ECSOD’s 1st Annual Dance-a-Thon, “Dance to the Beat”!!

ImageEarlier this Fall, ECSOD had it’s 1st Annual Dance-a-Thon, “Dance to the Beat”, in honor of World Heart Day!  It was the perfect opportunity to create an event, brand new to the Chippewa Valley, that would promote a heart-healthy community and benefit the American Heart Association and their efforts to save lives through heart disease research, education, and prevention.  

“Dance to the Beat”‘s first year was a huge success!  Area businesses and organizations were very generous in sponsoring our event and also in sponsoring individual teams for the event.  We had an AMAZING group of dancers, both young and less-young 😉 , who moved and grooved and danced up a storm for 4 hours, non-stop!  They ROCKED!!  

Together, with our kind-hearted sponsors and our fabulous dance-a-thon teams, we were able to raise over $1000 for the American Heart Association!  WOOHOOO!!  With such an awesome first year, we can’t wait to be even bigger and better next year.

A HUGE “Thank You” to our incredible sponsors!!  This event would not have been possible without you and your generosity…

  • ImageRed Flint Rock & Stone
  • Charter Communications
  • All Occasions DJ Service
  • Gold’s Gym
  • PowerTex Group
  • Micon Cinemas
  • Festival Foods
  • RCU Investment Team
  • Kristo Orthodontics
  • Miracle Ear
  • Erbert & Gerbert’s

And, also,  a BIG “Thanks” to all of our Dancers and Parents who helped make this year’s “Dance to the Beat” a huge success!!  YOU ROCK!!  🙂

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ECSOD blog.

As dancers, we’re used to wearing things that are completely uncomfortable: tights, dance belts (for the guys), itchy costumes, pointe shoes, and of course– leotards!  It can be very difficult to find a leotard that fits correctly, doesn’t constantly live ‘up your butt’, and that is actually comfortable to wear.

So I did some research (both by scouring through leo reviews and from personal experience) to find the the most comfortable, yet attractive and affordable leotards out there.

Here’s what I came up with:

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The Recital is Over…. Now What??

0463_ECSODBRAVO!  BRAVO!  Excellent performances by all at the dance recital this year!  Beautiful choreography, beautiful costumes, beautiful dancers!!  The show is over and classes are done.  Now what??

It is amazing how much progress can be lost from show-time to the first day of classes in the Fall. Endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility are quick to go “downhill” if you know what I mean.  But don’t worry!  Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself or your dancer(s) in tip-top shape over the Summer months:

  • Enroll in a Summer Dance Program at your studio.  Many studios have dance classes that run for a shorter period of time throughout the Summer.  Great choices include Stretch and Strength/Conditioning type classes and/or Ballet Intensive type classes.  If your dancers are under the age of 6, Ballet/Tap Combo classes are generally offered.  Check out ECSOD’s Summer Dance Program at www.eauclaireschoolofdance.com/summer-ecsod.htm if you are in the Eau Claire area!!
  • Register for a Summer Dance Intensive or Camp at a nearby University, Professional Dance Company, or Art Institute.
  • Stay active throughout the Summer!  Be sure that you are getting plenty of physical activity in your busy Summer schedule.  Keeping your endurance up is super important!  It’s also good for your heart and releases endorphins!!
  • Stretch out as often as possible.  Flexibility can easily be lost in a matter of a few months if you don’t keep at it!  But be sure that your muscles are warm before you jump into the splits so that you don’t pull or tear any muscles or ligaments!  ECSOD offers a Flexibility Class on Thursday nights from 5:30-6:30 throughout the Summer.  Only $5 per person, per class!

Have a FABULOUS SUMMER, Dancers!!  We hope to see you in class this Summer!  Also, don’t wait too long to register for the 2013-2014 Dance Season!  Fall registration is now open to the public, so be sure to get into the classes you want before it’s too late!

Happy Dancing and Happy SUMMER!!

~ Miki Hegg, Assistant Director, ECSOD

It’s SHOWTIME!! How to Keep Recital Time Stress-Free

This time of year is very exciting for children and adults of all ages… Spring is FINALLY here and Summer is just around the corner, school is almost out, and of course, the end-of-the-year Dance Recital is drawing near!

For the past 9 months, Dancers all over the world have been attending class, weekly, and practicing in their room or basement to perfect their routines in preparation for this big day.  However, your routine isn’t the only thing you need to practice and remember.

