Category Archives: Dancer’s Corner

Avoid comparing your ability to others: everyone has their own path!

Loriella Andre

“I have been dancing since I was 5 years old. It started with 5 years of ballet and then I added jazz when I turned 10. The following year I tried contemporary. I’m currently doing contemporary, jazz, and ballet. My favorite style is contemporary because I can put my emotions into the dancing and there’s so much creative movement that’s possible. My favorite part of dancing is being able to express emotions throughout my whole body. The most challenging part of dance for me is picking up choreography but I’ve definitely improved in that area over the years.
Due to dancing since I was young, it has always been a part of my weekly schedule. Over time I’ve added more classes to get used to having less time with friends and family or for homework. I usually do my homework about a half hour after I get home from school or dance and when I have extra time between classes. I don’t like having the thought of  unfinished homework in the back of my head so I try to finish it as early as possible. Because I have several dance classes a day, I often have to stay up late doing homework and don’t hangout with friends on weekdays but it’s definitely worth it. My week can get very busy but the weekends are nice to catch up on sleep, school, and friends.
My advice to younger dancers is to not compare your abilities to others and always find time to stretch. It’s great to be inspired to be a better dancer by watching other dancers but don’t believe that your dancing isn’t good enough. I like to compare my dancing to a year ago to see my growth. Flexibility is always important to work on and a good idea is to lay in a stretching position while doing schoolwork. Also, always make sure you’re having fun and trying your hardest. Advice for a beginning performer would be don’t stress and just think about how hard you’ve worked for this moment. Remember to control your breathing, don’t forget about facials, and only think positive thoughts. Performing is something to get excited about because it’s the time to finally show the finished piece and all you’ve learned. I think performing is important for personal development as a dancer because it builds confidence.
I don’t plan on becoming a professional dancer, but I would love to be able to teach dance at a school or studio when I’m older. This year was my first time being a TA and I’ve become more passionate about seeing kids grow in their dancing and helping teach them. It’s great to watch younger dancers improving and having fun in dance class.”

-Lola

Lola

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A place for positivity!

Brittany Rodriguez

“I have been dancing for 16 years. I started out with ballet for 8 years then I joined the dance center and began Hip-Hop. I did hip-hop for a couple years then I decided I would like to do jazz and modern as well. Out of the three styles I would say Hip-Hop is my favorite because it’s were I feel the most free while dancing and I enjoy every second dancing that style of dance.

My favorite thing about dancing is being happy while I’m doing it, dance is my place to escape from everything negative. Dance is a way to express feelings and emotion and that’s my favorite thing to do while dancing is to tell a story. There are some challenges that do come to dancing and one of my challenges is timing, I always rush with timing at first because I want to make sure I have all the correct moves and that it’s all on the correct time, but I always rush, I then tell myself to take it slow and if I mess up with timing to just practice over and over to find the right time.

Dance has been in my life for a very long time so when it comes to scheduling things I schedule things around dance, if there is an event for a family or friend or appointment on a day of dance or rehearsals then I would miss it or re schedule. It’s kinda hard balancing life with dance because I dance almost every day for a hour and a half or more a day, and if it’s during the school year it’s a little harder because of school work so I stay up late if I had a late night class at the dance center. I don’t get to see family or friends as much because I have late classes till 6:15pm or 7:45pm and I live in Healdsburg so by the time I’m home it’s late and I have to start homework. Balancing is a little challenging but I make it work.

Advice I would give to a beginning dancer is “don’t give up, don’t worry what others think about you, we are all dancers and we are here to dance and have fun”. Advice I would give to a 5 year old is ” have fun in class because you’re doing great”. Advice for a 12 year old is “have fun in class, focus on yourself, try your best, and never give up”. Some advice I would give to someone who has never performed before is “Before you go on stage breathe in and out, tell yourself you can do it, you’ve worked so hard to finally perform, and if you mess up nobody would know they would think it’s part of the dance so enjoy it out on the stage!”. Performing in dance is important because you get to show everyone how hard you work for a dance, how much you’ve grow and learn in class, performing is such a great feeling, I know that performing makes me super happy that I got to share such great choreography from amazing teachers to everyone in the audience.

I would love to become a professional dancer in the future, I will definitely work hard as I possibly can to do that, a lot of people have told me that I would never make it in life being a dancer, it always breaks my heart but I put them a side and just focus on making myself better in dance and to prove them wrong some day. My goal in five years is that I will be a professional dancer or a back up dancer for a singer and tour with them all over the world and live my dream!”

Brittany Rodriguez

 

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Courage and Perserverance!

Lindy Wandel

“I have been at the Dance Center since I was six years old. My very first class was tap, and I absolutely fell in love with it. After I had been tap dancing for a few years, I was invited to join the newly formed Taprrific tap company, and I also began taking jazz classes. I think that a passion for music and movement since a very young age has always sparked my interest in dance. Soon I was dancing with Rhythm, the senior tap company, taking many other classes in jazz, tap, and ballet, performing in shows and going to competitions. I started working as a teacher’s assistant, and I currently TA for Footloose, the junior tap company. This year, I started teaching classes at the Dance Center—KinderJazz and Tots Tap. I am so grateful to be given so many amazing opportunities.

