It's time for an update on our new studio space. I know you're all as anxious as I am to get moving in this space that we've been planning for so long. I apologize for not updating sooner: I've been working on behind the scenes aspects, and just didn't get the chance to put everything in writing (and as much as a snuggly newborn is a wonderful addition; she doesn't make office work any easier!)
The reason: as you all know, we were SO CLOSE to being in our space in January. Over the Christmas holiday, we failed to meet the inspection requirements. At that time, we were given 8 pages of items to update or change (!). Our second walk-through was much more encouraging with a one-page list of updates. However, what I've been working on most of the semester is how to swing those updates financially. Though the list is shorter, the unexpected cost of some items (just servicing the sprinkler system is about 150% of our monthly rent) has put finishing the studio on hold.
As we continue our semester in our transitional space, I am continuing to seek solutions to get us moved into the space. I have several options as of this writing, and I believe we'll be able to continue the project by the end of the month.
Thank you all for being a part of our community. I'm looking forward to a future with you, in a shiny new space!
What a week! Here's what we've learned about our space and timeline:
I've continued to be in touch with the contractors and fire marshal about our space. As many of you saw via facebook, my foster daughter was in the hospital from Saturday to Wednesday, so meetings were conducted on the phone as much as I could arrange them (with some added help from Tracy, Therese, and Apryl when things were needed at the studio). However, I still have not received a clear occupancy date.
That being said, I have been taking feedback from families and teachers and really focusing on what my priorities are for the studio. Our number one priority is to offer a positive, healthy dance experience. With that as our guide, I am working out the details to start offering at least a partial schedule for January 22nd.
Our ideal scenario is to get the okay from the fire marshal and be fully in the space. Those who have walked through the renovation process before, or even just the permitting and fire code process, have shared with me that you've experienced similar set-backs. Those stories have been incredibly encouraging: thank you for offering your stories and sympathy. We are also pursuing the option of using a portion of our space or returning to the church for classes.
Through this process, it is important that you know that I will share as much information with you as quickly as I can. We are a community, and I know you are all eager and excited to be back in full dance-mode and to see this dream space that we have been creating (see a few pictures here).
It's Monday, and my sweet dancers are just getting started in their warm-ups as I write from the comfort of my husband's recliner in our living room: pot of coffee half-way empty. I'm grateful to have staff who can step in as subs and encourage me to just sit after three long days of dancing and traveling.
Why so tired? This past weekend Durango Dance Ensembles attended our second convention of the year. It was also our second convention ever. Unlike our first convention (Project Dance), this one (ASH) included an adjudicated performance opportunity. Things get a little dicey for me as I talk about such opportunities: I'm not a do-it-because-everyone-else-is person and I want to be clear about our goals in attending these events. Our team of teachers and families are all here for the same reason: we want to teach children to dance safely, happily, well, and unburdened. It's important for our dancers to experience dance outside of our studio and under the care of other teachers, but honestly, that is not always an easy task (as any parent or caregiver can attest). It seems we must dance this line along the various schools of thought that dance is fun, dance is competitive, dance is artistic, and dance is for you/not-you/boys/girls/skinny/strong/wealthy/few/all. Throw in the various ideas about technique, tricks, careers, and healthy/safety, and you'll find that stepping out into the dance world is not always an easy walk.
BUT when we walk through this as a dance family, we can navigate these various paths together. What an amazing experience it then becomes to travel to our first convention Project Dance where we could experience the wonder of performing outside in an amphitheater, take classes from teachers who could personally correct or encourage, and hear the director share her personal story of how dance impacted her life. Likewise, we could experience this latest convention ASH where we were able to experience performing in front of master teachers who were actively taking notes on our performances, take classes in huge ballrooms where we were challenged to learn choreography quickly, and we could watch dancers whose choices were sometimes vastly different and see the broad spectrum of what dance and dancers look like.
Throughout this experience as we support our dancers in the quest to learn and grow in dance, I am grateful to watch them also grow as humans. My favorite moments from this past weekend were seeing them encourage the dancers around them, move from the back of the room to the middle of the dance floor, try new styles of movement, step into a new stage of ballet training (4 dancers are working in pre-pointe and pointe shoes now!), and face their fears and discomforts and push through anyway.
Dance. Friendships. Growth. What a combination for this good-tired feeling. And now, to finish that last half of my coffee pot.
Here's a detailed list of which class is performing in which Nutty Nutcracker Show. All performances take place on December 17th at Fort Lewis College, and all dancers will have dress rehearsal at 9am on Sunday, December 17th.
