because I'm sending my very first children's book out into the Universe!

HOOOOORAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

It's now available through Kindle Direct Publishing, and word has it you can check it here, but wanted to show it off here first. If you've poked at all around my site, you know that I'm pretty darn passionate about making dance accessible for everyone. One of the obstacles that people often feel is a barrier to being a dancer is their body type (raising my hand here, I feel that often), so What Dancers Look Like is all about zooming out on that perspective and refocusing on the amazing dancers that have been different and paved the way for us, and zooming in on the realization that we can look exactly the way we do, and still do anything we want. It's that simple. Another really awesome thing about What Dancers Look Like is that one of my former ballet students from Sonoma Conservatory of Dance, Natalie Anderson has done a GORGEOUS job with the illustrations I asked her to make for the book. I'm in awe of her many talents, and so glad to have her handiwork accompany my story. As nervous as I am to put this little work of mine out into the world, I would still love for you to not only read it, but share it and let me know what you think! So, without further ado my friends, I present, What Dancers Look Like!

What Dancers Look Like

Lizzy loved to dance. She was excellent at chasses and plies, and her port de bras was much better than when she started dance lessons. Her teacher, Miss Louise even said so. Other things Lizzy was not so good at yet. Sautes were really hard, and it was difficult not to get dizzy when she practiced her turns. But Lizzy practiced every day, and she loved watching the older dancers at her school, imagining the day when she would look like them.

            One day, when watching the big girls, something began to nag at Lizzy. She started to notice that many of the big girls all looked.... the same. And Lizzy noticed that she practiced the same way as her classmates, and wore the same clothes as the older dancers, but she didn’t really look like any of her classmates. This worried Lizzy.

            Then Lizzy had an idea. Miss Ellen would surely be the person to talk to! Miss Ellen owned the ballet school, and was always very busy in her office, but when Lizzy went there with her mother the day before she started ballet, Miss Ellen made silly faces at Lizzy when her Mom wasn’t looking, so Lizzy immediately liked her. Lizzy had also loved the wonderful posters of all kinds of dancers Miss Ellen had in her office.

What Dancers Look Like

So the next day after ballet class, Lizzy stood outside Miss Ellen’s office for a while. Nothing happened, so Lizzy poked her head inside the office door.

            “Yes, Lizzy? You’ve been hanging outside my door for 5 minutes now, what do you need?” Miss Ellen said over her spectacles.

            “Miss Ellen, will you tell me about the dancers in your pictures?” Lizzy asked, feeling a bit nervous.

            “Why?” asked Miss Ellen, She put down the papers she was reading.

            “Well, all the dancers in your pictures, they all look so different,” said Lizzy, “and I look so different from anyone in my ballet class.”

            Miss Ellen looked at her, then said “Certainly,” and stood up.

            They walked to the first poster. It had a ballet dancer, standing in an arabesque en pointe, reaching for the sky.

            “You know what kind of dancer this is, don’t you?” asked Miss Ellen.

            Lizzy nodded. “It’s a ballet dancer.”

            “Correct.” Said Miss Ellen. “Ballet tries to defy gravity, the force that keeps our feet on the ground, but other types of dance try to stay close to the earth, like this one.” Miss Ellen pointed to the next poster, of an Indian dancer surrounded by trees. Her knees were bent in plie, and she looked like she could have been a part of the swaying branches behind her.

            Lizzy and Miss Ellen moved to the next picture. These dancers were barefoot, and one dancer was in a wheelchair, and stretched his body like the letter T, while another dancer reached her legs like the letter V, upside down and doing a cartwheel.

            “Some dancers dance in chairs, like this one.” Miss Ellen said.

            “Why?” Lizzy asked.

            “Because that is how they get around. Some dancers walk, some dancers use a wheelchair, or crutches. It does not matter how we move, only that we each find a way of moving that suits us.”

            The next poster showed hip-hop dancers on a basketball court. “Some dancers don’t perform on a stage like we do, some dancers dance on sidewalks, rooftops, or mountains, or deserts.”

