As 2015 winds down, I had a the awesome pleasure of taking my nephew out to play while he and his family came to NJ to visit for Christmas. While watching Zach on the playground with other kids, I was so delighted to sit, relax with my cup of java and just unplug and enjoy seeing kids play and make friends.
And then I looked around. . . parents, grandparents, babysitters, they were all there, but on some sort of phone or tablet. I often say something about how I wish folks would enjoy life vs. trying to capture pictures of it -but not even that was happening - they were completely plugged into whatever was on their device. This post isn't meant to judge adults for the decisions they make to use their phone when they get a quiet moment while the kids are otherwise engaged, but rather call out an opportunity to just enjoy life - to sit in silence and not feel the need to "do something" but to just be. To be still and watch kids running around with big smiles, to be present enough that when a child calls your name to look and see what they can do - you can actually see it.
It reminds me of a child in dance class last year, parents were invited to come in and see choreography and one girl was so upset because her mom was there- but outside and visible from the window. She was on her phone, possibly on an important call, or making plans for her daughter's playdate, or something else. But in that moment, the girl just felt like all she wanted was her mom to be there -to be present, and in that moment of emotions she blurted out "She's always on her phone." It felt like a dagger to me - because I thought of times when it seems that I'm so busy that I don't engage either.
We adults spend time talking about what we have to do, what needs to get done, where we have to drive. I think the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, to children and families, is to simply be present. Put down the phone, shut off notifications for a bit, be present. Choose to look up and see what the child wants you to see, engage in that conversation with your spouse, call your dad, make some memories.
I'm going to give it a go. I enjoyed watching Zachary play. I felt really flippin awesome that when he wanted to show off for me, I was already looking - I was smiling and waving to him - filling his heart and mind with the knowledge that his aunt loves him. I'm going to start with 5 minutes a day - to be totally present for someone else, and in turn, I think I'll find myself happier and more relaxed. If it's not 5 minutes a day, it's okay, it's the effort made to make a difference. What will you do to make 2016 great? Will you be present?
Modern Motion Dance School will present its 6th annual dance show entitled "Stars of Tomorrow" on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 2PM at Franklin Middle School. The show will feature children ages 3-18 performing dances in ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz and tap dance styles. This year's show will be the first time the school includes hip hop in their performance; the school's hip hop program began in September 2014.
As a special treat, beginner level hip hop dancers will be performing to "The Wizard In Me" a song by local Franklin rapper Substance. Substance, most known for her anti-bullying program, was delighted to share her music with the children of Modern Motion. The song, "The Wizard in Me" is an anti-bully hip-hop anthem written by Substance and performed by her and onstage partner, Ryan "B-Boy Loose Goose" Armstrong of Princeton, both of whom said they were bullied when they were in middle school. Their mutual experiences led to the transformation of "The Wizard in Me" from a video to an interactive assembly program. You can read more about The Wizard in Me assembly program here.
"The theme "Stars of Tomorrow" represents our long term goals for all the students in our program" says Ginger Haithcox, the school's director. "While only 1% of most dance students go on to professional dance careers, the values, discipline, hard work, team collaboration, and focus prepare children to be successful in whatever career they choose down the road." "My wish for all of our wonderful dancers is that they take what they've learned here and translate it to other areas of life: from trying out new and challenging choreography to learning to try new things and learning that hard work and repetition can yield great results if you stay the course and don't give up."
Tickets for the show are $13 in advance and $16 at the door. Call the school at 732-658-0301 for more information.
Modern Motion Dance School is a 501c3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enriching lives with dance as an artistic, cultural, and spiritual art form through excellence in dance performance and education. The school offers classes in ballet, hip hop, jazz and tap for ages 3-18 and has been serving the central Jersey community since 2010. They are currently enrolling for their summer 2015 programs, visit them online at www.modernmotion.org or stop by the studio at 1 Railroad Avenue, Somerset, NJ 08873.
