Beat Stress With Dance Lessons In Batavia | A Step Above

Posted By Shannon Holst / March, 17, 2017 / 0 comments

Stressed Out? Dance Lessons In Batavia Can Channel That Stress Into A Healthy Outlet

Dance lessons BataviaThere’s no doubt that we live in stressful times, but that doesn’t mean you need to live with stress. Dancing is a terrific stress reliever, no matter what your age or skill set. Our dance lessons in Batavia are available for toddlers, kids, teens, and adults and we have seen people at every age achieve emotional benefits from dance.

Teens And Adults

Exercise has been recognized as a great stress buster for decades. Whether you run, lift weights, swim, or dance, the endorphins released during exercise make you feel better. Dance has the additional advantage of requiring concentration, which means you can get out of your own head and forget your worries for awhile while you concentrate on your dance steps.

Another way exercise and dance, in particular, help relieve stress is through the use of music. Who hasn’t popped in some earbuds while jogging or working out or just to relax? Music is instrumental to dance, which provides a two for one stress relieving benefit.

While our dance lessons in Batavia can be a great way to learn a new skill, get some exercise, meet new people, and relieve stress all at the same time, formal lessons aren’t required to benefit from dance’s stress-busting benefits. That’s the beauty of dance. Anyone can do it anytime the urge strikes.

Which Dance Lessons Are Right For You?

If you do decided to pursue dance lessons in Batavia with us, you’ll want to choose a class that aligns with your personal style. We recommend the following lessons based on your exercise preferences:

  • This is a great option if you like yoga and Pilates. Ballet features coordinated movements, concentration, and a focus on form and strengthening muscles. It’s a very meditative form of dance.
  • Contemporary dance combines features of ballet with modern moves and techniques for true performance art. It’s an excellent choice if you enjoy the control of ballet but would like to spice things up a bit.
  • Hip Hop. If you want to get movin’ and get groovin’ hip hop is the right class for you. Many different styles of dance are explored in this genre giving you a well-rounded workout that will get your heart pumping and your muscles working.
  • If you want an upbeat, energetic dance class, try Jazz. You’ll get to experience a range of dance styles, tempos, and movements that will leave you feeling loose and relaxed. A good choice if you love music of the ’50s and ’60s, swings, bunny hops, and jitterbugs.
  • Closely related to jazz, tap dancing is recognized by the heavy use of shoes and the floor to create your own percussive instrument. If you are a toe or finger-tapper or an air drummer, tap dancing is the right fit for you.

What About Younger Kids?

While toddlers and younger kids may not seem to have much stress in their lives, they do benefit from the freedom of movement dance allows. This is especially important if the kids spend a lot of time in car seats or in situations where they are not free to move around frequently. Through dance, young children are able to explore the joy of movement and express their emotions in a safe and healthy way.

Learn More About Our Dance Lessons In Batavia

If you are looking for a new way to beat stress and think dance could be it, contact A Step Above Dance Academy at 630-326-9600 to learn more about our dance lessons in Batavia. We will work with you to place you in the right class to fit your experience level and your personality.

Benefits Of Adult Dance Lessons | Batavia Dance School

Posted By Shannon Holst / January, 19, 2017 / 0 comments

Start 2017 Off Right With Adult Dance Lessons In Batavia

Is fitness or exercise on your 2017 New Year’s resolutions list? Did you love dance as a kid but fall out of it as you grew older? Are you interested in learning a new skill?

Adult dance lessons at Batavia’s A Step Above Dance Academy can help you meet all of these goals and more!

Dance Lessons For Fitness

If you are tired of the same old exercise routines or have reached a plateau that you just can’t get past, dancing may be the solution to your fitness woes. Tap dancing, for example, can burn over 300 calories per hour and it’s a full body workout. You’ll work your arms, legs, and core all while jamming along to some great music.

Dancing of any kind is a fun and unique way to fit movement into your day and you don’t need a lot of special equipment to get started. You can practice anywhere, anytime the urge strikes you. It’s also something you can enjoy all your life because it is completely adaptable to your abilities. It is an excellent way to remain flexible and strong while supporting good posture and balance.

Reconnect With Your Youth

If you look back fondly on the dance lessons you took as a child or want to recapture the sheer joy of expression and movement that dance provided, take adult dance lessons in Batavia with us! Adults enjoy many of the same benefits of dance as kids do: it’s fun, it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests, you’ll loosen up parts of your body that may get neglected during your usual workouts, you’ll improve your coordination, and may even find the rhythmic moves calming and almost meditative.

