Thursday, August 27, 2009

Uptown Entertainment

About a year ago I started advertising the services we provide other than dance instruction to children and young adults. Services such as my mother and I providing Quinceanera choreography, hosting children's birthday parties, or choreographing first dances at weddings to those who inquired. Thankfully, the clients were always very happy with our work. I also have had several years of what is know as "party motivating" experience. This is when a dancer accompanies the DJ to get the crowd dancing at parties. So, I figured why not make this bigger and advertise to our current costumers. Our regular clients had no idea we provide these services, so lets make it known! With that Uptown Entertainment was born.

You can have your event at Uptown Dance or we will travel to your location

Kids: Great for unique Birthday parties, or any occasion to have fun!
*Themed Dance Party (Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Enchanted, etc.)
*Freestyle Fun (We will lead, kids will enjoy Cha Cha Slide, Cotton Eye Joe, Peanut Butter Jelly time, etc.)
*Learn To Dance Party (You pick the form of dance and we will do the rest)

Teens & Adults: Birthdays, Mitzvahs, Quinceanera, Sweet16,
30th, 50th, Weddings, Anniversary, Corporate Events, or any occasion
*Professional Choreographed Dancers
*Party Motivators
*G-Volution Dance Company

Maybe you just need help preparing for your event
*Ballroom wedding dance instruction
*Quinceanera choreography
*Learn the latest dances done at parties
*We also have a list of vendors we would be happy to recommend

red layout stripes

One of the most recent events was a students Birthday Party. She picked the theme of High School Musical. We warmed up and played dance related games to all 3 soundtracks from the movies, then I taught them some simple choreography to I Want It All. The kids ate, opened presents and had yummy cupcakes. It was a lot of fun and most importantly the birthday girl and others had a blast!

Another fun adventure for Uptown Entertainment was choreographing a wedding party and performing a contemporary piece at the reception. This is becoming very popular now a days. I believe the trend started with the Brubaker couple. I'm sure you all remember this one...

And most recently a entire wedding party brought some excitement to their entrance into the church with this...

The bridal party I worked with did a Michael Jackson melody as a tribute. The bride found the piece on YouTube and I simply recreated it for them. There were 8 couples in total who met at the studio for rehearsal a few days prior to the wedding. This was the end result...

video
After this dance my girls and I performed a contemporary ballet piece to Dangerously In Love.
It was a very unique wedding which we were thrilled to be a part of. I hope this trend continues, because this line of work is very exciting for us. It also gives my older students an opportunity to perform outside of the studio.

If you are in the tri state area and have an event that needs a special touch, something unique that will make your occasion stand out, contact Uptown Entertainment. We will help you create an idea that will be memorable for you and your guests.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out and reading our blog. If you enjoy what we do please become a fan of the blog by clicking the follow button on the main page.
Until next time,
Peace, Love, and Dance!
~Miss Leslea

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fall Fashions For Dancers

If you are like me, then most likely you own more dance attire than regular clothing. I for one look just as forward to making a statement in the studio as I do out on the town. How do you dress for class? I'll be sharing some of my favs as well as the opinions of some other dancers. While reading, let's keep in mind our studios dress code of course, I realize this limits some of us. Enjoy! and please feel free to comment and leave your favorites and the end.

I remember the time where there were not many choices for dancers as far as shoes and apparel where concerned. We had Capezio and Danskin, that was pretty much it. Don't get me wrong, I still get products from both these wonderful companies, however today its all about options, there are tons of companies who supply dancers with what they need. We have so many choices! Let's talk about style, preference and a few options that you may or may not be aware of.

As far as our studio is concerned, we keep things simple. Little ones shoes are all the same color and brand (Capezio) which we provide at the studio. Older students have a more complex shoe list which they can either order through our studio or go to a very nice local shop called Dance Wear Etc. Heather Corneliess, the owner and also a dancer, is extremely helpful and carries mostly Capezio and Bloch for shoes and the trendiest attire for class. I will discuss some of the other brands she carries later on. You can read more about Heather here on NJ Dancers

For me personally I have two styles, one if I'm teaching and the other if I'm auditioning or taking a class. Like I said before if you are taking a class it's always a good idea to check for a dress code and respect it. If there is not one I will try to wear something that makes me feel good and flatters my body type, nothing too bold or over the top. Lets face it, when we feel good and look nice, our confidence is up and we will dancer better. Think about performance day in your beautiful costume, well I like to think of classes as mini performances and put a little effort into my appearance. You never know who may be watching. Auditions you have to dress the part, and most likely they will tell you what to wear. Again, you want to stand out but not be the talk of the casting panel (in a bad way). Don't wear all black (unless required) and don't wear florescent pink and mis-matched legwarmers.

For teaching, which is where I spend most of my time at this point in my life, I have some links and examples.

