Have you ever had a negative response like this from a parent?

True story.
This happened to me a year ago…
Dad picks up daughter from ballet class.
Little brother comes with him and seems excited to be there.
I suggest that maybe he could try a class some time?
Dad says “over my dead body”
I do a double take, and vaguely giggle back thinking he’s trying to joke.
Dad says “I’m not joking. My boys’ not going to be a woofter”
Just WOW.

This experience is just one of the barriers I’ve come across in all my years of teaching boys dance, and I’m sure you’ve experienced similar situations in your own practice – though perhaps a little less blatent!  

This kind of stigma around boys dancing sadly STILL EXISTS and could be one of the reasons holding more boys back from trying out at your dance school too.

The question for us all is, how do we go about successfully promoting our schools in a way that ‘subtly’ educates, and clearly challenges this sort of old fashioned perception?

THIS, and more, I discuss and offer solutions to in Wednesday’s online seminar ‘How To Get Boys and Keep Them’.

I sincerely hope you can join me for this important conversation, alongside other passionate and like-minded dance teachers hoping to welcome more boys into class from 2021 onwards 🧡

Even if you can’t make the live event, remember your ‘space’ includes a certificate attendance AND access to the replay / recording afterwards, so you can watch in your own time if you can’t join us in person.

Why take advice from me? Since growing the number of boys at my school to 50 over the past few years (and guess what? – they ALL do ballet) and recently being highly awarded for my methods in doing so, my aim is to share with you exactly how I did this and to help you shine a light on how to overcome any potential barrier you may face in your desire to teach more boys.

I would LOVE to see more boys classes popping up in every dance school in 2021!

Join me this Wednesday 10:30am via zoom, by reserving your spot at the seminar here

Warm wishes

Natalie x

Natalie Pearl 
Co-founder Groove Child Dance Syllabus
Dance School of the Year award Winner 2020
RAD Project B award for Innovation in Male Dance 

Boys Dance Too!

Want to know more about how this teacher grew her boys only dance class from 2 students to 50 – and kept them all coming back?

You can purchase the live recording of Natalie’s recent online seminar for dance teachers ‘How To Get Boys and Keep Them’ up until Friday 27th November (recorded Wednesday 18th November 2020) filled with invaluable tips and advice on how to attract and retain more boys at your dance school here: https://mailchi.mp/groovechilddance.com/how-to-get-boys-and-keep-them

As dance teachers, we are all aware of the unbalanced ratio of male and female dancers in our dance schools. And with a list of factors, including stigmas against boys who dance, feminine marketing and advertising, and limited options for boys uniforms, it becomes easier to understand why there might be so many less boys than girls in our dance schools.

But, we want to share with you a story of one boy in particular that we teach, and the impact dance has had on his life.

This is Will’s story, in the words of his teacher Natalie Pearl…

‘Will was 9 years old and used to watch his sister dance and come along in the car on every drop off and pick up to classes and wave at me through the window. Sometimes he would come into the waiting area and start to jump , spin and dance around trying to catch my eye, as if to say ‘look at my moves Miss Natalie!’ He really did have some great moves, beautiful lines and passion by the bucket loads, this much was evident just in the waiting area.

William had always struggled with expressing and dealing with his emotions and would often explode in inappropriate ways, especially since his parents separated, and more often than not, it would come out as anger in frustration. School wasn’t easy and he unfortunately had the label of ‘the naughty boy’. After speaking to his Mum several times to propose that Will try a ballet class, he finally came along.. fuelled with nervous energy!

The first class…

In William’s first ballet class, after just two exercises at the barre, his own words were “Hell to the no!!” He hated that the class had no other boys in and was full of girls. He literally ran out of the studio, fighting back the tears, through the waiting room and out the front door and started off down the road! (very quickly followed by me, chasing after him, while the teaching assistants stayed in the class with the girls)! I grabbed hold of him, hugged him and had strong words about how dangerous it was to run off like that, to which he replied and exclaimed how girly the ballet class was and he was NEVER coming back!!

Many times you hear that ‘boys don’t want to dance’, especially ballet, because it’s girly and pink, but this incident with Will really made me realise I had to do something to try change that. Here was this clearly extremely talented dancer, who had so much passion and potential, who never stopped dancing at home, and also clearly needed to find some way of channelling all his energy and emotion into something positive and creative.

And so I decided to start a boys only class, a generic dance class that was cool, totally boy orientated, for just half an hour every week. Will bought a friend and two other boys, who’s sisters already attended my dance school, came along. And so there it was born, my boys only dance class with four 9 year old boys .

Fast forward…

The weeks, months and years went by and now, 4 years later, there are nearly 50 boys dancing with me. 5 weekly boys only classes and added to that, 90% of the boys that do those classes also do syllabus classes in ballet, modern and tap with the girls.

