Dear MDU Family,
This evening Gov. Tony Evers addressed our state issuing Executive Order #94 that calls upon business leaders "to continue doing their part to keep workers, customers, and communities safe by expanding working from home options for workers, offering online or virtual services, and limiting the number of people in offices, facilities, and stores" - all things we are PROUD to say we have been doing since we re-opened in June.
We have been following our Safer Studio™ Standards every step of the way through this season and continue to do so. Our team members have work-from-home capabilities, we are fully tech-enabled with online and virtual options, and we have always limited the number of people in our offices, facility, and store.
We have had over 10,000 visits to our studio since re-opening and only 4 isolated reported cases of COVID-19 - that's less than 1/100th of 1% occurrence.
Our strong focus on safety has made it possible to maintain a very low-risk environment while allowing our young people to benefit from exercise and friendship in a safety-focused environment as well as the associated positive benefits on social-emotional and mental well-being.
We are proud to continue to be a positive anchor in the lives of our local youth and we look forward to seeing and supporting your children in classes this week. In the meantime, please join us in doing all you can to keep our community safe by wearing face coverings, keeping the recommended 6 ft distance from friends and classmates, washing your hands, and staying home if you are unwell. For the safety of our community, if you are unable to or prefer not to wear a face covering, we strongly encourage you to attend our virtual class options.
As always, your teachers and I thank you for your support.
Graded Levels are Helpful for Growing Kids
At first glance, it may seem difficult or impossible to give a grade in dance or to assign a level to dance development. After all, the arts are subjective, and each dancer interprets each dance differently. Ultimately, however, graded dance levels are doable—in fact, they’re essential for dancers at all levels.
The primary reason for graded levels is for the safety of dancers. Dancers must master each level before it is safe to proceed to the next, as new techniques and movements build upon each other. Dancers who don’t master essential skills in one level before moving to the next may not only struggle to keep up and lose confidence, they also face a greater risk of injury.
That’s why it’s not uncommon for a dancer to remain at the same level for a couple years. Dancers advance as they develop strength and demonstrate correct technique to show physical and mental mastery of each dance level.
As with any discipline, dancers will progress at their own individual rates. Some skills will come easier for some than others, and some skills will come more easily to an individual dancer at some times than others, depending upon their physical development. Every dancer is different and will achieve various levels at different times.
Dance instructors work hard to create guidelines that will accurately assess a dancer’s technique, alignment, movement, and other skills. Grading methods are carefully designed to match the dancer’s physical development and the difficulty of each level.
Outside of the studio, an artistic director watching a dancer audition is not going to see levels or grades. Dancers don’t submit their dancing transcripts when they audition. Artistic directors will instead see how the dancer performs then and there. They’ll also see how the dancer interacts with others onstage and what kind of team player she will be. And guess what? They’ll write down scores to assess each dancer…just like grades.
The best way for your dancer to advance in dance? Show up. Good attendance is often the number one factor in achieving higher scores. It’s also important to trust your dance teachers. Instructors are trained to evaluate and understand each dancer’s physical development. If adjustments need to be made, instructors will advise the parents of a different placement.
The most important thing for dancers (and parents) to do is to remember that all things come with time and to always enjoy the dance along the way.