Even if you never took dance lessons as a child you can still enjoy dance lessons as an adult. You might even enjoy them more now since, as adults, we tend to appreciate the time we spend on ourselves more than kids do.

Learn A New Skill

It is never too late to learn a new skill or hobby. Mental challenges and physical movement keep us young and engaged throughout our lives. Dancing requires you to think and focus on the music and your body’s movements. It’s a great way to block out your daily stresses and do something that’s just for you. If you have ever regretted not learning how to dance, now is the time to put those regrets to rest!

Register For Adult Dance Lessons In Batavia Today

A Step Above Dance Academy offers Beginner and Intermediate level jazz/tap dance lessons for adults! These energetic classes are taught by professional faculty and will get you moving, have your heart pumping, and bring a smile to your face as you experience the pure joy of movement. Dance lessons aren’t solely relegated to kids anymore!

Contact A Step Above Dance Academy at 630-326-9600 to learn more about our adult dance lessons in Batavia!

The Importance Of Dance For Children Of All Ages

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

The Importance Of Dance For Children Of All Ages

Dancing is one of the most innate of human activities. Long before humans had formal languages, we had music, rhythm, and dance. Dancing allows us to express ourselves. To feel deeply. To move our bodies. It’s a way to channel energy, exercise, develop strength and flexibility, and form lifelong friendships.

For all of these reasons and more we can’t emphasize enough the importance of dance for children of all ages.

Preschoolers and Toddlers

We often see preschoolers in dance classes. Dancing is a perfect outlet for kids who aren’t quite coordinated yet, don’t quite have all the verbal skills they need to communicate with others, and have seemingly boundless energy. It’s tough to find sports that will accept children that are not yet in school, but dance is one activity that caters to this age group. Young kids benefit from dancing in several ways:

  • Improved coordination and motor skills.
  • Improved listening skills.
  • Social outlets and opportunities.
  • Focused exercise.
  • Pure joy that comes with listening and moving to music.

Elementary School Aged

Children who are in elementary school are great candidates for our classes. They are typically less active than they were when younger because they spend their days in school. Dancing can counter the effects of sitting all day by helping to improve flexibility, range of motion, strength, stamina, and muscle tone. It can help correct poor posture, and improve balance, coordination, and cardiovascular health. Those who struggle with their weight but hate to exercise may find dance to be an effective alternative.

Besides physical benefits, there are other benefits for kids who dance:

  • Social benefits. Kids learn how to communicate with one another, both verbally and non-verbally. They learn how to work as part of a team, and develop trust in others. Shy children can benefit from being part of a group without drawing attention to themselves while more boisterous kids benefit from the physical outlet that dancing provides. We often see leadership qualities peek through in our classes too as students reach out to one another and encourage their classmates.
  • Educational benefits. Dancing requires children to practice, develop discipline, and focus on the task at hand. These educational benefits of dancing are far-reaching and translate to other areas of life. Dancing is also a form of creativity so it can lead to an appreciation of humanities and the arts.

The Middle and High School Years

Dance can be an extremely important outlet for kids entering and in their teens. As their minds and bodies change, peer pressure builds, and confidence lags, dancing can be a way for kids in this age group to get away from the noise and focus on themselves. Dancers in this age group still gain many of the same benefits as those gained by elementary school kids and a few more.

  • Improved coordination. Sometimes teens just don’t feel right in their own bodies. Dance helps teens get used to their changing bodies and develop better coordination.
  • Dancing can be a healthy escape from the day-to-day pressures that teens face. It can be an excellent way to meditate and turn the focus inward.
  • Self-expression. Teens are going through the process of discovering themselves. Dancing helps teens harness their thoughts and feelings and put them into actions in a safe and healthy way.
  • Self-esteem. Many teens suffer from a lack of self-esteem. Dance can help build confidence and self-esteem as teens master new skills and improve in dances they already know.
  • Self-care. Sports teams can get extremely competitive at this age and kids may lose interest in participating for that reason. Dance offers another outlet for physical activity that is less competitive and more individualized than team sports may allow. It can also help kids navigate the strong emotions that arise in the teen years, help them relax, and provide them with a healthy exercise option.

