Performance Company (PC) at Allegro is a dedicated group of dancers, practicing with enthusiasm each Tuesday. Not only do they represent Allegro in the community, but they also take part in regional conventions and competitions. We are so proud of the many good works of PC! Here is a snippet of their weekly update following the Kids Artistic Review (KAR) competition in Minneapolis on March 8-10.......
Hopefully you have all had a chance to check out the pictures, videos and results from KAR. I wanted to give a special shout out to a couple of the performances that won Judges’ Choice Awards and one that was a High Point Award!
Everyone did a fantastic job--you should all feel proud of what you put on stage! I can’t wait to see what we achieve in just a few weeks… because Midwest Starz is just around the corner!
Our third and final competition of the season is April 5-7 in Wisconsin Dells.
As always, I will send you logistical information as soon as it becomes available to me!
That’s all for now! Please let me know if you have any questions!
Allegro families, we are so excited to tell you about a special recognition Miss Janet received from our amazing affiliation More Than Just Great Dancing® in their most recent newsletter!
As you know, here at Allegro we believe that a cooperative team effort from our staff helps create the best kind of environment for our dance parents and students. MTJGD interviewed Miss Janet about leadership and methods for educating staff, including a spotlight on her “You, Me, & We” philosophy.
Here is a sample of the interview:
At Allegro School of Dance and Music in Rochester, Minnesota, you’ll find that Janet Johnson is the type of studio owner who leads with a quiet yet strong surety and a bird’s eye view of her business. She sees her school’s success as the sweet spot where the customers, faculty, and leadership all intersect. With a desire to empower and equip her staff of 18, Janet recently crafted a decision-making concept that would serve as her team’s go-to reference on reaching that sweet spot.
“In past years, I realized there was a disconnect between the staff and the entity of Allegro when it came to communications, policies, and authority,” explains Janet. “I realized I needed to reframe the picture of the way everyone was expected to contribute.”
Reframing this picture led Janet to come up with a Venn diagram of “You, Me, & We” decision-making expectations. She wanted to take the guesswork out of her staff’s way and provide them with a clearer understanding of how they could make an impact with their decisions … and when to step back.
Janet says that she teaches her staff how each part of the diagram has important influence on the entire organization of Allegro … Carrying out this “You, Me, & We” model with her team has proven successful; Janet reports that it truly is empowering her people with the clarity they need to understand their roles.
“I want them to be winning in this massive way,” says Janet about her team. “I want to challenge them to climb up the mountain, not go around it. And seeing them experience this organic, natural growth in this way … that’s winning for me too.
Ultimately it is our dancers and their families who experience the impact of our work, so if we are winning at what we do, and sowing these seeds, then we know our families can reap the benefits of all that Allegro has to offer. They are the ones who truly benefit the most!”
Miss Janet is both honored and humbled that MTJGD has acknowledged her efforts in this newsletter feature. She is proud that Allegro is considered a leader and innovator within this affiliation of nearly 300 dance studios across the country and Canada.
Most especially, Miss Janet loves having the opportunity to showcase what an outstanding team of employees Allegro has serving its dance families. It’s truly special to have staff members who work in such a symbiotic way, uniting in our mission to create a safe and nurturing learning environment where our students can succeed in dance and in life!
Janet with Misty Lown, founder and president of More Than Just Great Dancing
Studio Owner University participants, Palm Springs, California, January 2019
At Allegro, we’re sometimes asked by parents if we can “challenge” or “push” a child more in class. The answer is not as simple as you might think, which is why we’ve brought the answer here to our blog!
The first part of the answer is that it’s a misconception that dancers must be pushed by someone else in order to succeed. We believe a teacher should encourage, instruct, support, and inspire … but not push, which implies that they would force a child to do something they are unwilling or unprepared to do.
When it comes to being pushed in dance class, our goal is to teach that it comes from within. In our experience, dancers who push themselves will see much bigger, brighter results than those who expect to be pushed by someone else! That inner drive is what’s most motivating.
So how do our teachers make a difference when it comes to challenging your children to do more? If the push comes from within the dancer, what are the teachers doing to develop each student’s progress? How do they respond to the push?
