30 Days of Thankfulness: Center Stage version

If you spend any time on Facebook, you have surely come across the 30 days of Thanksgiving posts.  Each day of November, you post something for which you are thankful.  It is such a beautiful thing to stop and take the time to be thankful for all the gifts we have and all the special people in our lives.  I love that about Thanksgiving and this time of year.  It’s a time to slow down and reflect in a busy world that often seems to be moving faster than we would like.

As we give thanks this year, I thought it would be nice to hear for what our Center Stage families, students, and teachers are thankful because all those hurried days of shuffling your kids into the studio doors after a stressful day at work and in between taking your other kids to their activities mean more than you may realize.  Your kids don’t always say it, but we all know by the smiles on their faces as they enter the dance studio that they are thankful for YOU! 

Here is our Center Stage version of 30 Days of Thankfulness with contributions from our wonderful dance families, students, and teachers.

(from the parents)

1.  “I’m thankful for how much my daughter, Avery, enjoys her hip hop class with Ms. Tori…she always is so excited to show me what she learned!” – Sherry Robinson

2.  “I am thankful for having discovered Center Stage and being able to combine all of my Cienna’s classes to one location , not only for convenience but cost effectiveness! She gets to take dance , tumble and be in a cheer company for less than half the cost of having to be registered at several different locations , not to mention , it feels like a family here at Center Stage, happy holidays to all!” – Cindy Zajicek

3.  “I’m thankful for such a kind and patient teacher such as Ms. Eve! My 2 year old daughter, Ava, looks forward to dance class every week!” – Colleen Early

4.  “I am thankful for this dance studio and all the teachers. I love that my daughter and grandkids get to come there. I love going to watch them and all the other little cuties in the recitals. The costumes are so cute!  I would recommend anyone with a little child or even a mommy to come join your group!” – Cindy Christopher-Scoby

5.  “I am thankful for the wonderful teachers that my girls have had. We really love Miss Megan and her passion for dance is contagious.” – Kathy Morriss

6.  “I am grateful for the wonderful teachers at Center Stage who have taught my children so much and reminded myself of the joy and love we have for dance.” – Stephanie Faure

7.  “I am thankful for Eve as a teacher. She has the patience of a saint.  Thank you Center Stage and Eve for being great for Ashlyn. She lives to dance and we love your dance studio. You all are great. Couldn’t ask for a better place.” – Donna D’Ambrose Calkins

(from the students)

8.  “Kyran absolutely loves this studio so much she wants to go on days she doesn’t have class just to hang out and watch. ” – Michael Botello

9.  “Deborah says that she’s thankful for her teachers Miss Tori and Miss Megan and that they’re really nice and that she’s able to have her birthday party at Center Stage diva style!” – Beth Madden

10.  “Alessa says she’s thankful for singing!” – Julie Kimball  (I guess she must like to sing in her dance class.)

11.  “Kennedi is thankful for her teacher Ms. Eve.  She has even named some of her new stuffed animals Eve and has decided to name her Elf On The Shelf “EVIE” – Alicia Fletcher  (This is one of my favorite responses because you can’t get a much higher honor than that!  So cute!)

12.  “Bella- Miss Megan is a great teacher because she makes my weakness be my strength!  Sophia- Miss Michelle is great because she is a great teacher and helps me grow as a dancer!  Francis girls- Miss Tori is a great teacher because she makes us be the best that we can be and she’s an amazing singer!  Bebe- Miss Megan is a great teacher because she taught me to kick the rock and squish the bug!” – Grissel Francis

(from the teachers)

13.  “I am so thankful for being able to teach all of my students!  Not only are they fun to teach, but each time they come to class eager to learn, I am reminded why I love teaching!” – Ms. Ally

14.  “This year, I am thankful for the traditions of dance.  From dancing with my new husband during our first dance, to dancing with my Daddy as he gave me away.  Plus, on our honeymoon we are going to experience another dance tradition: The Nutcracker Ballet, as performed by the New York City Ballet.” – Ms. Tori

15.  “I am thankful for being able to teach dance.  I get to do what I love every single day.  I love hearing from my studnets that they want to be dance teachers or dancers when they grown up.” – Ms. Megan

16.  “I love the energy my students bring to class.  Their positive energy and smiles are contagious.  I love seeing the pride they have when they know they have done a great job too.  I am thankful that teaching my students is so rewarding.” – Ms. Bridget

17.  “I’m thankful for all the joy I receive from teaching my students. My students smiles warm my heart, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my love for dance with them.” – Ms. Eve

These are all of the responses we received on our Facebook page.  Thank you all for sharing.  That leaves me with 13 more things for which to be grateful; that won’t be hard.  I could write pages!

