Should Dancers Have a Plan B?

    With less than a week left before I graduate college and go off into the real world, the amount of people that ask me what I am going to do next is unbelievable. I have to admit, I am often finding myself asking the same question to my peers. When I tell them I am a dancer more often than not, I get the follow up question; “Well what are you going to do when that doesn’t work out?”, “What’s your plan B?”, “What else are you going to do?” This makes a person wonder, should I have a plan B? What if I don’t? Am I going to fail in life? Do dancers need to have a plan B? Should they? Should I be scarred that I don’t?

     These are questions that dancers hear way too often. People who don’t dance typically think that dancing can’t be a full time job. They think dancing can’t be a career. Dancers often get discouraged and are forced to go into their plan B because nobody supports them and believes in them. For me, dancing has always been apart of me. It has always been who I am. It defines me, without it I have no idea who I would be. Yes, I do have a backup if for whatever reason my dancing career fails. However, I never plan on actually using it. For me there is no second option, it is only there as a comfort. My plan B also happens to be something I love to do and maybe will do on the side one day. It can also be incorporated into the dancing world. If you truly love something and believe in yourself and what you are doing, then go and make it happen! Don’t allow people to tell you to have a plan B. Yes, dancing is a hard career. Yes, you never will know exactly when that next paycheck is coming. If you love what you are doing, won’t it be worth it? Yes, it will be!

     Dancers should be able to follow their dreams without having to worry about failing. It is okay to have another part time job so that there is a steady income. You want to be able to support yourself and pay your bills. Just don’t give up on that dream. Will you become that principal dancer in the major dance company? Maybe not, but that shouldn’t discourage you. If anything let it motivate you, you have something to reach for. As 16 year old, South African dancer, Leroy Mokgatle says, “Don’t ever make a plan B for your life. If you do, it’s as if you’re saying ‘it’s okay if this doesn’t work out’. For me there is no plan B”.

How To Choose The Right Dance Costumes

     Alright all you dance teachers out there,it’s getting close to recital time. What does that mean? Having to choose costumes. This is one of the very stressful things about having the recital look the best it can be. You don’t want to choose the wrong costume. Sometimes you know exactly what you want, other times you don’t have the slightest idea what you want. There are so many things that go into choosing just the right costume. It can be very overwhelming. But, have no fear. I am going to give you some tips on how you can choose the right costume for your dancers.

     Before you choose a costume, choose a song. It is so much easier to choose a costume around a song than a song around a costume. I have witnessed many dance teachers fall in love with a costume choose it then have no idea what song they should use. Trust me, know the song before you pick the costume. It’ll save you time and stress. Once you choose the song, know what it’s about. Every song has a story behind it. Know what that story is. Do the research. Know the meaning behind the lyrics, and know the meaning behind the beat. This will help you know what your dancers should look like when they are dancing.

     Match the costume to the song. Once again, do your research. Go ahead and look online at different dance costumes. Dance costume companies have online magazines that you can look through. This is really helpful. Also, Pinterest is a good site to help you as well. Don’t know any dance costume companies? Here are some great companies you can use: Kelle Company, Weissman, Revolution Dancewear, Cicci Dance, Curtain Call Costumes and A Wish Come True.

     There are a few things you need to keep in mind. The age of your dancers; don’t choose a mature costume for 5 year olds, and vice versa. You don’t want the dancers, or the parents, to feel uncomfortable with the costume. Usually the model in the picture will give you an indication of the age range that is appropriate. Body types; make sure you pay attention to the body types of your dancers. They are all beautiful no matter what their body shape is. However, let’s be honest, not everything looks good on everyone. In fact, everyone has something that they don’t look good in, and that’s ok. Be aware of your dancers shapes and sizes. Choose something that is going to flatter the majority of them.

     Choosing dance costumes isn’t an easy thing to do. However, if you keep these things in mind hopefully the process will be easier for you. Don’t panic if it takes you a long time to find the right costume. Remember, great things take time, and just like with everything else, when you know, you know.