Take Advantage Of The Importance Of Dance For Children At A Step Above

Dancing is a great outlet for any child. Contact A Step Above Dance Academy to learn about classes and to find the right fit for your child. Use the form below to contact us right now!

Hip-Hop Dance Theory | Hip-Hop Culture

Posted By Shannon Holst / November, 17, 2016 / 0 comments

Hip-Hop Dance Theory

Hip-hop is a relatively new type of dance, originating in the South Bronx in New York City in the 1970s. Originally centralized to New York City, hip-hop now a nationwide and international culture that attracts people of every ethnicity.

Hip Hop Philosophy

Hip-hop is a culture consists of music, artistic expression and dance. Music, comprised of sampling, emceeing, rapping, beatboxing and deejaying, is accompanied by dance moves such as b-boying or breakdancing. The first hip-hop music was created by DJs using two turntables to create rhythmic beats by looping breaks in songs. The resulting percussive patterns lent themselves naturally to the evolution of rapping, which in turn lead to a new form of dance to match the music.

Hip-Hop Choreography

Hip-hop dance is a style of street dance that, in its modern form, has been modified to incorporate cultural influences and movements outside the original breaking, locking and popping that defined the dance.

Breaking – Also called B-boying or breakdancing, mainly consists of four core parts:

  • Toprock – opening foot movements, a warm up to more acrobatic downrock elements
  • Downrock – floor based moves with body supported by arms/legs
  • Power Moves – spins, balancing moves and flips commonly called “tricks” that require incredible athletics and strength
  • Freezes – “freezing” in place, often in an impressive demonstration of strength and balance

Locking – Originally called Cambellocking, is similar to freezing in that dancers stop or “lock” in a certain position following a fast movement. Usually the legs and hips are doing a relaxed movement, while the arms and hands do distinct, exaggerated movements before locking for a few moments then returning to motion.

Popping – This movement causes a jerking motion as the dancer quickly contracts and relaxes their muscles. Popping can be done with any part of the body, and when arms, legs and the head are done in combination and to the beat of music, it’s a remarkable display of coordination.

Hip-Hop Sociology

Hip-hop has long been credited with reducing inner-city violence. Instead of physical violence, “battles” of music, dance and artwork served as ways for frustrated teens to express themselves. It was an outlet that youths would use to cope with hardships, and for the talented and driven, it was a way to earn a living.

Today, hip-hop crosses social barriers and is “now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world,” according to the US Department of State.

Study Hip-Hop Dance At A Step Above Dance Academy

While hip-hop may look difficult and intimidating, it is actually a dance style that anyone with any experience level can do. Beginners will learn basic moves and practice coordinating legs and arms to work together, while experienced students will build on their skills by learning more advanced moves that require strength and flexibility.

Wherever you are, we have a hip-hop class for you! Contact A Step Above in Batavia at 630-326-9600 to learn more and register for hip-hop classes.

Popular Dance Styles | Choosing A Dance Style For You

Posted By Shannon Holst / October, 17, 2016 / 0 comments

Which Popular Dance Style Is Right For You?

From classical ballet to today’s hottest hip-hop, there are wide range of dance styles that dancers of all skill level and interest can enjoy. Some of the most popular dance styles include classic ballet, tap and jazz, as well as modern styles like hip-hop, acro and contemporary.

Which is right for you?

Ballet

Ballet is a highly technical form of dance that dates back to the 15th century, with roots in Italy, France and Russia. Classically performed en pointe (in pointe shoes), modern ballet has adapted movements to dancers wearing soft-sole ballet slippers as well. In both cases, ballet dancing is a precise choreographed set of fluid and graceful movements.

Who Is Ballet For? Ballet takes discipline and control combined with strength and flexibility. Starting at a young age is recommended.

Tap

Tap dancing is characterized by the rhythmic striking of specialty shoes on a hard floor. Tap shoes are fitted with a metal plate on the heel and ball of foot, and the dancer learns sequences of brushes, shuffles, taps and stomps to create percussion. Tap dancing can take on many styles, such as Broadway tap (does the name The Rockettes sound familiar?) that features high-heel tap shoes, mile-long kicks and strong, flexible bodies; to more casual rhythm, or jazz, tap, that uses flat tap shoes and combines modern jazz moves with fancy footwork.

