Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Workroom Sneak Peek

What's new in the sewing room?

Dance season is picking up and  the workroom is a busy place!  Here's a peek at what we've started this week.

We've had adventures in fabric dye...

This is a trial run to test the cut and dye colors for a set of flower skirts.

We're giving some soldiers a step up...

These sleeveless jackets were new last year and were worn over long sleeve red leos. This year they get new sleeves and some sharp white cuffs.

And a spirit soldier is being fitted for his uniform...

This contemporary jazz costume is in the early stages.   I can't wait to see it all come together. 

Stay posted to see more from the Accoutre workroom!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dancers are great Jugglers

Time Jugglers, that is.
Your dance world was so easy in the beginning.  45 minutes on a Saturday morning and then run off home to play!  It's one of life's little ironies that your dance schedule, your school schedule, and your social calendar all get crazy at the same time.   So how do you keep it all straight without losing your sanity?

  • Keep a list. When you're running 100 mph all day, it's easy for small things to slip through the cracks.  "Oh, I'll remember later.." are the famous last words.  Trying to keep track of everything in your head takes up valuable brain real estate!  Take a second to jot it down somewhere and free up that brain space for more interesting things.
  • Use the time you have.  I know, this seems obvious, but what I'm talking about is those small chunks of time that we ignore.  The ones we don't consider to be long enough to accomplish anything.  Get your homework started on the bus ride home.  Do a little reading while you stretch.  Start your laundry on a commercial break.  Pack your dance bag while you wait for the microwave to ding.  Using those small pockets of time can free up a bigger piece of the day later.
  • Free up some bigger chunks of time.  Some schools will allow athletes to fulfill their physical education credits by enrolling in an independent study.  Your dance hours can work in your favor here!  Freeing up that class period can give you space for a study hall and help enormously with your homework load.  Look for other ways to free up big chunks of time.  It's time to think outside the box here!
  • Use your phone!  Sorry parents, but I'm about to give an argument in favor of smart phones.  Most homework these days requires internet access, and having it right at hand means your student can make the best use of their limited time. 
    Apps like Cozi allow you to enter your entire schedule, color coded, in a place that is accessible from any authorized device.  Mom can add an appointment from home, and send a reminder to your phone.  You can add your rehearsal schedule, and it can be accessed at home.
    Timers and alarms will allow you to concentrate fully on the task at hand without the need to monitor the clock.
 What are your best tricks for keeping your schedule and yourself in order?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Audition Day Printables

As promised, here are the forms that we use for our own audition day measurements. 

Just click on the thumbnails below to download a full sized PDF of each form.    We hope you find these useful, and wish you a smooth production season. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Audition Day Sanity for the Wardrobe Manager

It's audition day, and they've talked you into being the wardrobe manager.  Now what?  

Here are a few tips from the trenches to help you out.

  • Be prepared.  Bring a couple of extra pens, a good stack of measurement charts, and two or three tape measures.
  • Take more measurements than you think you need.  It's practically guaranteed that your director will surprise you with some wardrobe switch that will leave you hunting for measurements.  Take them all, even if you think you won't need them.  You'll save yourself time and headache later.
  • Grab a helper. There are always lots of parents and older dancers hanging around.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!
  • Mark their number after they're measured.  Audition days can be very hectic.  With all of the dancers milling around, it's easy to miss people.  A sticker or dot on their audition number will make it easy to see who's been measured and who hasn't. 
  • Don't let them leave until you have their measurements!  Trust me on this one, you will waste weeks trying to chase down the dancers you missed on audition day.  Ask your studio "gate keeper" to send anyone without a sticker back in to be measured.

Check back on Tuesday!  I'll be sharing the measurement worksheet and cast list forms we use at our own auditions.  Free to print for your own use. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dance bags are packed (okay, school bags, too.)  It's the beginning of another dance year, and at most studios that means one thing.  Audition Time!

Most of the audition advice floating around on the internet applies to older dancers auditioning for advanced parts or ballet companies.

The audition process can seem a bit intimidating for parents and dance kids who are trying out for the very first time. Don't worry! It's not as scary as the movies. I promise.

Here are some tips to help you through your dancers audition.

Be Prepared
Some companies will list a dress code for auditions.  If they don't, your class uniform is fine.  Either way, everything should be clean, neat, and in good repair (No holes!!) Hair should be in a stage-ready bun with no whispies or accessories. Leave the sparkly bun cover at home. Remove any jewelry before going in.
If your dancer is old enough to wear makeup on a day to day basis, then light and natural looking make-up is fine. The younger crowd does not need makeup unless instructed otherwise.

Bring your calendar. Many studios will have a tentative rehearsal schedule in place and will want to know about any conflicts or family trips right away.

Be On Time
Arrive early. Give yourself plenty of time to fill out paperwork, have measurements taken, and get comfortable with the process.
Encourage your dancer to warm up and stretch if they are old enough to do so.

Be Professional
Remind your dancer to curtsy and thank the instructors before leaving the audition.
Keep the lobby chatter to a minimum.  If you can hear their music, they can hear your voice.
Stick around when your dancer comes out until someone dismisses their group.  There may be announcements, questions, or additional paperwork.

And most important of all,
Be Excited!!
Your dancer is about to make memories and friends they will never forget!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What's in the Bag?

A dancer's bag is like a lady's purse.  Stuffed to the gills and oh-so-mysterious.  What's in there, anyway?  We've found some brave souls willing to share it all with us and we'll be bringing it here the first Saturday of every month.

Whose bag are we snooping in?

This months dancer is Gina Eslinger.
Gina is a company member with Ballet Ariel in Denver, Colorado. Before joining Ballet Ariel, Gina spent two seasons with David Taylor Dance Theatre. Gina has had the opportunity to perform works by August Bournonville, David Taylor, Gregory Dawson, Ilena Norton, James Wallace, and Gregory Gonzales. She has been featured as a soloist in Napoli, Sugar Plum, Snow Queen, Dewdrop and Arabian in Nutcracker, Sacred 36 in Avoca: A Tale of Molly Brown, Fairy of Joy in Sleeping Beauty, the Bird in Peter and the Wolf, Greg Gonzales’ Polar Equals, and Tom Ruud’s Mobile. Gina’s other passions include singing, teaching dance, training in lindy hop, and performing in various theater/musical theater performances in the Denver-Metro area. Recently, Gina was featured in Performance Now Theatre Company’s Oklahoma! as Dream Laurey and in Music Man as Zaneeta Shinn.

What's in the bag?
Top row: Various skirts and shorts (I always have at least three colors to choose from) and my favorite gray knit shorts (and black belt to keep them from falling down). Lip gloss (lower right on top of shorts). Three pairs of pointe shoes with tupperware of spacers/gel big toe caps with baby powder to apply after wearing them. At least three pairs of different leg warmers, wool socks.

Lower row: Foot roller, pouch of bobby pins/hair ties/etc, Orajel (for really bad toenail pain/bruises), Arnicare gel, Advil, Biofreeze roller, tennis ball and spiky massage ball for rolling out cramps in muscles, heavy thera-band, two different thicknesses of toe pads (when feet are swollen, I use thinner ones ), Kleenex, contact lens drops, technique shoes.

What's the one thing you just can't live without?
My favorite item is still big toe gel caps, then knit shorts/legwarmers.

So, dancers...how crazy is your bag?