And yes, Will is still dancing!… In fact he’s already beginning to build his ‘career’, dancing at numerous high profile events across the county, from the RAD to the F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. From Her Majesty’s Theatre in London to Disneyland Paris. And in 2019, after being head hunted by CBBC, Will was one of the boys chosen from my school to be featured in an episode of a new tv series on unusual hobbies, this episode was boys ballet. Will was made to feel like a movie star!

How has dance impacted Will’s life?

His behaviour at school completely turned around, teachers wrote to his mum to say how dancing had clearly had the most amazing effect on his attitude and behaviour and how proud they were of him. Even more than that, he even had awards from school for being an ambassador for dance and proudly went in to world book day as Billy Elliott with his ballet shoes and boxing gloves round his neck!

Last year, dance proved to be an even bigger blessing, influence and healer in Williams life. His Mum, at just 40, faced an extremely vicious and fast spreading cancer. At the time of diagnosis, major operations and chemotherapy, we were rehearsing for a show… it was a Queen tribute and little known to me at time, for Will and his family, it soundtrack for their journey. William never missed a rehearsal and the power of his emotion as I choreographed each dance was incredible to witness.

Dance is more than just a hobby, it can prove to be an immensely powerful form of release and healing for both children as adults, just as it was for Will.’

Natalie x

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and any other positive stories you might want to share about the boys that you too nurture within your dance schools.

You can purchase the live recording of Natalie’s recent online seminar for dance teachers ‘How To Get Boys and Keep Them’ up until Friday 27th November (recorded Wednesday 18th November 2020) filled with invaluable tips and advice on how to attract and retain more boys at your dance school here: https://mailchi.mp/groovechilddance.com/how-to-get-boys-and-keep-them

How can we keep our dancers coming back?

If the pandemic has made us realise one main thing, it’s how important it is to create an environment where students LOVE to dance. For the sheer enjoyment of it, and nothing else…how can we help encourage this and keep them coming back, no matter what life throws…

If the pandemic has made us realise one main thing, it’s how important it is to create an environment where students LOVE to dance. 

For the sheer enjoyment of it, and nothing else.

Aside from the anxiety many have felt from the recent lockdown period, social media is undoubtedly young people’s biggest issue right now when it comes to anxiety. 

But what about the more subtle in-person behaviours they might feel from peers and friendship groups in class they aren’t part of, which can also chip away at self-esteem…

How can we make sure our dance schools continue to be a ‘safe’ space for them mentally, and one that they want to keep returning to again and again?

And how can we help our older students avoid additional stress at dancing, on top of whatever is going on in their world outside?

When anxiety is heightened during stressful times, it’s easy for young minds to fall into thinking traps triggered by the smallest actions of others, giving them overwhelming feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, or feelings of being ‘less than good enough’. 

For example, consider how you currently react if you ever see any of your students eye-rolling, giggling, or whispering.

It’s such a tricky thing to navigate because, on the one hand, they’re not necessarily doing anything directly wrong directly.

But making this kind of toxic behaviour unacceptable, explaining how it can make others feel and doing so through gentle discussion can really help.

So, how do we get the atmosphere we want in our classes?

Cue – Your Class Manifesto! (fanfares blowing)

What is a class manifesto, we hear you cry?

You might already have something similar in place at your dance school, like a code of conduct or set of class rules, but a manifesto is slightly different…

An effective class manifesto indicates a desired atmosphere and ‘feeling’ you want students to have in the class, rather than a set of rules to be obeyed.

Overall you want your manifesto to be light and confidence-boosting, even when students just read it, and it should feel like something everyone in the class is responsible for creating.

A great class manifesto can inspire even the youngest of dancers and if upheld it can allow the self-esteem and mental well being of every child in the room to grow without hindrance.

Great! Where do I start?

You can introduce a class manifesto at any time, it doesn’t have to be a new class or new students.

We highly recommend you get the students to create it with you!

Literally sit down with pens and a big sheet of paper at the start of a session, gathering ideas about what they want to FEEL like in their classes. Make it more about this rather than achievement based.

Doing this with your students will make it easier and more natural for the atmosphere to begin altering (if it isn’t already the way you/they want it to be). It will give them ownership of it and help them avoid any misinterpretations. 

Furthermore, to help it really land, encourage discussion of the points they want to include and ask them for example scenarios to illustrate. For example, to use the previous scenario, if whispering and giggling are things that make them feel self-conscious in class, ask them how they can incorporate this into the manifesto in a positive way? (rather than a ‘don’t do this’ sentence) And what as a group do they actually class as ‘unacceptable’ in terms of giggling…?

You may be thinking, this is all very nice and ‘cute’ but how does this help you as a teacher to increase their potential and talent?

The point of developing this manifesto is so that everyone feels safe in the class and able to perform at their best.

