Talking to the students before their performance began was like a tornado:
“Should I change my hair?”
“Do I wear these stockings?”
“I haven’t precticed enough!”
“We didn’t have enough time!”
“I can’t wait, this is so exciting…”
“I’ve been stressing this moment for weeks!!!”
“This isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
And you know what? The routines all turned out gorgeous. Just like your instuctor knew they would when they said you were ready to do this.
It’s a funny thing, learning. While you’re doing it, you think it’s all fine and great – but then you have to do the same thing in front of people and it can be as if the world is a totaly different place.
Suddenly curtains and rows of chairs seem to take your familiar dance floor and transform it into a scary focal-point of bright lights and photo flashes. But it won’t always be this way.
Eventually, we have been in front of those lights enough times that they are exciting friends, showing us off to our best potential!
After more than a few Newsome Twosomes and Newsome Gruesomes, we can officially say that this was one of the NewEST: Mychael announced that as of this fresh location change – WE ARE ALL NEW AGAIN!
That’s right: if you have not performed with someone at this past Thursday’s Newsome Twosome, then going forward you may act as though you have never performed with them at all! So when these events come up again (both Twosome and Gruesome;) if you havn’t performed with them in this location, then it’s fair to start making plans!!!
A new home means a clean slate, and we want this next Gruesome event (this fall) to be the sickest, slimiest and most creepy yet! Bring your courage and prepare to see strange things, because it’s open season out there on the hard wood floor… 8D
Can you think of a time when you did better at something than you ever had before? A moment when you rose above every challenge, defeated every obstacle and saw the toughest times through to the other side!
Think of how it felt to finally break the surface of the water and get past the hardest moments when you truly thought you were going to fail.
That’s how it feels for us as we approach this 2018 Winter Showcase! With all of our fellow schools in attendance, Arrowhead is proud to see our students show with such confidence, such excitement and a deep love for the reason we are all here: Ballroom Dance.
We’ve all come down a hard road, pushing ourselves to the max to train and prepare… Teachers perfecting their craft and Students putting in the practice time to make sure they hit their goals. And it all culminates at the February Winter Showcase in Phoenix! The excitement in our studio is crazy…
From having all of our out of town students fly in to share in the spectacle, to having a great turnout of 52 energized Arrowhead team-members, we are ready!
So many of us have moments when we feel like these events are never going to happen for us. We all get discouraged from time to time. But it’s those times, when we have sunk so low, that we rise highest towards achieving our goals and pushing to new heights of excellence! It’s when we have been broken, and lost that we heal and find our way.
Without the experiences of the past year, our Arrowhead team would not be the shining star that it is today. From saying good-bye to good friends as moving out of state or job changes took them away, to saying good-bye to our past, we are very happy to show that these lessons have brought a great deal of change to our perspective in the studio.
We have greater respect for each other as recent events have drawn us closer, and we have a great deal of hope for our student’s future as they continue to amaze us with their passion, commitment and hard work! It is all these things together that make us look at each other and say with confidence that we are making this our best Showcase ever! Our loudest, happiest, most dazzling event yet!
We are bringing more energy, more passion and more excitement to that ballroom than any other studio can boast and it’s happening this weekend! There isn’t anything we can say for this, save that we are so very grateful for our Arthur Murray family, our Students and most of all, each other, for collectively making all of this possible.
Thank you, and we’ll see you on the floor!
-The Arrowhead Staff
Dancing for Charity Events is not a new thing, but it most certainly can be forgotten in the rush of enjoyment we find while moving to the music.
We get carried away with our footwork, our lead and follow skills and the extension of our frame and head position… but all the while, others are enjoying their dancing as well, sometimes by the grace of others…
There is a Charity is Glasboro NJ, that brings their dancing joy to Assisted Living centers and Special Needs communities that otherwise would not have access to it. With their passion for how dancing can positively effect a person’s life, they spearhead the hashtag: #BringTheBallroom and believe that with the amazing power that dance holds, everyone should have the chance to experience it! Learn more about their donation-based organization here .