Whether it is your very first dance recital or your 50th, here are a handful of tips, tricks, and reminders to help keep this year’s recital STRESS-FREE!!

  • Practice your routine in front of an audience (brother, sister, parents, grandparents, dog) and without a mirror to be sure that you have it memorized by heart and to get used to the feeling of PERFORMANCE rather than REHEARSAL.
  • Decide how you will wear your hair PRIOR to your Recital Day and practice it a few times to be sure there will be no hair-do malfunctions.  Ask your Instructor or Studio Director for any specific hair-d0 and makeup directions.
  • Be sure that your Costume(s) is stage-ready!!  Check your costume at least a week in advance to be sure that it is wrinkle-free and that all of your costume pieces are there.  If you are missing something, contact your Studio Director IMMEDIATELY so that they are able to TRY and locate the missing item or find a replacement.  If your costume is wrinkled, hang it upside down in the bathroom while you take a hot shower.  If that doesn’t work, use a steamer to release wrinkles.  (Using an iron may leave marks or burn/melt the material used in your costume!!)  Also, be sure that any last-minute alterations aren’t needed.
  • Clean and/or polish your dance shoes.  Get rid of any scuff marks or dirty spots on your Tap, Jazz, or Ballet shoes using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a toothbrush with a little dish-soap diluted in water.  Also, make sure that your tights are clean and free of holes!
  • Be aware of any rules that your Studio or Theater has in place for Recital day/weekend AHEAD of time.  These rules are put in place for good reason and must be followed by all.  This will help keep recital day running smoothly for you AND everyone else!  Some rules may include:
  1. No Flash Photography or Video Taping
  2. No Parents Allowed Backstage
  3. Dancers MUST sit with their class in their assigned seating until their performance is done
  4. No Food or Drink in Theater/Auditorium
  5. Be Courteous while in Theater/Auditorium, especially during the Recital’s performances — Stay seated throughout the duration of the show.  If you must get up to use restroom, etc., please do so in-between performances.
  6. Dancers may NOT watch performances from backstage.
  7. HAVE FUN!!

If you have ANY questions or concerns regarding Recital Day/Weekend, please don’t hesitate to contact your Studio Director!!  It is always better to be informed and prepared, than not!  Recital time is a very exciting, rewarding, special, and fun experience for all of those involved.  Following these tips, reminders, and rules will help keep the stress-level low and fun-level sky-high!!

Good Luck, Dancers!!  SMILE BIG!!  HAVE FUN!!

~ Miki Hegg, Assistant Director, ECSOD

In Honor of National Dance Week: The Importance of Dance in Your Child’s Life

This week is National Dance Week— “A week to celebrate dance and promote fun fitness.”  We all know what dance is… Wikipedia defines it as “a type of art that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, performed in many different cultures and used as a form of expression, social interaction, or presented in a spiritual or performance setting.”  This art form is an inspirational and emotional mode of communication that sparks a fire inside souls and touches the hearts of millions worldwide.  Dance is a passion.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a dancer.  I would twirl and jump and move about in my living room to music of any sort.  I had the desire to be in dance lessons and to perform on stage.  But I played many other sports instead:  Basketball, Softball, Track and Field, etc. and had no time (or extra funds from my parents) to be involved in anything else.  Finally, in the 7th grade, I was able to enroll in a dance class.  A little late as far as a typical dancer goes… most of my classmates had started dance lessons at the tender age of 3.  I felt behind, but I was determined to catch up.  I was in love.  Immediately.  As soon as I took my first steps on the dance floor.  I practiced constantly, stretching and turning and balancing at home, at school, outside, or where ever I had enough space.  Dance quickly became my life and still is to this day.  I wouldn’t give up dancing for ANYTHING!

Being in dance has taught me so many things in life.  It isn’t all steps and coordination and rhythm (even though these things are very important, too!).  Dance teaches respect.  Dance teaches discipline.  Dance teaches you work ethic.  Dance teaches you to be courteous.  Dance teaches you patience.  Dance teaches you teamwork.  Dance teaches you strength and control.  Dance teaches and builds your listening skills.  Dance builds your self-esteem and self-confidence.  And the list goes on and on!

So if your children express an interest in Dance, whether they are male or female, young, or not-so-young, DON’T HESITATE!!  Sign them up!!  And remember, Ballet is the technical basis for all styles of dance, so it is always a good idea to start here!  Choose a studio that truly cares about the development of your child, both in and out of the classroom.  A studio that is supportive of each individual child and that emphasizes the importance of teaching your children core values and self-esteem, and of course, quality, professional dance instruction.

