Empowering Progress



Now that we are all fully into our new schedules for the year, getting used to new classes, students, and teachers,  its time to think about those goals again.  Goal setting can be an effective tool for building habits of excellence in our dance training and teaching, instilling positive habits which will foster the achievement of our goals and ultimate success in dance, and life!

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.  (Aristotle)

In our last newsletter Aman discussed the importance of goal setting and the differences between short term and long term goals.     He discussed several different types of goals including:

  • Dream Goals
  • Realistic Goals
  • Goals of Self-Acceptance
  • State-of- Mind Goals
  • Focus Goals
  • Daily Goals

Each of these are functional and can be incorporated into your/your childs training, and your teaching.   There are some general guidelines to follow when goal setting, you may have heard of them before – SMART goals.

S is for Specific

  • Be specific and clear about what you want to accomplish.

M is for Measurable

  • Form your goals in measurable ways, this will help to give you an objective perception of whether or not you have accomplished your goal.

A is for Action Oriented

  • What actions are required of you to achieve this goal?   What can you do to work towards your goal?  Do you need to enlist the help of  a friend/parent/teacher?

R is for Realistic

  • Set goals that are realistic for you, at this point in time in your training and life.  If its too easy – you may not have the motivation to reach it as you will achieve the goal to quickly.  If its too hard – you may lose confidence in your abilities as it will take longer and require more effort to achieve the goal.

T is for Timely

  • Set a specific timeline for the goal to be accomplished.   You may feel that some goals need to be accomplished in 1 or 2 months, and some perhaps 6 or 9 months.
  • Short term goals are helpful as they can keep you motivated AND be the stepping stones to achieving your long term goals.


Students and Parents:

Working together to form a set of goals for the dance season can be a great way to guide your dance student through the dance year, as well as a way to touch base with them regarding how they see their role within the dance community.  Perhaps this year they are focused on a specific exam or performance, or maybe their focus has changed to the pursuit of a career in dance.   We encourage you to take an active role in your child’s goal setting process and achievement in dance.


Goal setting in the studio can be a useful tool for both you and your students.  Goals can be written down and reviewed from time to time throughout the year providing students with a more tangible way to assess their progress. Students can often have an all or nothing attitude about goals,  with your guidance students can come to understand that striving for goals is a process – just like developing our strength, flexibility, and technique.  Process takes time, and patience.

If Aristotle was correct in declaring excellence as a habit, then exploring the process of goal setting with your child/your students is a positive step towards building (training)  positive habits which empower the student dancer to take an active role in their progress in the studio, on the stage, and in life.

Now its your turn…

Students: Do you set goals for yourself during the dance season?  For school?  What has worked for you?

Teachers: Do you set goals with your students?  For yourself?  What has worked for you?


Author:  Jacqui Davidson

Note:  This post has been entered in the Dance Advantage Circle Time!


September Smoothies


Coming up with new, quick, and easy ideas for breakfast and/ or snacks can sometimes be a challenge.  Considering the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables that are recommended in Canada’s Food Guide – it can be difficult to get all of those servings in!    Smoothies are a fun and easy way to get your fruits and vegetables (and you fiber too!).

An all around good for everyone treat – smoothies can also make those saturday morning treks to the studio a little more interesting for everyone.  One for the dancer, one for the parent driving the dancer, and, of course, the teachers need energy too!

Contributing dietitian Jorie Janzen has some delicious smoothie recommendations to add to your repertoire of breakfast and snack ideas.   We encourage our teen readers to give these recipes a try – they are so simple you can mix them on your own!   Try your own spin on the mix of fruits – maybe even venture into the exciting unknown and throw in some spinach (you cannot even taste it!) and cross one leafy green off your list of vegetable servings for the day.

You don’t do dairy?   Try soy, almond , or hemp milk!  Do you get enough dairy?  Try using a fruit juice and adding ice to the mix to make your smoothie a cool, fruity treat. Be creative!

In the comment section below:   Share you favorite smoothie combinations!


