Announcing the 2016-2017 ASA Company

Posted By Shannon Holst / August, 30, 2016 / 0 comments
The ASA Dance Company competes at 5 regional competitions and one national competition, showcasing their amazing talents on the stage throughout the year. In addition to the team’s hard work and dedication to the visual arts, the ASA Company participates in special community performances. Visit our Facebook page for a complete album of these beautiful dancers.

Congratulations, girls!

We are excited to see what this year brings for ASA Company!

A Step Above Dance Academy 2015 - 2016 Competitive Company

 

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ASA Company wins at Talent on Parade at The Paramount Theatre

Posted By Shannon Holst / May, 3, 2016 / 0 comments

What an exciting weekend for A Step Above Dance Academy Company at the Talent On Parade showcase in Aurora, Illinois! I could not be more proud of the stunning performances that ASA Company brought to competition this weekend! Your passion and determination is inspiring and I cannot wait to see how far each and every one of you will go with your dancing. Keep leaving your heart on that stage girls – you are truly amazing! – Miss Shannon

2016 Regional Competition Results

“Secrets” Ella Miller – Diamond Award, 2nd Overall, 5th Runner Up TOP Entertainer

“Fighter” Alexi Corsini – Diamon Award, 4th Overall

“Wherever He Ain’t” Piper Clark – Diamond Award, 1st Overall, Top Star Invitation

“Material Girl” Mia Spanier – Diamond Award, 2nd Overall, Category Cup Winner, Top

“Wings” Shaelin Dunn – Diamond Award, 3rd Overall

“Fight Song” Alexis Schueller – Double Diamond Award, “Nailed It” Judges Choice

award, PrePro Scholarship Winner, Top Star Invitation, Category Cup Winner, 1st

“Photograph” Isabella Villalon – Diamond Award, 5th Overall

“Who You Are” Zoe Wegerich – Diamond Award, 6th Overall

“Stitches” MacKenzie Matysik – Diamond Award, 2nd Overall, Top Star Invite

“Waiting Game” Chloe McCoy – Elite ward, 2nd Overall, Top Star Invitation

“9 Crimes” Lilliana Andujar – Elite Award, 5th Overall

“Dream” MacKenzie O’Dwyer – Elite Award, 4th Overall

“Holding Out For A Hero” Zoe Wegerich & Ava Misner – Diamond Award, 8th Overall

“Cheerleader” Mia Spanier & Emma Markstrom – Diamond Award, 1st Overall,

“Future NFL Cheerleaders” Judges Choice award

“Too Much” Alexis Schueller & Anya Corsini – Double Diamond Award, 2nd Overall

“Glam” Alexi Corsini & Ella Miller – Diamond Award, 1st Overall

“Who’s Laughin’ Now” – Diamond Award, 8th Overall

“Little Red Wagon” – Diamond Award, 2nd Overall

“Tears of an Angel” – Double Diamond Award, 1st Overall, Category Cup Winner,

“Beauty & Grace” Judges Choice award

“Teen Beach” – Double Diamond Award, 1st Overall

“Not Goodbye” – Diamond Award, 1st Overall

“Bringing Back Biebs” – Diamond Award, 2nd Overall

“Backstreet Boys” – Elite Award, 10th Overall

“Masterpiece” – Diamond Award

“Suitcase” – Diamond Award, 5th Overall

“Saved By The Bell” – Elite Award, 5th Overall

A Step Above Dance Company Batavia at the Paramount Theater in Aurora

ASA wins at Rainbow National Dance Competition 2016 Regionals

Posted By Shannon Holst / April, 12, 2016 / 0 comments

What a weekend for ASA Company at the Rainbow National Dance Competition at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan. A Step Above had 17 Top 10 Placements and 12 Top 5 Placements out of 26 total dances. We continue to be in awe of these girls who show up to our Batavia studio everyday to rehearse. Their passion for dance sings each time they step on stage! Proud moments!!