18.  I’m thankful that the studio has experienced so much growth since we first opened our doors almost 10 years ago.

19.  I’m thankful for the positive energy that all our Center Stage families bring into the studio.

20.  I’m thankful that all of you refer your friends and family to us.  It really is such an honor.

21.  We are truly blessed to have such amazing teachers.  I am thankful for their passion.

22.  I give thanks to all of the lovely ladies who work behind the desk.  They always go above and beyond to help me. 

23.  I am thankful to get to do what I love.

24.  I am thankful costumes are so much cuter now than when I was a kid.  Enough said.  Those who danced as kids know what I’m talking about.

25.  One of my favorite parts of teaching is seeing when something you have been telling a dancer “clicks,” and you know they “get it.”  I am thankful for those moments.

26.  I am thankful for those moments of pride when I watch my students perform their best whether it be in class or on stage.

27.  I’m thankful for costume week (the week we pass out all the recital costumes).  The kids’ faces light up like it’s Christmas morning, and it’s so much fun to watch!

28.  I’m thankful for the recital because I know the students love dancing on stage and showing their families what they have learned.  Okay, let’s be honest, I’m just a bit more thankful when the recital is over.  Whew!

29.  I’m thankful for our students’ dedication to dance.  Congrats to all our dancers who are about to get their very first pair of pointe shoes!

30.  One of my favorite things about having a dance studio is watching these sweet ballerinas grow into lovely young women over the years.  We are all thankful to be part of their lives.

From all of us at Center Stage, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!



Fall at the Studio

The crisp breeze and the falling leaves tell us fall has arrived.  It seems like we were just having open houses and enrolling students for the dance year.  Now, it’s almost time to break out the leg warmers! 

Spring at the studio means recital pictures, dance competitions, cheer competitions, workshops, rehearsals, and finally the year-end recital.  So, what does the fall look like around here?  Preparation.  Many of our students have already had a chance to see what their costumes will look like for the big show.  Their faces light up as they see the sparkly costumes and imagine themselves wearing them on the stage.  Several of our competitive dancers have already received their costumes.  The day each dancer receives their recital costume is a little like Christmas morning around here!  Just as torn pieces of wrapping paper are strewn about your living room floor on Christmas morning, sequins and glitter cover our studio floors, and smiles abound.

Our company dancers are busily preparing their routines for competition season.  For all of our other classes, teachers are choosing the perfect song and perfect costumes that will make each dancer shine on the stage.  The teachers are busy editing music and choreographing for those recital pieces.  Teachers are preparing students by teaching technique, new dance steps, and combinations.  All of this goes into a recital dance long before the dancers even learn the first step.


In addition to the fun of preparing dances and costumes, fall is fun around here for several more reasons like:

1.  Halloween dress-up week – You can check out all of our adorable dancers in costume on our Facebook page.


2.  new cozy Center Stage sweatpants


3.  leg warmers!

4.  Most importantly, hanging out with your old dance friends and forming friendships with your new dance friends!





Center Stage Dance Intensives

As a dance student in college, my favorite day of the week was Wednesday.  Wednesdays were “alternative day”; every other day of the week was ballet technique.  I loved taking ballet every day, but we all looked forward to doing something different on Wednesdays.  Usually our alternative class was Pilates since one of the instructors held Pilates certification, but we also got the chance to take several other dance classes including Broadway Jazz, Hip-Hop, and even Hawaiian dance, African dance, and Kabuki (Japanese dance).   Our dance program at Sam Houston State University was great about exposing us to various styles of movement and dance cultures.   

Although we don’t have the luxury at Center Stage of seeing our dance students every day, we do offer the opportunity to experience vaious dance styles without having to sign up for five classes per week (or more)!  Through our Saturday Dance Intensives, students have the chance to take Musical Theater, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Leaps/Turns in addition to their regular weekly classes.  From October through March, we offer one intensive each month.  The intensives are 2 hours long allowing enough time for proper stretching, across the floor work, and a dance combination.  The intensives are all taught by different teachers so students are not only exposed to different genres of dance but also different styles.  Each teacher brings his or her own unique style and expertise to the intensive.  

Below is a picture of our Ballet Intensive with the lovely Ms. Karen.  The students are working on their turnout and strength with the use of Therabands.

Nov. phone 026

Our next intensive is our Hip-Hop Intensive coming up Jan. 26th with Ms. Ally.  Students 5-9 years old will dance from 10-noon, and students 10-up will dance from 3-5PM.  Intensives are only $15 per student!  Call the studio at (512) 259-0445 to sign up for the Hip-Hop Intensive or any of our other upcoming intensives.  Intensives are open to all students.

Below is a picture of our Mini Hip-Hop Co. last year.

Mini HH Co.

   Upcoming Intensives:

Jan. 26th – Hip-Hop

Feb. 16th – Jazz

Mar. 23rd – Lyrical/Contemporary

Experience Local Theater this Spring!

