Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Auld Lang Syne"

Does anyone really know the words to the song that blasts over the tv when the clock strikes midnight?!?!?! Regardless, it just seems fitting for today!

My only New Year's Resolution for 2012 will be to blog regularly! I think I can manage to keep up with one promise to myself. In fact I already have a blog that's 90% ready to post relating to Dance Moms, since I know everyone is dying to hear my opinion about it!

All in all 2011 has been a pretty amazing year. My studio is doing really well and we're in the process of building a brand new studio for many years of dance to come. My best friend of 27 years got married and I had a wonderful vacation in Punta Cana to witness it. I turned 30 and threw myself a fabulous grown up birthday party. My sister gave birth to my niece, who is officially my favorite person on the planet. My good friend Jordan won the final season of 'So You Think You Can Dance Canada', and countless great times we're had with my friends and family. I even recently found out some really exciting news from my BFF that I am unable to share on the internet just yet (but YAY! anyways!). Sigh... when did we all grow up!?!

I plan to make 2012 very abundant and fun. There will be more weddings, more babies and more wonderful memories to be made. It's going to be the year of MORE...

I have big goals for the upcoming year, some business related, some personal, which in turn will lead to accomplishments I hope to share as the year goes by. I also hope 2012 brings me new episodes of Grey's Anatomy since it's been well over a month since they we're on (seriously!). So let me start by sharing this gem I found on the internet, which is perfect for this evening, and it happens to be gloriously perfect!

Many blessings and well wishes to everyone in the dance industry, and my 'outside of dance' life for 2012!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Good Life"

Well today is my big 3-0... the dirty 30... or as my mother would put it, the day that makes her really old now!

My need to celebrate has changed from the times that I wanted to go out and party all night, and I feel like a lot of reflection on my life so far is good enough for me today!

Last weekend I threw myself a very grown up dinner party, with just my grown up friends on a patio, eating delicious vegan food, drinking great wine and talking. I don't even think I talked about my dance studio once... unless you count the fantastic 'Df HOLLA' license plates that I received as a gift from some of the parents!

Today, on my actual birthday, I just spent the day relaxing at home. I have actually been anticipating my sister going into labour today with my first niece, as we were supposed to share the same birthday, but that has not happened yet. With each hour that goes by the odds of us sharing our special day is looking slimmer and slimmer, but I'm sure we will celebrate our birthday weeks together every year from now on.

I can't really find anything to complain about today, or in general in my life! Sure, I'd like to have more money, drive around in a convertible all summer, and take a random trip to Paris for Christmas... but seriously, that's all just ridiculous details! I have had the same best friend for 27 years, I have a generous and loyal teaching staff at my studio whom are also my good friends. I have the most supportive family, and extended studio family there is, and truly great friends who care about me for who I am, and not what I will never be! I have my own house, my own dance studio and more pretty dresses than BCBG does at their Outlet Store!

So, as I enter this next 'grown up' stage of my life I know things are only going to get better. So many new people I'll get to meet, new experiences I'll get to share, and new goals I'll reach to accomplish. Tonight I will blow out 30 candles, make a wish and hope it comes true... and even if it doesn't, I'm still going to make this year awesome!

30 is looking pretty awesome already!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Someone Like You"

Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you're familiar with the phenomenon that is So You Think You Can Dance! I'm proud to say that Canada also has a great version of the show, of course nothing is quite like the original, but we have some incredible talent on the show this year that everyone needs to check out!

A good friend of mine, and an honorary member of my Df family, Jordan Clark happens to be a member of the Top 22 contestants on SYTYCD Canada this year! Sure, I know quite a few of the Top 22 this year, but I really have to support my girl this time around and tell you there is no one more deserving than Jordan to be named 'Canada's Favourite Dancer!'

I attended the first taping on Saturday, and I'm sure I just ruined some dreams there by telling you it's taped in advance! Hopefully nobody really thought they taped those performance shows live... do you realize what could go wrong! I took about 50 people from our studio and basically we bombarded the audience with love for Jordan. She is such a great role model and mentor to the kids at my studio, and the parents all adore her. She got paired with another friend and fellow Contemporary dancer, Joey Arrigo and they basically stole the show with their first duet... check it out here! Sure, it seems convenient that these two got paired together, but can you really deny either of them the fact that they are as close to 'perfect' as you can get?

Last night I also attended the Live Results Show with Jordan's mom. I wasn't really nervous leading up to the show, as I knew Jordan would be safe based on her performance. However, as the show started we still clenched onto each other as they got around to Jordan & Joey on stage. There were heavy sighs once they were announced as 'safe' and then Jordan's mom cried in relief. I'm actually concerned about how she's going to get through that every week, or maybe it will become more normal and it won't be so stressful in the future. We got to have dinner after with Jordan and I enjoyed the time to sit down and really gauge from her how well she was handling the entire experience. She is so humbled by everybody's support and gracious about all of the love she has been receiving.