Dance Street Challenge

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Be part of the First Dance Competition ever done in New York City; where free style dancers can take home the grand prize of $1,000 cash.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of this incredible event and to have the chance to see the talented dancers who will perform great shows to compete for the prize of $1,000… yesss $1,000!!!
Prepare your best dance shoes to celebrate an amazing night with great friends, incredible dancers and awesome DJ’S.

Tickets to the show: $20
Tshirts: $20
For tickets or Tshirt call us at Rhythmology (516)-280-6677.

If you want to be part of the competition you have to register before April 8, 2016. All dancers must have knowledge of Salsa, Cha Cha, Bachata, Merengue.
For rules and more info on competing visit
www.dancestreetchallenge.com or call 718-866-5272
Registration fee: $60 per couple.

What Being a Dance Mom is Really Like

     Not only is being a dancer a difficult yet rewarding thing too but we often forget the people who might even have a harder job than we do, our moms. If it wasn’t for them putting us into that initial dance class, who knows where we would be today. They put in a lot of work to make sure that we were always on time, helping us with our hair, makeup, and of course paying for us to take these classes. In reality, being a dance mom is nothing like the TV show “Dance Moms”. There isn’t as much drama, there aren’t as many fights, and your dance teacher really does care, a lot!

     I had the opportunity to interview some wonderful dance moms about their experience being a dance mom. Emily Ketsoglou, Carol Buccino, and Debbie Meyfohrt; these wonderful mothers have always been very supportive of their daughters and have always pushed them to pursue their dreams. All of these women are very dear to me and I like to think of them as my own mom’s. I would like to thank them as well as my own mother for always supporting me in all the decisions that I make in life.

     For Caro, her favorite part of being a dance mom were the recitals. Recitals weren’t just big for her two daughters, Lisa and Dana, but they were big events for the whole family. “Watching the recital always made me so proud of my daughters. It always made me smile from ear to ear. It was also very exciting for the entire household on recital week. My husband did the scenery and lighting. I was a backstage mom and would sew all the costumes for my girls. Just a fun and exciting time. I miss those days. I wish they were still little (laughing)”. Although these moms loved doing their job, Debbie says one of her least favorite parts was “having to make adjustments to costumes”. When your child is constantly growing, they might be one size when the costume is ordered, but by the time the costumes come in he or she could already by the next size up.

     Despite their least favorite parts of being a dance mom, they do remember the sweet times as well. Emily remembers one time “when Paige was 3 years old, it was an open house at her dance school. She was so shy and she had to hold her dance teacher’s hand on one side and her blankie on the other. It was adorable!” Carol recalls something similar “When Dana was about 3 she was in a talent show at the library. She was all rehearsed and ready. When it was her turn to dance she came out all excited, started her dance with a big smile and after about 15 seconds into the dance she froze looked around the room and ran as fast as she could off the stage. Everyone laughed and stood up and cheered for her. It was just adorable”

     All these moms tend to have some things in common. They all hate seeing their daughters get hurt. All of their daughters have hurt their ankle and these moments seem to be their worst memory. No mother likes to see their child get hurt, especially since their feet are what they use to dance which makes them happy.

     Debbie had no idea her daughter would be as involved in dance as she is today. When she first enrolled her daughter into she said to herself “We will see how long this lasts”, but that was 19 years ago. Carol enrolled her daughter into dance because “from a baby Lisa had excessive energy, always dancing around and singing. Lisa loved it right away.From early on she was the leader of the pack, memorizing every move only seeing it one time.” She knew “pretty early on that dance would probably always be apart of Lisa’s life and possibly a career.” Emily knew the same thing of her daughter. She said “I  knew all along Paige would grow up and be a dancer. She was so tiny but determined.”

     For about 20 years these women have been dance moms. They have experienced many things over the years, so for all of you new dance moms, they have some advice for you. Emily says “let your dancers lead their own lives and make their own choices. Support them but don’t lead them. Be there when they have disappointments and explain that it’s part of life and encourage them to get up when they fall, and never try to live your dreams through your child.” Carol thinks you should “start out just enjoying watching your child have fun and building confidence- it is a great way for a young child to make friends, follow directions and get some exercise at the same time. As time goes on you will know whether your child has natural dance talent. If not, let them continue dancing just for fun and exercise. It builds confidence, give them a chance to perform on stage and over time they will make great friendships.” Debbie said something similar, “Don’t stop her/him from doing something they love, and let them be creative without too much interference”. All of these wonderful give similar advice and must be doing something right because all of their daughters are doing amazing things and are living their dreams.