Even sometimes whole competitions are set up (like the one in San Clemente: Dancing for a Cause ), where Pro/Am couples work to win the audience and take home a cash prize for their selected charity! Silent and Live auctions go on throughout the night as well.
There are annual Dance charity events here in Phoenix, even, always opening up the opportunity to dance or just watch, share meals and raise funds for everything from youth programs to LGBT awareness, veterans services and more!
Giving is at the heart of dance, let’s be real. A dancer gives to the audience. They give to their partner. They give to the room, the music, the beat… Everything about Ballroom dancing is about giving, and it’s no secret! So much so that people everywhere can feel it so strongly as to create so many opportunities for others to benefit from it, not just themselves.
Ballroom is a generous sport from float to heel-protector, and if we feel that, then it’s no wonder why we find ways to give back. So thank you, to everyone who attends our upcoming Kpa Competition. Thank you for supporting our studio in the effort of using dance to give to those struggling with ALS. Thank you for understanding that dance is a strength that we can all share and stand together with.
Something that makes us family when it is so easy to become distant individuals. We are so thankful for each and every one of you, and hope to see you all brightly smiling as the music plays on September 30 th , as we dance in honor of these wonderful people who need our help.
If you would like to learn more about the wonderful work that the ALS Association is doing and how they improve the lives of patients and families struggling with this terrible disease every day, you can find more information on their website here , and remember to sign up for a few more entry’s to increase our Ballroom family’s donation to their efforts!
And again, we thank you.
-Arrowhead Arthur Murray Staff
There couldn’t be a more exhilarating experience for a dancer than to step out onto a gigantic floor, under a brilliant glow, wearing the most flowing dress… shoes feeling like a sturdy part of the feet, as though they are an extension of your body… a hush steals over the room as the MC announces the dance …and the music floods into the ballroom from everywhere, like a fantasy wind made of sound!
And if that’s too much fluff for you, you could take the more clinical explanation, which would reference such things as adrenaline, blood-pressure, cardiovascular circulation and the dizziness that comes from hot spotlights pointed at you from all directions.
Either way, you look good. ;D
It can be intimidating, in the beginning, to approach the idea of going to competitions. Many questions are brought up, and fears ignited. But there needn’t be any worry! Pro/Am Competition is among the most anticipated of all the dance events! And it should be:
- Sparkling dresses everywhere…
- Dashing suits as far as the eye can see…
- Classy Dinners every night…
- The best Hotels and service…
- Relaxing and exotic locations…
- A huge ballroom floor!
- Staff performances!
- Watching the Professionals compete!
- A whole weekend with your teachers!
- Traveling with your dance family!
What could be better? Ask anyone who has gone and they’ll tell you that the energy and excitement of an Arthur Murray Dance-O-Rama is absolutely unbeatable! The vendors alone are worth a day’s perusal, and the memories! What great memories…
Win or lose, everyone goes for their own reasons.
Maybe they want the titles, and compete with the trophies in mind.
Maybe it’s the feeling of being cheered on by such an enthusiastic audience.
Maybe we simply want to continue to make those memories, year after year.
Whatever it is, we come back, and we look forward to spending time with the friends we’ve made at studios from other states and countries. We build up one another as we deal with our own nerves and find ourselves laughing over the silly mistakes and high-fiving over the triumphs.
We cheer for each other. We hold out for the results to find out if our friends achieved their goals, and we realize something new about ourselves. Every time.
For many, it’s never been about the glitter or the fame. But about personal growth. Competitions are a unique opportunity to challenge oneself to break through new barriers and re-invent the dancer we were before into a fresh creature. A more confident more. A stronger one. Passing through round after round can transform us into faster adaptors, braver steppers and bigger performers, if we let it.
New heights we might never have pushed to can be achieved merely by the encouragement of another dancer in the on-deck area. Someone who has stood in your shoes and can smile and say the words you need to hear in order to lift your opinion of yourself and move better than you ever have before… There’s nothing like the feeling of realizing that everyone out on that floor isn’t actually trying to compete with you at all.