Some dancers have asked us why some children have a different color leotard, and when they'll get to wear a different color. This presents a great teachable moment about dance class uniforms.
We at Modern Motion follow a classical tradition of assigning a dress code for our classes. By dressing proper dancewear, teachers can see the dancer's body and make corrections to technique and alignment. When it comes to assigning colors for groups of classes, we do so by level.
Our youngest dancers start in pink, then progress to light blue at age 5 - the beginning of our Primary level classes. Once a children completes our Primary level, they progress to Level 1 which will be approximately around 1st grade in school. Level 1 dancers wear black until they complete all the skills of their beginner curriculum, then move onto burgundy at the beginner/intermediate level.
After completing the skills for Level 2 and 3, a dancer is ready to move up to Level 4 and begin independent study, perform a classical ballet variation, and begin pre-pointe training. Lastly, our Level 5 dancers in navy are able to dance on pointe, execute advanced leaps, turns, and extended combinations across the floor.
We also limit which "extras" a child may wear in class. Younger dancers may not wear skirts or tutus in class because skirts are a distraction to youngsters and costume tutus are not proper class attire. A female dancer may wear fitted dance shorts or a ballet skirt when reaching our teen Level 3 classes or higher.
We believe that dress codes promote:
We'll end with this great visual representation of what we're talking about. Compare the pictures of dancers and you'll see a clear difference. Photo courtesy of Revolution Dancewear.
Ginger and the Modern Motion team.
We've been hitting the town with fun and family friendly community events. On September 20th, we were at the Franklin Township Cultural Arts Council First Annual Franklin Day Festival - what a great crowd and beautiful weather!
Up next, we'll be at CanalFest presented by the Franklin Township Food Bank. Watch our jazz dancers perform Ballerina Get Funky and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy! CanalFest information>>
These pictures show the big room and small room getting the dance flooring - Dura Dance rolled out and then the final product. Then, there's Miss Lauren, enjoying the new cushioned floor! Last up, photos of the multi-purpose room.
Two and a half tons to be exact! Big shout out to the great guys at Lumber Liquidators in Hillsborough. Our flooring doesn't just look great: the dance floor is cushioned for safety and all the other flooring is made from recycled materials to help us go green!
Renovating our new space is taking a lot of work! We've removed old furniture, appliances and carpeting, cleaned and painted, and laid new floor throughout the entire building. There's a lot of sweat equity in this new place.
Our new school is part of Historic Middlebush Village. Railroad Avenue was the site of the the Middlebush stop of the Millstone and New Brunswick Railroad which operated from 1854- 1930. The tracks at South Middlebush Road were removed in 1948.
Fun fact, back in the late 60s and early 70s, our building was the Franklin Township Municipal building until the new building on DeMott opened.
We're very excited to share our progress toward our new school! First off, let's start with Location, Location, Location.
After five years on Amwell Road, we knew it was important to stay close by and continue to build on the relationships we've been forming with our community. We were delighted to find our new location within the Historic Middlebush Village, just 0.7 miles away!
Want to avoid South Middlebush Road? Just take Amwell to Olcott Street, Olcott becomes Railroad Avenue.
We are thrilled to open registration for our 2014-2015 season at Modern Motion Dance School. We are committed to offering great dance classes at great prices with qualified teachers.
As part of our commitment to our dance families, our entire staff will be attending professional developement courses in August to include the latest techniques, choreography, trends in the dance industry, injury prevention, customer care, teaching and child development.
In addition to professional development, we continue to invest in great teaching tools and materials. This past year, we invested in a strong techinical ballet syllabus with great results, and over the summer, we'll be strengthening our jazz syllabus.
New for 2014-2015, we'll be offering hip hop starting at age 6. Primary Hip Hop will be offered on Saturday afternoons and Hip Hop for dancers in level 1 & 2 will be offered on Friday evenings.
We look forward to dancing with you into the new season!
Modern Motion Dance School