“Fight Song” Alexis Schueller – Double Platinum, 3rd Place Overall Rising Starz Division, New York City All-Star Invitation

“Glam” Alexi Corsini & Ella Miller –Platinum, 1st Place Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Material Girl” Mia Spanier – Platinum, 1st Place Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Wings” Shaelin Dunn – Double Platinum, 7th Place Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Who You Are” Zoe Wegerich – Double Platinum, 1st Place Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Photograph” Isabella Villalon – Double Platinum, 8th Place Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Cheerleader” Mia Spanier & Emma Markstrom – Platinum, Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Holding Out For A Hero” Zoe Wegerich & Ava Misner – Platinum, 3rd Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division, New York City All-Star Invitation

“Too Much” Alexis Schueller & Anya Corsini – Double Platinum, 2nd Overall Rising Starz Division

“Tears of an Angel” Junior Small Group – Double Platinum, 4th Overall Rising Starz Division

“Masterpiece” Teen/Senior Small Group – Platinum, 5th Overall Rising Starz Division

“Bringin’ Back Biebs” Junior/Teen Small Group – Platinum, Rising Starz Division

“Saved By The Bell” Teen/Senior Small Group – Platinum, Rising Starz Division

“Suitcase” Teen/Senior Small Group – Double Platinum, 3rd Overall Rising Starz Division, “Straight From The Heart” Judges Choice Award

“Backstreet Boys” Junior/Teen Small Group – High Gold, Rising Starz Division

“Not Goodbye” Large Group – High Gold, Rising Starz Division “Beautiful Interpretation” Judges Choice Award

“Wherever He Ain’t” Piper Clark – Platinum, Rising Starz Division, Dancer of the Year Finalist

“9 Crimes” Lilliana Andujar – High Gold, Rising Starz Division

“Dream” MacKenzie O’Dwyer – Platinum, 10th Overall Rising Starz Division

“Waiting Game” Chloe McCoy – High Gold, Rising Starz Division

“Little Red Wagon” Mini Small Group – Double Platinum, 3rd Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division, “Sassy Babes” Judges Choice Award

“Who’s Laughin’ Now” Mini/Junior Small Group – High Gold Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Teen Beach” Mini/Junior Small Group – Double Platinum, 3rd Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Stitches” MacKenzie Matysik – Platinum, 9th Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Fighter” Alexi Corsini – Platinum, 7th Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

“Secrest” Ella Miller – Double Platinum, 1st Overall Starz of Tomorrow Division

A Step Above Batavia wins at Rainbow National Dance Competition – Regionals 2016 Genesee Theater, Waukegan IL

More about A Step Above Dance Academy:

A Step Above Dance Academy offers dance classes for all ages and levels!  Pre-school dance to Advanced classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary and Yoga.  At A Step Above Dance Academy, we strive to give a well-rounded, high-quality dance education, while also instilling self-confidence, creativity, respect, and an admiration for the arts in all students. Each student will feel special and talented every time they step into a class. Our professional faculty encourages their students to use dance and artistic expression to live a rich and enduring life.

A Step Above Company wins at Applause Talent Competition

Posted By Shannon Holst / March, 16, 2016 / 0 comments

Success continued over the weekend for A Step Above Company dancers at the Applause Talent Competition. Hosted by the Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin, the ASA Company team exhibited poise, excellence, and above all, stamina during this exciting weekend of competitive dance.

CONGRATULATIONS, GIRLS!

Shaelin Dunn “Wings” solo- Platinum and 8th overall

Zoe Wegerich “Who You Are” solo- Double Platinum and 6th overall

Isabella Villalon “Photograph” solo- Double Platinum and 1st overall

Alexis Schueller “Fight Song” solo- Double Platinum, 1st overall, and “Terrific Technique” Judge’s Choice Award

Mackenzie Matysik “Stitches” solo- Platinum

Alexi Corsini “Fighter” solo- Platinum and 5th overall

Ella Miller “Secrets” solo- Double Platinum and 1st overall

Piper Clark “Wherever He Ain’t” solo- Platinum and 8th overall

Mackenzie O’Dwyer “Dream” solo- Platinum

Lilliana Andujar “9 Crimes” solo- Platinum

Chloe McCoy “Waiting Game” solo- Platinum

“Masterpiece”- High Gold

“Saved By the Bell”- High Gold

“Backstreet Boys”- High Gold

“Suitcase”- Platinum and 4th Overall

Ella Miller and Alexi Corsini “Glam” Duet- Platinum and 2nd Overall

Mia Spanier “Material Girl” solo- Platinum, 3rd overall, and Petite Miss Applause Winner

Mia Spanier and Emma Markstrom “Cheerleader” duet- Platinum and 2nd overall

“Little Red Wagon”- Platinum and 1st overall

“Who’s Laughing”- Platinum

“Teen Beach”- Platinum and 8th overall

“Bringing Back Biebs”- Platinum

“Tears Of An Angel” – Double Platinum, 1st Overall, and “Spirit & Passion” Judge’s Choice Award

“Not Goodbye”- Platinum and 2nd overall

A Step Above Dance Academy Company Dancers in Batavia

 

Dance Recital Planning Checklist

Posted By Shannon Holst / January, 15, 2016 / 0 comments

As we gear up for performance and recital season, I remember a simpler time when all I had to focus on was dancing. I got my first real glimpse of studio ownership the more time I spent there and despite the fact that organizing an annual studio showcase seemed like a daunting task, I wanted to do it.