            “Why?” asked Lizzy.

            “Because that is where they feel most at home.” And Miss Ellen moved to the next picture. It had a round shaped woman and man singing and dancing on a beach.

            “Dancers can be different shapes too. They can be men or women.”

            “But I’ve never seen a boy dance!” Lizzy giggled.

            “This boy started dancing when he was young and then made one of the greatest dance companies in the world.” Miss Ellen pointed to the next picture, which showed a strong black man soaring high in the air like a bird. Lizzy thought about how much she loved jumping, and that she’d like to be able to jump as high as this man.

What Dancers Look Like

“Sometimes dancing is for children.” Miss Ellen said, and stopped in front of a group of small boys and girls dancing inside of a long, twisting costume that looked like a dragon. “Other times adults dance, for an audience, or just for themselves.” And Miss Ellen struck a pose like the two tango dancers in the next picture, who were dancing all alone in an empty room.

            “Some dances tell a story, or are a way for people to ask for what they need, like rain, food, or protection.” Miss Ellen touched the corner of a poster of Navajo dancers, who wore large headdresses and had painted their bodies’ red and black.

            They had visited all the posters in the room, but Miss Ellen stopped in front of a long mirror by her door.

            “And I see two more dancers right in front of us, in this mirror. One old, and one young, but that doesn’t make us different from each other when we dance, does it?” asked Miss Ellen, putting her feet in first position.           

            Lizzy smiled and put her feet in first position to match Miss Ellen. “No, I don’t think so.” She thanked her teacher with a hug and grabbed her bag to leave.

            “Lizzy,” said Miss Ellen as she walked to the door. “Every body can dance. If you ever need a reminder that dancers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and from all around the world, you can always come back here.”

            “Thanks Miss Ellen” Lizzy grinned.

            “Or, you can always just look in the mirror.” Miss Ellen winked at her. So that’s exactly what Lizzy did the very next day back in her ballet class, and for many ballet classes for many years, until she too had a place on the wall in Miss Ellen’s office.

What Dancers Look Like

Calling All Movers! Summer Dance Camps Enrolling Now!

Question Time:

  • Do you have kids who need something to do this summer?
  • Do said muchkins love moving, music and creating?
  • Would you love to give them something productive, engaging and educating to do while you do that thing called 'life' and 'work'?

If you answered YES to any of these, I have a solution for you!

There's just a few more weeks to enroll for Summer Dance Camps in St. Helena, Ca! I'll be offering awesome 1 and 2 week camps in the following areas:

  • Creative Movement

  • Ballet

  • Hip Hop

  • Musical Theater (Beauty & The Beast)

Every camp includes technique, choreography, crafts, and concludes with an informal performance for friends and family. Camps will be held at the Carnegie Building in St. Helena, Ca, only for the month of June. Upstate NY - you have this opportunity too, but in July and August! I encourage you to GET ON IT, because spots are limited! These programs are all in partnership with St. Helena Parks & Rec, and you can register by hitting that beautiful pink button below!

After you've done that, get pumped with this playlist, and holla at me if you have questions, or just want to shout out how excited you are! I'll see you at camp!

3 Easy Steps To Spring Clean Your Studio's Website

“I have so much free time I just don’t know what to do with myself!” Said no dance studio owner ever. Operating a dance studio is a more that full time job; there really is no down season, and the to-do lists can pile up faster than you can say “plie”.  It can be easy to fall behind, especially in today’s world, where in addition to having all your duckies in a row in the studio, business owners are expected to keep online content up to date, fresh, and engaging. If you’re nodding your head right now and saying ‘yaaaassss’ to your computer screen then keep reading, because in the spirit of spring cleaning, I’m sharing 3 easy tips that will have your website and online presence spruced up, perky, and ready for whatever comes your way this season.