Dance Legends

From Fred and Ginger to Dancing with the Stars, ballroom dancing has its share of legends. Now you have the opportunity to see today’s living legends all in one place as we present a World-Class Ballroom and Latin show dance festival featuring World Champions from both past and present.

Dance Legends is excited to welcome Slavik Kryklyvyy & Karina Smirnoff back to the Dance Legends floor, where their reunion began, for their 5th Anniversary event. You won’t want to miss this incredible show!

Last year the enthusiastic audience remained energetic throughout the magical weekend, cheering on their favorites and electrifying the atmosphere.The unbelievable show left everyone inspired and wanting more with one audience member declaring it, “one of the best weekends of my life!” Dance Legends officially took the ballroom world by storm and is quickly becoming a staple of the NYC dance community.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Doors open at 6:30pm
Event begins at 7:30pm

Show Dances by:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Daytime

Workshops by the Legends (more details to come)

Evening

Doors open at 6:30pm
Event begins at 7:30pm

Show Dances by:

Location: Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, New York, NY, 10001

Click Here for More Information

What Does Having Scoliosis Mean for Dancers?

Scoliosis: “bent not broken”

Many people are told throughout their life that they have been diagnosed with scoliosis. It doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world, but it sure can be an inconvenience. What exactly is scoliosis anyway? Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in your spine. A few of the signs of scoliosis are; uneven shoulders, one shoulder more prominent than the other, or an uneven waistline. I know because I have it. As a dancer I wasn’t sure what this was going to mean for me. I was diagnosed with it when I was young, I was still in Elementary School. I still had so much life ahead of me, and there was no way I was going to give up dancing. I was afraid though that I wasn’t going to have a choice. I wasn’t sure what this meant. It freaked me out. Which is why I want to make sure if you get told you have scoliosis, please don’t worry! It is going to be okay.
Actually, 80% of people have mild scoliosis. So your spine isn’t symmetrical, who cares? Every night I had to do these back exercises that would help better align my spine. Since I wasn’t done growing yet these exercises would help to make sure it wouldn’t get worse as I got older. I was so afraid I was going to have to wear a brace, but I made sure to do those exercises every night, and luckily I never had to. I was lucky, I ended up with 2 curves in my spine, one at the top and one at the bottom, and they curve in opposite directions so they end up balancing each other out.
Dance is actually a good way to help people with scoliosis. Since dance encourages you to have proper body alignment. Almost all styles of dance require you to stand up straight, dancing will help your spine and the muscles surrounding your spine to become aligned. Ballet or other types of technique classes are probably the most beneficial classes to take, since they focus more on body alignment and body posture than other dance classes do.

an X-Ray of someone with mild scoliosis

Scoliosis is just a curve in your spine, sure some people have it more extreme than others but that should never stop you from dancing. Sometimes my instructors have to remind me to stand up a little straighter and have to help me with getting my body in the correct position. Although it is frustrating at times, over the years I have become in tuned with my body and I have learned to make the correct adjustments for myself while I dance. Nobody has the same body. As long as you figure out what works for you and how to have the correct posture while you dance. Don’t let scoliosis stop you from dancing and doing what you love.

Legend Michael Flatley Retires

“Nothing is impossible, follow your dreams” said Michael Flatley. Mr. Flatley has certainly been able to follow his dreams. Since he was a little boy he always had this dream of dancing on broadway, and lucky for him he has been able to accomplish this.
Michael Flatley is a world famous Irish Step dancer, and received his fame in 1994 when he created “Riverdance” and then 2 years later he created the even more famous show “Lord of the Dance”. This show is now world famous. As said in our last blog Irish dancing has no upper body movement and is very rigid. However, Michael Flatley broke the barriers and incorporated upper body movement into his shows. This show broke away from the traditional Irish dances, which was a big risk for Mr. Flatley but luckily for him, people loved it.

