May 17 -
Dear Living Arts Dance Family:
It has been a few weeks since our last update. We are settled into our new Zoom rhythm. And as time has gone on, we must look at how Living Arts will close the 2019/20 dance season.
We will have a 2020 Spring Recital.
I am normally a very organized planner and this COVID situation has really taught me the skill of adapting and accepting the unknown. It has been very difficult and keeps me up at night thinking of ways we can continue to bring dance, and some sense of normalcy, into the lives or our students, their family and our community. In this correspondence, I will address what we have accomplished, how we will go forward with our Spring Recital and what will our future look like.
What has Living Arts accomplished since the beginning of this world wide pandemic?
When this all began I think we all thought we would be back in the studio no later than April and a Spring Recital was still very doable. I know I wanted to keep our students actively engaged in dance so we moved ahead with these programs:
We developed a virtual classroom within one week of the Stay Home order and delivered video content of class choreography along with educational tutorials to our existing 2019/20 students.
Knowing that people learn in different ways, in different environments, circumstances and connectivity, we adjusted our teaching and continued recording choreography videos.
We learned and then moved into using Live Zoom classes to deliver class choreography.
We developed new additional educational dance experiences, not just for our existing students, but for all their families, too!
We offered private Zoom lessons to students looking for personal teacher to student connections.
We stayed connected to most of our students with Zoom meetings.
We provided fun social media activities for our dancers and their families.
These videos and other social media experiences are a fun way for us to connect and share the love of dance with our students and all of the Living Arts dance family.
What will the 2020 Spring Recital look like?
I can honestly say that we have made every effort possible to deliver a live event for our dance families. When we knew our usual recital would not be possible we adapted to a different venue that we thought would work and be fun. I held out every hope that an outdoor event at McCormick Park would happen and didn’t want to give up on this goal.
Unfortunately, we know now this is not possible and we have no idea when large social gathering events will be able to take place. Concerts all over the country are being canceled throughout the entire summer and we still don’t know when it will be possible moving into fall. With a very heavy heart, we are canceling a live performance for this season and move ahead knowing the show must go on!
With this decision I am sure many will have questions as to why we don’t just postpone an in-person performance to a later date? I will try and address these below:
Holding out until August or even later will be difficult for students to maintain interest and keep working on the same routine.
Many kids will have outgrown their costumes and we will not be able to get them from our costume distributers as their styles change each year.
Many students change classes and will not be in their current class or with the same students when the 2020/21 season starts in the fall.
At some point we just need to realize we have done everything we can and it’s just not possible.
The good news is we are still going to have a 2020 Spring Recital so your child can perform their dances! There will be two exciting ways your child can participate to get the most out of performing their dances. I feel it’s very important to memorialize this huge event in our history, so we have decided to have a virtual recital!! Here is what it’s going to look like…
The 2020 Virtual Spring Recital ($50)
Price includes participation in creation of the 2020 Virtual Spring Recital and DVD or link to download the 2020 Spring Recital video.
We are going to ask our students to submit video footage and or still photos in your dance costumes for each dance they have. Our videographer will compile a montage video for each dance. The video will have the fun pre-show shots, along with some post-show shots…just like we do for our in-person recitals.
There is a list of things for all of us to keep track of to make sure your child’s experience is captured and included in the final cut:
We will email you all of your music. Use this version of the song for your dance as many have been edited. Over the next two-weeks we will hand deliver any costumes or shoes you have not received.
Please take some “pre-show and post-show footage/shots”. This would be putting on your makeup, doing your hair and getting pics with family members possibly with flowers after the big event…just like you would for an in-person recital.
Submit all of your photos with your student’s name and studio by June 6 @ 9PM one of three ways:
Tips for Taking Photos or Videos:
Due to limitations with email, it is recommended to use our Upload Form. If you choose to email, limited the number of photos to 3 and length of video to less than 1-minute.
Hold your camera horizontally when shooting video footage.
Try and record the dance outside, or other well lite large space. This will give better lighting, space to move for the dancer and a consistency in the final video.
If you are in a tap routine you will need a piece of unpainted plywood (min. 3-feet x 3-feet) This way your taps can be heard and not cause damage to your floor.