Rather than prodding a dancer along, our teachers nurture the spark that has already come from inside. It’s a spark that every child already has—and they ignite it themselves.
Each teacher on our team is trained in pulling the best out of each dancer. When the students are pushing themselves to work hard, this allows the teachers to hone in on all the amazing qualities that shine through. They also strive to strengthen each child’s growth areas, inspiring new directions for that inner push to go. This is the push/pull effect in action!
Every push from the dancer results in a harmonious pull from the teacher. And its cycle continues over and over again throughout a dancer’s journey at Allegro School of Dance and Music.
We strongly believe that this philosophy gives our students the healthiest possible dance education. Rather than wait for someone else to push them forward, our dancers are discovering their inner drive. And at the same time, they’re experiencing the instruction and positive influence of our teachers to grow their skills and character qualities.
Over the years, we’ve seen the proof that this push/pull effect truly sets our students up for success. We thank you for trusting us to teach these lessons to your child and help them reach their fullest potential in dance and in life!
Copyright © 2019 Moonlight Writing, LLC. All rights reserved.
There are many moments of happiness in studio ownership, both large and small. Happiness, pride, and connection overwhelmed me as I read Becky Seavey's quick email to Allegro.
-Janet Johnson, Owner
"Hello Janet and Sarah-
Janet- thank you so much for the donation to Shining Stars team. Elizabeth was so excited that she was able to raise over $700 for this great organization. She was happy and honored to help in the balloon release ceremony to remember those kids, including Axel, who are now watching over us.
Sarah- here are a few pictures of the event- Lizzy decided to wear her Malibu costume.
Thank you both for the support - so many of our dance families donated as well. So glad to be a part of a dance studio that cares for others and shows support to the community."
Full circle history:
Between December 11th, 2007 to our son Axel's death on 9-11-09, our family was a part of Brighter Tomorrow's. Their philosophy: no one should have to face a childhood cancer diagnosis alone.
Over the years, we've kept in touch with founders Sherrie Decker and Liz Canan and their families. Since 2015, Allegro's Performance Company and National Honor Society of Dance Students have had the privilege of providing a meal for this group of families, which can total 70-80 persons, as well as provide a dance performance.
Elizabeth Seavey, an Allegro dancer and Performance Company member, decided she wanted to do more than just dance for this group. She created a team called the Shining Stars to walk in the annual Go for Gold event for Brighter Tomorrow's. Lizzy raised money, took initiative, and created a team- reaching far and beyond what was expected. Here's where the very personal place comes in for me- each year, Go for Gold honors the children who have died of childhood cancer. This year it was a balloon release. I asked Lizzie if she would let Axel's balloon soar into the sky.
Good work, Lizzie, Seavey family, Brighter Tomorrow's, and Allegro. Life coming full circle is something to be proud of both in and outside of the dance studio.
Welcome to our first monthly installment of the Allegro Music Highlight! Each month we will explore articles, tips and take the opportunity to spotlight music students and faculty. This month we explore why music is important to your child’s mind. I’ll be paraphrasing an article titled “This is How Music Can Change Your Brain” written by Melissa Locker in 2014’s publication of TIME Magazine. For the full article click here to follow a link.
Learning and listening to music benefits your mind and your child’s mind in numerous ways. It is most poignantly helpful to the development of young minds (most notably to the evolution of sounds associated with speech). More importantly though, the active participation in music is crucial to optimize these developments. To back up this claim Northwestern’s Harmony Project proved the importance of musical participation by showing 93% of those high school students involved in their study going on to college (significant because these students live in areas that have a 50% or more drop-out rate). Part of their study also found that not only did the exposure to music matter, but the active participation led to significant differences to the aptitude for reading and speech. How can you help your child engage? Well, neuroscientist Nina Kraus suggests parents paying attention to the music their children listen to, ask questions about that music, find good teachers to aid your child’s journey with music, and support any learning with regards to instruments your children are interested in.
Music education has so many positive benefits! Here's to growing your mind and your musical skill. Thanks for being a part of the music department at Allegro.
We thought we would share our Ballet Evaluations recap with you in a video blog. Once again, our thanks to Miss Bev for joining us at Allegro.