Jordan and her partner Joey have been labeled by some of the judges, several newspapers, other contestants and television shows as the early favourites, but I hope that stigma does not detract viewers from assuming they don't need to vote for them every week. The reality of this show is that they're not crowning 'Canada's Best Dancer', they're naming 'Canada's Favourite Dancer'! It's basically a popularity contest, like high school, but in sparkly bra tops on television!
I couldn't think of anyone who is more of the total package for this show than Jordan. No amount of fame would ever change her loving personality or her nurturing charisma around kids. She is one insanely talented dancer, but she is also a fabulous teacher/choreographer and most importantly an outstanding human being.

The point of today's blog is really just to get you to vote for Jordan on the show... but I'm assuming you already knew I was going there!

So let the shameless promotion continue...

Follow Jordan on Twitter - @Jordan_DCS4

Join her Official Facebook Page -

And please watch her dance every Monday @ 8:00pm on CTV, and then VOTE FOR JORDAN!

Now I'm not expecting everyone to order t-shirts, hand out flyers to strangers or even decorate your car with Jordan's posters... but please feel free to do so if you'd like! Because mark my word, if Jordan wins a new car as the winner this year, she will be driving around in it with my picture blocking her entire rear window!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"To Make You Feel My Love"

So, I've failed at blogging lately, which wouldn't shock anybody who understands the business of the Competitive dance and Recital seasons... but I'm back now! It's officially summer time and I've got the urge to spill about my likes and dislikes of the dance year!

Today though I just wanted to share a special little something with everyone...

I met this guy Matt at a dinner party recently, who owns a Production Company, and we quickly became Facebook friends! Coincidentally Matt was looking for some young dancers to use in his PSA shoot for Toronto Pride Week 2011... which sort of works out great if you're me at this dinner party who owns a dance studio! So I sent 5 of my Junior Company dancers down one Friday night, to a busy Toronto street corner, dressed up in pink corsets and tutus, to go do some funs shots for this PSA.

Well this video turned out to be way more amazing than I had ever anticipated it being, and I'm not going to lie, I got a little emotional watching some of my young students doing such amazing things on the spot. I knew the feedback I had gotten from everyone involved, including the girl's parents, was exceptional but I really didn't understand the magnitude of what they were doing.

So, in honor of acceptance and love, I wanted to share this video with the world! Not only so everyone can see how wicked my students are in it, but also because they are part of a video that shares an important message with everyone.

I'm a proud mama bear watching this video today... on repeat, of course!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Turning Tables"

The entire dance world is right in the midst of the competitive dance season, and I get can't enough! I actually turned the tables on myself this past weekend as I became a dance spectator on the competition scene, almost like a 'dance mom'... ugh, did I just say that!

Shouts out to Hall Of Fame Dance Competition who live streams all of their Regionals, including multiple stages from some events. I know this is not a new concept for dance events, and there are many other competitions doing it, but I just wanted to say how impressive that amount of live coverage is from them! I like the idea of sitting at home in my pj's and watching dance on my iPad! You'd think I'd need a break from over-the-top lyrical solos, hair pieces and rhinestones on stage, but honestly I don't! With this live feed I get to watch the routines that I want, while lying on the couch. The schedule with studio names that they post on their website is also very helpful with the live feed, since that way I can totally pop the screen back up when a routine is on that I want to see!

I'm very impressed Hall Of Fame, and I even went as far as emailing the US Competition I attend to tell them that they needed to jump on this bandwagon! I think it's great for family members and friends who can't travel to competitions to be able to watch it online. But it also fills the void for crazy, insomniac dance teachers like myself who just need our weekly fill of it!

So, not only did I teach on Friday night but then I stayed up all night watching live streaming from the West Coast Time Zone. I woke up Saturday, on very few hours of sleep, to head to the studio for 9 hours of work and then you'd think I'd want to go home and crash... oh contraire my friends! I headed over to a local theatre to watch another dance competition live!

Now, I don't normally talk down on others too much on my blog (well I try not to), but I really have to say that this competition was a train wreck. From the fact that you couldn't buy programs, to the long pauses between dances, to the boring awards ceremonies... seriously people! It is not a large US competition organization that was running this event, but it was an exam organization hosting a competition for their members/studios. Regardless to me, I expected the same amount of effort to be put into it. I'm sure the entry fees for the dancers were just as much as any other competition, so why would you expect anything less in quality?!?!?! This could get me off an a tangent about how 'old school' this organization's syllabus is, and therefore, the studios competing were among the same lines, but there could have still been a fun announcer hired for the kids!

As much as I was disappointed in the level of the dancing and the quality of the competition organization itself, I still went back on Sunday for more. I opted to go over during lunch time for a bit before the live streaming from Hall Of Fame got into the groups I wanted to see. It didn't get much better on Sunday by any means, but it definitely got me thinking about a lot of things going on the dance industry. I have blog post after blog post just swirling around in my head regarding everything. I've already started four of them, but I have to sit on them for a while and check back on my tone before I post them!

