My children and I recently enjoyed watching the movie “Leap” on Netflix. It is the tale of an orphan girl who dreams of becoming a dancer at a top ballet school in Paris and works hard to achieve that dream. While there are many great lessons on kindness, honesty and pursuing your dreams in Leap, the dancer in me did giggle a bit as young Felicie goes from novice to Nutcracker star in just a few short days as she competes for the big role among dancers who had been studying ballet daily for years. It reminded me to start talking to my children about what their progress in any of their pursuits will look like when they combine both effort with time and intensity. It is when you combine those three that the magic starts to happen!
One of our priorities at Chara is to paint an accurate picture for families of the path their unique dancer is on. We enjoy doing this through bi-annually progress reports, annual Parent-Teacher Conferences, and just by making our School Director and teachers available for questions.
Dance class is a lot like school in many ways: your child explores new ideas, practices skills, solves problems, and develops friendships. Unlike school though, dance classes don’t have a new grade level every year. This can seem strange at first, but for dance education it’s very normal and expected, as it allows us to ensure your dancer has the appropriate alignment, strength, and skills in order to be successful in the next level. This helps to prevent injuries, reduce the risk of developing bad habits in their technique, and optimize maximum success emotionally and physically.
At Chara Christian Dance Academy, our dance students experience “growth” years (when they move up a level) and “grind” years (when they remain in the same level). Because every dancer develops at their own pace, this advancement will look a little different for everyone over time. For example, a student might experience growth to the next level only after grinding it out at their current level for two years.
It’s important for you to know that progress is taking place no matter which type of year your child is in, growth or grind. Our instructors are equipped to teach classes in a way that accommodates each child’s needs, allowing them to tailor the class material to reach different learning styles and personalities. Achievements in dance can be seen in small ways and big ones, and we advocate for celebrating both! In our experience at Chara Christian Dance Academy, progress is much more about the personal wins than it is about the name or number of your child’s class level.
From the exuberant child who proudly demonstrates their self-control to the teenager who finally embraces their strength as a peer leader, every piece of progress is a triumph. It’s easy to think sometimes that a student should simply be doing more or moving faster—but those things are not always hallmarks of progress. The true signs of growth come from the perseverance within; not necessarily from the obvious places. And the grinding hard work is what makes it possible. Effort + Time + Intensity.
We hope that as a staff, we have proven that you can trust our guidance and expertise, and that we’ve shown that our goals align with yours. My team and I are committed to helping your child discover their potential and sharing their gifts in our community!
“We don’t teach dance to make great dancers, we teach dance to make great KIDS.” – Misty Lown
P.S. To learn more about the “grind” I highly suggest the book GRIT by Angela Duckworth as well as her TED Talk. It is a great read for parents and educators!