New at Main Line School – Makin’ Music Rockin’ Rhythms

mmlogoResearch has shown that being exposed to music at a young age can help with the development of verbal, math, and motor skills, as well as inspire creativity, build social skills and promote emotional development. The earlier children are exposed to music, the easier it will be for them to learn to learn and express themselves through music as they grow older, and it will foster a love of music that will last throughout their entire lifetime. For these reasons, Main Line School of Music and Dance has decided to partner with Makin’ Music Rockin’ Rhythms, a program that provides an entry into musical education for children not yet ready for private music lessons.

The Makin’ Music Rockin’ Rhythms program provides a playful and interactive classroom environment for children (from newborns to age 5) with activities designed to keep students actively engaged. Students will have the opportunity to sing and chant along with live and recorded music. An assortment of musical instruments, such as hand drums, rhythm sticks, and shaker eggs are distributed in class for the students to play along.

Movement activities and dance are also incorporated to enhance the experience, as well as the use of other exciting props such as hoops, twirling umbrellas, or scarves. Makin’ Music teachers are educated in music and experienced working with children. The program also offers a variety of recorded music to be played in class. The CD’s are recorded and produced in-house with the aim of exposing students to a range of genres including folk, rock, jazz, country and world music. The CD’s feature traditional children’s songs, as well as original material, and can be purchased so children can listen and practice what they’ve learned at home.

Makin’ Music Rockin’ Rhythms is a family-friendly environment and parents are invited into the classroom to share in the experience. In this way, children of all ages are allowed to participate. The family setting encourages siblings of different ages to attend class together and also has the benefit of starting a family tradition of listening to and creating music together. The teachers individualize each session to meet the needs of the students, and work with parents to create a safe environment for children to express their own personal creativity.

Makin’ Music has 16 locations and has won 11 National Awards, including Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Pick Award for Best Music Classes, Main Line Today’s Best of the Main Line and Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly awards. Main Line School of Music and Dance is honored to be a part of its programming and excited to be able to offer this to our students in the Main Line and Delaware County areas.

For more information about Makin’ Music Rockin’ Rhythms program, please visit the Makin’ Music Website.

For class schedules, pricing and information about the Main Line Makin’ Music program, please visit Main Line Makin’ Music Program.

A Short History Of Pointe

PointeThe history of the Pointe style of dance is intertwined with the history and development of the pointe dance shoe and the evolution of ballet as an art form.

Ballet was originally developed in the courts of France and Italy during the 16th and 17th century. Dancers would use costuming and movement to tell stories and create scenarios. At first, the performers were only men wearing wigs and tights. In France in the 1600s, women began to study and perform ballet. They wore heavy skirts and heels, which impeded them from attaining the same flexibility or movement as the men.

In the mid 18th century, Maria Tagliona of the Paris Opera Ballet became the first dancer to wear a non-heeled shoe, which enabled her to perform leaps that would not be possible using the traditional heeled shoe. Around the time of the French Revolution, dancers began to wear flat shoes secured with ribbons with pleats on the toes, which made leaps and turns easier.

Throughout the history of ballet, there has been an effort to make the dancers appear lighter, more mystical, and ethereal. In the late 18th Century, the first dancers rose on their toes using an invention of Charles Didelot called a “Flying Machine”, which used wires to lift the ballerinas, making them appear to fly as they leaped. This move was well-received by audiences, and the term “pointe” was used to describe the choreography. Many choreographers began to work on ways to incorporate pointe dancing into their routines without the use of wires.

In the 19th century, Marie Taglioni became the first dancer to dance “en pointe” in her performance of La Sylphide. Her shoes were modified ballet slippers without any real support. The soles were leather with reinforced sides and toes to help the shoes hold their shape. They only allowed her to rise briefly to pointe.

The next incarnation of the pointe shoe occurred in Italy during the 19th century. Dancers such as Perina Legnani would wear shoes with a sturdy, flat platform at the front of the shoe, rather than the pointed end that was previously used. They also included layers of fabric to encase the toes, and a stronger sole. It was at this point that dancers started being asked to do more work en pointe

The modern pointe shoe is often attributed to the influential Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. She had high arches and slender, tapered feet, which made her more vulnerable to injury while dancing en pointe. To compensate for this, she inserted toughened leather soles into her shoes and created a more stable box for the toe area by flattening and hardening the area containing the toes. This made it easier for her to dance en pointe, but was originally perceived by her colleagues as “cheating”.

Today’s pointe shoes are made of several layers of burlap and canvas, dipped in glue for stiffness, with a final layer of satin. The shoe is held together by three layers of leather and cardboard, called shanks, which are nailed and glued together. They lengthen the line of the leg, build strength in the ankles, feet and toes, and allow dancers to jump higher, sustain poses, and spend more time en point than what was previously possible with the earlier versions of pointe shoes.

For students interested in starting a study of pointe, Main Line School of Dance is now offering an introductory pointe program by teacher referral. Contact us today for more information.