For those of you who live in the Eau Claire area, check out ECSOD!! www.eauclaireschoolofdance.com

Happy National Dance Week!!  GET UP AND DANCE!!

~ Miki Hegg, Assistant Director, ECSOD

Picture Day: Keeping it Positive & Stress-Free for You and Your Dancer!

Picture week is coming up FAST!!  Costumes have been sent home, routines are in their final stages of completion and perfection, and buzz of the recital is heard nightly at the studio.  Picture day happens just once-a-year, meaning you only get ONE SHOT at getting the photos you want, and will actually enjoy passing out to your friends and family.

Keeping this fun and exciting day stress-free can be tricky…. unless you take a few easy and very important steps that will have you and your dancer(s) smiling from ear-to-ear!

  1. Picture Forms will be available at least a week in advance.  Please make sure that you pick one up, look it over, and decide which package you would like to purchase BEFORE you come on Picture Day.  If you have more than one dance, you will need a Picture Form for each costume you are photographed in.
  2. Have your Picture Form filled out, completely, with your payment (Check or Cash Only) enclosed in the envelope.
  3. Prepare your costume(s) for Picture Day in advance!  Be sure that you have all of the costume pieces originally included with your costume as well as the correct tights, shoes, and other accessories.  If you are missing something, please contact your Studio Director IMMEDIATELY so that they may try to locate the missing items or find a replacement.  Also, be sure that your costume(s) are wrinkle-free and hung neatly, preferably in a garment bag of some kind to prevent any accidental stains.  HELPFUL HINT:  Remember to label all of your costume pieces, shoes, tights, and accessories with your dancer(s)’s first and last name!!
  4. Check with your Studio Director to find out instructions on Hair and Make-Up.  Here at ECSOD, Hair and Make-Up can be worn however you choose on Picture Day!!  Please have a plan and come to your scheduled picture time with your Hair and Make-Up already completed.
  5. While photos are being staged and taken, ONLY Photographers, Instructors, and Dancers are allowed in the room.  Photos will be professionally posed by the Photographers and the Instructors ONLY!  If you have a special request for your dancer(s)’s individual photo, please include a note on your Picture Form, or speak with your Studio Director IN ADVANCE!  Thank you!!
  6. Last, but certainly not least, HAVE FUN!!  BE POSITIVE and enjoy this exciting day at the studio!  Pictures last a lifetime so remember to SMILE BIG and let your love for dance SHINE through in your dance photos!!

Happy Dancing!!  Smile Big!!

~ Miki Hegg, Assistant Director, ECSOD

Competition Season: Preparing your Dancer for Success

It’s that time of year again, when hundreds of thousands of dancers, instructors, parents, and other spectators cram into auditoriums, gymnasiums, and theaters all over the country for one sole purpose: DANCE COMPETITIONS.  Dancers and instructors work hard all season improving their technique, choreographing, stretching, training, sweating, rehearsing, falling down, jumping back up, leaping, lunging, breathing (hard), and perfecting their routines.  All for the thrill of PERFORMANCE.

Dancers dance because of the feeling they feel when freedom meets expression.  When movement meets emotion.  When their heart pours out on stage and is picked up and held by the hands and hearts of their audience.  Although shows like “Dance Moms” make us out to be machine-like super humans who only care about winning, this is hardly true for the majority of the dancers in the world.  Winning has nothing to do with our passion for dance.  In fact, it is more like the sprinkle on top of the cherry, on top of the whipped cream on top of the icing, on top of the cake.  No matter what score or what place or what type of metal your dancer is awarded, remember that they dance for the way it makes them feel, not for bronze, silver, high silver, gold, high gold, platinum, double platinum, or diamond.  (What ever happened to bronze, silver, and gold, anyway?)

So what should you expect going into a dance competition?  Expect a good amount of emotion… happy, sad, frustrated, nervous, cranky, happy, tired, happy, crazy, tired, and happy.  Quite the roller coaster ride, but so worth it!  Hopefully, mostly happy’s but it’s not uncommon for your dancer to feel sad or upset at themselves for missing a step in the routine or forgetting to point their toe on that battement they’ve been working on so diligently (even if nobody else noticed it).  Or for them to be upset by the score or place they received.  Whatever you do, don’t add fuel to the fire.  Stay positive and remind them why they dance.  Let them know just how awesome you thought they performed.  Hug them and love them and support them unconditionally, regardless of what score or place they received.  Hopefully, your dancer’s instructors and studio directors will do the same, and if not, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your choice of dance studio.  After all, your child’s happiness is what’s most important, right?

