Meet Mexican Dance Ensemble!

Meet Mexican Dance Ensemble!

We are very excited to introduce yet another incredible dance group who will perform in the 7th Annual Chicago International Dance Forum! Meet the Mexican Dance Ensemble!

In November 2001, the Mexican Dance Ensemble was founded in Chicago, IL. M.D.E.’s mission is to expose the bright and beautiful traditions of the Mexican culture through the art of dance. Intent on preserving the beauty of Mexican heritage, M.D.E. strives to enrich it with their particular point of view so that they may spread the essence of this magnificent and varied heritage. With a growing audience and fan-base, M.D.E. has performed nationally as well as internationally in such countries as France, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of China, Greece and Turkey!

“Our main objective is to serve as a liaison of Mexican Culture and to offer a Mexican performing platform for emerging artists while expanding the importance and values of the arts and the artist community.” MDEChicago.org

To learn more about the Mexican Dance Ensemble, check out their website linked above or follow them on Twitter!

Meet Movement Revolution Dance Crew!

Meet Movement Revolution Dance Crew!

Who’s ready to meet another group performing at the 7th Annual Chicago International Dance Forum?

Meet the Movement Revolution Dance Crew!

M.R.D.C. was founded by Monternez Rezell in 2010 as a way to integrate street culture into concert dance. Inspired by elements of jazz, lyrical, contemporary and African dance, M.R.D.C. pulls everything together to push the limits of dance, pay tribute to the founders and originators of hip hop, and reach beyond the endless possibilities that dance provides.

Our motto is “Dance is our ART, Movement is our paint brush and the World is our Canvas!” ~MovementRevolutionDanceCrew.com

To learn more about this amazing dance crew, you can visit their website (linked above), or follow them on twitter: @moverevolution2

Meet Ballet 5:8!

Meet Ballet 5:8!

Are you ready to meet another group who will be performing at the Chicago International Dance Forum?

Meet Ballet 5:8!

“The mission of Ballet 5:8 is to engage communities in Chicago, the Midwest and across the nation in conversation of life and faith through innovative storytelling and breathtaking dance.” ~Ballet5:8.org

Located in Frankfort, Illinois, Ballet 5:8 performs in downtown Chicago, the city suburbs AND the U.S.! The mission is to reach and relate to audiences from all communities to set all social, cultural and economic differences aside. To bring all people together using dance as their words. In only 5 years and with over 250 students, Ballet 5:8 expands further and further each year. Their performance at the Chicago International Dance Forum will undoubtedly blow this audience away.

To learn even more about Ballet 5:8, you can go to their website (linked above) or follow them on Twitter!

Meet Forum Dance Theatre!

Meet Forum Dance Theatre!

October 8th marks the 7th Annual Chicago International Dance Forum!

The Chicago International Dance Forum is an ethnic and cultural event which features some of the finest ethnic dance ensembles in the Chicago area, celebrating Chicago’s position as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. A unifying experience for an audience of all ages. And as the event approaches, we’re going to use each blog post to introduce to you the groups that will be performing!

Forum Dance Theatre

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” ~ Plato

Forum Dance Theatre is a 501(c)3 youth dance ensemble within Talent Forum of Libertyville, Illinois

Forum Dance Theatre began with only 5 members in an in-studio performance at Talent Forum. The Company has grown one of the Midwest’s best pre-professional training programs, and today has nearly 50 members, three divisions, an artistic staff of four, an administrative staff of five, and over 50 volunteers.

Artistic Director Kimberly Fletcher-Stibal’s mission for Forum is to serve as a catalyst for young, aspiring artists to envision, expand and collaborate on dance works which challenge the artistic depth and creativity that are involved in Contemporary dance. With national and international performances to their credit, Forum is known for their discipline and excellence among their students.

Please visit the Forum Dance Theatre website for more information about this phenomenal company!

Reach Your Goals As A Dancer!

Reach Your Goals As A Dancer!