If you are considering being a studio owner and hosting a yearly recital – fantastic! I come to you today to offer practical tips for success in planning and a snippet of the director’s prospective. This year-long plan incorporates everything I have learned in school: budget making, problem solving, PR, logistics, time management, resourcefulness, yogic breathing…

 

1 year out:

– Start looking for venues and book your date. Spring recitals book fast, so don’t drag your feet on snagging your preferred date and venue.

– Set a budget, set a budget, set a budget.

6-8 months out

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– Research and select your theme.

– Meet with studio teachers to pick music and costumes.

– Confirm ship dates with costume company, make sure costumes stick to your budget.

– Create preliminary packets of recital information and distribute to parents and students.

– Measure all students for costumes. At ASA we do not do costume exchanges, we suggest a seamstress for any alterations.

– Start looking for vendors, flowers, DVD sales, and a videographer.

– Begin music editing.

– Rally top notch parent volunteers.

3-4 months out

– Map out the logistics of the recital. Assign individual dancers to specific dressing rooms, know exactly who will be where, anticipate where teachers will be stationed for dress rehearsal and show day.

– Create show order and programs, thinking about show order and be mindful of quick changes, making sure all kids get breathing time.

– Confirming all the vendors, venue, costumes, etc.

– Review budget.

2-3 months out

– Costumes are in! Ensure all students are picking up their costumes and have tried them on for fit.

– Decide on how you will distribute recital tickets. TutuTix.com is an amazing company that makes ticket sales for performances SO easy!

-Be in contact with your teachers and volunteers. Make sure everyone knows their duties, stations, and are on the same page!

A week before the show

There is so much to do before the week before the show, so keep on with a positive attitude of excitement!

– Print programs in not done ahead of time.

– Encourage staff.

– Confirm with parent volunteers and teachers.

– Make sure you have a large vehicle to get all of your supplies to the venue.

– Box up apparel and items to be sold in the lobby.

-If you take credit cards on site, make sure your terminals are ready to go. If you only take cash, make sure you hit the bank for small bills.

– Field phone calls to personal cell phone.

– Calm staff, parent, and student nerves.

-Sleep when possible.

Tips for new studio owners:

  1. Buy a physical calendar and write all deadlines on the appropriate date a year ahead.
  2. Befriend a veteran studio owner.
  3. Breathe.
  4. Facebook is great for support and resources. Seek out teacher and studio owner pages.
  5. REV UP BRANDS (formally Revolution Dancewear) is based in Niles and has AMAZING costumes.
  6. Remember to HAVE FUN! All this hard work will pay off on opening day!

 

Live. Love. Dance.

shannonbyline

 

 

The dos and dont’s of performance makeup

Posted By Shannon Holst / October, 1, 2015 / 0 comments

One of the most popular questions a dancer receives is “Why do you have to wear so much makeup on stage?” My response is always twofold.

Sometimes a particular style of makeup is part of the costume. If you are performing a ballet piece where you are a doll, red circles on the apples of your cheeks makes you look like a doll. Makeup is just as important as the material costume you are wearing.

The second point is enhancing the natural beauty of the dancer on stage. When lights are pouring down on a performer, the skin is washed out and the features muddy. With makeup, the audience (or judges, if you are part of a competition) can clearly see expression, which is just as important than the dance itself.

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Of course there are dos and don’ts when it comes to application and removal of performance makeup so as I reminisce about the faux pas of my own personal makeup experiences, I am proud to say that while we require all competitive dancers to wear makeup, we strive to be age appropriate and stay true to using makeup as a way to further enhance the performance…

DON’T glue loose glitter to your face or head. Not only is it not necessary, glitter can get stuck in your eyes and under contact lenses causing corneal abrasions and could lead to infection. Never super glue rhinestones to your scalp! I speak from experience…

DO explore creative options. Stage makeup has transformed over the years and while bright blue eye shadow used to be popular, it’s not the best complimentary choice for enhancing the dancers features. Remember to play the part just as an actor or an actress would on the stage. Watch tutorials from the pros and practice before the big day.