Michael Flatley performing in “Lord of the Dance”

. In 1998 “Lord of the Dance” broke box office records. At the Wembley Arena in London, there was 21 consecutive shows of “Lord of the Dance”, no other production has been able to break that record since. This past winter, “Lord of the Dance” came to New York City, and Michael Flatley was able to accomplish his dream of wanting to dance on Broadway.
On March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day (today), will be his last performance. At the age of 57 Michael Flatley is retiring due to having injuries in his spine, knee, a torn calf muscle, 2 ruptured Achilles tendons, a fractured rib, and a broken bone in his foot. In one interview he said “It’s bittersweet, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I wanted to prove that dance could sell out in major arenas around the world. It’s the icing on the cake to end with Broadway.” Although he is retiring from performing, he is not retiring from the show completely. He will still be managing and directing the shows, as well as helping to choose the costumes the dancers wear. He might not be performing anymore but he will continue to make an impact in dance history!

Check out this video of Michael Flatley performing in “Lord of the Dance”

Why You Should be Happy Your Child Dances

It all started by taking your little three year old girl to her first dance class. It was just something to fill her time, keep her busy, maybe make a few friends. Then she comes home and continues to dance around the house. Practicing everything that she learned that day in class. Everyday she asks when she gets to go back to dance.
Before you know it, you’re complaining about all the time you spend driving her to and from class. You complain that every year classes seem to get later and later, you want to go to sleep and she has school in the morning. You think of everything else you have to do, yet you find yourself going to pick her up from the studio, again. Then there’s the financial factor. The shoes, the costumes, the tuition, the tickets to go see her perform, and more costumes, and more shoes. She gets older and you start to worry. She’s missing out on opportunities. She doesn’t do many school activities. She doesn’t get to spend a lot of time on the weekends with her friends. And spending time with the family? Forget about that. When is she ever home for dinner?
My advice to dance parents…don’t blink! Before you know it, she is going to be taking the stage for the last time. There will come a time that bow at the end of a performance will be her final bow. Soon, all those dance shoes around her room and all those costumes in her closet will be gone. Are you going to remember the money spent, all the time wasted? No. You won’t remember any of that.
You will remember the amazing things dance has given her. Dance has given her the ability to prioritize, and multitask. Dance has taught her how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She is now able to handle pressure and last minute changes. She can appreciate music that isn’t considered to be popular. Dance taught her how to work with others, even if she doesn’t always like them. Dance has taught her all about work ethic and being able to pay attention to her surrounding area.
Moms and Dads, pat yourself on the back, it’s because of you, your daughter has turned into the amazing young woman that she is. You are the ones who spent a lot of time and money on her dance life. It might not seem like it right now, but be happy your child dances. Enjoy it while it lasts. That decision you made all of those years ago, was one of the best decisions you made as parents. People give her a round of applause all of the time, but you deserve one too!

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One of our instructors Lynn at her

very first dance recital!

The History of Irish Step Dancing

It is the month of March and spring is so close, yet so far. The month of March this year has a few holidays but one in particular comes to mind. St. Patrick’s Day, the one day in the year where everybody is Irish. One of my many nationalities is Irish, so this day is special to me. I not only get to celebrate my nationality, but I get many opportunities to perform a dance that I have been doing since 2003; Irish Step Dance. I have been doing this style of dance for many years, and I have been teaching it to students since 2009. However, I never knew the history of the dance. I knew what I was supposed to do, and I knew what I need to make sure my students were doing, but I didn’t know why we needed to do these things. I am currently enrolled into a Dance History class, and learned about the history of Irish Step. I found it so fascinating and now I understand why I dance a certain way, and I feel that makes me a better teacher. I am going to share that history with you; not just the story of Irish Step but this involves the story of Ireland as well.
When people find out what type of style I specialize in I automatically get the “Wow, you Riverdance!”, “You have to do all those crazy foot movements?”, “Can you do a little jig for me?”. Well, yeah I do all those “crazy foot movements”, and yes I can do a Jig but there is so much more to that. “Riverdance” isn’t actually a style of Irish Step, it’s a show. There is a reason why we have “crazy foot movements” and never use our hands. It all started during the 16th century in England. This was the time period when the Renaissance was starting in Italy. People from England were traveling to Italy, saw this new lifestyle, enjoyed it, and brought it back with them to England. However, it wouldn’t be until the 17th century that the jig would travel to Ireland. If you never noticed, Irish Step Dancers keep their arms very tight at their side, keep their feet very close together. Up until recently, I just accepted this as a something I had to do. I never questioned it. I teach my students this technique, and they too never questioned what I was telling them was the right thing to do. Now I know why; places to dance in Ireland were very limited and very small. The British banned the Irish from dancing, forcing them to do it in secrecy. The Irish decided they weren’t going to let the British stop them. They danced on top of tables, on top of bars, and on top of barrels. By keeping their feet close together, and their arms tight meant there was a less likely chance of them falling off of these objects and getting hurt.
Jigs are actually the 2nd most popular dance in Ireland, followed by the Reel. What most people don’t know is that Jigs are actually broken down into 4 categories; light, slip, double and treble. Treble Jigs are performed in different types of shoes, (the shoes that make noise), hard shoes. Treble Jigs are broken down even further into Set Dances; yes I know how to do some of these set dances. Slip Jigs are know as the “Ballet of Irish Dance” and these are performed in soft shoes. The movements in this tends to be a bit more graceful than other Jigs.
People tend to not realize that Irish Step can be performed socially as well as be a performance. Most people think of it as a performance and would never think to do dance it socially. You most certainly can though. There are two types of social dances; Set and Ceili. Set dances are danced by 2 couples in a square. Ceili dances can be performed by up to 8 couples and have a variety of different shapes.
Jigs have come a long way, since the 16th century. Most people don’t realize the history of the dance, including myself until recently. Now I am able to share the history of this wonderful dance with everyone.

Irish Step Hard Shoes

Irish Step Hard Shoes

Irish Step Soft Shoes

Irish Step Soft Shoes

Tapping Their Way into History

We started the month with learning about the history of African dance, so let’s end the month with learning about the history of Tap dance. Tap dance has an influence of a variety of different cultures. It has a very interesting history and it might not be what you think.
Slavery came over to America during the 15th century. With it came a variety of different cultures. One thing African’s loved to do was to dance. As you learned from the blog about African Dancing, African people incorporate dance into their everyday life. When they came over to America, they were banned from dancing. This didn’t stop them though. They would dance low to the ground so they couldn’t be seen behind bushes and trees when they worked in the field. However, their owners caught onto what they were doing and punished them. They would have parties with their neighbors and force the slaves to dance. Doesn’t seem like a punishment right? Well, the men would then take their guns and shoot at their feet. The slaves would then be forced to jump around in order to make sure they didn’t get shot. This is where Tap dancing originated. The slaves realized that their feet were making sounds from jumping around trying not to get shot.
Therefore, they started to communicate with their feet. They used the different rhythms to create a morse code so that their owners couldn’t understand what was being said. Now, what most people don’t realize is that Irish people were indentured servants at this time. It is believed that the slaves and indentured servants would watch each other dance. The slaves would then take some of the same movement that the indentured servants were using in their dance styles called Jigs. Combining these movements is what created the Tap dance style we all know and love today.
It wouldn’t become popular like it is today until the 1900s, when jazz music originated. Today, there are two different types of tap. They are rhythm tap and Broadway tap. These two types can be further broken down into three forms; classical, hoofers, and cloggers.
One of the most famous tap dancers around today is Savion Glover. I have had the privilege of meeting him twice and being able to see him perform twice as well. He is considered to be the best Tap dancer that has ever lived. He has been performing on Broadway since the 80s, has been in multiple films (including the Movie Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2), he’s been on Sesame Street, SNL, and has performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have had the honor of being able to see him perform at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts (which is where Rhythmology’s Student Showcase will be on July 16th). He is truly a down to Earth type of guy and is very approachable. If it wasn’t for slavery and the Irish influence Tap dancing might not be around today.

Savion Glover

Check out this video of Savion Glover on an episode of Seseame Street