Sugar and Bruno: can be found at Dance Wear Etc. Nutley NJ

Eighteen21: can be found on the Dance Wear Solutions website

Urban Groove: also found on the Dance Wear Solutions website

Tia's Dancewear: The official site or Dance Wear Etc. Nutley NJ or Dance Wear Solutions

You may also want to check out some local designer for a unique look. I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderfully talented young women on Twitter who's designs are perfect for dancers. Studio owners may even want to contact her to make up an original logo or new line of clothing for their students. Follow and/or contact Im Soul Fly
Check out her stuff here imsoulfly.com.


I was also able to get the opinion of two dance friends on Twitter:

Victoria, owner of Allegro Dance Boutique in Evanston, IL
AllegroDanceBoutiques.com recommends her favorite leos:

~Vala Dancewear
~Yumiko
~
Body Wrappers Premiere Collection
~Mirella Jozette Collection
Thanks to Victoria for this wonderful information. Make sure to follow her on Twitter or visit her store if you are in the area.

TerrenceTaps, one of my first dance friends on Twitter; a professional tap dancer, blogger and founder of tapdanceman.com. He recommends and wears Miller & Ben's. He also has a wonderful blog post about Tap Shoes on his website, this is worth the read tappers!! You will notice some really cute, trendy T's for tap class on the bottom left as well. Here is that link
Thanks so much Taps, you are the best and you are such an inspiration to me and other dancers. Keep up the great work you do!

I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this post and all the wonderful designers and clothing and shoe lines who make dancers look and feel fabulous. I'm extremely excited about how many options there are for us now. Thanks to YOU too for reading, I hope you enjoyed and got some fresh new ideas.

Peace, Love, and Dance!!
~Miss Leslea

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dance Teacher Summit 09 Gala NYC

I'd like to start out by giving my thanks to Suzanne Gerety of DanceStudioOwner.com. She very graciously invited me to the Dance Teacher Summit Gala. I was so honored when I received her invite. Her and her mom Kathy Blake and their website DSO have been a huge inspiration to me. I am so thankful for our friendship and the wonderful work these women do for the dance community and dance studio owners. Keep inspiring ladies, you are awesome!!



The Gala was held at the Hudson Theatre in NYC on July 29th. I arrived right at 8pm(darn NYC traffic) and was greeted by Suzanne in the lobby. We have been chatting online through twitter and the DSO site for about a year now, so it was such a great thing to finally meet in person. Before entering the theatre Suzanne pointed out Travis Wall!(I no longer felt guilty for missing the SYTYCD episode that night, hehe) I absolutely love Travis, I am a huge fan and was proud of myself that I held back my inner 13 year old giddy screaming girl. As I calmly walked pass him and entered the theatre Suzanne introduced me to Marc Kirschner of http://www.tendu.tv, a twitter friend of hers whom I am now following as well. Before the show started I also got to meet a fellow tweep of mine, Chad Michael of http://www.realdealdancemarketing.com who I follow on both my twitter accounts. It really is a great thing to meet people in real life who you interact with on a daily basis online.


The show started a little late but it gave us time to chat more so I didn't mind one bit. The opening was wonderful, a piece by The Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Rockin N' Rhythm." Then a wonderful performance choreographed bye Kate Jablonski, the Capezio A.C.E award first runner-up. Mike Minery and Gregg Russell then did their rendition of "Moses Supposes." It was really neat to see the original up on big screen above them as they taped on stage.

I was really moved listening to the winner of the 2009 Dance Teacher Magazine Award (K-12 Education), Ann Shea from Tennessee Arts Commission and Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga. In her speech she talked about how important it is to provide dance to children ages K-12. It made me feel great that I'm a part of that in the dance community. My students may not go on to be prima ballerinas or professional dancers, but I'm making a difference in their lives by introducing dance and the love of movement to them. I got very emotional at this point but it just confirmed that I'm meant to do what I'm doing, I'm blessed to have found my calling in life.

"Shameless" a piece from the Broadway show Movin' Out was next. It was hot, hot, hot to say the least!! Performers Laurie Kanyok and Keith Roberts beautifully performed Twyla Tharps choreography.

A very interesting piece performed by Billy Siegenfeld and Kelly Malone Dudley followed. It was titled "Why Gershwin?" and kept you on the edge of your seat.

The Capezio A.C.E Award second runner-up Jaci Royal introduced her piece "One Worth Leaving" then Gregg Russell showed us some more of his awesome tapping skills. Awards were presented for teachers of higher education and private studios such as John Griffin of Ohio State University and Bonnie Scheutz of Boni's Dance and Performing Arts Studio.

Two beautiful performers, Ashley Bouder and Amar Ramasar, from New York City Ballet made a special guest performance then Lawrence Rhodes accepted the 2009 Dance Teacher Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award.

Finally, last but not least, Denise Wall introduced Travis, the Capezio A.C.E award Winner!! I don't know if its because I am already a fan of Travis, or his amazing work, or a combination of the both, but my jaw dropped and I had the chills during the entire piece. "Its Gonna Be a Long Walk" was one to remember for sure!!

After the Gala we took some pictures and even got to see Mandy Moore.


The night was truly amazing! Suzanne even gave me my own DSO t-shirt and chap stick as a memento, she is way too nice to me!!