DO apply blush – liberally. Remember those stage lights I talked about earlier? They are harsh and wash out your features. Adding a highlighting shadow (which is an shimmery sheer powder) to the top of the cheek bones, corner of the eyes and under the brows magnifies features.

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DO use faux lashes to compliment your eyes. If you don’t like the idea of sticking something that close to your eye, 3D fiber mascara is the perfect alternative.

DO wear concealer. Green concealer evens out skin tone and corrects redness in the complexion, especially for teens.

DON’T go neutral on the lips! Always apply color. We opt for red on our company dancers.

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DON’T rip your faux lashes off after a performance because your real lashes will be removed right along with them. A cotton ball and makeup remover held on your lashes for a few moments will help those lashes come off easily and without damaging your own skin.

DO care for your skin. Remove all makeup after a performance and even though you are tired, resist the urge of sleeping in your now smudged mascara. Gentle soap, a little elbow grease, and a soothing moisturizer will ensure your skin has time to rest and replenish after a long day of performing.

 

What kind of makeup tips can you offer?

 

Live. Love. Dance.

shannonbyline

 

 

 

Image Credit: First Photo by Gwyneth Muller. Taylor Swift – on BuzzFeed,

 

5 tips for a knockout dance audition

Posted By Shannon Holst / July, 29, 2015 / 0 comments

Dance auditions.

The ASA Company auditions are right around the corner and I know there are bound to be jitters and uncertainties about taking that first step toward a company setting. I remember my first audition was for the summer program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada – I was 11.

A full scholarship on the line, my mom and I traveled all the way up north just to audition. Talk about pressure! I was the youngest girl in the room and overwhelmed by the teenagers and high schoolers in the room, I begged my mom to stay in the waiting room for the full 3 hour audition. Knowing she was there temporarily calmed my young nerves and in I went to do what I knew best – dance. I got the scholarship (eeek!) and spent the summer falling in love with ballet.

Here are some tips for making your first (or 3rd) audition a success:

Dress for the occasion

Make sure you always check before the audition to see if there are dance attire requirements. Make sure you are clean, with no baggy clothing or messy hair. When in doubt, wear ballet attire and bring all of the dance shoes you have.

Control those butterflies

At ASA we tell our students that your butterflies keep you company on stage. It’s completely normal to be nervous, but trust yourself and know that your body has all the training it needs to perform. As soon as I started dancing at the Royal Winnipeg auditions, I felt my nerves settle and I let my muscles take over. They knew what to do. Honestly, the most nerve-racking part for me was getting into the room and stretching!

Prep the day before and fuel up on the healthy stuff

The day before your audition, take a class – any class. Keep on moving and focus your mind on what you know and love, dance. The night before, eat a healthy dinner and a power boosting breakfast. DO NOT drink any caffeine, you’ve got enough jitters! Think – water, water, water!

Don’t be shy

Get in the front but don’t be a floor hog. Take your turn in the front row and then move around, once again giving your body an opportunity to loosen up and kick in to the rhythm it loves. If you are new, ask a lot of questions of the dancers and the teachers. Making a connection with someone always gave me the mental boost I needed knowing there was another girl in the room I could relate to.

Fake it ‘til you make it

Just try your best. There will always be someone better than you in the room but the teacher is looking for potential not perfection.

Now get out there and audition. I believe in you!

Live. Love. Dance.

 

ASA Dance Company Auditions

Saturday, August 15, 2015
Ages 7-13, 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Ages 14+, 2:30 – 4:30 PM

Tips and info for ASA Company auditions:

  • Auditions are 2 hours
  • There is no charge for auditioning
  • Please wear jazz attire
  • There is no need to prepare a routine, you will learn the audition choreography the day of auditions
  • Not everyone will be selected for the ASA Company but there is no limit to how many dancers will be chosen
  • Questions? Call or email the studio at (630) 326-9600 or info@astepaboveacademy.net

ASA Company has recently returned home from the Rainbow Dance Competition National Championship, bringing with us 2 of the most prestigious awards offered: Best Choreography of 2015 AND 2015 National Studio of the Year

 

 

Why the stigma against competitive dance isn’t (always) true

Posted By Shannon Holst / July, 22, 2015 / 0 comments

Competitive dance has always had a certain stigma in the dance world. Unfortunately because of the recent spotlight in the media with shows like “Dance Moms” it continues to be a work in progress to break the negative outlook on competitive groups. Sure, there will be times you are sucked into the drama. But dancers are more than just a group of girls who perform “tricks” on the stage, rather a good majority are physically knowledgeable young women with a foundation of proper technique under their belt.

