Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Introducing Eliza Krakower!

Eliza Krakower

Our May & June 1-5th blogger!

Adios - My Friends

It's been fun...truly! 

Actually: It has been an extremely busy/stressful month. I didn't have much time to blog about some of the more important topics. Good news though...I will start blogging again Mid-June-August! Then we will start up again with student bloggers! 

We all have a crazy month ahead of us! Between TRIP performing at 'Weekend of Hope,' TRIP Company Auditions, weekend rehearsals, show week rehearsals, the show itself, a ton of family business & going Full Time at Fuse Marketing in Burlington!  Let's see if I survive! 


My successor: Miss Eliza Krakower! 

Eliza is a current senior at Stowe High School. She has been dancing at SDA since she was a wee-one, and has been an important member of TRIP Dance Co.! Eliza currently teaches Lyrical 1 & will be performing as a stepsister and many other roles in our Spring production!

Eliza will be blogging for the month of May, and the first few days of June-as to cover our show season! Lets see what she comes up with!


Ticket Sales/Poster Finalization...Our Show is Just around the Corner!

Announcing the 2013 Poster - Design by Nik David


This poster was designed by my brother/Helena's son Nik! He is a fantastic designer...give him some love on our FB page!


T-Shirt Order Forms!

Adult Shirts - Alternative Apperal

Youth Shirts - Bella Products (Note: sizes run small)

Leave all shirt order forms at SDA by May 18th!


Ticket Sales...Oh Boy!

Tickets went on sale today for SDA/MRDA Families today! So far...so good! If you are an SDA/MRDA family, call 253-5151 or stop by SDA to purchase your tickets now! If you're a member of the 'General Public,' stop by SDA or call 253-5151 Wednesday 5.8.13 and on for tickets!

Coppe really wants to see you at the show!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Aches & Pains

As dancers are constantly putting their bodies through high levels of stress, there are bound to be a few (or many) aches and pains throughout the years. I didn't feel any of these pains until the end of high school. At that time, I was suffering from an ankle injury, which led to further ankle injuries. Over time, I've also dealt with achilles tendonitis, arch issues (including slight 'falling arches'), incredible tight IT bands, lots of back issues and many knee aches. With all that-I can honestly say that I have it easy compared to some. 

Massaging my back with some funky tool a friend had! Look for "supplies" to help recover below!

The 'Usual' Dance Injuries:

1. Plantar Fasciitis: 
-Sore feet caused by small rips and tears in the tissue that connects the heel bone to the bones in the ball of the foot
-This is common among dancers and runners, especially those who run or dance mostly "on the toes" or on the balls of their feet.
-Ice your feet at night or after any activity that stress the feet.


2. Achilles Tendinitis: 
-The tendon that connects the back of your leg to your heel becomes swollen and painful near the 
bottom of the foot


-Rest! Reduce pain by icing your Achilles tendon and taking nonprescription pain relievers
-Wear footwear that protects the tendon while it is healing
-Quality athletic shoes that support your arches and cushion your heels
-High heels...very serious


3. Tight IT Band

-IT band syndrome is an overuse injury 
-It affects a tissue that runs from the side of your hip all of the way down past your knee
-The inflammation manifests itself as pain on the outside of the knee
-It can be incredibly painful and is typically a frustratingly stubborn injury to deal with.

1.  Overuse
2.  Tight Tissues
3.  Weak Hip Muscles

-Foam Rolling! Look below!


Main supplies to help prevent/assist with dance injuries!

*Foam Rollers (this will SAVE your life): Click here for the link!

*Good Shoes: THE most important part of being a dancer/teacher! No more Ugg's or Flip Flops


Nike Free's 

Both great choices! 

Hand Held Back Massager

Tennis Balls! Great for deeply massaging your muscles! ALSO- I use these in my myofascial release class! 


Hope this helps you! 


Saturday, April 20, 2013


I tossed out a few blog topics on our Facebook page, and this one got a shout-out...so "My Choreographic Process" it is! I don't really have an "outline" for this blog, so lets see where it takes me!

Step 1 - finding a song

This is one of the hardest things for me. I have a hard time finding music for my classes. Not sure exactly why thought. I like a lot of country/alternative in my day to day life, and that doesn't really go with "Contemporary" or "Lyrical" dance. Lately, I've been asking my students for a lot of suggestions. That, or I get music idea while we're at dance conventions. There's this handy iPhone App called "Shazam"....saves me whenever I hear a song I like.

Once I find a song I like, it goes right into the playlist. Whether this song is for a warm-up or for choreography, it all goes to same place. You should see my iTunes Library-pretty messy! Helena's is worse!

Music for choreography is different! Why? Because you need to pick a song that you wont get sick of. You're going to listed to this song anywhere from 500-1200 times. Slight exaggeration there. Still, pick something that you can stand listening to over and over....and over and over again! Currently, I'm using 'Home' by Phillip Phillips for SDA's Lyrical 4 dance for the show. That song had been played 129 times on my computer. Who knows how many times on my phone!

Also, you want to pick music that you can count to, that has a good tempo, and that changes dynamically. Otherwise, your dancers cant count the choreo, they are either ahead or behind the music, and it becomes terribly boring.

Step 2 - counting out the song

All that needs to be said on this topic is: it looks like this!


....for the entire song! Spaced out, with lots of messy writing, and lots of spelling errors! (trying writing french terms all the time) The little *'s mean that there is a dynamic change at that time. Usually I add a time marker, so that I can just jump around the song when teaching or rehearsing.

Step 3 - staging & lighting

I do this before I choreography. I don't think anyone else does this though. My mom certainly doesn't. It helps me come up with spacing and the overall look for the dance. That way, I can choreograph certain sections for certain people. With an outline for spacing, I think about lighting. Why? Because it helps me plan the dynamic changes. If a group is dancing in a circle for a bit and all of a sudden they stop still, the lights will change-making the overall plan that much more visible.

I don't know if coming up with a general plan for these things BEFORE choreographing actually helps - but it is my process, and it works for me. Just as my students - I'll be like, "guys, here, you're going to suddenly stop still, facing inside the circle, the lights will change, maybe flicker....and then you'll exit - it will be really dramatic." And they nod along...does that mean they get it or not? Who knows!

Step 4 - choreographing

Ahh, here is where it gets weird. You think 'Choreographing = dancing.' Right? Well you're typically right. And I do dance when I choreograph, sometimes. Usually, I come up with my best stuff while sitting thinking about it. I think and write. Then, I go over it while moving. I write it down and it is a COMPLETE mess on paper. Then I teach it. Sometimes it comes out differently then I have initially planned. All in all-I think it works for me.

Step 5 - teaching it

There needs to be an entire blog post dedicated to Step 5. Maybe I'll get to that!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Influential Books While Studying Dance

This is a difficult topic for me, as I feel that there are truly so many influential books while studying dance. Along that topic, while studying dance, you will also study all liberal arts, and you might also double major in another subject. The books will stack up...

Below, I have only listed a few of the books that I currently have on my 'new' bookshelf. Once I have more space, I'll have some other books here, but for now...this is what you get!

"Ballet and Modern Dance"
by Susan Au
Second Edition
Find it HERE

BOOK DESCRIPTION:"Anyone with an interest in dance has felt the need for a guide to the art's rich history and complex present state. Susan Au's lucid text covers the entire spectrum of dance, vividly describing the great performers and performances of the past as well as exploring in detail the dance world of today. " - Amazon Reader


"A Writers Resource"

a Handbook for Writing
and Research
Find if HERE

BOOK DESCRIPTION: "A Writer's Resource integrates coverage of visual rhetoric with coverage of writing for college throughout Tabs 2 and 3, Writing and Designing Papers and Common Assignments, with models for the kinds of writing students will be doing in college, as well as guidance on the use of visual information in rhetorical contexts."

"Modern Dance - Negro Dance"
Race in Motion
by Susan Manning
Find it HERE

BOOK DESCRIPTION: "At the New School for Social Research in 1931, the dance critic for the New York Times announced the arrival of modern dance, touting the “serious art” of such dancers as Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, and Doris Humphrey. Across town, Hemsley Winfield and Edna Guy were staging what they called “The First Negro Dance Recital in America,” which Dance Magazine proclaimed “the beginnings of great and important choreographic creations.”