Dancing is not only about being passionate and loving what you do; it’s also about working hard and putting in the time and energy required to push yourself to be better. Sometimes, we fall flat on our face and decide to stay there. Sometimes, we work harder than we ever have and only improve in the slightest ways. It’s easy to feel discouraged and even easier to discourage ourselves. Time and time again, we tell ourselves that “it’s never going to happen” or that it’s “always going to be a dream”. But, it doesn’t have to be. Instead of only looking at the giant end goal that we’ve set so far ahead of ourselves, let’s break it up into smaller, individual goals that will get us closer to what we want to achieve.

This can be helpful in any type of mission. But, dancers are something special. We have so much to accomplish and tend to feel the senses of accomplishment or defeat much stronger than the average person. Because of this, breaking up an overall goal will help to ease the anxiety and stress that dancers often cause themselves.

But, how do we break our goals up? Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Monthly Goals

Just as the current month ends, sit down and make a small (PRACTICAL) list of goals to accomplish within the next month. This way, you won’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once. Do this for each month.

2. One-Year Plan

Where do you want to be with your goals in a year? Don’t be too specific or you’ll feel unaccomplished by the time you get there. When a full year goes by, stop and look at how much you’ve accomplished already. Then, set out for your next One-Year plan. Your plan should be something that you could only accomplish within that year. For example, after joining your first dance class, you should not make your plan to be starring in the Royal Ballet as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. That’s just not going to happen. Instead, the goal should be to learn and improve as much as possible to exceed into the next level or levels of training. A one-year plan is only good if it’s realistic.

3. 5 Years From Now.

Similar to the one-year plan, a plan for 5 years ahead needs to be something you can actually accomplish in that time frame. Are you trying to land a spot in your studio’s Company? Are you trying to make it into a prestigious company that you’ve been eye-ing? Then, set out to do that. Five years gives you time to perfect your craft and improve your technique to the point that you may be able to study even further!

 

Always keep working towards your goals. And when they seem too daunting, think to yourself, “Is this something that I really want?”. If the answer is yes, then break down what needs to be done to get you there. Then go for it. A goal is only a dream if there is no action behind it. As time progresses, keep breaking down those goals and meet them with confidence. Life will be less difficult, less scary, less stressful, and more rewarding.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Finding Your Midweek Motivation!

Finding Your Midweek Motivation!

It’s Wednesday once again, friends. It’s no longer the beginning of the week yet we’ve not exactly made it to the end of the week. We’re stuck in that annoying one day stretch most commonly referred to as “Hump Day” Wednesday is like reaching the peak of a hill (the hump) only to find the rest of it on the other side. When we realize that there’s still that much more of the week to tackle, it can be so easy to lose motivation.

#Relatable

We’re all dancers here! It’s our job to support one another and push each other to work hard and be the best we can be. So, naturally, we’ve done a little research and found a some great ways to keep your spirits up, motivate you and add a bit more pep in your step to get you through to the weekend. Shall we begin?

1. Treat Yourself!

It’s always nice to indulge in a small, sweet treat now and then. And it’s nice to reward yourself when accomplishing tasks. So, here’s the plan: Each week, set out to accomplish something important at the beginning of the week. Then on Wednesday, you can allow yourself a small treat to reward yourself for your dedication to achieving your goals. Don’t go crazy and suck down a 7 course meal but, enjoy your favorite candy bar or baked good. Whatever it is, it should be something that you won’t feel guilty over for the rest of the week. That’s what the weekend’s for. 😉

2. How Pinteresting!

What do you use Pinterest for? Everything? Yeah, so does the rest of the world. One of the best ways to give yourself a bit of encouragement or motivation is to scroll through a gallery of images that move you, inspire you, and remind you why you love to dance. In fact, why don’t you follow Plainfield Dance Academy on Pinterest? It differs for everyone, what will be an effective image to spark one’s interest. There’s something about seeing a professional dancer or ballerina onstage or reading just the right quote that helps us stay on track with our goals and the fire burning in our hearts.