They’re actually pulling for you. In this Arthur Murray family, we’re all cheering for each other. We all want each other to win. And in a way, because of that fact…
…we all do.
So when you go out there, feel the exhilaration! Enjoy the excitement and let it push you to dance your heart out before the weekend is up. Grow more in a few days than in a few months at home! Make new friends, expand your Ballroom family… and come back year after year.
To do it all again.
Upon recently being asked what our personal Dance Goals are, the staff at Arrowhead Arthur Murray had many varying answers…
Future Competitions were named, new practice schedules talked about, dedication to the standard of quality we teach at our school, and many other ideas came up. But this is nothing new for seasoned dancers. Each of us know that to excel, we have to set and achieve new goals all the time to move forward with our skills. Likewise, we guide each of our students to do the same!
So, here are some common goals that come up for our students and some practical advice about how to move towards them!
- I want to feel more Graceful.
- Ballroom is one of the best sports for making anyone feel they have grace. A great remedy can be a combination of practicing the basics at a super slow pace on your own, and becoming as mindful as you can about how you move. EXERCISE: Go through simple figures and become aware of where your arms are, how straight your posture is and if your footwork is correct on every step! Move as though performing for a huge audience in slow-motion!
- It’s important to me to develop better Floorcraft.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Dance every song you can, with as many different partners as you can. The challenge will develop your critical thinking skills and the more confident you get with the steps you know, the more steps you can add to your repertoire!
- My leg lines and feet need to improve.
- The best exercises to improve the look of your legs and feet can be explained to you by your teachers, but as a rule, foot exercises should be an essential part of any dancer’s warm-up! They not only make your dancing look better, they strengthen the ankles and knees to prevent injury. Be sure to talk to your teacher about this goal for more ways to achieve it!
- I want to feel the music so that my dancing has more emotion and personality.
- Don’t we all! The easiest way to bring more emotion out in your movement is to dance to songs that you know and love! Beats that make you sway and tap your feet, or hits from your favorite bands will always give you stronger emotions when you hear them! Make a playlist for your practice sessions and push outside your comfort zone. You’ll be shocked at how much embodying the emotion of a dance will make your lines longer and picture steps bigger.
- At my next competition, I want to win Scholarship.
- This is a fantastic goal to set for yourself, and will take a lot of planning with your partner. You’ll want to create a game-plan, decide on key points in your dancing that will need extra focus and make the time for coaching and extra lessons to prepare. Also, be sure to perform in from of as many audiences as you can to ensure your nerves don’t get the best of you.
When setting your goals, be sure to remember: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Framed. That way you can be sure to reach your desired results as long as you focus and don’t give up!
One last thing:
Here at Arrowhead, we really care about what our student’s personal dance goals are, and incorporate them into the lessons we teach to support you the best that we can. So please share your plans and desires with us and let us help you raise your dancing to the level that you dream about!
If you’re a part of the class of dancers who live for the large floor, sparkling colors and flashy performances, you might go through something like this around an event like Showcase:
The Build Up
You set your goal of being everything you can be. You visualize it. Imagine the music, the storey-telling. Plans are made, excitement is soaring: you look forward to everything about that day (or days) and can’t wait to live in each moment!
Making the steps and the connection feel right is hard, and you may worry that stagnation is creeping in on your piece of art, making it not everything you wished it could be for this occasion, but your partner or teacher tells you it’s going to be alright, that it will all work out. You try not to be nervous.
In the last and final practices of your routines and dramatic finishes, you find those big moments finally making sense! The dips land right, the lifts are smoother than ever before and you finally figured out why that one trouble spot in the routine felt off (and corrected it)! Flying high, you can’t wait to see everyone’s faces as you take your bow and walk off the floor…
This is the part of your event story when you regret that the idea of performing ever even entered your mind and you want to go back on everything you’ve ever said about wanting to get on that floor. Dancers of all levels experience some degree of this emotion before each performance. Even the best can sometimes have it the worst, but no matter who you are, nerves are a part of the dancer lifestyle. The important thing is to remain calm and focus on your work of art! After all, you’ve prepared well. There’s no need to let fears get in your way.