2:30 Show ONLY
Pre Ballet 1 - Fridays 3:30
Pre Ballet 2 - Tuesdays 3:45
Pre Hip Hop - Mondays 3:00
Pre Tap/Jazz 1 - Fridays 4:15
Pre Tap/Jazz 2 - Tuesdays 4:30
6:30 Show ONLY
Pre Ballet 3 - Tuesdays 4:30
Pre Contemporary - Wednesdays 3:30
Pre Tap/Jazz 3 - Tuesdays 3:30
Acro - Mondays 3:45
Acro - Mondays 4:30
Homeschool Ballet - Wednesdays 1:30
Homeschool Tap/Jazz - Wednesdays 2:15
Both the 2:30 Show and the 6:30 Show
Ballet 1, Ballet 2/3, Ballet Teen
Contemporary 1, Contemporary 2, Contemporary 3/4, Contemporary 5, Contemporary Teen
Hip Hop 1, Hip Hop 2, Hip Hop 3, Hip Hop 4, Hip Hop Teen
Jazz 1, Jazz 2, Jazz 3, Jazz 4A, Jazz 4B, Jazz 5
Tap 1, Tap 2, Tap 3/4, Tap 4, Tap 5, Adult Tap
Musical Theater 1
All Ensemble Groups
Save the Date: December 17th
Rehearsal for everyone will be at 9am. Shows at 2:30 and 6:30!
Tickets go on sale at durangoconcerts.com on October 1st.
-Thanksgiving Break is November 21st-25th. On Monday, Contemporary Ensemble will rehearse from 3:45-5:15 and Tap Ensemble will rehearse from 5:15-6:15. There will be NO other youth classes this week. I will have special office hours from 1-6:30 on Monday 11/21 and 1-5:30 on Tuesday 11/22.
-Noel Night is coming up, December 2nd. Our Contemporary and Tap Ensembles will be performing in the front studio along with Ballet Durango's Youth Ballet. All dancers are invited to come watch and participate in a special group dance which we'll perform at 7:15 and 7:45. Dancers will learn choreography in class and may wear jeans and sweaters (red, white, or green), along with any holiday accents. No need to RSVP. Just show up to perform!
- Help Needed! If your family needs financial assistance to pay for classes, we are in need of you! We are seeking 1-2 families to join our team to keep the studio looking it's best. Please ask Miriam about the "Trade for Tuition" program.
- Parent Watch Week will be December 7th-13th. During this week, parents are invited to watch their students perform for the last 15 minutes of each class. Leaps and Turns and Homeschool students, please ask your teacher about Parent Watch Day schedules for your classes.
-Just in time for the holidays: gifts! New apparel items are now being sold in our boutique with more on the way! Please see the office staff and boutique area for details.
- Enrollment from Fall will be carried over to Spring, unless you email me to drop or add classes. This is different from past years, and our hope is to streamline the process. If nothing is changing for your family, no need to email. Fall semester ends December 13th and Spring semester begins January 4th!
Most of our classes are in full swing, but for those families who are just now ready to dive into dance classes, we have a handful of classes that are still accepting students. If your dancer is ready to try a new style or join us for the first time, check out these class options!
- Creative Arts Academy (for the little artist)
9am-11:30am on Tuesdays. Featuring yoga, dance, art, and music on a rotating schedule.
3:30-4:15 on Tuesdays. For new and experienced young dancers (ages 5-7) who like dancing barefoot and on the floor!
-Pre Jazz 3
5:15-5:45 on Thursdays. For new and experienced young dancers (ages 6-8) who like to move to sassy and strong beats!
-Leaps and Turns (NEW class!)
4:30-5:30 on Tuesdays. For new and experienced teen dancers (ages 13+) who would like to work on their technique and trick steps as jazz, tap, cheer, or team dancers.
Please visit our "Student Portal" or email us for more information!
If you've peeked your head in the studio recently, you may notice a few differences. Walls are coming down; paint is going up; and Ms. Miriam is walking around giddily singing "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!"
This year we're adding 15 new youth classes plus a preschool-alternative program! That means we HAD to do something about our tiny lobby and inoperable middle studio. I can't wait to show off all the final changes, including a larger lobby, accessible director's office, private changing rooms, additional waiting area, and a dance wear boutique (no more 3 hour drives for dance clothes!)
If you're even nearly as excited as I am (or just plain curious), come by our open house August 29th 4:30-7pm. We'll have most of the updates finished and start selling from our boutique then!
We have joined the eco-friendly world of online class cards. Adult students who take Blast, Barre, Bliss, and our technique classes like Tap, Hip Hop, and Cardio Tap are all invited to check out this new system! Paper class cards are still accepted, but if you need new class cards, you're welcome to start purchasing online.
Take a look here :)