I literally felt more passion, enthusiasm and energy coming through my computer screen from the dancers and hosts at Hall Of Fame then I did live from the B.A.T.D. Competition I went and watched. So who creates that feeling... the dancers, the teachers, the competition, or everyone involved in general? I think I even acquired some sympathy for dance parents who sit through days and days of dance competitions as spectators. Normally I tend to watch the bare minimum at competition (besides my own students) so this was a whole new experience for me. One that reminded me why I opt to use my time off during dance competitions doing other things rather than spectating! I don't say that to be rude, but my eyes can only take so much, good or bad.

We still have two weeks off before our next competition, so I'm sure I'll make my way over to another local event before then. Luckily for me the theatre closest to our studio hosts a dance competition every weekend, or maybe that's unlucky?! Good news is that they're free to attend... oh wait, I heard recently that there is a competition (cough, 5678 Showtime) that still charges an entrance fee per day for audience members. Just while were on the subject of talking about competition features that I like and don't like!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Rolling In The Deep"

Let me just start off today by saying how much I LOVE the new Adele album 21. I'm also really happy that I had not started one of my kid's solos until it was released last week, so that I could actually use one of her new songs for a number! Some of you might think that's cutting it pretty close to competition time, but it's just cause you're jealous that I got to use a new Adele song and you didn't!

So we have our first competition of the year starting this Thursday... insert small freaking out sound here!
I'm excited to see all of my creations on stage for the first time this year, but I also have an overwhelming sense of 'the first day of school' syndrome. Will they like me (meaning my work)? What will everyone think? What should I wear? Not that what I wear is important, but more like which pair of sweat pants and shoes can I physically run around in all day?!?!?!

I think regardless of how long you've been doing competitions or shows as a studio owner there is always a sense of wanting to be appreciated and acknowledged for the work you've done that year. Of course parents are going to love their kid's routines, cause it's their kid, but do they love what you've done with them? Can they see improvement and appreciate changes and risks you've taken as a choreographer? Sure, not everyone is going to love everything you put out there, including the judges, but there is always my pride that makes me want to try!

At this point what's going to happen at the competition is going to happen. There is nothing more I can clean up in the next two days that will make a difference. It will be more of a statement of how I have prepared my students for this throughout the entire year. We can't just expect the kids to pull off things on stage that they've never done in the studio correctly. I have to be confident that I have done my job all year and therefore my students will be able perform to the best of their abilities.

So the wine for my hotel room is packed and the Starbucks route has already been mapped. My trusty little red iPod has been filled with our music and the camera batteries charged. Minor detail that I'm still waiting on 36 tutus to arrive, but then I remind myself again that the wine is already packed!

It's going to be a great week regardless of naked back sides!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"What's My Name"

I think I'm back on track here with my blogging... so stay tuned for lots of great stuff while I'm away on vacation!

Yes, you heard me vacation... 3 weeks before competition! Sigh. Dates didn't work out so great, but my best friend is getting married in Punta Cana and I am being forced to go! Sigh. Not only do I think it will help ease my stress before competitions start, it will also be a great time for me to catch up on my writing.

I figured it might be a good time to start a new weekly tradition here, we'll call it - the best parent email of the week! I know all studio owners have tons of great ones stored away, but I figured this one was very appropriate for this time of year!

I spend quite a bit of time re-typing competition schedules out for my students so that it is on a chart for them to clearly see. It lists their call-times (their be there in costume, hair and make-up perfect, in the rehearsal hall stretching/practising, without their parents time!) and the Awards time for that session and everything. I think that's pretty generous of me considering I could just post it on the studio bulletin board and let them all fend for themselves. But, that's beyond the point.

So I wanted to get the first competition schedule out before I left on vacation. Just another thing to cross off the to-do list. Thanks to the organization of the competition director I was able to do so for all of my parents. Sure, I could have held onto it and sent it out when I got back, but I do like to help my parents get organized too.

I emailed out the schedule as soon as I had it completed this week so that parents could book their hotels right away and plan accordingly. I also always send home hard copies at the studio, just to make sure that everyone got sufficient notice and nobody can ever say 'I didn't know!'

This year I have a very large Production that includes all 45 of my competitive students. It is the only routine they are all in together, and for some of the students it is even their only routine. It is very clearly themed and titled, but I figured I would BOLD it on the competition schedule as it pertained to everyone. It wasn't even an hour later that I got an email back from a parent, who's child is only in the Production this year. I'm almost sorry I wasted the extra ink bolding that section!

Hi Robin,

Thanks for the schedule but you didn't put performance on it. I'll get her to look at it again, but she doesn't even know what dance she's in. Can you send us her specific schedule.

Thank you.

I have since invested some time in learning how to use Photoshop on my new computer so that I can add images to the schedule and change the color settings for each child's routines. That way there won't be any confusion moving forward.

I wish I would have received that email while I was on the beach, with a margarita in hand. My response would have been so much more appropriate.

Cheers everyone!