 My 5 year old daughter has watched Tangled so many times that she knows exactly what happens next and even begins laughing before Rapunzel knocks Flynn rider on the head with a frying pan. Although she loves this movie and watches it repeatedly, she never says, “Mom, remember the time we watched Tangled” because it is not a memorable experience. She does, however, recall the time we saw “the real Belle on the stage” at Leander High School’s presentation of Beauty and the Beast. She remembers seeing the “dancing cats” at the Georgetown Palace Theater’s production of Cats. I love theater and want to share the appreciation for the art with my kids. We love spreading a blanket out at the Zilker Hillside Theater to watch a musical on a summer night. It’s a great way to spend a summer night.

This area provides a rich culture of music, art, theater, and dance. We have so many venues to watch great performances. We are close to the Bass Concert Hall, Zach Theater, Long Center, Cedar Park Event Center, Georgetown Palace Theater, Way Off Broadway Players, and more. From professional performances to community theater to high school productions, we all can find something that appeals to our tastes and our budgets. A great resource for information on discounted shows or even free shows in the area is www.freefuninaustin.com . You can find that Joe McDermott will have a free show at Brilliant Sky Toys on Jan. 21. He plays guitar and sings fun, silly songs that kids love. You will also find on the site a discount code for a buy one adult ticket, get one child ticket free to see Lion King at the Bass Concert Hall on Jan. 17.

Lion King

Zach Theater has a youth theater program that offers shows geared toward young audiences. In their upcoming season, you can catch a theatrical presentation of the popular storybook Goodnight Moon from Feb. 2-Mar. 23 followed by Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid showing April 6-May 11.  For more information, visit www.zachtheater.org.

If you haven’t been to the Georgetown Palace Theater, I highly recommend it. The theater is rich in history. It was built in 1926 and showed silent films of the times. Restored to its 1938 art deco style, you will find yourself in a piece of history as you take your seat. As a small theater, every seat in the house is a great one! Thoroughly Modern Millie will be playing at the Palace May 17-June 16. For more information on their current season, visit www.georgetownpalace.org.

Palace Theatre

Our local youth are quite talented as well. My daughter, niece, and nephew were impressed with the talent at Leander High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Tickets to the local high school theater productions are inexpensive and support their theater programs. Leander High School will be revisiting a bygone era with their production of Grease this spring, Rouse will kick up their heels in Footloose, and Vista Ridge will be presenting Seussical. Check out www.leanderisd.org for more information on these shows.

I hope you take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities to experience live theater in the area. I know my kids and I will be catching a few of these shows this spring. If you have a favorite theater spot, show, or group, please share it with the rest of us. We would love to hear from you!

Our Center Stage Family

When I opened the studio, I was 25 years old.  I had been married for only a year, and we didn’t have any kids yet.  The studio has now been open for nine years, and I have 3 kids – a 5 year old daughter and 2 year old twins (a boy and a girl).  Just as my family has grown, our Center Stage family has also grown. 

One of the many joys of being a dance teacher is watching your students grow over the years.  School teachers have their students for one year.  As dance teachers, we have our students in class for several years.  We have the pleasure of watching them grow into beautiful young ladies (and some young men too).  I love celebrating with the girls when they finally get their first pair of pointe shoes.  In my mind, I can still see them entering the studio with their fluffy pink tutus carrying teddy bears, and now they are showing me their pointe shoes.  Earning the privilege of dancing on pointe is a rite of passage for any dancer.  They have worked years to develop the strength and technique required for pointe work.  It is a great cause for celebration, and our teachers love celebrating this milestone with our dancers.  We also celebrate when our students come in to class full of excitement announcing that they made their school dance team.  Watching them achieve their goals is just as rewarding for us as it is for them!  With tears in our eyes, we say good-bye as our students graduate from high school and head off to college to begin the next chapter in their lives.  We hope they will always carry fond memories of their dance years with us.

As part of the Center Stage family, not only do we get to watch our students grow up, we also get to celebrate major life events with our teachers.  Over the years, we have celebrated 3 college graduations for our teachers.  Six of our teachers have said “I do” in the past nine years, and most recently, Ms. Tori got engaged!  Our teachers have welcomed 9 little bundles of joy into their lives over the past nine years. (Three of those were mine with two coming at one time!)  All of those babies were taking dance classes before they ever took their first breath.  They were doing plies at the barre or tapping along with their mommies when they were still in the womb.  Now some of those babies are taking dance classes of their own.  We’ve seen our dance mamas holding baby sisters while big sisters are taking dance class, and just a few years later, those baby sisters are ready for classes of their own.  Before we know it, they all will be wanting to show off their pointe shoes or announce that they have made their school dance team.  We’ll marvel at how much all of our students have grown and wonder where the time went.  That’s what families do, and that’s what it means to be part of the Center Stage family.