Summer. It's a wonderful thing. Whoever invented summer should be congratulated. :-) It comes with great new adventures, less of a schedule and more of a free spirit. I love it! Our Allegro dancers are enjoying summer as well. Some are staying close and enjoying life at the pool mixed with some amazingly fun class at Allegro, their home studio. While others are traveling the world! Either way, summer can be a time to take a breath and relax while strengthening your body and technique. It's a prefect match!
- Some of our students are dancing with the Minnesota Conservatory of the Arts as a part of their summer intensive program.
- We had 20 students participate in our ASDM Intensive right here at Allegro. I've attached some pictures of this wonderful week. These students learned SO much choreography in just a limited amount of time and performed it beautifully and skillfully for parents and guests.
- We have 2 students dancing in Europe with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and their International Ballet program. Caroline and Eleanor are having an outstanding time. They'll be happy to share with you about their adventures when they arrive home. For now, limited electronics and many hours of dancing are what keep them busy. What an amazing opportunity! We are very proud of both of you!
- Even our youngest dancers at Allegro can get a little taste of what a summer intensive is like. Check out the very fun picture from our Polynesian Princess Dance Camp held just a couple of weeks ago. They really enjoyed dancing with Miss Allie and Miss Taryn!
- I just recently received an email from one of our students dancing with Alvin Ailey in our their summer intensive program all the way from New York City! Katrina sent you all a special note....
First, I want to say I miss home more than I'd like to admit, even though I love the city. The classes are fun and challenging, and my teachers are amazing, even though some of them have really heavy accents. I have ballet every day, Horton three days a week and Graham twice. I'm also taking a class called Gyrokinesis twice a week and West African three times a week. West African is my favorite class; the movement is so free and different, it's amazing. I'm excited to tell you more when I get back!
I miss you guys in Minnesota and I hope you're having a great summer like I am! I'm also attaching a photo my mom took on move-in day last Sunday.
See you soon!
- What are you up to this summer? Send me an email or post something on instagram #asdmsummer2017 to share it with your Allegro tribe.
We look forward to seeing you at the studio soon! Haven't registered for a summer dance class yet? It's not too late! Call us today!
InspiRED, the 5th Edition of Rochester Ensemble of Dance performed last evening. I left the studio at 10:55pm after vacuuming, putting away 91 assorted chairs, 6 tables and 10 floor pillows with the kind and generous help of many others. As I watched the light crew strike while I dust mopped the floors, many thoughts filled my head.
Those thoughts stayed and simmered and grew overnight until I found myself, this beautiful Saturday morning, with a pencil in my hand. Yes, that is correct, pencil & paper. Sorry Macbook Air. Sorry Google Docs. Sorry Rachelle :-).
RED originated as a Showcase on recital weekend to highlight and provide additional opportunity for advance dancers to perform well rehearsed Spring Dance Concert pieces. That filled the bill for a couple of years. Parents of middle and high schoolers loved the abbreviated, advanced performance. Then the Showcase separated from SDC weekend held in April rather than in June. Performance company begged to be included. Younger students also wanted the change to be a part of it. Then - in Allegro Style - I brought it to the faculty. "What is our goal with this production? How do we best serve the artistic needs of our advancing students? How do we further the Allegro mission of creating a lifelong love of the art forms? Could we possibly include the entire Rochester community in this process?"
As with many things contained in a tightly closed hand, the idea flourished once my hand opened up and others bounced to and from the idea with artistic thoughts of all sorts! But thought must commit to action in order for measurable results to occur. With dedicated faculty and my willingness to let it grow - it did.
Rochester Ensemble of Dance was born - an "evening of creativity and inspiration." RED is now comprised of original works. Many champions have graced the roles of director, producer, choreographer, student mentor, stage crew and more. Choreographers from within Allegro, guest choreographers (both local and from Minneapolis) audition, cast, rehearse, costume and produce a collegiate style performance open to dancers from age 8 and above community wide. There is also a student choreography element, adding to the educational component from choreography class, encouraging self creativity and confidence including the priceless opportunity to work with a mentor. Rochester Ensemble of Dance is perhaps one of the biggest and best little known gems in the Rochester performing art scene.