"YOGA Beyond Belief"
Insights to Awaken and Deepen Your Practice
By Ganga White
Forward by Sting
Find it HERE

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 'Yoga Beyond Belief offers a unique vision of contemporary yoga. It integrates scientific and practical approaches providing a much-needed integrative perspective that complements existing yoga books for all levels and styles of yoga students. Serving up a collection of valuable insights gleaned from a lifetime of exploration, practice, study, and teaching by one of America’s pioneering and leading teachers of yoga, the book assists readers in making sense of the many discordant claims and teaching techniques that currently exist in the yoga world, freeing readers to pursue their own individual paths of yoga and personal practice. This is an essential text and reference for all yoga practitioners."



"Creative Dance for All Ages"
by Anne Green Gilbert
Find it HERE

BOOK DESCRIPTION: "This is an excellent book for anyone interested in teaching creative dance, whether you have dance experience yourself or not. The book provides a thorough overview of what creative dance is and how to teach it."


SO people - not only were these book extremely influential to my college education,  but I still use them today as a teacher, a choreographer, a business planner and as a marketing communications professional. College text books might be extremely expensive, but their are worth every penny, and DON'T ever sell them back!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Stresses of Performance...A few!

Before the Stowe Dance Academy & Mad River Dance Academy performance gets underway, I thought I should blog about the few simple stresses of performance life. 

I'm gonna be real with you -

You think "Perforamnce" 
- Extreme fun, family gatherings, smiles, costumes, showtime, flowers, family dinners, photos, happy children & beautiful kids in adorable costumes! 

I think "Performance" - Lets be honest - I think 'adorable kids in costumes too,' but I also think the following:
-Oh my GOD!
-I need to get my hair highlighted & cut
-Need to find shoes
-Are the headsets charged
-Sleep? Wait...no...
-Only 1020 email left
-"hello, you have reached Stowe Dance/Mad River Dance Acd. For ticket infor....."
-Wait.....what about my hair & hightlights?
-Dress times 3?
-What about a dress that can hold a headset?
-Oh no! The ticket table!
-Oh! AND the T-Shirt Table!
-Show Time...please go well


Those are my thoughts, to say the least. If I were to tell you my true thoughts, for the entire weekend, I could write a book. I'm sure it would be quite comical! Let's be honest, the amount of stress, freak-outs and glitter catastrophes that occur...we're all incredibly fortunate its only once a year! 

The following picture is of.....
me....in bed....with two computers..doing....what you ask?


All with good intentions of course! Lets hope this year is easy!

On a brighter note - IE: past my 2:00AM email session from above, 
Last year, Helena and I spent about 8 hours at Dibden teching the ballet! All went well and I feel that she did a wonderful job ...I hope this year goes equally as well! Lets be prepared for this year to take a bit longer! Always be prepared with time, food, coffee, diet coke & black licorice.

(It is only a few weeks away...please wish me well!)

The studio prior to the show = COSSSSTTTUMMMESSSSSSSS!
(from last year)
Nough said!

So folks! All said and done, the picture below is basically what I look like during the show! I pull it together when need be....but there are certainly moments of pure relaxation/"maria giving up"! 
Our show, and ALL shows are simply exhausting! There are far too many little details that go into producing such a large scale production. Maybe...just maybe..I'll be able to blog about each detail - someday! For now you should know that this event is an enormous endevor for my family - one that requires your love and support! 

Remember - support - because we may seem totally crazy at times! It's show season folks! 


Oy vey

I've only posted twice....and we're 16 days into April! I'll hop on it!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Double Majoring in College

It is no easy feat! Trust me-one thinks "double majoring," ah its no big deal...but really, it is one HUGE feat! If you are determined enough to complete this task within 4 years, or 6, I have all the details! From a stressful environment to private dance photography sessions with Chicago's best 'dance photographer,' I had quite the experience. 

I went into my college career knowing that I wanted to double major, with the idea of completing my education with both a teaching major, and a Marketing/Public Relations major that would truly further my career. Growing up within the studio, I have learned a great deal about running a studio, producing many productions and large scale event management. With that, I learned that event planning, marketing and general office management skills were my thing! 

First...term papers. AHHH!