Some fun ideas may be to shoot some footage in the house to show what we are all going through. (Dance in the kitchen with people trying to work. Add some humor to it. Act it out. Ham it up!)
Do the best you can and we will make it look amazing. Our videographer is very talented and will put together a memorable, high-quality recital video.
Be sure to include photos or videos of any healthcare front line workers in your family to be recognized in our video production.
Please make sure your student is practicing and attending the remainder of our Zoom classes in May so they are ready to perform!
The 2020 Red Carpet Recital Experience ($75)
Session 1: Thursday, June 4th 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Session 2: Friday, June 5th 6:00 PM - 10:00PM
Session 3: Saturday, June 6th 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Session 4: Saturday, June 6th 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Price includes the Red Carpet Experience, video DVD/Link-to-Download, a 2020 Living Arts Swag Bag that will have a rhinestone tiara, $25 gift card that can be used for future classes and other great Living Arts goodies.
Your child will be treated like the star they are!! At their pre-scheduled time, your student will arrive at the front of our Williamston Studio and step out onto the Red Carpet leading into the studio. Inside they will be able perform a dance of their choice and have it video recorded. Household family members can come inside, take photos and watch your child perform. Our photos and video of this experience will be edited and included in our final video.
Click this Sign-Up Genius link to schedule your child’s Red Carpet Recital Experience!
If you are taking part in this you will receive more detailed directions to make this go as smoothly as possible.
The Red Carpet Recital Experience will follow all social distancing requirements.
We anticipate the release of the 2020 Spring Recital video to be mid-July. You will get a downloadable link and or a DVD that can be picked up at a later date. Pricing factors in significant editing time more than years past as well as assistance we know our parents will need to get us their photos and videos.
Our summer is filled with a fun schedule of Live Zoom Dance Classes, Summer Live Zoom Dance Camps and Live In-Person Dance Camps.
We will have our 2020/21 season schedule out by July 1st. Because of uncertain times we will assemble a schedule of Live In-Studio classes AND a Live Zoom only schedule. Moving forward we will have Zoom simulcast for all of our In-Studio classes giving people the option to attend class from home or at the studio.
We are navigating in uncharted waters at the moment and have a very positive outlook on our future at Living Arts Dance Studio. We will do everything we can to bring dance to the community. Please know that however you choose to participate in the 2020 Spring Recital is OK. If students can’t remember choreography, that’s OK. If the video footage is not the best quality, that’s OK. Just do what you can. It’s OK.
The goal is to help bring joy to our students, parents and families reminding them dance makes you happy!
Thank you for all your support and sharing your kids with us.
Living Arts Director
April 13 -
As we navigate through this ever changing climate we are in, Living Arts is doing its best to complete this dance season and have our recital performance. We realize everyone is being affected differently by what is happening and it is our intention to provide quality dance instruction for our students even though it is not in a traditional setting. Dance heals and is more essential now than ever.
Here is our plan going forward right now:
Students will continue to receive choreography videos through the month of April for their recital routines. All classes will have their completed routines by the end of the month.
Starting in May, we will be doing Clean-Up classes on the choreography via Live Zoom meetings on the nights of their regularly scheduled classes. The classes will run either 30 or 45 minutes depending on the class and level. An updated schedule will be issued by Monday, April 27.
We are releasing a new COVID tuition structure for the month of May. A 30-minute class will be $30/month and 45-minute class will be $40/month. This is a significant savings from our normal tuition fees. Invoices for May will be issued by April 24.
Hopefully by the end of May, we will know if and when we can have a recital in McCormick Park. I have been working on that plan and will be ready to share it when we get the green light from the Governor.
In the meantime, our Living Arts students will continue to learn their regular dances and get live classes from their instructors.
In addition, all current students have access to video choreography, live Clean-Up Zoom classes, and be able to attend additional Zoom classes that all of your family can take advantage of.
We are still offering private lessons for students who may need it.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. We will get through this.
Dancing together will keep us healthy, happy and strong.
April 3 -
Dear Living Arts Dance Family,
As I sit down and communicate to you all of what Living Arts plans are moving forward, I am thinking of so many of you and how this crisis we are in is affecting your families.
Many of you are essential workers taking big risks, going out in this environment. Many are working from home with added pressures of family and keeping kids occupied while you try to work. Many have no jobs and wonder how they will take care of their families.
This is all very stressful. Even though dance is considered ‘non-essential work’, I am reminded daily of how essential it truly is to so many of our students and their families. Because of this, we are reinventing ourselves and our programs by adapting to the times.
I could have easily just shut down the studio when it was mandated and wait but, that’s not how I operate. With crisis comes opportunity. I will do absolutely everything I can to ensure that Living Arts still gets dance, movement and fun out to our families and community.
Dance is healing and vital in such unsettling times.
Current Decisions on Recital, New Classes and Dance Competitions:
Recital Plans: The June 6th show at East Lansing High School is cancelled. An outdoor recital is in the works for this summer at McCormick Park in Williamston - date TBD.
With the closure of schools, and them not opening at least until fall, we cannot plan to have a recital in a school building in the near future. Additionally, other indoor venue choices are not an option at this time, nor are they affordable for an event like ours. I had a feeling this would happen so we have come up with a strategy that can work and makes the most sense at this point.
I contacted the city of Williamston and we can host a recital at McCormick Park. We simply don’t know what things are going to look like 2-months from now let alone next week. So, the actual date cannot be set at this time until the Governor allows an event of more than 50 people to gather.
I really think this could be a fun event and I am envisioning possible food trucks and picnics in the park while watching your children perform on stage in this perfect outdoor setting.
Spring Classes: All of our new spring classes; Super Hero, Ada Twist, and Production Numbers, have been canceled. It just does not make sense to offer these at this time.
Dance Team Competitions: The two competitions we are scheduled to compete in, Headliners and Starquest, are still figuring our what they are doing. For now those competition dates are canceled, but plan to reschedule - dates/locations TBD.
Our Current COVID Dance Programing:
Class Choreography: We are planning our current classes to perform their dances at a recital this summer. Students will still be getting their choreography through video links and will be practicing and cleaning up the routines.
Talk to Teacher Time: All of our instructors are available for FaceTime or Zoom by emailing them directly to schedule a time. I am available most any time.
Live Zoom Classes: As a current student you and your family are welcome to take as many live Zoom classes starting next week. Stay tuned! Links to the classes will be emailed on Sunday.
Fun Social Media: We have a lot of fun social media interactions going on for those that are on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snap Chat. These virtual interactions gives your child a chance to engage in something fun and stay connected to the Living Arts Family.
10-Minute Move & Stretch: I am doing a 10-minute move and stretch session Live at 2:00pm on Facebook for anyone who needs to get up and stretch Monday thru Friday.
CLI Studio Partnership: Because Living Arts is a Partner Studio with CLI Studios, our students get to take advantage of their program and live classes from top industry professionals. This is a very valuable tool not all studios offer and certainly is helpful during this crazy time. Any previous student limits have been removed.
Nobody Signed Up For This:
So as you can see, Living Arts is doing our best to make this COVID thing work. I know many families are struggling with real life issues. Trying to figure out this whole video conferencing thing is another thing we all get to learn.
With things changing so quickly from day to day, our Living Arts staff is working around the clock to reinvent ourselves and get valuable content out there for your children to enjoy.
We are learning as we go and each day brings new challenges and new ideas. I hear and see how hard parents are working to keep their children in Living Arts. We are all here for you and willing to help out in any way we can.
If you or your child is having trouble with learning at home or how best to set up your space so your child can dance, please contact us. Me and our staff are more than happy to live chat if you or your student needs individual attention and help.
We get that you parents are not dance teachers. That’s what you hired us for. So, please let us help.
Please reach out to me with any concerns.
March 23 -
In light of today’s Gov. Whitmer’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order for all of us to stay home unless you are a “critical infrastructure worker”, Living Arts intends to comply with this order and not require our instructors to come into the dance studio to record their class videos.
We are moving ahead with the development and delivery of class videos progressing the learning of our students and giving them a healthy, physical activity to do during these next several weeks. All of this week’s class videos for Ms. Olivia’s classes have been sent and most of Ms. Susan’s, have too!
There will be 2020 recital and our dancers need to keep learning their dances. The more they practice and enjoy the love dance through Living Arts class videos, the easier it will be for each class to be show ready.
We know that times will be hard for everyone, including my family who rely on the income from Living Arts. We will not charge late-fees during this Stay Home, Stay Safe period.
Again, we intend to keep paying all of our instructors during this Stay Home, Stay Safe period and keep sending out class videos to be ready for the recital.
Thank you for being part of my family.
Together we will dance through this concerting time.
March 22 -
I don’t know about you, but that was one heck of a week! The next couple look to be very concerning. Remember, #socialdistance #donttouchanything #alonetogether.
For the safety of our entire dance family, Living Arts is following the State of Michigan mandate and has closed our studios to in-person classes until further notice. Our hope is that with the efforts of our instructors and understanding of our parents, Living Arts will perform Check It Out, our Spring recital, on June 6 at East Lansing High School. The show must go on...
Last week we uploaded the first of our warm-up and technique videos on our Living Arts Dance Studio YouTube Channel. Each day, our instructors will upload more and more videos. Please bookmark that page link so your student can access the latest videos.
The first of our class choreography emails will be sent to the Mason Monday classes tomorrow. Each week, all classes will have new choreography classes emailed to them, created by their instructor, to practice with and continue to learn their dances. These emails will contain the link to that week’s choreography and is the only way to access them. Please keep these emails for future reference for your child.
We are asking parents to make sure that their child actually does the movements shown in the warm-up videos, technique videos and practices the choreography for each class, for the normal time of each class. This activity is a great way to social distance and be connected.
We are here fo you and know how important it is to stay available and connected during this trying time.
As we all get used to this new way of teaching, learning, and accessing all this technology, we can stay connected through Living Arts dance.
March 15 -
I am touching base with you to let you know what is happening with Living Arts classes at this time. Both Mason and Williamston Living Arts Dance Studios will be closed for the week of March 16-19. I am not making any long term decisions because we just don’t know and can’t predict how this is all going to play out.
I did meet with our instructors today and we have come up with a plan going forward. I know how important dance is to our Living Arts dance family and I will do everything I can to try and bring some normalcy to this very unpredictable time. The safety of everyone is of upmost importance so we are developing an online program for our students along with other activities to keep all of our families active during this time of social distancing.
We ARE having a recital in June and need to keep preparing for it.
Here is the plan at this time:
All of our instructors are working this coming week on developing video content for our students.
We will be putting all of our videos on Youtube so you can take class at home. There will be warm up, technique and choreography videos. We will have videos for every class to practice on their own while we are not at the studio. It will be very important for our students to work on their dance technique and recital dances while we are away.
The worse case scenario would be that we are closed for a month. If this happens and I certainly hope it doesn’t, all of our dancers will need to have learned the choreography while we are closed.
We know that you may have questions about choreography or just want to touch base with your instructor since we won’t be in class. Both Miss Olivia and Miss Brielle can be emailed by their students to set up a time to video chat on Zoom. I am also here for all or our students even if they are not currently taking class from me.
Feel free to message, Snapchat or Facetime me any time Monday-Friday. I will do my best to respond quickly but please note that I do have a personal life as well. If I’m not available, I will get back to you as soon as I can. Once we start posting videos we will let you know via email, Facebook and Instagram.
This will be next Monday at the vary latest but we want to make sure we have the time to develop quality content for our students. We also plan to have some fun activities and I am constantly coming up with ideas. They will be fun and engaging for all of our dance family.
I am also a CLI Studios member where our instructors are constantly taking classes and learning from dance professionals. They are going to be giving me links this coming week for our students to be able to access their material for all of our students. This is a very valuable tool and one you will want to take advantage of. Our students will have the opportunity to take class from top professionals in the industry without having a CLI membership.
I know this is a very strange and unpredictable time and I assure you I will do everything I can to bring us through this with some sort of new normal for now. Dance is therapy for the body and soul.
Take care, be safe and spend quality time with your loved ones.