Quick Shakes for on the Go Nutrition

Friendly Flax Smoothie

Serves 1


1 cup low-fat milk or calcium fortified soy milk

½ cup mixed berries

½ banana

1 tbsp ground flaxseed


In blender, combine all ingredients and puree until thick and frothy.


Very Berry Smoothie

Serves 1


½ cup low-fat milk or calcium fortified soy milk

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

¾ cup strawberries

½ cup blueberries


In blender, combine milk, yogurt, strawberries, blueberries; puree until thick and frothy.



(Dietitian’s of Canada: Cook Great Food)

1              banana

1 cup         fresh or frozen berries

1 cup         milk or vanilla-flavored soy beverage

¾ cup        lower-fat vanilla yogurt (or other flavor that complements berries)


  1. In a blender, liquefy fruit with asmall amount of the milk.
  2. Add remaining milk and yogurt;  blend until smooth.

If the shake is too thick, add extra milk or soy beverage.



Why, oh why?

Why now?  Well, why not!  It is never too late or too early to begin thinking about the choices we make for ourselves in dance, and in life!     Though today we are becoming a more health conscious society, it is so easy to lean towards the ‘fast food’ mentality in all aspects of life – easy and quick fixes, instant results, immediate rewards.  AD4L strives to broaden our knowledge and encourage positive choices.

Continue reading “Why, oh why?”

September Newsletter

This month we focus on preparation for a successful year of dance. Physiotherapists Sam, Kevin and Janine focus on an injury free return to dance fostered by self-evaluation and physical awareness. Sports dietitian Jorie Janzen dives into the importance of hydration and best ways to stay hydrated throughout the year. Mental Performance Consultant Aman talks about using goal setting to motivate and improve performance. My contribution is an article on creativity and mistakes working hand in hand.

September 2011 Newsletter


Don’t miss out on your piece of the wellness goodness,  subscribe here!


[Whew!   Finally!  I couldn’t wait any longer to make it official.  Am counting down the days to the launch!]

Hello and Welcome to Access Dance for Life!

Creating this site has been an amazing journey.   I hadn’t a hot clue what I was getting into or how I was going to make it happen, but I knew that it needed to be done.    This project is an exciting collaboration between my teaching philosophy, experiences, and education, and my colleagues experience, methods, and theories from the health and wellness community.    Its been one of those journeys that you begin and it seems to unfold before you with relative ease.  Love those moments.

“There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish.”                 Warren G. Bennis


Mr. Bennis hit the nail on the head.  At this point in my career I see even more clearly that teaching dance is about more than establishing technique, artistry, and performance; its about creating an environment for our dancers to flourish within the art regardless of age, physique or ability.   In my opinion, it is about fostering a love of dance, the joy experienced through movement, an understanding of the music, AND an understanding of how our bodies function and the direct affect on our ability to move, understand, and love dance for the duration of our lives.  With these concepts providing the foundation a positive and healthy experience in dance can occur ~ for life!

Throughout my education in kinesiology I brought every concept (and paper) into a conversation with dance, and absolutely every theory, principle, concept, methodology applied.   The science behind sport has a long history, but the science behind the dance is relatively young in comparison.  Science develops at a rapid pace – and therefore the science behind the dance is developing rapidly as well, challenging traditional principles of training and our understanding of how our bodies function within the art form.

“For the longevity of dancers, whether recreational or professional, artistry and technique must be balanced with knowledge and awareness of our physical selves within aesthetic of dance.  AD4L will provide a positive resource which will promote this healthy balance in our teaching and healthy, positive choices among dancers, students, and parents.”  (taken from our About AD4L page)

This began as an idea that I jotted down in a journal a year or so ago.  As the concept began to unfold I was concerned that I couldn’t do it on my own.  Collaboration just wasn’t my thing.   Trusting my instincts (for once) the collaborative process has begun and I am l o v i n g it.   Am very thankful for our exciting list of contributors, and there are more to come!

I hope you will consider subscribing to our newsletter and joining us on this exciting adventure!


This. Is. So. Exciting.

Wishing you wellness in dance, and life!



Jacqui Davidson

Founder, AD4L