Ahhhhhhhh, the stomach dropping as the music from the rutine before you fades away. The sensation of wanting to run screaming. The embarrassment of being in front of so many people. Being convinced that your routine or show-piece isn’t anywhere good enough for this crowd. Then, deciding to dance for you and your partner and falling into the familiar flow of your chosen music. Getting to the end without breaking anyone’s leg or falling down, and bowing to actual applause! It’s over! Feeling so thankful when you finish with a flourish and everyone is clapping.
So many emotions after its all through! Congratulations from people all throughout the rest of the night, some you don’t even know! Hugs and handshakes from dancers you respect and train beside. Happiness. Joy. Gratitude. Giddiness. The desire to do it again… Everyone laughs with you about how much fun this whole night is and what craziness it took to prepare and pull off! You’re so happy your piece is over and you get to relax and enjoy in a whole new way.
Much as you want to talk about your performance all night and day, your fellow dancers have experienced their own achievements being realized and their own fears faced, some for the first time. You have to come down from your high a bit to listen and support them in theirs. It’s the good-sportsmanship in you, besides; they supported you, too!
After a long and harrowing distance, you’ve achieved a goal, reached a dream, checked something off the list and really accomplished something extraordinary. You feel great, and everyone around you feels great. It’s great. You take a deep breath, as it starts to sink in. It’s over .
The event is in the past. The pictures will immortalize it forever. The videos have already been watched a dozen times in two days. Normal life is pushing in on you with it’s… normal-ness. You miss the lights. The tablecloths. The glamor. Normal life is kind of dull, at least visually. You look around your workplace, but your mind is still glimpsing images of swirling dresses and expanded frames… echoes of catchy quickstep music still replay in your head… You think to yourself that you should have done a quickstep, two… maybe next time. Sigh, but next time seems so far away! You wish fervently that you could have a night like that every weekend! Dazzle the audience every time with your spins and points! Why do events have to be so amazing and then… be over?!
To be perfectly honest, these are feelings every earnest dancer goes through. Whether they dance for a living or just for fun, they have to navigate these emotional peaks and valleys.
Handling these stages might look something like this…
The Build Up : Set a goal that is in your heart. Something you truly desire to work for. Dream with passion and vigor.
The Work : Take this project seriously so as to not waste you or your partner’s time. Be a fervent worker and practice .
The Breakthrough : No matter what, focus on the good. Use the moments when it all comes together to propel you further forward into a better challenge! Always move forward.
The Fear : When you want to quit, say this to yourself: “I’ll quit after.” Works every time.
The Performance : Let go of the people watching, don’t worry about who sees what. Just dance with your partner and love every second of it! This is what you showed up for.
The High : Remember to accept everyone’s words with positivity. Be courteous, thank them, don’t go on and on about how awful you think you were because you’re embarrassed about the attention, just be polite and gracious. Enjoy your personal win!
The Handoff : When your fellow dancers have taken their bows, make sure you give them the same glory they gave you. Tell them what you liked about their dancing, and make their moment in the spotlight as awesome as yours!
The Rest : Once it’s all said and done, you can enjoy the general glamor of the event. Take the time to think about why you love these performance opportunities. Watch the transformation of the dancers around you as they gain in confidence and experience. You were once like them. This is a wonderful way of growing and becoming the dancer you always wanted to be. Rest and appreciate everything around you. Be in the moment!
The Crash : There is only one cure for the depression which follows the end of a big event. One single cure for the sadness, loss of direction and purpose which engulfs a serious dance-lover… Another Build Up, and a new plan for your next performance.
So set up your next plan! A new goal! Don’t let the crash get you, but instead use it as a way to push on towards your next big high… and another great achievement.