APRIL 2020 - COMMITMENT LEADS THE WAY
Over 18 years ago, I sat in my Grandmother’s house with a purple spiral notebook jotting down every idea I had about creating what is now called Elite Dance Academy. I wrote down all of my dreams and shared them with my Dad for him to help me iron out those dreams down to the smallest detail. As I look back in that notebook, I see so many things that I had thought about that have now come to life, that have evolved into even better ideas and I see all of the love generated over the years. I am humbled by the magic that our staff and our families have created over the years.
What I know now is that the physical space might change. The names of programs might change. Recital as we know it might change. But, some things won’t change, ever.
What I know now more than ever is that the values and guiding principles of Elite have not wavered ONE BIT since we opened the doors in January of 2003. Never have I ever been more clear about that than right now.
During the COVID-19 shut down that we are experiencing, I continue to revisit our value of COMMITMENT in my mind. We have always been committed to fulfilling the mission and vision of Elite but now more than ever, that is our light at the end of the tunnel. It has brightened our way as we navigate completely unchartered waters now. We are clear that no matter the means, we will stay true to our commitment to serve our dancers and their families to be the second home they need when their lives are otherwise turned upside down. We will be the place (online or in-person) where they are accepted, where they can share how they are feeling, where they can just be themselves, where they are seen, where they can move, where they can share their passion with others…..once a week, twice a week or multiple times every single day.
We are COMMITTED to be the rock that our dancers need us to be to remind them that they matter, that their love of dance can be supported no matter what the world looks like.
Every day, since March 12th, I have woken up to another day of uncertainty but with clear vision about our path through this dedication to the Elite cause. It is not always easy to translate BUT it is easy to work with the dedicated staff who have the exact same values in their hearts for the dancers’ well-being, health and safety that I do.
I feel so grateful for the clarity that this value of COMMITMENT provides for me and the team! No matter what COVID-19 or anything else for that matter, throws at us, we have direction. We have drive. We have grit to get through and to thrive to make a real impact on the people who matter most to us, our dancers! We DO IT FOR THEM. WE DO IT FOR YOU.
I can put my head on my pillow at night knowing that day in and day out, we are trying to do the VERY BEST we can to bring our dancers what they need by meeting them where they are - in their living rooms, family rooms, kitchens, bedrooms or basements. COVID-19 can’t bring us down, instead, it will lift us up as a STRONG FAMILY who will come out on the other side, even closer than ever through our shared love and commitment to our craft of dance and to each other regardless of what “dancing at Elite” looks like - online or in-studio.
So, I have a whole new love for my purple spiral notebook to remind me from where we have come, where we are now and where we are going……..UP, UP, UP and nowhere else!! Our commitment is stronger than it has ever been and I appreciate the opportunity that COVID-19 has brought to me and my team to flex our resiliency muscles……#EDAStrongerTogether
As always, committed to your child’s happiness and success, Lisa
FEBRUARY 2020 - COMMUNICATION IS KEY AND OTHER LESSONS FROM A COFFEE CHAT
Last month, we hosted a “Meet the Leaders” coffee chat for our families to come and learn a little more about Elite. We wanted to extend our reach to parents directly to really get a pulse on what they need to know and how they are feeling about how we are doing as a business serving them and their children.
We are always looking for ways to improve what we do here at Elite so decided to experiment with this fun offering. Your child’s happiness is our top priority!!
Well, we had 12 families representing a wide range of our student population come to our first meeting. We had parents of little ones and older children. We had families who were brand new to us and those who had been with us for multiple years ranging all the way up to an 8 year family. Here are a few things that we educated families about and a few things that we learned. It was a GREAT coffee!!
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Parents are wanting really clear lines about who to communicate with about what. Sometimes, because we have SOOOO many staff, they are not sure who to go to when they have a specific question and that feels uncomfortable. In our effort to provide great service with a lot of staff doing a lot of things, we have actually confused families a bit and we intend on fixing that. We will have a list at the front desk or on the bulletin boards with who to contact and their area of expertise to better help you.
