Inside a Dance Studio is a blog hosted by Pegasus Studios with the aim of celebrating, discussing and learning about how dance can help support and foster healthy and happy children, adolescents and adults. This blog is inspired by our experiences as teachers and owners of Pegasus Studios, a dance studio primarily dedicated to art and health in children, from the ages of 2-20, give or take a few years!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Parent Toolbox: What you should ask when choosing a dance school

  • What is the philosophy or mandate – Many schools focus on competitions, which endorses competitiveness amongst students, places a lot of pressure on younger dancers and often encourages provocative dancing in inappropriate costumes. Make sure the values you have in raising your children match the values of the school.
  • Quality of studio – Sprung dance floors are crucial in preventing injuries in dancers. So when assessing the studio’s facilities make sure to ask if they have proper dance flooring. Change rooms, waiting rooms are other areas to look for.
  • Staff – what qualifications do the teachers have? Do they make sure their staff is trained in first aid and CPR? Do they have a front desk employee during all classes in case of emergency?
  • Hidden costs - The price of classes is one thing, make sure to ask about other costs such as recital costumes/tickets, exam fees and extra classes, uniform cost, etc.
  • Trial class – always try a class before signing up, make sure that you and your child feels comfortable with the studio, staff and the class. Ask about the refund policy before signing up as well, sometimes kids change their minds. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Health Smart! Caring for Injuries

The majority of dance related injuries are soft tissue injuries – being muscle, ligament or tendon damage. First and foremost, always get a professional opinion. What may appear to be a slight muscle strain could in fact be something more serious. But… in the event that you are dealing with a basic soft tissue injury the best treatment is R.I.C.E.
You know when you are at the beginning of a cold and you take a day off to stay in bed with chicken noodle soup? Often you get over the cold within a day or two and are back at it functioning at 100%. But, if you push through the cold and don’t take that one day off, the cold often lingers for weeks leaving you at maybe 80% for a long time. Injuries are the same. Rest is important to allow the injury time to heal, pushing through could end up doing more damage than sitting out for one or two dance classes, which can mean you are back on your feet sooner.
Applying ice to an injury helps to decrease pain and swelling while increasing the healing process. The best ice treatment is 15-20 minutes on once an hour. Always wrap the ice pack or frozen vegi’s in a towel so it does not have direct contact with skin.
Compression of the area using a tensor bandage can help to keep contain the swelling.
Elevating the area that is injured can help to get the blood back into circulation rather than pooling at the injury. Gravity can be in your favour. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spotlight: Recital Costuming

Recital time is coming up and we’ve got costume fever at Pegasus! Ever wonder how we get all those costumes together or why we handle costumes the way we do? Here it is… the cat is out of the box! All our secrets.
Secret number one: Hanna – Hanna is kind of like the fairy god-mother of costumes. We recycle costumes at Pegasus to try to keep costs down for parents. An average dance costume costs about $60-150 and many of our students need more than one costume! Parents, are the dollar signs starting to ring in your head yet? So instead of adding this extra cost, we invest in new costumes each year but always see what previous costumes we can reuse. But that means a lot of things. Cleaning, organizing and storage facilities – Hanna takes care of all of this. But most of all is the issue of fitting. When we reuse a costume we often find that we have to alter it for certain dancers or even that we have to re-create one or two because we have 12 dancers to 10 costumes. Hanna is the queen!
Secret number two: Missy – Missy is a seamstress that we’ve been working with for years now. Like Hanna, Missy can alter and re-create any costume we need, on top of designing and building wonderful costumes for our dancers. Without Missy… well, let’s not even think about that.
Secret number three: Embrace chaos while being extremely organized! This one is not as easy as it sounds.  The hardest part of this whole thing… making sure each and every student has a costume… that fits! Once that’s taken care of (a process that usually takes about 4 months) we have to make sure each student’s costume makes it to the theatre and in perfect shape.
Secret number four: Make sure you have some relaxation method in mind for directly after the evening of the recital… because the next day the cleaning, re-organizing and move to storage begins.
The best part of this whole process: Seeing the faces of the dancers when they first try on their costumes – it’s usually pretty exciting! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspirations: Twyla Tharp

If you go to Twyla Tharp’s website, her bio begins with a list of accomplishments that is immense, to say the least. Tharp has been choreographing since 1963 and has to date created over 135 dances, 5 movies and 4 Broadway shows (add director to those credits). Want to hear what honours she’s received? Try a Tony, a couple Emmy’s, 19 honourary doctorates, and on and on and on. This woman has been creating, performing, dancing, directing and inspiring to infinite and beyond! After studying with legends like Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, Tharp created her own company, Twyla Tharp Dance, in 1965. Her style is a mixture of all things great, classical traditions with pop music, techniques from Graham and Cunningham with jazz.
Why is Twyla Tharp inspiring? Well… not only has she proven her abilities to choreograph stunning pieces that touch an audience, she has also proven she can cross genres from classical to Broadway to film, and above all else… she’s still going!
Interested in Twyla Tharp’s choreography? Check out her piece The Upper Room at the National Ballet of Canada this summer, June 15-19.

Check out Twyla Tharp's website, where we got this information, for more great photos like the one above.