This exercise is two-fold in terms of talent development.

It begins to create the right ‘climate’ to help your young dancers to grow and thrive in TWO ways; the first of which we’ve highlighted here; it creates a place all your dancers all feel safe to be themselves and to dance at their absolute best. To a point where they will always want to keep coming back, even through challenges and changes they may face as they move into their teens and the pressures of senior school.

Later this week, we’ll talk about the SECOND way a class manifesto can help develop your teenage dancers on an even deeper level…

Until then, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Do you already have a class manifesto? What’s the one thing you think most important it includes? Is there anything you’ve read here that’s inspired you to update or create it with your dancers this term? x

How to Bring Back your Creativity after Lockdown

This year has been a weird one hasn’t it? With a lot of time spent in lockdown and unable to do what we love, it’s only natural that finding that creative spark again might take a little bit of time. To help you get those creative juices flowing again, we thought the best place to start is by acknowledging and avoiding the main creativity killers…

Continue reading “How to Bring Back your Creativity after Lockdown”

Learn Level One ONLINE! – Your FAQs

After a wonderful response to our Level One offer online during this unprecedented time, we have put together these FAQs all in one place! If you can’t find an answer to your question here, get in touch! info@groovechilddance.com

After an overwhelming response to our learn level one online offer during lockdown, we have decided to make it an ever-green offer as a way for more teachers to be able to dip their toes into the creative world of Groove Child without committing to any annual licensee fee unless they decide to offer this creative confidence-boosting work to older students, and learn further levels.

We have put together our most frequently asked questions about the offer all in one place here, but if you can’t find an answer to your question below, just get in touch! info@groovechilddance.com

1. No ongoing annual licence fee for level one? Is that just for one year or forever? 

Yes, there’s no annual licence for Level One / Purple. It’s free for life!

Continue reading “Learn Level One ONLINE! – Your FAQs”

I can’t afford to do the Groove Child course

So you’ve spotted a dance teacher CPD workshop or course you’d love to attend. You know it would be great for your business and ongoing development. Trouble is, it feels out of your budget right now.
Here’s 8 money-saving ideas to help you make it happen:

So you’ve spotted a dance teacher CPD workshop or course you’d love to attend. You know it would be great for your business and for your own ongoing development. Trouble is, it feels out of your budget right now.

Continue reading “I can’t afford to do the Groove Child course”

Dance Teacher Testimonials 2018

Dance Teachers are you looking for something inspiring and exciting to add to your timetable or teaching repertoire? Check out these recent video testimonials from Groove Child® dance syllabus licensees – an additional syllabus for established dance teachers, that enhances performance confidence and builds creative and expressive skills in your dancers…

Dance Teacher / Groove Child Licensee Testimonials 2018

“I don’t think there’s anything else out there like it. I’d recommend it to all dance teachers because it doesn’t matter what styles you offer or what style a child prefers, Groove Child is something that can enhance all dance training because it is all about discovering yourself, dipping in to your imagination, and using your expressive skills in dance, and to me that crosses all borders” Julie Laming, Mad4Dance, Dorset.

Continue reading “Dance Teacher Testimonials 2018”

Yes we hate this picture of us. And other answers to your questions!

Okay, so VERY quickly, for those who wanted to see the ‘sweaty’ faces behind Groove Child – ta daaa!!! This is us. And yep, like most people, we don’t enjoy seeing pictures of ourselves. And as sisters, we are NEVER going to find one that we both like.

Continue reading “Yes we hate this picture of us. And other answers to your questions!”

Help young dancers (and their parents) ease pre-performance nerves

Despite the hours of rehearsal and preparation, our young dancers can still get super nervous just before going on stage and let stage fright get the better of them.

Helping young children discover techniques to overcome anxiety is vital – for the stage, and in life!

Here are some practical ways we’ve found over the years to help children deal with pre-performance worries, some of which you can suggest parents do at home beforehand and in the lead up, to help the transition from studio to the theatre go more smoothly…

Continue reading “Help young dancers (and their parents) ease pre-performance nerves”

Dance teachers – a touch of pamper and glamour to start the summer?

Earlier this year we were excited to announce our sponsorship of the Dance School of the Year Awards, and show our support for schools and teachers who’re doing amazing work through dance, nurturing young dancers and minds of the future. The wonderful thing about these awards is that it’s not about the talent of the performers in the school; it’s about the teacher and the culture, environment, and opportunities they create for their students.

We felt the Groove Child® Dance Syllabus simply HAD to become a sponsor of this important event, as we share a similar ethos to that of DSOTY; “that dance teachers should be applauded and celebrated. So much more than just a teacher – they are almost a substitute parent to many of their students as they are role models, mentors and social workers, offering support, stability and a disciplined approach to life…”

Continue reading “Dance teachers – a touch of pamper and glamour to start the summer?”