As a teacher and studio owner, I am doing more than just encouraging my students to express herself and enjoy the visual arts. I am responsible for teaching the technique of executing moves, required to give my students corrections, and work everyday to encompass the standard of dance – even down to teaching my students what is appropriate to wear during rehearsal and on stage.

To some, this may sound rigid and harsh, but when you as a leader are at the helm of a potentially beautiful (or harmful) physical endeavor, there is a lot of pressure to ensure your students are not only happy with their performance and their bodies – but safe.

Dispelling the rumors that competitive dance is always a “toxic” environment also comes into play as I cringe watching the back-biting and negative role modeling I see in the media portraying my industry. The reality for me is quite the contrary. Every day, right in front of me I see the benefits of a positive experience in competitive dance, and more and more I realize the crucial role I have as a leader to preserve a quality and positive environment.

Competitive dance boosts confidence.

When I started competing I came out of my shy bubble and became more comfortable in the spotlight. I was fortunate to train in a studio where respect and correction was the norm, which in turn, gave me a confidence that I was not only learning – but mastering my craft properly.

Competitive dance builds leaders and self-responsibility.

As a dancer, you are responsible for yourself from technique and getting to your position on time, to actively listening and absorbing corrections. I stress taking ownership of our own actions while staying supportive of teammates while we are learning. In turn, our parents see the benefits of teaching the kids independence and responsibility, which translates into their everyday life.

Competitive dance has more than one “leader” on a team.

I have chosen not to appoint captains in the ASA Company because I want each dancer to step up and be a leader in her own natural way. Some people jump up as natural leaders while others take a little more time to find out where they are blessed in terms of inspiring others.

Competitive dance puts parents at ease.

I know my mom had a sense of security knowing I was at dance for hours at a time – in a safe environment with strong role models and my best friends. Dancers could potentially be in the studio for 6 hours a day and as a parent, you want to make sure they are with individuals who will encourage and influence them in healthy ways – both physically and emotionally.

Competitive dance helps you cope with disappointment.

The mindset at ASA is to establish a drive to personally do better every time you perform. We have goals for each student at the beginning of the year and frequently review how far she has come rather than how far she has to go to master a skill.

Competitive dance helps you learn how to communicate.

Dance is a way to communicate without having to speak. I’ve seen a lot of more reserved girls who are a totally different and bold person on stage. As a group, if your teammate is not taking correction and is off her mark, it’s each and every one of the team’s responsibilities to respectfully work with one another.

Competitive dance fosters respect for others.

Respect for teachers, peers, other dancers, and other studios shows the true character of an individual in the arts. Look, there will always be someone better than you. ALWAYS. So focusing on how hard you have come as an individual is more important than a top score in a performance. Congratulating others and showing sincere support to your teammates and even dancers on another team exhibits a fortitude and reputation people will remember.

Competitive dance helps you laugh at yourself.

Wow, does dance require a certain sense of humor. The most unexpected things will happen to you on stage like your bra strap breaking or your hair falls out of your bun, all the way to forgetting your routine forcing you to do a 2 minute improv routine. I’ve danced around my own shoe!

If you are in dance long enough, the strangest things will happen and at the end of the day, it’s best just to laugh about those unforeseen snafus.

Competitive dance is not easy. It takes dedication and hard work which holds true to everything else in life. Success means persistence and long hours to master your skills as an individual performer. In fact everything competitive dance taught me has filtered into being a studio owner, teacher, and an adult.

No matter how good you are, you have to be humble. There will always be someone out there who is better than you and the way my students communicate that urgency to be the best to the world always presents itself as a teachable moment. Remember, there is always someone out there watching you – a judge, another parent, a younger dancer. As a performer, you walk on the stage and off with great influence – it’s up to you how positively or negatively you use that power.

Live. Love. Dance.

shannonbyline