Being a dance major includes: Intro to Dance studies (dance history 1 & 2), Anatomy, Higher level Dance History (1 & 2), Music & Rhythm (hardest class on earth), Performance workshop, Dance Making (choreography) and MANY technique classes, including Hip Hop (yikes)!

With college level classes comes the typical torture of all educational studies....Term Papers! My papers averaged 30-40 pages per assignment. REALLY? Ho much could one possibly write about Mikhail Baryshnikov?! Really...I feel like I rambled on for hours...but in the long run, my thoughts and statements might have actually been logical! 

Who knew?!


The previous two pictures show myself and a few friends during "Student Performance Night" at Columbia. I was asked many times to perform in friends dances. 

Columbia is really great about offering students many opportunities to perform. Student Performance Night (SPN), Choreographic Project (CP), Reparatory Performance Workshop (RWP) and many others. These performance opportunities made for great photo opps! 

Being a double major meant heard work!

Not to self-promote...but...deans list every semester! I think I'm due for a little self-promotion. 

I only say that because I set a strict 4 year time-limit for my college education. This mean: if I wanted to achieve TWO majors within four years....I had to work my *ss off! 

This meant: 23 credits per semester - in order to complete college in 4 years!
That meant: class from: 9:00 AM - 9:30 PM weekly
Part-time working as a nanny: Any time possibly
President of Student Dance Organization: 2 hours weekly
(good for my resume...and lots of fun)
Traveling back East for lots of SDA/TRIP events: priceless & timeless!

So, no to brag or anything....really....not trying to brag, but I'm just trying to tell all you dancers that it takes a lot of patience, focus, dedication and organization to major in both dance and another topic! 

All said & done...I highly suggest it! Lets talk if you have any questions!

My lovely dance major best friends! Truly the best!

With a busy schedule...planning becomes a HUGE priority. Therefore, weekly meal planning became a huge part of my life! Free printable's can be found on Pinterest! 

Student performances got us though the year!

All in all...I led a very busy, stressful, simply crazy & amazing life through college. With the papers, exams, internships, travels, conventions, performances and work schedules - I made it! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Teaching The Youngsters

What is it like? Hmm….for someone who isn't used to 2.5-5 year olds with changing attitudes and personalities…it is pretty much a disaster. But for me?? Ahh I love every minute of those little munchkins.

I call them:
-Princess (Belle, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel and so on and so forth)
-Rock Stars

So, while calling my little nuggests many names, I have found that they respond to “fun” name associations rather than their own names. If I switch things up….they respond much faster than sticking to our weekly routine.

What is our weekly routine? That’s easy! It is pure fun…and when I say fun, I mean making breakfast sandwiches with our feet, singing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ while stretching out knees and toes, making an entire Pizza with our peers and straight legs in a circle, walking and running like a princess, dancing for our “stuffed animal” friends and last but certainly not least, striving for excellence…I mean striving for stickers!

All jokes aside, I truly love teaching our youngest students. Think about it…they are 2.5-5 years old and they show up to a studio in a MINI leotard and an even smaller tutu…standing next to a PrePro B Ballet Dancer…..how do you think that makes a little munchkin feel? Let me tell you..they are rock stars! They come to class ready to prance, skip, pliĆ©, jump and translate any French ballet term to English.

These kids rock!

For new kids: Don’t be scared by this post…we, meaning myself, my mother and a few of our other ‘young dancer’ staff members stick to the same class schedule as to best suite our dancers. We know that you aspire to be Ballerinas, and we want to help you get there…but in the meantime, lets focus on pure enjoyment!
-Lion King soundtrack
-Skipping to “Ants In Your Pants”
-Popping to “Popcorn Pop”
-Pretending to be a MINI Pumpkin in out 2013 production

For our current students: You are truly amazing. We could not be prouder of our youngest students. They are young, creative, enthusiastic and they truly rock their tutu’s.

Future students: The way to join is by attending SDA or MRDA’s summer dance camp! We offer a “Babes on Broadway” dance camp for 2.5-5 year olds, that offers Ballet, Hip Hop, Singing, crafts and much more! It’s a great way to get to know our studio, out staff and the place where dance dreams truly come true!

Don’t miss it!

Creative dance is where it all starts!