Parents also want to know when they will be responded to if they send an email and they would love that to be consistent. We will tighten up our policies surrounding response time and make that very clear to all who contact us.
This group of parents also said that they don’t really LOVE the video messages that we send as it requires them to take notes and watch all while trying to do their “busy life activities”. They instead would rather get bulleted emails with a potential text to alert them to read the important email. We can do that!!
They also LOVE the studio TEAM APP and the information there but do want it to be updated frequently to be 100% accurate with current season information! We hear that and will take care of that too!
WHAT ELSE WE LEARNED
Elite families BELIEVE in our mission of us educating and inspiring their children to be confident, happy and strong human beings. They love the time and effort that we put into our programming and curriculum. They would LOVE more workshops surrounding things to keep our dance athletes growing in other areas too - things like health, nutrition, meditation, leadership, etc.
We also learned that ALL FAMILIES love and need attention and updates regarding the pathways of their children while here at Elite and thereafter. We have so many channels for that. We have a variety of programs to participate in beyond the traditional dance class offerings. We have non-competitive performance groups and competitive groups. We have productions to participate in outside of our holiday show and recitals. Those productions happen in Fall, Winter and Spring for kids of all ages and levels. We have our Parent Teacher conferences, our Pathways Meetings and our What’s Next Meetings that all happen in the Spring. We have our RISE ceremonies and our National Honor Society for Dance Arts programs too. We also have Class Assistant and Mentorship Program opportunities for our children entering middle and high school.
WHAT WE KNOW
We know how much YOU care about your children and we want to be your guide to your child’s happiness through dance here at Elite. We want to be the place where your child feels valued and engaged in an activity that they love and have fun doing. Where they are HAPPY outside of school and home! It is totally wrong when a child doesn’t have a place like that and we strive to be that for YOU and YOUR CHILD!!
We had so much fun and gained so much insight and helped our families to understand just a bit more about Elite and all that we can do to serve you that we are going to continue to offer our COFFEE CHATS for more to benefit from. Please join us for the next one on April 11th at 10am in our Broomfield location! Come JOIN US!!!
JANUARY 2020 - INTEGRITY MATTERS
It seems a crime. There are no licensing requirements for people who want to open and operate a dance studio. I find it odd that in an industry where the main focus is working with children that there aren’t more regulations. We, at Elite take our jobs very seriously knowing that we are helping families to raise great human beings, not just great dancers. Since 2003, I have been leading my team to make sure that they are nurturing, educating and helping our dancers to be the best version of themselves. I hold us to the highest standards to be a model in the industry.
We belong to an industry group of 300 dance studio owners from across the country called More Than Just Great Dancing that meets twice per year in person and every month virtually in order to bring our businesses to the next level of service in dance, and no pun intended, but to be more than just great dancing. The seminars, workshops, conferences, webinars and meetings focus on so many things inside and outside of dance. We focus on injury prevention and great dance curriculum but also on helping dancers navigate their worlds outside of the studio, bullying, body image, and peer pressure. The learning never stops and I strive to bring that learning back to our Elite home to provide the very best in dance education for our students.
I have also become certified through an organization called YPAD - Youth Protection Advocates in Dance in order to keep our students happy, healthy and safe in dance. The organization’s founder created the curriculum and program out of her desire to make BIG changes related to how dancers are treated in the professional industry. We, in the organization, are taking a stand against inappropriate choreography, music and costumes as well as making sure the competitive dance arena allows kids to still be kids rather than attempting to be adults too fast. We also fight for protection for dancers of being mistreated or harmed in any other way in the industry.
At Elite, we have utmost INTEGRITY to uphold only the highest standards of instruction and mentorship and work hard to do that each and every day in every year in business. We take the business of teaching dance to our core and know how important overall development is for our dancers. We want to be their place where they feel accepted, loved and encouraged to be their best so you can feel great about what they are doing with us and how they grow here too! Because at the end of the day, we know how hard it is to find a meaningful activity for children and like you, we care about your child’s overall happiness and growth.