For more information on the dance teacher summit please visit their website at http://danceteachersummit.com/

Also if you are a studio owner or teacher and are not already a member of Suzanne and Kathy's site please go visit and take a look for yourself at how valuable a membership would be.
click me
Here is just a small example of how they motivate and inspire their members...


Thank for reading!
Peace, Love and Dance to all!!
~Miss Leslea

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Behind the Scenes Recital 2009

I love hanging out with my students and moms backstage before the show. The room is full of energy and excitement! I like to see how my students are feeling, which is usually nervous. Also, the new moms have questions and students like to chat with me before a performance to calm their nerves. I make it a point to go back there every year to help. Then, we take pics and give hugs to put them all at ease. At that point I feel like a proud mom of 100, everyone looking so pretty and ready to perform and show the audience what we worked so hard for all year. Take a look for yourself, some video clips and pictures from right before our show...
video

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rehearsal-June 25, 2009

As promised, here is a little glimpse into our Rehearsal night. I can't believe a month has already past. Looking back, as I edited this footage, reminds me of how proud I am of my students. You will notice some frightened faces, some smiles, some silliness, but all with the love of dance. That's what makes me the proudest. There are gonna be mistakes, but what truly matters is the confidence and joy that the kids experience after being up on that stage in front of their loved ones showing of their love of movement. This is why I love my job.

In the video bellow you will see 9 out of the 30 pieces that were in our show "Just Dance" which was held at the JCC of Clifton on June 28th, 2009. Keep in mind that this was our rehearsal, which is not a dress rehearsal. The students practice up to 3 times on stage, the first with me in the wings or directed them from below, the second for correction, and the third with me be able to comfortable watch as if I was an audience member. So, whenever I got a hot minute I grabbed my Flip and tried to capture what I could.

~Saturday 10:15am Ballet, ages 2.5-4 performing "At My Dancing School"
~Saturday 12:15am Tap, ages 5-6 performing "I Want It All"
~Cecelia M. age 7 performing "Here I Am"
~Saturday 2:15 Ballet, ages 7-8 performing "Can I Have This Dance"
~Saturday 2:15 Tap, ages 7-8 performing "Singing In the Rain"
~Saturday 2:15 Jazz, ages 7-8 performing "I Like to Move It"
~Wednesday Pointe performing "A New Day"
~Jennifer and myself performing a jazz duet to "Sorry"
~Finale, myself and the student teachers performing a jazz piece to "Just Dance"

Please take a look for yourself...

video

Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoyed it!
Keep an eye out for my next post about the Recital
Peace, Love & Dance
~Miss Leslea

Monday, July 20, 2009

We're Back!!

Hey there!! Did ya miss us?? As I explained in my last post, there was not much down time for me this year. There are several months of happenings I need to catch you up with. I'm looking forward to posting, tweeting and updating you all again. There is so much I would like to share with you, this will be the first of many post this summer.

Of course my first few weeks of vacation are all about renewing my spirit. This year, as always, I took a trip to the Caribbean the week after the recital. I spent a well deserved (yup I said it, I deserve it) week in Antigua with my love. Now its back to work, not officially since we decided to close completely this summer. What i mean by "work" is... Last year I started what I hope to be another yearly ritual of mine, I hope to use the summer to brainstorm about ways to make the upcoming season even better. I'm sure most dance teachers and studio owners do this regardless on some level. I intend however to be rather aggressive with this work.

I do a lot of online Networking with sites such as...

http://UptownDanceNJ.ning.com (meeting/recruiting local teachers and fellow dancers)
~or~
http://DanceStudioOwner.com (chatting with other teachers in the forum, sharing ideas, getting valuable information from Pros)
~or~
Simply posting on twitter or in this blog to keep my thoughts together and focused.

Last year this method was very successful for us. I'm in the process of visualizing and manifesting yet another year of excellence for Uptown, we will except nothing less =)

Stay tuned for Rehearsal, Recital, and Uptown Entertainment posts as well as my progress with this years improvements for a season that will begin before we know it.

Peace, Love, & Dance
~Miss Leslea

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What We Have Been Up To

Wow it has been a while! Seems like right after the Holidays we had no time to do anything except prepare for the Recital. Sadly, no down time to post, twitter, or update our Network. However, free time seems to be more available due to the fact that pieces are choreographed and costumes are being delivered. We can breath a sigh of relief. For example, just last night I completed all 4 routines for my 10-12 year olds. Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop... check!

Hence this post, letting you all know we are still alive and our PRS (pre recital stress) did not get the best of us this year. You would think after 17 years there would be zero stress... well... NO. You see, that is part of it, in some strange way the show would not be half as fun without the challenges.

I will not bore you with the details of the tasks we have completed or the road bumps we have encountered. Lets just say that things are great, and we are looking forward to getting back to spreading our love of owning a studio and dance with you all very soon.

I leave you with one minor detail that I am super excited about. Because of my love for Lady Gaga, I have talked my mother into using a remix of "Just Dance" for the Finale. YAY!!

Catch up with you all soon.
Peace, Love, & Dance!!
Miss Leslea