What Makes Main Line School Of Music And Dance Different?

Dance 17-2012Main Line School of Music and Dance offers professional lessons to students of all ages. Find out what sets Main Line apart from all the rest!
•Atmosphere – Main Line School of Music and Dance has a comfortable environment that is recognized immediately when you walk in. Families and children of all ages are welcome. Main Line offers candy and water for students, and magazines and children’s activity books to pass the time for family members who are waiting. A friendly greeting is always given from the front desk staff in the Ardmore location. Families of Main Line School students often comment on the welcoming and friendly atmosphere they are greeted with when they walk in the door.
•Programming– Main Line is one of the only schools in the area to offer private music lessons and group dance classes at 2 separate locations, as well as in-home music lessons. This way, the skilled teachers at Main Line have the opportunity to work with the interests and scheduling needs of any family.
•Customer Service – Whether on the phone or in person, the front desk staff at Main Line Music and Dance works extremely hard to give you the best customer service possible and assist you with your scheduling needs and other requests you may have. Unlike larger music and dance schools, at Main Line, every student and their family are special, and treated as such.
•Teaching Staff – The teaching staff at Main Line School of Music and Dance are known as some of the best in the area. Main Line music teachers are knowledgeable, flexible, and experienced, with warm personalities that put students and parents at ease. Teachers communicate with their students to find out what will keep their interest, and seek the best style of learning for each particular student. Main Line music teachers are also trained to communicate with parents to keep them up to date on what the student is working on and to discover what parents are seeking for their children to gain from taking lessons. Main Line Dance teachers are known for their skill in working with youth, and keep lessons fun while ensuring that students continue to grow.
•Progress Reports– Students at Main Line School of Music and Dance are given personalized progress reports each year that share what they have accomplished and are currently working on, as well as any suggestions a teacher has for future study. In addition to these progress reports, Main Line Dance students also receive a bi-monthly class synopsis to keep families up to date about what each class is currently working on.
•Fun and Inclusive Recitals – Recitals at Main Line School of Music and Dance are always open and fun, and participation is never a requirement. There is no dress code for the music recitals, allowing music students to share their unique and diverse styles. Performers wear everything from 3-piece suits and fancy dresses to jeans and t-shirts. There is a laid back and relaxed atmosphere at Main Line music recitals that encourages students to perform without stress. The dance recitals are inclusive of all classes, and the focus is on enjoying the experience from beginning to end while building onstage confidence performing on a professional stage.
•Dance School – Main Line School of Dance is one of the only dance schools in the area to offer small class sizes. Our classes are capped at 8 students for the pre-school age, and 12 students for the older students. This ensures that each student receives plenty of attention from the teacher. Main Line School of Dance also offers a fun and welcoming waiting room atmosphere. Both Main Line locations offer closed-circuit TV to view classes from the waiting room, a professional “floating floor” that reduces stress to knees and joints, and a vinyl composite “Marley” floor surface layer that reduces the risk of slips and falls.
•Small Business– Small businesses are becoming a thing of the past, even in the field of arts education. Because Main Line Music and Dance is a small neighborhood business, it has a strong focus on customer service, high standards, and a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere.
Stop in to Main Line School of Music and Dance today and see for yourself what makes us so special.

Creative Movement with Stacy

StacyCreative Movement is a term used to describe dance classes for children in pre-school and kindergarten. These classes normally last for less than an hour, and are geared towards getting young dancers moving in a group. These classes normally include creative activities and visualizations that inspire students to think creatively.  Each teacher adds their own style to creative movement classes, which can range from a relatively unstructured period of creative play to a more structured class where students learn the basics of ballet or other styles of dance. We spoke with Stacy Hancher, the senior dance teacher at Main Line School, about her style of teaching creative movement classes.

Stacy holds a BFA from the University of the Arts and has been a teacher at Main Line School of Dance for almost 10 years. She has quite a few performances under her belt,  dancing with the Chester County Ballet Company, Philly Jazz and The Starlight Tap ensemble. Stacy feels that her true masterpiece is the way she inspires youth of all ages to pursue dance, and the beautifully choreographed and executed recital pieces that Stacy works on each year with her students. Stacy has also taught preschool in the area, and the parents of her creative movement students agree that Stacy’s teaching style is perfectly suited for young children. Stacy places importance on teaching her young students the fundamentals of dance, but is not too strict, providing a perfect balance to keep students excited and having fun while focused and continuing to learn. She offers plenty of personal attention to each student, helping to build self-confidence and awareness in regards to movement.

Stacy explained that a creative movement class is a less formal environment than dance classes for older students, incorporating periods of creative improvisation such as “freeze dance”, where students creatively improvise and are asked to freeze in position every time the music stops, “Creative movement is all about exploring the way your body can move. It also teaches spatial awareness while introducing the basics of technique. The students learn to work together and to use movement as an artistic way to express themselves.” Stacy discussed the difference between Pre-ballet and Creative Movement, terms which are often used interchangeably to indicate dance classes for preschool-aged students. “What I teach is both a creative movement and pre-ballet class. I think creative movement is learning about the way your body moves whereas pre-ballet is more technical. A pure “creative movement” class is mainly playing games and learning about the way your body moves. I combine the creative movement with pre-ballet, and we do some jazz as well.”