OCTOBER 2019 - 5 Benefits of Dance
At Elite Dance Academy, we believe that learning how to dance should be an encouraging and positive experience for children at any age! And while the dance steps themselves are an important element to every class, the benefits of dance go far beyond pliés and pirouettes.
Here are our five favorite benefits of dance:
1) Dance requires perseverance
In today’s world of instant gratification, dance is different because it teaches children how to work hard over days, weeks, months, and years! Consistent, developmentally-appropriate practice is the way to achieve progress.
2) There are opportunities everywhere
Every class is a chance to learn something new or grow in a new way. Whether it’s getting better at a step you already know or trying a new skill, the chance to try and try again is always there!
3) Forever friendships are formed
There’s something pretty special about the friends you dance with … you share laughs, work together as a team, push each other to do your best, and support each other’s dreams.
4) Dance prepares kids for life in the “real world”
The dance classroom is full of life lessons: from our preschoolers learning how to take turns with each other to our teenagers understanding how to prepare for an audition, everyone is developing the discipline and patience they’ll need in life outside the classroom.
5) The “comfort zone” is challenged
Trying new steps. Performing in front of an audience. Reaching for a goal. All of these things help children grow outside their comfort zones! A shy dancer can learn how to love the stage; an enthusiastic one can learn how to harness her energy.
As you may already have observed in your child, the immediate joy of dancing comes from the thrill of movement and music! What follows is another type of joy; one that comes from the long-term, deeply-rooted character qualities instilled during dance class.
These five benefits aren’t the only positives of course, but they are certainly some of the best! We hope you see them develop in your child as they discover their love for dance.
See 25 more reasons why dance benefits kids HERE!
SEPTEMBER 2019 - RESPECT FIRST
It Takes A Village
I take what we do at Elite very seriously. I think our staff has a huge responsibility in working with children to help them navigate life, not just the dance rooms that they are in with us. I think that the world is currently full of a lot of “not so great” examples in mentorship in pop culture and on social media. It is important to me to help our instructors to be great role models and great dance teachers, desk staff and leaders.
Beginning With Respect
With that, we nurture and encourage RESPECT at Elite. RESPECT looks like a lot of things inside of our classes and lobbies. It can be listening to others give their opinion or tell about their day or asking a question about a dance move. It can be giving someone else a turn in front of you going across the floor or at the water fountain. It looks like waiting patiently when a teacher is breaking something down or a desk staff is checking someone else in while you need a bandaid. Respect can also come through complimenting another student or staff on a job well done. I see examples of respect when dancers pick up after themselves in the student lounges and lobbies (sometimes with a little reminder :)). I also love to see respect in the form of help when one dancer sees another in need with a dance move, their dance bag or something else. One of my favorite examples of respect is when I see a child being so respectful to their parents. We teach respect along with dance moves and point it out when we see to encourage our dancers in that behavior.
Out in the World...
We love our class environment because we have control over what happens there in terms of respect. It is contained, we can educate and correct easily with love and talk through any events that might confuse our dancers.
It is a little harder for us to navigate for respect once we go out into the world. Sadly, the dance world has some negative attention surrounding bad behavior and lack of respect in its competitive environments from the popularization of shows like Dance Moms. I, personally, have boycotted anything to do with shows like that for so many reasons but nevertheless, they have an influence on people.
I struggle with disrespect to parents, teachers, and other children. I have seen it for years in the competitive environment before I opened the Elite studios and made a pact with myself that Elite dancers and staff would NEVER show up or behave in the ways that I saw some other owners and dancers behaving. Competition sometimes brings out the worst in people who don’t have a strong sense of self or their values. I wanted to rise above that for our Elite kids and staff.
I am proud to say that every single time Elite dancers are out in public - performing or competing, someone will comment to me or to one of our staff about how kind, respectful and well-mannered our students are. Every. Single. Time. We love that we are training beautiful dancers but the notice of our dancers being respectful human beings goes WAY further in my mind. Isn’t the world going to be a better place if we nurture respect for others in our children all while they fill that world with the beauty of dance too? I look forward to seeing that happen and will work hard with the Elite team to continue to GROW RESPECT at every turn we can.