So before your dancer takes the stage, let them know how proud of them you are.  Let them know that you believe in them and that you know they’ll do a fabulous job.  Wish them luck and tell them to do their best, dance their hardest, and most importantly to HAVE FUN and if they do those three things, they will succeed whether they come in first or last place.  As with beauty, success and happiness are in the eye of the beholder.  🙂

Good Luck!!  Dance Hard!!  And HAVE FUN!!

~ Miki Hegg, Assistant Director, ECSOD

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SPRING BREAK: What to Pack for Your Spring Break Vacation

It’s FINALLY here!!  Spring Break will soon begin for many across the country.  This week-long break brings rest, relaxation, play, and/or travel for many.  However, with competition season just around the corner, it is important to stay focused (as much as possible…) to keep from falling back on your progress.

If you are one who is planning to travel during your Spring Break, here is a list of items you wont want to forget when packing for your vacation!!  And if you are one who isn’t traveling and are enjoying your time off at home, keep these items close at hand!!

  • Your Competition Music Playlist – Load your Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Hip Hop, Pointe, Contemporary, and Solo/Duo/Trio songs onto your iPod to keep your dances fresh in your brain!  If possible, hit the gym or area yoga/dance studio (be sure to ask permission first!) to practice in front of the mirrors.
  • Appropriate Clothing for Stretching/Dancing/Working out – Keep up your endurance and flexibility by taking a run, finding a local gym, or even executing your Ballet Barre combinations at the beach or in your hotel room!  And as always, don’t forget to STRETCH!!
  • Resistance Bands – Continue to strengthen your feet while in the car, plane, at the beach, or before you go to bed.
  • And Lastly… If you haven’t finished Rhinestoning your costumes, be sure to pack your stones, E-6000 rhinestone glue, tweezers/crayons, and costumes to finish up your BLING during down-time!  🙂

Spring Break is definitely a great time to relax and de-stress, but remember to keep dance on your brain (even if only a few times throughout the week!) to stay in tip-top Competition shape!  🙂

Happy SPRING BREAK and Happy Dancing!!  

~ Miki Hegg, Assistant Director, ECSOD

Dance Shoe Reviews: Top 5 Best Contemporary Jazz/Lyrical Shoes


Jazz boots/shoes are a thing of the past, good only for beginner jazz dancers or when necessary for a certain “look”.  Most of the dance world has moved onward and upward to the next and best creation in dance wear for the feet:  with no specific name to use across the board, we can come up with our own…  Toe Pads, Turners, Half-Soles, etc.

This style of shoe (which has been around for over 10 years now!) is perfect for jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and even some musical theater numbers.  Only covering half the foot, this shoe offers relief on slippery surfaces and also allows the dancer to “feel the floor” and spread the feet to create a better sense of balance and connection.

There are a few different variations of this style, one covering the entire front half of the foot with a strap (or 2) which secures around the heel.  The other variation is strapless and covers the pad of the foot, leaving the toes out.

Here is a list of the TOP 5 BEST CONTEMPORARY JAZZ/LYRICAL SHOES you can buy, according to personal experience along with the help of the opinions of dancers from around the country:

CLICK HERE for our TOP 5 CONTEMPORARY JAZZ/LYRICAL SHOES!!

Costumes, Costumes, COSTUMES: Keeping Costume Day Drama-Free

And now…. the moment you’ve all been waiting for…  (drum-roll, please)…  IT’S FINALLY COSTUME WEEK!!  Holy cow, you thought this day would NEVER come!  Whether you have just one, super cute, colorful tutu to try on, or 6 different costumes of various shapes, fabrics, and styles, Costume Day can be one of the most exciting days at the studio (and, at the same time, one of the most crazy, chaotic, and stressful).

But not to worry!   There are a few simple steps you can, and should take to keep your Costume Day drama, and stress-free!  

We all know there is a long list of things that COULD go wrong….  your costume doesn’t fit, it wasn’t what you were expecting, you get home and you’re missing a costume piece, your tights are the wrong size, the color doesn’t go well with your skin-tone or hair color, etc. etc. etc.  The list could go on forever.  Please DON’T PANIC!!  It is important to remember that:

CLICK HERE for Tips to Keep Costume Day STRESS-FREE!!