3. Just Hit Play!

Just like Pinterest, watching a video following your idol or your field of passion is one of the most effective ways of inspiring your creative side, reigniting your passion. For ballet dancers in particular, check out YouTube’s Ballet InsiderGiving us a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put together a Russian Ballet, introducing dancers to the viewers and, the most popular type of video, a day in the life of the various dancers in the company. In order to keep a dream alive, sometimes, getting a sneak peek into the life that you’re aspiring to live can be the one thing to get you on your feet and back to work.

4. Relive Your Journey

It’s time to break out the cringe-worthy videos, people. Find those recital tapes and watch what a goofy, uncoordinated kid you were. Think about all of the training that you’ve done between then and now. Think about how long it’s been since you were that little, just beginning to dabble in what would become your life’s passion. As much as you want to burn the evidence and never let it see the light of day again, these memories are important. Think as that little kid with all of that endless optimism and happiness, and remember how you felt when you first stepped on that stage. What’s different now? Use these memories to bring that feeling back.

 

It’s only Wednesday, everyone! There’s still the rest of the week to show the world (or at least the studio) what you’ve got. Work hard, treat yourself well and prove the nay-sayers wrong. We know you can do it; you know you can do it.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Why Do We Dance?

Why Do We Dance?

It can be difficult to explain why we have the passions that we have. It’s true that we can pick up hobbies out of choice but, sometimes, we can’t help what we love. We can’t help having a true passion for something. Dancers are among the most passionate and artistic people in the world. Verbally, this post is going to be quite short. We’re going to let the passion of this young artist do the speaking for us. But as you watch, think about how much love she’s sharing in each movement. Imagine being so passionate about something that you are completely unable to fight expressing it. Dance isn’t just a fun little thing to do when a good song comes on. Dance is a story of many different emotions. The dancer is the author. If this video doesn’t motivate you to keep dancing, we don’t know what will.

Ballerina From Palestine Could Not Resist The Melody of a Street Musician in Italy.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Tiny Dancers!

Tiny Dancers!

Pre-Ballet, Baby Ballet, Kiddie Ballet, call it what you like.

From a very young age, many little girl dream about being a ballerina; wearing a radiant tutu, having a perfect princess bun in their hair, and dancing their hearts out. They ask to go to a ballet class and then the whole family gather together to watch them become a star onstage at their first dance recital. Parents couldn’t be more proud of their little one as they remember their routine, follow close instruction and bravely go out in front of everyone to dance. Childhood ballet classes are a wonderful experience for the parents because their children is learning a new form of structure, discipline and art. But, what about the child? What is it about ballet that draws their interest?

In a little girl’s eyes, most ballerinas look like a fairy tale princess come to life. Their kind, beautiful and graceful. Once they see ballet for the first time, they’re hooked. They want to be that princess. They want nothing more to be beautiful and to dance gracefully without a care in the world. The dancers are beautiful and they seem to live in a world where everything is express through the most gorgeous music and delicate dances. The ease and fluidity of the ballerina’s movements is something that a little girl tries to imitate with all of the determination their little hearts can carry.

Soon, the tiny dreamer is insisting on wearing nothing but tutus and dancing their way all over the house. Every bed frame, chair and counter top soon becomes a barre for her to practice with. After a short while, it’s clear to see that this fascination isn’t going anywhere. And thus begins her first ballet lessons.

At this point, she will be introduced to her first dance teacher/ role model. This teacher will be the epitome of grace, beauty and elegance. And what makes them so special to the little ones, is that they get to learn and “play” with them personally. Most tiny ballerinas think of their first dance teacher as someone to look up to and emulate. They want nothing more than to hear their teacher yell “great job” while they rehearse for their first recital. And when they do get that recognition, their self-esteem sky rockets.

When they get home from their lessons, all they can talk about is what they did in class, their teacher said this, their teacher did that. It’s easy to see that they’ve been bitten by the performing bug and there’s not much of it going away. They eagerly go through their week at school, looking forward to that time in the week when they get to go to dance class. That is what’s driving them to be the best they can be.