1. Make It Someone Else's Job

Yep, you read that correctly. You’re a busy person, and you’ve got a lot to do. Getting a fresh set of eyes on your website is one of the easiest things you can do towards getting an unbiased opinion on what is working and what isn’t. Ask someone you trust and who is knowledgeable about your business to dedicate at least an hour to combing through your website, links, blog, Facebook and Instagram accounts and get them to make a list for you of what is clear, doesn’t make sense, is working, and what’s fun. Be clear that you’re not looking for judgment or even suggestions. You should ask someone that you’d feel comfortable getting this information back from. Once you have that list, go about checking things off it. Make sure links are correct and working. Delete text or information that’s not up to date or incorrect. 

2. Get Important Stuff 'Above the Fold'

You CAN get your site spiffy without going crazy!

You CAN get your site spiffy without going crazy!

After you’ve gotten rid of what’s no longer serving you, or correctly representing your business, you should be left with the important stuff. Your philosophy, your accomplishments, the things you’re proud of and want people to know about you. That’s the content that we want to feature ‘above the fold’. Or, in other words, the stuff that people don’t have to scroll down for or look too hard for. People often don’t scroll down on their computers or iPhones. Extra text gets lost and people won’t search for very long to find what they’re looking for. Get the most important info out there and at the top of your page. Test it yourself on your own computer and on your own phone. Remember, less is more. 

3. Is It Relevant, On Message, Helpful?

Now you should be left with only the most relevant, on point(e) (sorry, couldn’t help myself) and helpful content on your site. The key is to maintain that. Ask yourself these 3 questions before you include any info on your website or social media posts. All of the content you publish and put out into the world should point back to the things that make your business yours, and while that will vary for every business owner (maybe you’re highlighting the fact that you’re an RAD school, or perhaps you’re particularly proud of the fact that you have a community outreach program), all of your content should be relevant to your brand, consistent with the message you want to promote about your studio, and helpful to your clients. If you can put these things in to practice you’ll be golden!

So there you have it! Do you feel ready to sweep out the old and welcome in the new? Awesome! Let me know how these tactics work for you, I love connecting up on social media, and feel free to share these ideas with any other studio owners you think might benefit from a spring cleaning overhaul.

May Book Report - Mamas, Moons & Mirrors

Ok, you all know I love an alliteration, but I promise I really didn't mean for this month's Book Report to have so many, it just happened that way, but clearly, this post is brought to you by the letter M. All the same, it's appropriate considering Mother's Day is around the corner, and included today are some sweet pics for the mamas in your life. Let's dive right in!

Many Moons

You don't have to be a science nerd to appreciate this totally unique book. Many Moons teaches the phases of the moon in a fun, humorous and simple way that both kids and parents will dig. Follow along as the moon transforms from the shape of a smile to a mother's budding belly, to a round of cheese (my personal favorite phase). Bold and beautiful, I have a feeling this book will captivate and be a favorite in many libraries for years to come.

Raisin - The Littlest Cow

I don't think I've ever seen a cow as cute as Raisin. Raisin is a sweet little calf nugget who's having a hard time adjusting to having a new sibling around. Raisin has the voice of that kid who has big plans, might be a little too cool for school, but still needs a good old bear hug every once in awhile. If you've got a new sibling on the way, this is a great choice for families to read together to prepare, share a smile, and a couple laughs.

You Made Me a Mother

Have your tissue box handy, because You Made Me A Mother is sure to have you sniffling in no time. I actually used this book as a Guest Book for a baby shower I helped to throw last year, and it served up a double punch as causing all the moms to coo and pucker, as well as get their sentimental juices flowing to write the sweetest wishes for the mom-to-be. Here is a perfect choice for a gift for moms at any stage, from newbies or grandmas; bonus points if it accompanies breakfast in bed with a side of mimosa for mom!