It is one of Stacy’s firm beliefs that children of the preschool age are not too young to start on their path to learning, “Children in this age group are like sponges. They absorb everything they hear. I teach technical terms at a young age and they tend to remember.  Some dance teachers teach ballet movements to creative movement classes, but give the movements different names, such as teaching a grand jete but calling it jumping over leaves to make it accessible to young children, but I don’t think that is necessary.  I teach ballet terminology, which will give them an advantage when they move on to more advanced dance classes.”

Besides teaching a majority of the creative movement classes, Stacy also manages the intermediate ballet program at Main Line School, which recently added an introductory Pointe class for older students. Some of Stacy’s previous creative movement students continue to study with her year after year, developing a serious interest in pursuing dance as they move on to more advanced ballet classes.

4 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Choosing a Dance Studio

If most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which place you decide to enroll at? Yes. There are 4 main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives, the amount of extra work and hassles the parents must deal with and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are 4 things that every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.

1. What type of dance floor is used?

Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which can put stress on bones and joints. Most dance footwear does not provide any cushioning or support, so the shock of dance movement can place a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to prevent against potential injury is by choosing a studio with a professional “floating floor”. A floating floor is a dance floor that rests on a system of high-density foam, to absorb the shock of jumping. A high-density foam base is superior to a “sprung” floor, which usually consists of a wood structure built on the regular floor.

The top layer of the dance floor is also an important factor. A vinyl composite “marley” floor is accepted worldwide as the best surface layer for recreational to professional dance. Facilities such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England, and Riverdance – The Touring Show, all use marley floors as their dance surface. A marley floor allows dancers to slide, with a degree of “controlled slip, but is not slippery so there is less risk of slips and falls. Very few studios use professional marley floors because of the expense involved, and usually opt for a regular floor tile for a studio floor.

All of our studio locations have floating floors that have over 700 high density foam blocks under the floor surface and a marley top surface that is imported from England. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired.

2. What is the size of the class?

If the dance class has fewer students in it each child will receive more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions. Our smaller class sizes make sure that no fundamental concepts are being missed. A smaller class size also allows our teachers to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique.

Our studio limits all of our classes (ages 6 and up) to a maximum of just 12 students per class. With our Toddler dance classes (ages 3 – 5), we limit all of our classes to a maximum of just 8 students per class.

3. What are the “extras” required for the year end show?

Most studios put on a year end show in a professional theatre. Students that perform in the show must have a costume for their dance number. Some studios may require parents to sew their child’s costumes, or pay extra and the parents must find their own seamstress to do the sewing. This can be inconvenient and frustrating for parents who are busy or can’t sew.
Our studios use our own professional seamstress to sew and alter the costumes, so parents do not have to worry about any costume hassles. This way you as a parent will not be faced with any extra work or expenses.

4. Can I get immediate assistance and customer service?

In many studios the teacher or the studio owner conducts classes and does the administration. By trying to do two jobs at once, the class may suffer as the teacher has to use class time for customer service issues, or the studio may have no customer service available if the teacher is in a class. To have a good experience it is important to choose a studio that can assist you with details like costumes or schedules, even if a teacher is occupied in a class. Our studios have office staff on hand during all regular class times, so you can get immediate assistance.

Dance Recital

The 2014 June Dance Recital will take place at Rosemont College (1400 Montgomery Ave., Rosemont, PA 19010) on Saturday, June 21st in the McShain/Brown Hall.

Set 1 – 10:30 a.m.

Set 2 – 1:00 p.m.

Click here for map and directions to Rosemont College

Click here for campus map

Dress Rehearsal and Pictures will take place on the morning of June 14th, 2014 at Rosemont College.

Dress Rehearsal for Dance Recital

Dress Rehearsal for dance recital will take place from 9:00am-2:00pm at Rosemont College (1400 Montgomery Ave., Rosemont, PA 19010) on June 22nd, 2013 in the McShain/Brown Hall.

Click here for map and directions to Rosemont College

Click here for campus map

Viewing Week for Dance

Family and friends invited into dance studio to view classes and take pictures and video.

Dance students invited to come in Halloween costumes Mon-Tues Nov 5th and 6th

We know that many students lost out on their Halloween activities due to the storm so we are offering Monday and Tuesday dance students a chance to come to class in their Halloween costumes on Monday an Tuesday November 5th and 6th.  Hope to see everyone dressed up!

Closed for Severe Weather Monday 10/29 amd Tuesday 10/30

Main Line Music and Dance school will be closed for all music and dance classes on Monday October 29th and Tuesday October 30 due to severe weather conditions.