When their first dance term is almost over, it’s time for the recital. To the parents, it’s going to be a cute performance of little ones dancing and having fun. For the tiny dancers, it’s a make or break, life changing moment. They’ll view the small auditorium as a giant palace filled with hundreds of people all there to watch what’s going to be an amazing performance. To them, this is the defining moment of their “career”.

Once they get on that stage, it’s time to show what they’ve been training for this whole time. They do their very best to remember each step, be brave in the face of stage fright and make their teacher immensely proud. All of this, is part of the thrill of dancing. All of the practice, energy and time spent devoted to these dances have all led up to this.  And once they’ve finished dancing, they’re filled with both pride and sadness because it’s all over now. What is there left to do?

I guess it’s time to start the next class…

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

 

Back-to-School, Back-to-Dance: How to Survive!

Back-to-School, Back-to-Dance: How to Survive!

It’s back to school time for most of the world. And for our students, it’s both back to school AND back to dance!! Unlike back to school time, back to dance is much more pleasant. Dancers get to see their friends again, make new friends just joining the studio and continue honing their craft and building their passion. Being a student and a dancer can be a lot of responsibility which might wear them down a bit. Today, we’ve decided to scour the internet for tips and tricks to keep your life balanced, sane and (most importantly) happy while you go back to school and dance. After all, a happy and healthy performer is the strongest type of performer around.

“Sleep Tight” is just an expression

It’s common practice, and extremely necessary, to stretch before dance. It’s an absolute must. Sometimes, however, we leave class feeling a bit tighter than when we came in! We’ve been holding our bodies “just so” in order to perform to our full potential. And that can take its toll on a person. We did our research and found that one of the best times to stretch your body is actually in the evening just before going to bed. It’s true! We chose an extremely helpful video from YouTube’s Blogilates channel. And just listen to what she has to say about it:

“The best time for me to get more flexible is right before bed. Not only are my muscles most supple at this moment, at the end of the day, right after a shower, but stretching REALLY relaxes me and prepares me for a deep sleep. So, if you’re looking to increase your overall body flexibility, do this video every night before bed and you’ll see a difference in your range of motion in as fast as a week! But you MUST keep it up. Like anything else, flexibility takes work and it takes time. There is no shortcut. Have fun! You can do these stretches right on your bed!”

Click on the photo to see the video!

Buckle Down, Kiddo!

There’s no funny image or video to go with this one because this one’s more like a prelude to another point. If you’ve got any tasks that must get done before, between, during or after school and dance, just do it. It’s so important to keep yourself on task. Putting things off until the last minute really only adds to stress and creates more anxiety than you can handle. When you get your act together and keep your ducks in a row, you’ll no longer stay up through all hours of the night trying to finish anything last minute.

Speaking of staying up all night…

Hit the Hay, Clock Out, Hit the Sack, K.O., SLEEP!

People take sleep for granted all the time. They think that they can get away with pulling multiple all-nighters and not expect any consequences. Well, my friends, that’s not how your body works. After some time, you feel some strange side effects from sleep deprivation. On our Pinterest board Health & Nutrition, we display plenty of facts about sleeping habits, sleep deprivation, tips and tricks, along with many other facts and advice about (duh!) health and nutrition! Go, read and learn all about why sleep is more important to your overall health than you may have realized.

Nom Noms, A.K.A. Food

Hey, do you like food? Yeah? Cool! We all have dreams of eating all day, everyday and never gaining a point or having it affect us negatively in any way. But, unfortunately, some dreams never come true. There are so many foods out there that, while they’re delicious, they’re not exactly recommended for us by medical professionals. Basically, there’s tons of junk food that we’d rather enjoy than a piece of celery. BUT, we don’t have to frown about it! Because there are SO many other foods that we can have that won’t break the scale or affect us in any harmful ways. Healthy eating is not just for those who want to lose weight. Some people change their diet based on food sensitivities, allergies, skin concerns, etc.