Mirror Mirror

I've been looking forward to sharing this book for a long time; Marilyn Singer is one of my favorite children's authors, and Mirror Mirror definitely doesn't disappoint. Imagine all your favorite storybook classics turned on their head (a la Once Upon a Time, but waaaaay less confusing). Add catchy rhymes, plays on words, and unexpected twists, and you've got a recipe for giggles, thought provoking conversations, and a story time full of fun. I'm a fan of any untraditional princess/fairy tale, and this is definitely one of those books. It's a great option for older readers who know the routine tales, and/or kids who like poetry and word play. The illustrations as well are super fun, remember those old school Magic Eye books? Kind of like that, but less likely to give you a headache.


Will you be adding any of these to your reading list this month? Let me know which, and what you think my fellow book worms! Happy Reading!

*Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive 4.50% if you make a purchase using this link.*

May Brain Dance: Bloom & Grow

April showers bring May flowers, right? RIGHT? Upstate NY, where are all the flowers, yo? California peeps, send me some bloom love, because while the mountains and lakes here are gorgeous, I know all that California rain you got this winter is making for some beautiful gardens right about now. This is the spirit in which I bring you May's Brain Dance! Lots of fresh, new, and fun exercises bundled up in this month's videos, and if the space I recorded in looks new, that's because it is! Just one of my makeshift recording studios for the next few months :) Friendly reminder that you can download a free print out of all the instructions to go along with this month's Brain Dance right here. You're welcome! Now, onto the dancing!

Breath

Tactile

Core/Distal

Head/Tail

Upper/Lower

Body Side

Cross Lateral 

Vestibular

To sign off, I'm going to tell you what I'd just super, duper love... share yourself participating in this Brain Dance with me! Hit me up in one of the many ways we can find each other and let me see you shaking your groove thing this month! Sharing dance and seeing it all come full circle gives me all the warm and fuzzies, so get moving and let me know how it goes! Cheers!

The Phenomena of "First": Why Misty Copeland Isn't What You Think

I'm going deep in today's blog, because as I've promised, in addition to being a space for the fun, educational and inspirational facets of dance, this is also a space for honest discussion about the challenges and problems the dance world has and is facing. 

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

You'd probably have to be living under a rock to not at least recognize the name of Misty Copeland. She's a talented, versatile, strong and dynamic dancer with American Ballet Theater. She is also a woman of color. These two facts have created a lot of buzz in the social media world, and credited Misty with being the first African American Principal Dancer at ABT, which she is. But before that, she was incorrectly labeled as the first female African American soloist dancer at ABT. It's that before bit that needs to be spotlighted, because it doesn't give credit to the path that was cleared for Copeland. It was an extremely unrepresented path (let's do better, dance world!), but it was still there. And to not give credit where credit is due is not only not fair to the artists who dedicated their lives to dance, but dangerous because it dilutes the vibrant history of dance and its pioneers.  

Debra Austin, Principal Dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet in the 1980's

Debra Austin, Principal Dancer at Pennsylvania Ballet in the 1980's

My issue isn't with Misty Copeland at all. She's badass, much needed voice in the dance community, not to mention a phenomenal dancer. What I have a problem with is the proliferation of words like 'only' and 'first'. Today we use these terms to convey admiration, respect, and fame, further fodder for the popular notion that we're nobody until we're somebody who's done something singular. Here's a spoiler alert: not only are these terms and ideas not true, they're ridiculous! It's 2017! It's all been done before. It's all been done before, but not by you. Whatever "it" is that you do - dance, draw, sing, write, that "it" has never been heard by the world before because you haven't been here until now. That is the first that I wish we could focus on. Rather than using first as a negative (that what you have to offer will never be unique unless you've done "it" first/differently/as its never been done before), what if we used it as a jumping off point to celebrate our individual voices and strengths? Would we be a little more accepting of ourselves and others? Would it create a little more room for everyone instead of cramming the first and select few into tidy little boxes? I don't know, but I can tell you from experience that when we make room for everyone, we also make more room for ourselves and the fear of not being seen falls away. A universal truth: we all want to see glimpses of ourselves as we navigate through our lives. While 'firsts' can help highlight our fellow crewmates,  and inspire us, 'firsts' can also isolate us even further from the larger communities we seek.

Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American woman to dance with the Ballet Russe

Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American woman to dance with the Ballet Russe

So, here's what I think: the next time you see something touted as being a 'first', #1, ask if that's really true. Dig around, and find out for yourself. #2, don't allow 'firsts' to make you feel bad. You're already a first by being here, in the world, as yourself. You do you boo. You don't need Google or Wikipedia or social media to associate your name with 'first' to be valued. #3 shout out the people/places/things that give value to your journey. I'll go first:

  • Misty Copeland - Principal Dancer of color with ABT - #fierce 
  • Nora Kimball - Soloist Dancer of color with ABT, Nederlands Dance Theater & Frankfurt Ballet in the 1980's and 90's

Your turn! Who and what are giving life to your creative lives? Did you learn something new from this post? Want to tell me how much you love Misty and why? Let's talk it out, yo! I'm always interested to hear what you have to say.

PS: Here's some further recommended reading for you on this topic!

Different Drummer Goes Bi-Coastal!

Greetings from upstate New York! If you've been following me on my social media channels (which you totally should be, btw), you've probably figured out that I've made a move! I'm blogging today from Speculator, NY, a tiny town in the Adirondack Park, where my fiancé was born and raised, and is now a business owner!

My view as I blog today... the ice on Lake Pleasant has almost broken!

My view as I blog today... the ice on Lake Pleasant has almost broken!

I'll be spending the next several weeks here helping him get his new business off the ground (and by that I mean painting, sweeping, and generally avoiding doing any heavy lifting), and getting some projects for Different Drummer lined up and ready to launch!

Getting friendly with the local wildlife (in the library, of course)

Getting friendly with the local wildlife (in the library, of course)

I'll be partnering with Lake Pleasant Public Library to offer some story times and movement classes, and am hoping to visit as many kiddos in my new home as possible with the fresh, bright, and big-hearted classes that Different Drummer is known for. If you know of any places I should reach out to, or are interested in working together, let me know! In the meantime, I'll be planning and prepping for some amaze-balls summer camps that will go down in June with St. Helena Parks & Rec. You can get those deets here; and I'll also be rolling out Dance Daze - single day dance camps for individual and small groups that are totally customizable and give you all the tools to keep your dance skills fresh all summer long.

Future home of Camp Store!

Future home of Camp Store!

I'm really looking forward to sharing my upstate New York adventures with you all! Follow along with me for all the updates and news as I (try to) embrace all the crazy change that I know is on the way! Cheers!

3 Egg-Celent Ways to Start an Easter Dance Party

Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on it's way! As we spring towards the holiday this weekend, I'm totally feeling all of the buds, blooms, and freshness of the season. There's a change in the air, can you feel it? Personally, I'm embarking on a pretty big adventure this week (more on that to come!), and there's something that feels so right about it being during this season. If you're anything like me and this time of year inspires you to do a little cleaning, organizing and redecorating, you may find yourself up to your elbows not only with bags to donate, but at a loss with what to do with all your cute Easter decorations (I blame you, Target dollar bin), but wondering what the heck to do with all the cuteness after the season passes. Fear not! I have 3 fresh ideas for you to reuse and recycle those Easter eggs that will have your kiddos bopping and hopping around in no time. (Maybe burning off some of that excess energy from all the chocolate?) Get your notepad and pencil out, and get ready to get inspired to get your dance party on all spring long!

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1. Movement Eggs

Get yourself a handful of eggs and a sheet of paper. Write down different action move(ments) on a slip of paper and tuck them inside of the eggs. Here are some of my favs:

  • Hop
  • Spin
  • Skip
  • Roll
  • Tip Toe

Hide them around your yard (or inside if it's raining), count to 3 and let the Littles have at it! Once they find the egg they perform the movement around their space until they find a new egg. Later, rise, and repeat!

