February 11, 2022
Dear MDU Families,
Today the Onalaska and Holmen School Districts announced that due to a sharp decline in cases, they will no longer require the wearing of masks in their facilities as of Monday, February 14. We have noted the same sharp decline in cases in our programs and will be following suit. The updated policy for MDU will be effective Monday, February 21 as our studio is closed for Intersessional Break next week.
Every day that we can get where children can fully express themselves in the classroom and teachers can have full communication, including facial cues, we will celebrate! And, if there are days ahead where cases rise to a point where we have to revisit our mask policy, we will do so.
In meantime, all other risk-mitigating factors remain in place and parents are asked to keep their children home if they do not feel well and to keep up with other healthy habits such as good hand hygiene, hydration, nutrition, and sleep. Anyone who would still like to wear a mask to class for comfort is welcome to do so and plenty of masks will still be available at the front desk.
I want to thank our faculty, families, and students for their support over the past two years. Working together, we have kept our classrooms open continuously since June of 2020 and we are working on our return to the stage for Spring Recital! Now that’s some awesome teamwork!
Thank you for your support! With appreciation,
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.
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