Who Is Tap For? Anyone! Dancers with training in classic ballet may find Broadway tap a better fit, where dancers of any skill level can begin with jazz tap.

Jazz

Jazz is fun and energetic, with big moves, high leaps, and quick turns, and more freedom for interpretation over classic ballet. Jazz dance means different things to different people, and it can encompass many styles of dance, resulting in choreography that ranges from casual to precise.

Who Is Jazz For? Anyone! Many jazz moves require strength and flexibility, so starting young helps develop the muscles needed to pursue jazz.

Modern Dance Styles

Out of the most popular dance styles have evolved specialized styles like acro, hip-hop and contemporary. What characterizes these styles, and who are they right for?

Hip-Hop – Hip-hop evolved from street dance styles made popular in the 70s, including breaking, popping and locking. This fun, upbeat style requires coordination, stamina and strength if you want to go far, but even beginners will enjoy hip-hop classes.

Acro – A style of dance that combines ballet and jazz with technical acrobatic moves, acro requires strength and flexibility, and is best suited to experienced dancers.

Contemporary – Less about choreography and more about self-expression, contemporary combines several styles of dance to create unique movements. Contemporary dance is suitable to anyone, and as training progresses so can the complexity of the moves.

A Step Above Offers All The Most Popular Dance Styles

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned dancer looking to expand your skills, trying one of these popular dance styles at A Step Above Dance Academy in Batavia will allow you to find a class that’s right for you.

Student of the Month: Caitlin Callahan

Posted By Shannon Holst / May, 4, 2016 / 0 comments
Student of the Month A Step Above Dance Batavia
Caitlin Callahan has been at ASA since the summer of 2012, when she took her first Jazz class with us. Since the moment Caitlin has stepped into class with us, she has been a very special student! Caitlin comes to every class with a smile, positive attitude, and a thirst to improve. She isn’t afraid to try new things and will jump into any new class ASA has to offer. We’ve had the pleasure of watching Caitlin grow into a lovely dancer and look forward to seeing her continue to dance!

Congratulations, Caitlin!


Each month the ASA faculty selects one student who stands out both on and off the dance floor. This individual will exude all that ASA embodies:

– a well-rounded young lady/gentleman 
– an individual who displays kindness to others
– an enthusiastic character
– respect for faculty and fellow classmates
– creativity in dance
– an admiration for the arts

5 must see places to experience dance

Posted By Shannon Holst / December, 4, 2015 / 0 comments

 

Oh to travel the world and experience dance in other cultures and historic venues! Part of becoming a well rounded and passionate purveyor of the arts means becoming well-versed in the best places to immerse yourself in moveable storytelling and expression.

Here are the 5 best places in the world to experience dance:

#1 Edinburg, Scotland – The Scottish Ballet & the Edinburgh International Festival

Rooted in the classical technique of ballet, Scotland’s Dance Company was founded by Peter Darrell and Elizabeth West as the Western Theatre Ballet in Bristol in 1957.

Not only does the company perform new variations on the classics like The Nutcracker and Cinderella, the world-renowned creative team takes on productions like Jirí Kylián’s 14´20 performed at the Edinburgh International Festival.

In addition to the Scottish Ballet, every August, Edinburg hosts an impressive performing arts creative festival. Many more events are held throughout the year to celebrate the arts, making Edinburgh, Scotland one of the best places to experience dance in the world.

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(Erik Cavallari as Romeo and Sophie Martin as Juliet in Pastor’s Romeo and Juliet, Photo: Andrew Ross)

#2 Russia – Moscow Ballet & the Bolshoi

The visual poetry that comes from the Bolshoi Theatre is historic. Coming to life in the spring of 1776, the Bolshoi Theatre changed hands and locations, but nevertheless grew into the powerful display of visual artistry it is today. The Carmen Suite, Don Quixote, and The Taming of the Shrew name a few of the classics performed in addition to Modern Choreography Night and The Bright Stream, a comic ballet in two acts.

Moscow Ballet

Moscow Ballet's Land of Peace and Harmony Act II_opt (1)

While traveling to Russia would be ideal to see the stunning performance of the Moscow Ballet, this exquisite production travels the world and can be found in Chicago and other states in America quite often.

#3 National Ballet of Canada

The largest ballet troupe in Canada, the National Ballet of Canada is committed to giving families and young people the opportunity to experience ballet and performs at its home venue at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. The 2015/2016 repetoire includes Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Cacti, Le Petit Prince, and Giselle.

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(Gif – Guillaume Côté on the National Ballet of Canada site)

#4 Barcelona, Spain

If you are looking for a more casual and friendly immersion into dance, the Catalan Cultural Dance in Barcelona should fit the bill. The Sardana, a circle folk dance deriving from northeast Spain, defines the Catalan spirit which embodies harmony, democracy, and brotherhood.

Sardana

Often performed in the streets and accompanied by a small band called a cobla, which features small drums and wind instruments, the Sardana is a peppy expression of friendship and happiness and is fairly easy to learn.

#5 Paris

Myriam Ould-Braham performing Genus with JŽrŽmie Belingard, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, in a scene from Frederick WisemanÕs LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET.Ê Courtesy of Zipporah Films.

(Myriam Ould-Braham performing Genus with JŽrŽmie Belingard, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, in a scene from Frederick WisemanÕs LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET.Ê Courtesy of Zipporah Films.)

Boasting nothing but beauty and culture, Paris is the mecca for the performing arts. The Paris Opera Ballet quenches your thirst for classic ballet while modern and avant-garde styles can easily be found peppered throughout the city. The Festival d’Automne, a four month celebration of the performing arts, features well-know venues like the Centre Pompidou and more intimate off the path scenes like the Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil, making France an inspirational scene for everything movement.

 

Live. Love. Dance.

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5 reasons why dance should be taught in schools

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

As a dance teacher, I want training at A Step Above Dance Academy to be a springboard for the rest of our student’s lives. If they pursue dance as a serious extracurricular or a career, fantastic, but dance goes well beyond prepping for a knockout performance on the stage.

Dance matters.

The impact that dance has on the lives of children, tweens, teens, adults, and seniors is epic. From individual therapy and the benefits of physical movement to a noncompetitive alternative to sports, dance stimulates every bit of the body and mind. Not to mention the soul…

Here are 5 reasons why dance should be taught in schools:

#1 – Dance gets the heart pumpin’

First and foremost: exercise. Dance can be a great form of physical activity for people of all ages. As a teen, there is no way you would’ve gotten me into a gym to run on a treadmill or lift weights. I stayed in shape because of dance, plain and simple. Schools can incorporate an appropriate, exercised-based dance course to get students moving. A natural appreciation of a healthy lifestyle is formed and will inevitably help students see the connection between feeling good and movement. Plus, students will realize the restriction of the body when movement is nonexistent.

#2 – An appreciation for the arts

Incorporating dance as part of school curriculum will help nurture a sense of appreciation and admiration for the arts. Dance is a fine art, an idea lost for many people because it has become such a competitive “sport” in many arenas. In reality, dance is, and always will be, an art and deserves the same kind of respect, admiration, and appreciation as, say, a symphony orchestra or the opera.

#3 – A boost in social & self-acceptance

There is nothing more embarrassing than going to your senior prom not knowing how to dance. Teaching dance in schools at a young age can help boost confidence and eliminate the fear of “performing” all together. A dance curriculum in schools may not prepare a student to audition for a classical ballet company, but it can take away some of the insecurities felt when put into social situations where dance is expected. And let’s think beyond parties and events. Children speak and move to express themselves. When we dance, we experience a heightened sense of creativity that pushes us to extend beyond our limitations and develop coping skills that can last a lifetime.

#4 – A change at originality and expression

Dance gives students a creative outlet for ideas and feelings, especially when words are difficult to come by. A safe place to express themselves, all dancers move differently and this originality in movement allows students to accept and understand one another. This acceptance and respect for one another can spread further. Introducing cultures by way of movement leads to appreciation. Dance varies in music and tone, and most importantly, can lead to a new way of communicating with one another.

#5 – Poise in the spotlight

There are many times in a child’s life when she will be in front of her classroom peers presenting information. Dance allows students a new way to gain confidence and feel comfortable speaking, moving, or leading an audience. A very personal way of communicating, if a child can feel comfortable enough sharing their movement with an audience, imagine the confidence they will eventually feel giving a speech in front of their peers.

 

For more information on the benefits of dance, check out these good reads!

The Positive Psychology of Dance, Psychology Today

To Dance is a Radical Act, Psychology Today

 

Live. Love. Dance.

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Image via Planet Play