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2. Fill With Rice/Beans

It is a truth universally acknowledged that given any kind of percussion instrument, kids will go nuts. Insane. So I only recommend this one if you're up for listening to that, or if you can remove yourself from the scene of the crime, but the kids will LOVE this one. Reuse your eggs and make them into shakers by filling them with rice or beans, or even beads. Put on some fun music (need suggestions? I've got just the playlist), and leave them to it. For older kids you can fill eggs with different things and have them try and listen for the difference in the sounds, and/or fill the eggs with different amounts of the rice/beans and ask them to listen for the difference (is one egg softer sounding, louder sounding?).

3. Red Light, Green Light Variation

Use up some of that leftover Easter grass by assigning slow, medium and fast movements to a color of grass (you could use red, yellow, and green, or just whatever color grass you have on hand. OR, use leftover candy, but follow the same theme; red jellybeans mean stop, green mean go, etc.). Let one kid pick a few eggs from a basket and reveal/call out what speed the others should move.

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There you have it my friends! 3 new games that you can incorporate into your Easter/spring traditions that get everyone up and moving! If you've got a party coming up, these are also great icebreakers to get everyone giggling and comfortable. Will you be trying any of these out this weekend? Let me know how they go, and as always, Happy Dancing!

4 Questions to Ask to Find the Perfect Summer Dance Camp

I know spring has barely sprung, but 'tis already the season to start planning those summer activities for the Littles. I'm currently knee-deep in plans for my own summer dance camps in partnership with St. Helena Parks & Rec (it's going to be the best. summer. ever.) and for those of you already fighting a migraine thinking about hauling the kids to and fro and working up a sweat wondering WHAT exactly your cutie will be doing all day long at their summer camp, take a deep breath; today I'm sharing 4 questions to ask that will help you find the perfect dance camp/summer activity for your student. Reading through this list will help you sift through the options to get a clear picture of not only what your options are, but what you and your kiddo want. Ready? Let's go!

1. Language Matters

This is a a bit of a no-brainer, but really, so important. What kind of vibe do you get from the school's website, flyer, and general language? It will speak to what their focus and teaching philosophy is. Do they mention what kind of technique/syllabus they use? RAD = Royal Academy of Dance, which is my fav (because that's style in which I was trained). The RAD focuses on solid and safe technique, with an emphasis on musicality and performance. The Cecchetti method is rooted in Italian tradition (btw, did you know ballet actually was born in Italy, NOT in France?), and was the first to codify a syllabus. The technique is very lyrical, but also focuses strongly on anatomy. The Vaganova technique was developed by Russian dancer Agrippina Vaganova in the early 1900's and fuses Italian methods with traditional French Romantic technique, with a focus on whole body consciousness. Look to see if these terms are mentioned. If not, ask what the focus is, and don't be afraid to ask the director to explain his or her background and mission in teaching.

2. Watch The "Big Girls"

One of the things that I find so special about ballet studio culture is how the "big girls" (aka, the older students) are trained to look out for the younger students. A lot of the time this is because the older students will serve as TAs to the teachers, and studio owners will encourage the more experienced students to guide the younger ones during rehearsals and shows (hey, we need all the help we can get when we've got a room full of fun-sized minions), and in my experience, the older students love not only being helpers, but wearing the role model hat. That being said, look to see if the studio has any older dancers. #1 it's a good indication that the studio has a strong following and that they foster students who stick around and who have been through ranks, and #2 watching the big kids will give you a good picture of what your student might grow up to be like.

3. Quality vs. Quantity

Most summer programs are all about variety. Many schools bring in guest teachers to offer classes in disciplines that may not be normally offered during the school year. Exposing dancers to all kinds of techniques is great, so checking out both a summer and fall schedule from your studio is key. But, that being said, there's nothing wrong with a program that only focuses on one or two disciplines. In fact, many ballet studios will focus only on their syllabus (see above re: RAD vs. Vaganova, etc.) Know if you're going for a focus on ballet or jazz, or hip hop, or a variety of styles. There's no wrong answer here, but it's good to be clear on what you and your student want from the program before signing up.

4. Go With Your Gut

It's easy to get overwhelmed when planning summer activities, and studios are still businesses; they want to sell enrollments, so it's important to trust your gut. Does it sound/feel/look like a place you'd want to spend the day? Then go for it! If you're feeling uncomfy or unsure, move on. There's no lack of schools offering summer activities, don't be afraid to keep shopping around. If you have any other questions about how to choose a summer program, feel free to hit me up on the social medias, and... (shameless plug)... I'm also offering summer camps in St. Helena this summer, so check it yo, and let's dance together this summer! :)

Hip Hip Hooray! Different Drummer is Here!

YOU GUYS. It's happened! Different Drummer is here and alive on your computer screen! Ahhh! This has been a long time coming (like, 3-4 years coming), a dream in the making, and thanks to the help of my friends over at BrandCrush, I have a bright, fresh, and PRETTY new website! Now, my go-to as I was starting to write this post up was to take you on a tour of my fab new site, but I'm trying this thing of not falling into old habits; I have a fresh new website, so its content should be fresh too, right? (RIGHT.) So, I'll leave you good people to poke around all my beautiful pages like the website competent beauties you are, and instead of giving you a guided tour, try something fresh: get super honest and clear about what my goal is for this blog, and what you can expect from spending your valuable time here with me.

My face thinking about getting Different Drummer up and running in the days before the site went live!

My face thinking about getting Different Drummer up and running in the days before the site went live!

Inspiration

I'm on a mission to curate a life for myself that's authentic, creative, and supportive of my passions and goals. I think that's something we're all searching for. Whether you're a banker, a parent, or a fellow dance teacher, inspiration is one of those things that's abundant in the world, but somehow always seems to escape our grasp. Sometimes all we need is a reminder that it's out there, and it's much more tenable than we think. I hope to create those reminders for not only myself, but for you readers as well. This could be through a craft, through a Ballerina Birthday I'm planning, a conversation with another creative, or simply a walk through my neighborhood.

Honesty 

Guys, I have some opinions. And I'm gonna share them. I get feisty and passionate about dance, dance education, and its past, present, and future. I feel sharing these views is especially important right now, with the media's eye turned more towards dancers, and the dance world than it has been in a long while (thanks to phenomena like Dance Moms, Dancing With The Stars, etc.). And, since I work with youth, I'm constantly questioning my views, turning them over and sculpting them into ideas that feel honest, aware, and sharable with my students. I want this to be a place for that to happen; respectfully, honestly, and hopefully some of the time, with humor.

Fun

Speaking of humor...it's one of the things I love about teaching kids: they always remind me that life is FUN. Silly, musical, fall-down-laughing, fun. Adulting can get us all down, and the world can be tough, but I completely believe that we were created to be joyful, and to share our joy with each other. My students share it with me, and I hope I share it with them. I promise to have bright, fun, and big-hearted content that you can use in your daily life, be it a goofy dance exercise, rockin' playlist, or giggle-inducing new kid's book review. Let's get our fun on, and keep it on.

Innovation

One of my favorite lines in my entire website is "These aren't your mother's dance classes". I'm committed to thinking outside the box, or outside the tutu, as the case may be, when it comes to movement education. I want to challenge stereotypes, norms, and accepted beliefs about what it means to be a dancer. I've spent so much time trying to fit a mold (and still find myself falling into this trap from time to time), but have come to realize that it's not worth the effort to fit into someone else's mold when I can just make my own.

What I live for - those fun, joyful faces totally jamming on being in and in charge of their bodies!

What I live for - those fun, joyful faces totally jamming on being in and in charge of their bodies!

So there you have it.

I'm giving myself a pat on the back for adding this first post to what I hope is a long list of inspirational, honest, fun, and innovative blogs, and am extending an invitation to you to come along on the journey with me. Let's ride off into the sunset with big dreams, full hearts, and some killer dance moves in our packs. You with me? Yes? YES.