There are some YouTube channels out there that focus solely on healthy foods and recipes that you might love! Not only is the food good for you but, they’re delicious and easy to make too! Here are a few of our channel suggestions:

Thriving on Plants

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food! The ThrivingonPlants YouTube channel has an insanely large following of people looking to cook and eat better choices in their own homes. The What I Eat In A Day videos are the most popular because it shows a sped up example of how to make some of these amazing recipes. All recipes are even listed in the descriptions below the videos! How simple and convenient is that?

And like we said before, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food. Food shown on this channel is super easy to make and extremely delicious. So, give it a try!

Mind Over Munch

Chance are, you’re both a student and a dancer. So, you’ve got a pretty packed schedule. You eat lunch during your lunch period at school and get a little hungry after school, don’t you? But, you’ve got dance after school. Hmmm… Mind Over Munch is at your service! This YouTube channel focuses on making healthy, easy and affordable bento meals. If you’re not familiar with bento boxes, you’re in for a life changing experience. Just click on the picture to watch and learn!

 

Check In With Yourself

What’s truly important as you make your way back to school and dance, is that you take care of yourself and listen to your body. How are you feeling? What does your body need? Listen and act accordingly. The best thing you can do for yourself is to treat yourself like the special individual you are. Be kind to yourself and take this next school and dance year by storm! You can do it. So do it!

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Fall Is Making It’s Entrance!

Fall Is Making It’s Entrance!

With the school year beginning all around the U.S., so will the Fall season. Fall means lightly layered clothes, pumpkin spiced everything and chilly weather. As the weather begins to cool down bit by bit, there are a few tricks that dancers swear by to keep themselves warm and healthy. And that’s exactly what we’re getting into today!

Dressing the Part

Taking care of a dancer’s body as the weather turns is really about making sure that you’re keeping yourself warm. So, your main focus is going to be on your choice of clothing. You will never see a serious dancer or ballerina go out in cold weather without wearing the “unsung uniform” that’s become a staple in a dancer’s life.

1.) Scarves.

Did you know that most common colds begin when the throat and nasal passages are insufficiently protected? A sore throat is usually one of the first signs of an upcoming illness. So, if you’re prone to seasonal colds, investing in a few heavy-duty scarves will be a wise decision.

2.) Sweaters & Coats

Have you ever heard of a chest cold? That’s another all too common form of seasonal illness that can be SO easily avoided. It may be tempting to show off your cute outfit by wearing your sweaters, jackets and coats unzipped. But, you’ll definitely feel the consequences of that decision in the form of painful chest coughs and congestion. Dancers need to be able to control their breath as they dance as to not get dizzy or light headed from moving too quickly or suddenly. Making sure that you bundle up will prevent much headache.

3.) Leg Warmers

These things aren’t just an 80’s fashion trend. Leg warmers are exactly what they sound like. They warm your legs! Dancers rely on their legs for most of their dancing. and pointe dancers? Forget about it! Imagine the impact of cold, tense muscles on a pointe dancer. The result is not a good one. Keeping your muscles warm helps keep them loose and flexible, which is necessary for a strong performance.

4.) Sweatpants

Let’s cover up these leg warmers, shall we? When the weather calls for it, bundling up as much as possible is the best way to be certain that you are doing your best to keep your muscles from getting too cold and tense.

Of course, use these tips at your own discretion! If you know the weather doesn’t require a scarf, leg warmers, a sweater, coat AND sweatpants, make the call for yourself. Does it feel like a scarf and light jacket kind of day? Good! Need a little more coverage? Do it! Just make sure that you are, in fact, dressing accordingly with the weather. The main focus of keeping warm in cooler weather is preventing muscle and other body injuries. Along with dressing to keep warm, we also recommend warm drinks like tea, hot water and lemon or honey. Do regular stretching even outside of the studio to keep yourself limber. Eat a healthy and warm meal to keep yourself warm from the inside out!

Remember, if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry