A gift for you: Appreciate and celebrate, without hesitation

RWB: Zhen Guo Chen as The Mouse King & RWB School Student in Nutcracker. photo: David Cooper

[Guest post by Philly D]

Dance is a form of movement that I am passionate about, so I am so honoured to be a part of this blog and contribute in any small way. In my short time with you I want to simply remind you how valuable you are and offer you a few keys to unlocking that value on your own.  Every day as young people you are faced with many challenges, and that’s why I’m so happy a blog like this exists.  It’s a place that can help you face some of those challenges in a supported way.

When you were a little kid, we often got the message, “you are special”.  However, we’re made to feel like we’re only SPECIAL “IF”.  If we have the right body type, and fit the right stereotype for dance.  Outside of dance, just trying to make it through school we’re always made to feel like we’re only special “IF”.  If you wear the right clothes, IF you hang out with the right people, IF your family has so much money, IF you go to the ‘right’ school, IF you score this many points in the game for us, IF you bring home the RIGHT grades.  From all areas of life, the message we seem to get is that we’re special alight, but there is a big IF attached.

It’s not true.

The truth is, that you are special BECAUSE, first and foremost, simply because of who you are.  The sooner you realize that, the sooner you see it in the people you dance with, go to school with.  When you do realize it, you can reduce your stress and anxiety and DANCE from a more passionate place.

Easy to say, harder to do.

So let me offer you three KEYS to Unlocking The Value you hold within side yourself.

Appreciation

  • It always begins with a little appreciation. When you can actually just stop, see the value in the things that you DO have. It’s to easy to get drifted away in what you don’t have and what you want.  Unlocking your value begins with a little appreciation.

Celebration

  • This is can be broken down like this, celebrating WHO YOU ARE leads to who you can become.  The problem is that hiding all the parts we don’t like about ourselves is to easy.  We can hide behind our screen names and websites, we can hide behind our clothing, our books, and we can hide behind our circumstance in life.  When you hide who you are, you forget about who you can be.  By this I mean you limit your growth.  Celebrating who you are awakens new growth every day!

No Hesitation

  • You can appreciate, and celebrate, but when it comes time for action, doing what’s right, you can not hesitate.  This key to unlocking your value is all about ACTION.  But don’t overwhelm yourself thinking it always has to be some large action.  Real growth and change happens in the day in day out small action steps.  Don’t hesitate to be a part of your life and see that you are special because of who you are…NOT IF.

Guest contributor Philly D is a passionate human being. He loves to share Mindfulness, Hip Hop and Yoga together in one unified force of uplifting fun. Phil tours his [dharma] Hip Hop Yoga program around the globe. At home, he is a business owner (Moksha Yoga Winnipeg and Minneapolis)  and, more than this, he is a husband and father!

 

Photo courtesy of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Prevention and ‘cure’ for mental burnout…

Mental fatigue (aka. burnout, being in a funk, feeling drained/mentally exhausted) affects all ages.  Multitasking is commonplace in our daily lives, creating situations in which we rarely give our full attention to one activity/individual, and even less often focus on our own needs.   Over time mental fatigue can affect the immune system, our ability to problem solve and concentrate,  our mood and coordination, and ultimately, our quality of life.    Mental fatigue can be a symptom of a larger issue (stress) and can cause issues in the long-term if ignored.

As lover of lists I thought I’d post a short list of straightforward ideas for recharging your batteries, boosting your energy and creativity!

  • Teachers – Take time to BE the student.
    • Find a class that you can take for yourself, try Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Jazz, Tap, Ballet – anything that  feeds your need to move.  I suggest purchasing a to class card for yoga or pilates so you can attend as often as you like (need).
  • Students –  Give yourself a break!
    • Take a break from the homework and studying, go for a walk outside, or crank up some tunes (with or without earbuds) and have a dance party in your room – by yourself or with some friends.  Take an afternoon off and go to a movie with a friend or family member.
  • Parents STOP. You also deserve a break.
    • Find yourself spending a lot of time waiting for your dancer to finish their classes for the day (after your own busy workday)?   Claim that waiting time for yourself and go for a walk, or bring something to do that is just for you – maybe knitting/crocheting, reading, a movie, listen to some music.  Or better yet, talk with other parents from your students’ class – take a coffee break together!

Claim your Peace this holiday season: When you wakeup in the morning take 10-15 minutes for yourself before you do anything else.  Sit in the silence of your home.  No technology, just silence. Do whatever you need in that moment:  Sit quietly, watch the sunrise, meditate, breathe, do yoga, etc.  And when you are ready to begin the day, make a mental list of what your priorities are for the day (as opposed to a list of everything that must be done).    This can be a great way to begin the day with a sense of calm, cultivating focus inward and on the people/things that are important to you.

 

New inspirations can also be a great way to recharge. Since beginning AD4L I have discovered some great blogs and articles  that have sparked my creativity as we move into the winter months.    Here are a few…

 

A Dancers Brain (great dance quotes)

Educating Dancers

A great article on the longevity of Sylvie Guillem.

And for some non-dance inspirations on living simply – Zen Habits.

And a little video inspiration…

How do YOU recharge? Drop us a line in the comment section and share your tips for recharging for yourself and your students/children.

Book Review: Alphabet Kids

Robbie Woliver’s (2009) Alphabet Kids:  From ADD to Zellweger Syndrome, A Guide to Developmental, Neurobiological and Psychological Disorders for Parents and Professionals   is a practical guide to the many disorders and syndromes diagnosed in children today.  Alphabet Kids walks us through multiple  syndromes and disorders (from A t0 Z), providing  us with situational examples and lists of common signs and symptoms.  Offering several  perspectives of supporting  research,  each disorder/syndrome is its own chapter beginning with terms used in the chapter, symptoms, causes, general diagnosis and treatment, and finally general prognosis.   References are included at the end of each chapter, providing the reader with a starting point for personal research.

With one in six children often being diagnosed with multiple, interconnected neurobiological, developmental, and genetic illnesses, dance teachers are wise to seek out knowledge regarding these syndromes and disorders.   This resource provides practical and useful information with which to facilitate communication between teacher and parent, encouraging a deeper understanding of behavior, to foster best teaching practices and cues.   As dance teachers our role is to understand any diagnosed conditions/syndromes of our students and to work with parents to find best ways to ensure success for the student.  Having a text such as Alphabet Kids in your library provides detailed information, written for the non-medical community (the layperson), and a place to begin your education with these syndromes and conditions.

 Author:  Jacqui Davidson

 

 

 

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.

Teachers:

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

Ingredients

1 cup low-fat milk or calcium fortified soy milk

½ cup mixed berries

½ banana

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

Directions:

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

 

Very Berry Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

½ cup low-fat milk or calcium fortified soy milk

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

¾ cup strawberries

½ cup blueberries

Directions:

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

 

BANANA BERRY WAKE-UP SHAKE

(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)

Directions:

  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.