Always a Reason to be Thankful

I think many of us are counting down the days until the ball drops, the calendar changes and we move into a new year. 2020 has done a number on all of us, from the pandemic, financially, community, politics, social divide, you name it – it showed its face. One thing I always thing is important is to find the GOOD. Dinners, board games, family, less time out and about and more time together. People got loud shared their voices and more people voted than ever before. Regardless of what you think or believe it is something to celebrate!  There are so many things to be thankful for even in 2020.

I have been at Patty’s Dance Center since high school. This year they celebrated 50 years of business. No one successfully makes it to 50 years without hustle, drive, resilience, creativity, flexibility and not giving up. Patty’s has always been more than a studio but a family. The creativity that exudes from the building is amazing and the dancers are at a higher level than ever before. It seems that year 50 was all about testing the limits. While many studios struggled, folded, went dark, PDC thrived and has become a bright light in so many young dancer’s lives. 

How did they make this happen?

  • Showed they cared.
  • Put safety and health first.
  • Had studio calls just around community.
  • Taught dance online.
  • Put together a killer protocol for smaller classes, temp checks, masks, spaced out dancing. 
  • A new schedule with built in cleaning breaks.

I have been in awe of the hard work and dedication to keep things moving, to create a safe space, and to give dancers a bit of normal. If you are within driving distance you should check out this incredible dance studio. https://pattysdancecenter.com

As we move into Thanksgiving week I asked all the dancers to share what they’re most thankful for about dance. So PDC could see their hard work matters, teachers know their kindness is felt and the cleaning staff knows the children know they are keeping them safe. For costumes, performances, an emotional outlet, a safe place, a community, a family. Who thought dance could be so many things. Parents know it matters that you have invested in because it has always been so much more than dance. 

When I asked the kids what they were thankful for, they asked me to share. 

I said dance has always been my constant whether I was five or forty four.  Whether I lived in Boston,  Newark,  or now Worthington, OH. Whether I was not yet a mom, or had four. No matter the job or relationship, a good day or bad day dance was always there. 

Below are the things the PDC dancers are grateful for.  If you’re a dance teacher, read these and remember how much you are loved. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and comment below on what you are most thankful for…..

– Love K 

7-8-9 year old

  • Thankful for dance, good exercise and fun.
  • It is really fun to go on stage and have fun.
  • I am thankful for all the teachers.
  • Be around all you and have fun.
  • Family other than my family at home.
  • Thankful for ballet, I get to learn new things.
  • For the teachers that helped me get my back handspring.
  • Thankful for dance and that my parents help me out a lot and pay for costumes.
  • I am thankful for relationships here and friends.
  • Parents pay for it and don’t take me out of it,
  • Friends
  • I learn how to do tumbling and got a back handspring.
  • Brings me joy and makes me happy when I am sad.

9, 10, 11 year old

  • Getting my pirouettes
  • Jazz
  • Thankful for everyone here.
  • Thankful I still get to do ballet here.
  • For dance in general and the teachers.
  • That I can dance after my knee surgery. 
  • I get to see my friends and teachers even with masks on.
  • I’m thankful I’ve gotten a lot better at barre more than last year. 
  • Friends I’ve made the last couple of years.
  • Thankful for all the teachers.
  • Being able to express myself through dance.
  • To be able to still dance.
  • Thankful for costumes and teachers.
  • The kind of environment I get to dance in. 
  • Thankful they clean before I start and when I am done.
  • The teachers and that I get to dance in person.
  • I’m thankful I get to perform.
  • I’m thankful the teachers are so kind.
  • I have a place I can express myself and let out all my worries. 
  • If I am angry all week, it allows me to let it all out.
  • Meet new people.
  • Learn to express myself.
  • I am safe here and I don’t get made fun of,
  • I learn new things and new dances. 