Growing up at the Dance Center has been a wonderful experience for me because I have gotten to try new things and meet new people every day. Yet probably one of the strongest influences that dance has had on my life is that it challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone and grow as a person on a daily basis. When I was younger, I was painfully shy, and it often barred me from experiencing things to their fullest extent. Dance, especially the performance aspect, has really helped me grow. Now that I am sixteen and in my junior year of high school at Maria Carrillo, I look back and understand exactly how much performance has impacted my life. It has allowed me to break out of my shell. In teaching the younger classes, I see a reflection of myself at that age. Back then, I would never have imagined myself being a leader, or even going on stage without feeling terrified. I thank the Dance Center for helping to build the person I am today.

If I had any advice for someone new to dance, especially if they were as nervous as I was to perform, it would be this: I have come to view every performance as a reward. My favorite parts about performing—the bright lights and faint silhouettes—are my favorite because they characterize the performance itself, rather than the before and after. The performance itself is the reward because I know that I am actually in the process of doing something that takes courage.”

Lindy Wandel

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Balanced Achievement!

(UPDATE: since doing this interview with us, Katie has now moved fully into teaching and even originated classes in tumbling and choreography! go Katie!!)

Katie Carlin

“I started dancing in the summer of 2013 after a long gymnastics career. I had been on a search for a new sport or hobby to fill my time and desire for physical activity. Starting out, I felt very uncomfortable, especially with the idea of people watching me. Once I realized that everyone else felt the same, and no one cared what I looked like when I danced, I was able to loosen up.

I started slow with just jazz and jazz technique. Once I felt semi-comfortable in these classes, I added in modern. I started in beginning modern that year and found it so much fun that I auditioned for the senior modern company, DC Gravity, in the spring. I was amazed to hear that I had made the company after being in such low level classes that same year, but I was excited regardless.

The following year I had much more confidence, so I decided to add hip-hop to my repertoire, a very fun and enjoyable class. With three styles, five classes, another sport, a job coaching Crossfit, and my hardest year of high school, I was very busy. I had to become very organized with a set schedule so that I could fit everything into my week.

This year is my last year of high school so I decided to try to cram my schedule even more. Along with adding a second performing company, On the Accent (jazz), I was offered the opportunity to teach! I currently teach Teen Jazz 1 and will soon be adding Beginning Teen Jazz, Beginning Teen Modern, and Teen Modern 1.

The Dance Center has become my second home and my second family. It has allowed me to leap outside of my comfort zone and mature as a dancer and a person. I am very grateful to all of my teachers for helping me grow in this way and I hope that I can do the same for the younger dancers at the DC.”

KatieC

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2 advanced dancers add their perspective

Maddie Martin and Abbie Mendenhall

Abbie has been dancing for 10 years and Maddie has been dancing for 7 years. Maddie started in ballet and then transitioned to jazz and has stuck with it ever since. Abbie started with Jazz and then added the other styles as electives. Our favorite style is jazz because it is so diverse, including a broad range from contemporary to jazz funk. Dance benefits us physically, mentally and emotionally. It keeps us fit and healthy, but also pushes us to pay more attention to detail. On the emotional side, we are able to express ourselves-whether that be creatively or just letting out bottled up emotions. Because of all of the friendships we have made through dance, dance not only takes care of the physical aspect of our lives but also some of our social outlets. It gets tough to balance out everything, but ultimately we try to stay organized by planning our schedules ahead of time. For example, if we have a weekend practice on a Sunday, we spend time on Saturday doing homework to make sure we’re on track. And sometimes it comes down to it that we do have to make sacrifices in our social lives to be able to go to dance almost every day, but being able to come to dance and see more of your friends makes it worth while. The advice we would give to a beginning dancer would be that a little bit of confidence goes a long way, even if you’re not super confident in your dancing abilities, be confident in your self and it will show. Your confidence will also help you show your personality to other dancers as well as your teacher, making your class and your dance experience a lot more fun. To someone who has never performed before we would say to not second guess yourself, you have been rehearsing for months for this moment so be confident that you know what you’re doing. If you mess up the best thing to do is to always keep going, improv if necessary! Performing has helped us with public speaking and overall presence in front of a group of people. We would both love to be professional dancers, but we know the reality of how difficult the dance world is and we know that it would be a tough road to get there. We are both applying to colleges now, so dance won’t necessarily be our first priority after we graduate. We hope to be able to continue dancing somehow in college, whether that be a minor, dance team or company. Even though dance programs won’t necessarily be our deciding factor when looking at colleges, we would love it if the opportunity was there at the college we end up going.
Abby (on the left) and Maddie (on the right)
abby&maddie

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Dancers,
As you begin to think about your fall schedule why not add a second style of dance to your training? Are you a Tapper? Try Hip Hop…. Are you a Modern enthusiast? Nothing can help your technique faster than adding a Ballet class. Love jazz? Add in Musical Theater to help round out your dancing potential!

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