Inspiration

Videos, articles, and a little food for the soul.

Muscle Memory Madness

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Hi, it's April. Welcome to Dancer's Called to Action. The place to be for the dancer looking for confidence, knowledge, and tools for moving forward.

Nary a class that goes by without hearing the words, muscle memory. Funny how obsessed we are with this thing that isn't even completely real. Muscle memory is defined as a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition, which is definitely a thing, but there's no memory in the muscle. Instead, we're only talking about the brain. These changes that occur in the brain, during, let's say a dance class, the way we memorize, alters the information that the brain sends out to the muscles, thereby changing the movements that are produced. So it's best to consider the term, muscle memory, as a nickname for our process and not take it literally. Anyhow, this concept of muscle memory, it's at the top of most answers; Priority list: muscle memory, remembering faster, picking up...

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Build Your Own Home Studio.

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Hi, it's April. Welcome to Dancers Call-to-Action. The place to be for the dancer looking for confidence, knowledge and tools for moving forward.

Happy Wednesday, Dancers. Today we are getting super practical. No mindset stuff, no theory. Today we're talking about how to build your own dance studio or dance space at home. To be Frank, this is not a subject I ever planned on talking about. It just didn't cross my radar, which is obviously because my job is at a studio. So sadly, it just never occurred to me to talk about this. But, one of the modules that we go through in Unify has to do with how the heck you train, maintain and excel your skills at home, when you have those seasons where you just can't get to a studio or don't live near one. Having a space to move around is priceless, and today I'm going to give you the basics and hopefully cover most budgets. Now I often think about one of my first apartments and how if I could go back to an earlier time where I had less...

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Body Awareness Changes Everything.

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Hi, it's April. Welcome to Dancers call-to action. The place to be for the dancer looking for confidence, knowledge and tools for moving forward.

Dancers! We're back. The team and I took a few weeks off at the launch of Unify Dance Network, but we have reconvened and planned out a year of episodes based on your feedback. We have a ridiculous amount of exciting subjects in the works and dancers. They are all about making you a more confident and well-informed dancer because the happier and more knowledgeable you are, the more dancing you do, the happier you'll be.

The more dancing you'll do, the happier you'll be.

The more dancing.

Today we're going to talk about body awareness. What does that even mean? How do you develop it and why does its importance extend far, far beyond simply performing better?

Think for a second about the ways that dance reinforces the idea of isolations in the body; both directly and indirectly. We do isolations in our warmup. We teach by breaking down...

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Please Stop Asking Dance Artists to Perform "in Exchange for Exposure"

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Jennifer Stahl recently wrote a great, succinct article over on Dance Magazine about asking dancers to perform for free.

I also face this issue regularly, and not so much in the form of being asked to dance for free, but more often receiving calls wanting me to refer to them to other dancers. I feel almost guilty at times, as when there is no budget, I simply stop the conversation. I don't offer the chance to dancers, some of which may be ok with dancing for free.

As someone in leadership in the dance community, I just don't feel comfortable passing these offers along and perpetuating a lack of respect for dancer's time and training.

Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that the event eventually does find a free performer, and that performer usually isn't as skilled or experienced, so the audience confirms that dance is not worth paying for, and the cycle continues...


Earlier this week, a friend of a friend reached out to me seeking recommendations for a...

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A Dance Chat with Danyel Moulton

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Danyel is a force to be reckoned with. She came through the studio to teach a class and I grabbed a camera. We weren't doing a formal interview, so forgive the lower quality, but what she shared is pretty valuable, so enjoy!

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Willdabeast: "Train like you suck".

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Anyone who has been in my presence more than an hour will hear the word "podcast" come out of my mouth. At times, it's almost embarrassing. (Do I have any original thoughts, or am I just a podcast regurgitation machine?)

There are a few podcasts that are a solid and unshakeable part of my foundation. At the top of that list is Impact Theory, a podcast that radically and forever changed the way I approach the world.

I met Will Adams many year ago. Before that one Beyoncè video. Before the Buildabeast empire was known.  In those days, he was who he is now: a hard working, easy to be around human with an obvious hunger for more. There is no way not to be in awe of all that he has accomplished and the way he and Janelle have been an unstoppable force in the dance world. 

So when Impact Theory host Tom Bilyeu had Willdabeast on as his guest, I literally squealed. Tom does not ask just anyone to be a guest, and I am honored to share this video with you. Don't sleep...

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Is Instagram Changing the Dance World's Value System?

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There is a place for curated content. When I come across an article and think "damn. yes. this is important", then I know it must be passed on. 

As a studio owner, I've had some really strange behind-the-scenes moments with other "professionals". One of the most frustrating parts of my job is the way that guests artists will often confuse the number of their IG followers with the value they add to my studio and dancers. Your social media following doesn't not tell me anything about your generosity and skill as a teacher. There are countless other values that are coming under fire in the wake of the influencer era. 

This article by Theresa Ruth Howard is worth relevant, important, and worth the read. 


 

The entrancing power of Instagram can't be denied. I've lost hours of my life scrolling the platform looking at other people documenting theirs. What starts as a "quick" fill-the-moment check-in can easily lead to a good 10-15 minute session, especially if I...

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The Podcast is Ready!

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We are live!

And be "we" I mean "me". And by live, I mean I made a tiny little intro episode and pushed it out into the world. 

Just this morning, I was listening to the Masters of Scale podcast with Reid Hoffman. He brought me back to the always refreshing and often forgotten quote:

"If you're not embarrassed by your first version of things, you waited too long to launch."

Fair.

It is with a touch of future embarrassment and a lot of excitement that I invite you into the intro episode of Dancers Called to Action. I promise you that future episodes will get better and better.

Listen on Spotify

Listen Elsewhere

 

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A Dance Chat with Amanda Lacount

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At just 18 years-old, Amanda has been putting some fantastic energy and messaging out into the dance world. There are so many younger (and older) dancers who are only seeing dance being represented by a very specific and often unrelatable body type.  Amanda is a great example of a dancer completely comfortable in her own skin, and I had a great time hanging out with her.

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What are you really frustrated about, dancer?

When I hear people talk about the healing power of dance, I immediately think of this wonderful cheesy scene in an old sitcom, Jack and Jill. One of the characters has just learned that she’s been cheated on and decides to “dance it out” in her studio. Slow, melancholy music, lots of angsty reaches. A montage of her failed relationship floating above her head.

When I fell in love with dance at 26-years-old, there were no angsty reaches, only the inexplicable feeling of coming home.

Home was a word I had no real connection to. I entered the foster care system as a teen, and 22 homes later, I found myself homeless with a one-year-old. It would be almost ten years before I would step into a beginning jazz class at a community college; a jazz class that became the catalyst for a life I never saw coming.

Dance allowed safety that words hadn't. I could express, perform, and connect to other people; I could engage my body and mind, and yet no words were required. No...

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