11- 18 year old

  • Meet new people.
  • My escape.
  • It’s fun.
  • Make new friends.
  • Let my emotions out.
  • It’s my home.
  • Supportive and nice.
  • Self confidence.
  • Don’t have to be on a stupid zoom.
  • It’s my happiness.
  • New friends and new people.
  • Second family.
  • Valuable life lessons.
  • I can actually be happy. 
  • My mom pays for it and I can escape from school and cheer.
  • Coping mechanism.
  • Place to let go and be yourself. 
  • Safe place and people are supportive. 
  • People support me here.
  • Stress relief for anxiety and all that goes on outside of dance. 
  • Something to love, some people don’t have a passion for something.
  • Always something to look forward to, my happy place.
  • It gives me another family to come to.
  • Gives me best friends and a chance to be myself.
  • Be surrounded by people that have the same passion as you.
  • Dance is always fun and never boring.
  • Something to go to to get rid of everything else outside.
  • Able to do what I love and be surrounded by people who Love what I do.
  • Dance brings people together, especially during a pandemic.
  • It’s my safety and security.
  • Source of Joy.
  • Grateful to see each other and make it as normal as possible,
  • Second family and thankful for my parents willingness to support me.
  • Huge piece of who I am. 
  • Be myself and express myself.
  • I get to keep dancing and working on my skills.
  • This is where I have met all my closest friends.
  • Hang out with my friends and do something I love to do.
  • Allow for me to bond with new people.
  • Second family, way to express myself.
  • Get to do what I like to do, with people that like to do what I like to do.
  • Improve my dancing during Corona Virus,
  • Surrounded by people I am great friends with.

November Ballerina Barre

Ballet Music for Barre and Center Floor (6000) by David Howard 

When I was young I remember adults saying it’s all about “who you know”. I always felt annoyed because I felt that my hard work and drive would get me to all the places I was going. And of course those things helped but it’s true that the relationships you create in the world will take you farther than anything else. You learn more, your circle opens up, people do want to help each other in so many ways.

The dance community is a family. A network of people who breathe and thrive off of the same things. A passionate, spontaneous group whose creativity spreads beyond the walls of a classroom into stages, videos, social media. movies, into hearts. The things I have learned is to give, deposit, share and if you do it will come back. It might not come back today. or tomorrow but one day if you are genuine and give you will receive.

And so for ballet teachers everywhere…. On zoom, in your room, in a classroom, on a patio or for a class, here is November barre. Simple, easy… Use as you please…

To my network of amazing people…

Love you K

Pliés- Track 1/ Greensleves

            Facing barre, first position, demi plié, grande plié, stretch over right, then left.

            Second position, demi plié, grande plié, stretch back right, then left.

            Left hand on barre, fourth position, two demi pliés, one grande plié, stretch forward and lunge back

            Fifth position, two demi pliés, one grande plié, grande port de bras

Tendus- Track 3/ Sweet Old Fashioned Girl

            Left hand on barre, from fifth, tendu, close, tendu, plié, tendu close, then 4 quick, en croix

            Tag- tendu, coupé fondue, tendu, rond de jambe second, en croix, coupé balance

Dégagé- Track 5/ Sonata in B-Flat

            From fifth, two dégagé front, three quick side, two quick front, one quick side, passé, reverse back, two times through, balance passé

Élevés- Track 19/ Meinster Singer

Frappé- Track 7/ Jenny

            Two front, four quick side, two back, alternating front and back four times in coupé, double front, double side, double back, double side, hold, then reverse

Rond de jambe- Track 6/ Hilili Hi Lo

            Fondu rond de jambe en dehors, tendu side arm diagonal, 4 circles, reverse.

            Brush leg up front, brush through first to arabesque, carry side, close fifth

Fondu- Track 8/ Mazurka a Minor

            Fondu front low, ninety degrees, then high, plié supporting leg, close, en croix

Battement- Track 12/ Hot Voodoo

            16 en croix

Petit Allegro- Track 10/ Lady in Red

            Jeté, jeté, jeté, assemblé over, sissonne front, sissonne back, sissonne side, pas de bourrée, two pas de chats, assemblé, beat change, changement, reverse.

Allegro- Track 22/ Clavalities

            Piqué arabesque, piqué attitude, change arms, relevé arabesque, run run grande jeté

Across the floor- Track 23/ Swan Lake (Allegro No. 4)

            Jeté, jeté, pas de bourrée, pirouette turn, to the right, then reverse

Jumps- Track 21/ Sweet & Low Down

Falling for Fall – November playlist

Falling for Fall and so many other things. The list of things, dreams, ideas, and goals I have swirling in my brain continues. This year forced me to stop, breathe and look at things so much differently. Those dreams haven’t gone anywhere, they are here, bigger, brighter and better than ever. So the rest, breathing spaces, the support, the energy and the new chapter make me ready to change with the golden trees and fall right into Fall.

Here are some songs I have been playing for the last couple months. It was a September playlist, that became October and then just like the leaves, changed into a November playlist.

I hope you play it here there and everywhere…… And I hope you hear and see more of me finishing out this year and moving into 2021.

Change with the seasons- Love Kelli

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/sweet-september/pl.u-76oNNy7FWNZeVjB

Banks – Needtobreathe

The 1 – Taylor Swift

Trying my  Best – Anson Seabra

Without You – Leslie Odom JR.

More Love – Sara Bareilies

Can you Hear Me – Anson Seabra

If Your Meant to Come Back- Justin Jesso

Little Runaway – Celeste

I Just Don’t think I’ll Get Over You – Colin Hay

Rolling Deep – Aretha Franklin

Soldier – Gavin James

Can’t Help Falling In Love – Tommee Profitt

Catching up with Kerry – Part one

Catching up with Kerry Wee. I have given an intro of this amazing professional dancer and aerialist before. Kerry grew up in Ohio, where we danced together and then she ventured off to LA. She has an amazing resume in the dance world that many would die for. We reconnected in the last few years and I am so very happy we did. Our conversation comes easy about dance and actually many other things in life. Today in part one – I asked Kerry a million questions about how she started and what led her to LA. To learn more about Kerry and her aerial knowledge follow her blog with the link below. https://wrapyourheadaroundsilks.lpages.co/signup/

Here are a few of my biggest take aways from my interview with Kerry….

  • First obstacle can be telling your family you’re headed to LA in the ARTS.
  • Dance can be a big question mark unlike other career paths.
  • LA may be more affordable than NY. You can live with many roommates and have that added support.
  • 25% Talent and skill- 25% Emotional toughness – 25% business sense and money management – 25% people and networking
  • Look and be the part even if you don’t have the skill or the steps.
  • NICE matters. People will remember how you walk into the room and how you behave at auditions and on jobs.
  • Auditions – go to learn and grow not only for the YES.
  • I always say ten Nos will get you to a YES. Kerry said her personal philosophy for dance was 60 Nos for a 1 YES.

Look for part two coming soon. Reach out with any questions and follow us on insta…

Go for the No… Love K

Not Fragile like a flower, Fragile like a bomb – July playlist…

Hello I missed you… Sometimes when I am away from typing this up it seems hard to jump back in. I always have a million thoughts and lately they have nowhere to go. So tonight I bring them to you.

In April I was crying, panicked because dance competition was coming up, I was suddenly slated to travel to too many cities in one month and working out schedules with the kids is always tricky. . Then COVID-19 happened. This is not to debate if you think it’s real or not. I actually had it so I know it’s real and how sick you can get.

The amazing thing about COVID is it forced us all to stop. Everyone that knows me knows that’s a word I don’t even understand. I have mentioned Aaron King before. He was my life coach for a year and now I would like to say a friend. I told him my 2020 word was action. That I needed to follow through and take action on all the ideas and things I stir up in my head. He said you already are “Action”. Everything you do is moving. You need to do the exact opposite in 2020. It’s like the universe knew we all needed less action. That we all needed to stop for a moment, or six months. UGH I hate to say possibly a year. It forced us to get off the merry go round. We ate at home, we played board games, we went on long walks, we binged watched, we read books. We knew what our kids were doing at school and they had a new and different perspective of what our job was. It made us give up new clothes, pedicures, or the perfect picture on a rooftop for our insta story. Funny to be grateful for a pandemic, but I do believe we’re different for the better.

I love people, I talk to them all day for a living. Love to know why they think what they do, what drives them. The last few months have brought so many hard things to the surface. I have watched good friends fight, cry, end friendships. I have watched some grow closer. Now more than ever in this world it is time for us to rise up. Not for a political side, not because you think we should wear a mask or not. We need each other more than ever. The last few months have made all of us a little more fragile than normal. And “not fragile like a flower, fragile like a bomb”. Why work so hard to prove your side, or prove your right. It seems easier to lead with kindness and not a divide. So that is my wish for all of you this Monday evening. That you let it go… Have your thoughts, feel them, know them, and let those you love have theirs.

I always said music brings joy, happiness, smiles and if you are lucky some dancing! This playlist has no rhyme or reason, much like the last few months of our lives. Just songs I have been playing – some loud, some to fall asleep and some dancing in the kitchen with a spoon.

I love you all – every single one of you… Even if you think the sky is purple! K

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/a-summer-to-remember-july-playlist/pl.u-DdANNK3salg1R2M

  • Little Voices – Sara Bareilles
  • Don’t Give Up On Me – Andy Grammer
  • Breathing Again – Sleeping At Last
  • Lost – The Wind and The Waves
  • Here I Am – Clare Maguire
  • If the World Was Ending – JP Saxe and Julia Michaels
  • Daughter – Sleeping At Last
  • Let the Rain – Sara Bareilles
  • I Love Me – Demi Lovato
  • Hardwired -Hailey Knox
  • Nothing Compares 2 U – Prince & The New Power Generation
  • I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
  • Best of You – Andy Grammer
  • I Don’t Know Anything – Little Voices Cast
  • Floorplan – Sara Bareilles
  • Long Run – Deacon

Michael Cusumano –

“As true as possible, as honest as possible and as kind as possible. If it takes me places great.”

How lucky am I to have an amazing friend in Michael Cusumano. Michael began dancing at age six and was in American Ballet Theater by age fifteen. After spending years in ABT he took a chance at Broadway where he landed jobs in Chicago and All Shook Up. Many fun cameo appearances and then fell into teaching. He now is a full-time teacher at Pace University, Broadway Dance Studio and travels. A performer at heart, he still dances, shares his better half in a very fun comedic way and aspires to make people happy and hear them laugh.

I first had the chance to meet Michael at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. I loved the way he taught with love, carried himself, and his fun personality. Since he has ventured to Ohio a few times to teach the students I work with at Patty’s Dance Center. We became fast friends. I have loved watching him teach, watch his social media adventures and can honestly say we are ballet soul mates.

As we all know I love people. Love knowing their hearts, what makes them tick and why they do what they do. I have been wanting to combine my love of dance with my passion for people with some fun interviews to share with all of you. What better way to start then with Michael! Our only flaw in this interview is we could talk and share for days. So you may need to listen in bite size nuggets.

Click here….

In this interview you will learn…

  • A little about Michael
  • Dancing in a ballet company
  • Process of auditioning and hearing no
  • A touch of Broadway
  • Teaching ballet and Cusumano philosophy
  • Finding your true self and listening to your gut
  • Dancing through the pandemic
  • A touch of Self Love

Follow Michael Cusumano on Instagram at mikeycusumano and can also be found sharing ballet as madameolgav .

With lots of Ballet love … Love Kelli and Michael

April at Home – Playlist Spring

Have you ever been moving a million miles an hour and suddenly you are sick and down for the count? We often are terrible at saying no or shutting things off and actually resting. Our bodies force us to stop. The universe has shut down for the time being. The pandemic has slowed life, the constant moving, buzzing and running. Yes we all miss everything about being able to go to work, travel even dinner out, but when will we have this time again. Things have stopped and we are at home with our families. No travel, no running, still living, surviving and moving in a very new existence.

I am hopeful this time brings us a new gratitude for all things we normally take for granted. And also gives us a new appreciation and closer relationship with those people that we sometimes find ourselves passing in a hall or at the front door.

As with all things the dance world has changed. There are online dance classes popping in to all social media feeds. Connecting, choreographing and collaborating across states, living rooms, in tiny bedrooms, studio apartments in NYC and living rooms where a passing cat or dog can be found. What all those rooms are filled with are love. Love for dance, love for each other, love of connection and music. Our dance studio has successfully ventured online and its beautiful how everyone has come together. Here is a playlist I have been playing loud in the kitchen, in my makeshift dance space and on some zoom ballet center- stretch classes.

Listen- Play Loud and LOVE – K

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/april-at-home-spring/pl.u-DdANN8oIalg1R2M

  • The Story – Brandi Carlile
  • Castles – Freya Riding
  • Lost- Luz
  • 22 – Gavin James
  • Believer – Lil Wayne – Imagine Dragons
  • Don’t Give up on Me – Andy Grammer
  • Keep Breathing – Congratulationz
  • Way Down We Go – KALEO
  • Ships in the Night – Matt Kearney
  • By Your Side – Brooke Annibale
  • Change Your Mind – Jack Vallier
  • I will be there – Odessa
  • Stole The Show – Kygo
  • Stars Are on Your Side – Ross Copperman
  • Here – Alessia Cara
  • Ready = Hael
  • Heartbeats – Aaron Wright
  • We Come Together – Regina Price
  • Love Vendetta – Arrow Benjamin
  • Got The Feeling – Juliet Roberts
  • For You – Greg Laswell
  • Blinded by the Lights – Dan Caplen
  • Now I can Fly – Raign

Happiness is a butterfly – October playlist

From the sky today with some beautiful sunshine. A clear sky and clear head. I have started traveling a lot again, I love meeting people and connecting in person. In the last couple weeks I have met a few people who are listening and loving my playlists. Also some secret dancers who are using my barre work. Of course it made me so happy because I love sharing and want it to bring people happiness. This playlist has been around all of September but I hadn’t gotten a chance to share it with all my twirlers. I won’t continue to tell you how much I love music and feel it is my love language. Excited for you to have it, play it, hear it and share it!

As we move into October we come to that sweet end of an amazing year. Goals, dreams and the never ending chase for happiness all in play. Good news is you still have time. Time to make it happen, time to pivot, chase the dream and always chase happiness. Happiness is a butterfly, here fluttering, gone, then back. As usual I am always chasing happiness.. Note the WINS, have gratitude in what you do have. I mean what is happiness? Really just our mindset on our life and where we are at. Again all the power is yours. So be the happiness, be the butterfly, find it in yourself. And when you land in one garden or flower and it doesn’t feel just so, flutter to the space that brings you joy!

Here are some songs…. For the car, the dance classroom, while you workout, for some ballet barre in your living room and to share with a friend.

Love always a butterfly at heart! K

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/happiness-is-a-butterfly-october-playlist/pl.u-11zBBgyU8ZjPqgz

  • California – Lana Del Rey
  • Outnumbered – Dermot Kennedy
  • Dancing With Your Ghost – Sasha Sloan
  • The Archer – Taylor Swift
  • Happiness is a butterfly – Lana Del Rey
  • giving in – Iris
  • Get You the Moon – Kina
  • Bag of Dreams – Joel Baker
  • When I wasn’t watching – Mandy Moore
  • Glow – Gavin James
  • Higher Love – Whitney Houston
  • Coming Home – Gavin James
  • Rescue – Lauren Daigle
  • This Girl – Lauren Daigle
  • Easy Camila Cabello

My Birthday Eve

I was thinking through what the last year brought and didn’t bring. What I learned and apparently what I still need to learn? And to celebrate all the last year brought…. If you are reading this you probably had a moment with me and if you didn’t you better show up in the coming year because it will be the best yet!

When I started typing this I was thinking of all the things that went wrong, what I could have done better. The place I wish I was verses where I am. Then the gratitude voice came in and I started thinking about what an amazing year this was, all the things I got right, the things I kicked ass at. I looked at how far I have come and how I have set myself up to take this year to the next level.

So lets start out with some Kelli WINS…

  • I think I am the healthiest and happiest I have been.
  • More balanced in life (chuckle but its real)
  • I have learned how to say no when I can’t do something
  • I moved into the first place of my own/ just mine plus three. I found it and made it happen!( ok so Karen helped a little)
  • I learned how to put air in my tire by myself – It’s real.
  • Cameron started his sophomore year at Ohio State.
  • Kenzie is the most independent, strong, resilient girl and we jumped from a plane on her 18th Birthday!
  • Emerson is going to school without tears!
  • Mason is an amazing reader, and math rockstar. Also pretty theatrical.
  • I LOVE my job. I feel confident in it, I love the brand and my team. The women I get to work with everyday, inspire me to be better.
  • Dance is still my heart. I think I have learned to lead with my strengths and I know those lift, teach and build great dancers. I also have worked on my weaknesses. It is my happy place, where I breathe easy, a safe place where I am comfortable and I soar. Last year I didn’t know that but I got my ballerina sass and grace back.
  • Amazing friends. I wish for you friends like mine. Who know me, see me for who I am, lift me, show up, make me laugh, tell me when I am wrong and tell me when I am right. Balcony friends who always pull me up. My everything!
  • I learned that in hockey its goals not points.
  • I have had a blog forever but this past year found the space and the words I wanted to share. I have gotten so much positive ballerina feedback. Feels so good to know my words don’t just drift into space.
  • I started taking advantage of airlines points, hotel points and Kroger points…. ( LOL)
  • I traveled…… I am too lucky and too tired to name all the places.
  • I had such a fun summer. No pressure, no meaning, JUST FUN!
  • I found music again.. I think there was a time that music seemed heavy, and the lyrics were too much. I am loving making playlists, sharing them and playing them with my windows down.
  • I took a college writing class.
  • I took ballet classes in LA, NY, Chicago, Columbus.
  • I started running again consistently.
  • I rode my bike 100 miles to End CANCER. ( Yes DAD working on the donation part next year I promise)
  • I read at least 6 books.
  • I had some incredible mentors in work, ballet and in life.
  • I LOVED hard. I am an all in lover and no regrets for being that way ever.
  • I “Marie Kondo” ed my life, my house, my relationships, work, projects and time. BOOM
  • I hiked, alone, with kids, with friends. Love the peak and the views.
  • I chased every sunset and got up early to see lots of sunrises.
  • I got Venmo.
  • I went to concerts, Broadway shows and a few hockey games.
  • I hired a life assistant. I mean this could be life changing.
  • I binged watched too many shows. If you need a show ask.
  • I believe I led with kindness in all ways and in all places.

All the things I learned I need to keep working on.

Letting GO – We all know I love people. I see the best always, and when I don’t see it I hope for it to appear. I know it’s in that person and I know if they try they can find it. The hard part is accepting people for how they are actually showing up and not for their potential. This happens in all spaces of my life. In the dance room. The dancer that I know is gifted and could blow everyone away, but they show up quiet, not focused, no drive and no fight. I can’t want it for them. It happens at work also. The hardest is when it happens in your personal life. When you see the person for so much more then they are willing to give and show up as. I dream big always and sometimes its hard to let go of the wish, or hope or dream of what it could be, and instead accept what is…

Buck UP – WOW we all do this. The going gets tough, things are hard and instead of figuring out the solution or what would improve things we are stuck in the why. Why it is tough, every single excuse, person and obstacle in the way. Generally those things and people are out of our control. So seeing the situation, recognizing it and then doing everything in your power to take it on and make the situation better. Out of the victim mindset.

Don’t sell yourself short – It was brought to my attention that I lead thoughts ideas and feelings by lowering everyones expectations instead of leading with confidence.” I think we will make it when you travel.” “This is probably a really silly idea you would never want to do but… ” I never realized I was doing this and I am going to change it NOW.

Stop trying to prove yourself to people who don’t care and don’t matter- If they are questioning who you are, making you doubt who you are, they aren’t your people. WOW do I do this everyday. I have a side of perfectionist to my personality. I know that seems comical because I am the perfect disaster. I am always trying to explain, satisfy, justify, defend, prove show how hard of a worker I am, what kind of mom I am, friend, sister, girlfriend, dance teacher. The truth is, if I show up as my best self. If I lead with what I know is right. If I am the best possible mom I can be. It won’t matter who questions, argues and wonders. And most likely their questions and confusion are in themselves not in me.

Grace – I think for the last couple years due to circumstance I got caught up in age. What it meant to be getting older? I’m not in my twenties anymore and did that make me less, not as much fun, not as hot and attractive? But guess what….. I have never ever been so confident in what I bring to the table. There is something to be said for knowing who you are. Knowing what you want, knowing what you don’t. Understanding life, work, relationships, children, your body, strengths, weaknesses, who your real friends are. Who really loves you. So this year I promise to just be. Not to question it, not to fight it, just to be.

Those are four pretty big things to work on… Hoping you are alongside for the challenge. Thank you for being a part of my world. It matters and you matter.

My birthday wish is that your list of wins is twice as long, and that the things you want to work on come easy …

Love you much – Kelli ( one year older)

My gift is my song….

Hey my sweet ballerina friends…. A few months ago when the dance season was wrapping I asked everyone to stay IN. Stay consistent, keep stretching, take classes, listen to music, ballet barre in your bedroom and cross training. Then the summer sun came, too much free time, good friends and things that not only took our hearts and energy but did make us smile. Summer happiness crept into my life as well and the sunshine stole my heart. Which is why you haven’t heard from me in awhile. I actually have a million things to write about, so you may hear from me a lot in the next few weeks. I was having a hard time trying to decide where to start… I decided to start with one of my favorite gifts, which is always a song.

The last couple weeks I have been really focused on choosing music for this years ballet pieces. Listening, listening again, crying, dancing and listening. And so tonight I decided to start from the very beginning. The place it all starts- with a song. Without music what is dance? So it seems that as I look to the first week of dance, and my first blog for this dance season I should start with what matters The MUSIC.

As we all know I am addicted to music. All music moves my heart and I think it is my secret love language. As a dance teacher choosing music for you dances is crucial. It makes and breaks your class and the year. Choosing the wrong song can be painful, not only for you but for your students. It causes you to dig deep and try to find inspiration every week that should easily be found in the musicality of the music. Here are five things to think about as you listen to music and match it to class lists.

  • Age and ability. This is obvious but the song needs to fit the students, Their maturity level as a dancer. Can they grasp the music, the notes and the theme?
  • Music that was used the year prior. You want to give the class and students knowledge and the challenge of dancing to different types, tempos and ideas.
  • Does it move you? I honestly think this could be one of the most important questions to ask yourself. If I cry when I listen to the song I know it is on the keep list. If it doesn’t move my heart and my soul I know it won’t move my spirit when I start to put the movements to it.
  • Can you see the vision? If I like the song I can lay out the dance in my mind in two quick listens. This does not mean I have actual steps, movements and transitions but I have an overall lay out of ideas that will move the dance forward.
  • Does it challenge you as a choreographer? hmmm do you want it to? Last year I honestly picked songs that were easier for me to create to. They didn’t make me think, but I loved them and they all came together. This year the songs that I have chosen are more difficult. When I was working on some ideas today, I considered bailing on one song, but… I know in my heart it is the right song. It moves me, I see the layout of the dance, it will move the students and I know they will grow. I also know it will push me, it will make me think, and it isn’t going to come easy to me. Guess what I am up for the challenge.

During the Summer I created a list of songs I loved. All that had potential for me to use in the coming year. Now that my songs are chosen I thought I would share with you the list of songs I did not use. I also have included some songs I used in years past. Click below for a playlist of ballet ideas. I hope as you pick songs, you dream, cry and are inspired to create big things. Music is the blank canvas. You are the paint brush and your dancers are the paint. Choose the songs that will bring color to your year, to your dancers, the stage and to all that watch.

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/music-is-my-gift/pl.u-aZb009vtPVzxb5k

I would love to play any role you need me to from afar. So if you need help choosing a song, seeing the vision, creating the steps or inspiring your students let me know. I want to share my love for dance across miles, oceans and skylines.

As always my gift is my song and this ones for you! Love Kelli