Last night, I encouraged and congratulated performers, worked with and thanked the team and volunteers, greeted guests, distributed programs, listed to the choreographer talk back and helped with the transformation of studio to stage and stage to studio. Introspectively I re-stacked the building blocks both hidden and tangible that went into our evening of creativity and inspiration. And it was good. My busy hands felt open with life and energy, community and the love of dance flowing through them, flowing through all.
brittany vukovich tom burson jesse schmitz boyd janet johnson trudy stevens elizabeth stubbs jen oniell autumn rife katie cook kennet oberly stuart pimsler dance rachelle bernard kathy chase austin meinholz melanie johnson carol engle jennifer glaws emily winn elisabeth michealson ben hain heidi oehler lauren dodds
There are only a couple more months of school until summer break! Like any other kid, I’m excited, but not because I don’t have class. This summer, I am fortunate enough to go to New York and study dance at The Ailey School in Manhattan for six weeks. The Ailey School is a primarily Modern dance school, and this will be my third summer attending. This is a big deal for me because not only is it my first year in the Professional Division, but I was granted a Level 2 Scholarship, meaning I don’t have to pay tuition. It is one of the limited numbers of scholarships awarded on the school’s audition tour, but it doesn’t include housing fees. So it isn’t full-ride, it’s full-tuition, which is still pretty amazing.
Normally, scholarships require a formal audition, which only occur twice a year in New York (April and July); I auditioned at a studio in St. Paul in February. The audition itself isn’t as scary as it seems at first—I thought it was a lot of fun. We drove up early in the morning, around 7:00, since the audition was at 9:00. We put our bags along the back wall of the studio and were assigned numbers. The auditioners gave us, I think, 15 minutes for self-warm up and stretching before starting. The audition took about two hours; the first hour was ballet and the second hour was modern. At the end, they gave us information packets, answered any questions, and told us we would get an email two weeks later.
I couldn’t believe I had been accepted into the program, much less been awarded a scholarship. I’m so honored to have this opportunity, and I’m so excited!!! I would encourage more dancers to audition for summer programs because even if you don’t get in, it’s still a fun experience to learn from. Plus if (and when) you get into a program, you get to meet so many new people, make more friends, and do new stuff, which is totally worth it!
Article written by: Katrina Manansala - Level 5 ballet, pointe and classical variations student at Allegro School of Dance and Music. Look for Katrina performing in Rochester Ensemble of Dance this month. She is a National Honor Society Member and has participated in Allegro's Pre Professional program. Pictures below are of Katrina's experience with Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive 2016. Congrats from all of us at Allegro, Katrina! We are so proud of your hard work.
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3/2/17 by Miss Katie Cook
I have two great joys in teaching Ballet 5 at Allegro. The first, of course, is the wonderful dancers. This group of incredible young women range in age from 8th through 11th grade. They are curious, inspiring, hard-working, creative, funny, talented, intelligent, unique and diverse. Many I have taught for several years. Watching them progress from their first day in Ballet 5 to where they are today is a positive and continuous journey, and I know it will continue to be as we finish our dance season in June with the Spring Dance Concert.
My second great joy in teaching Ballet 5 is our live accompanist, Mr. Tom Burson. Every Monday evening, Mr. Burson takes his place at the piano in Studio A, and we begin our plies. From start to finish, he glances, not once, at any sheet music. Every piece of music is skillfully executed from an impressive repertoire that lies deep within Tom's memory.
Live music teaches these dancers so much: musicality, rhythm, tempo, adaptability, interpretation, increased knowledge and understanding. Recently, we have been delving even deeper to learn specific musical styles and the history behind them, such as the Mazurka or the Polonaise (both of Polish origin, by the way). An often favorite game of mine is to have the dancers play "Guess the Song." Tom's vast musical knowledge includes not only classics, but some of the best songs from the Beatles to musical theater show tunes. All of this shared knowledge is great, but the true gift is the special person seated at the piano.
Two weeks ago, Tom journeyed to Florida to celebrate his mother, Dixie's, 100th birthday! Using materials from the Valentine making station in the lobby, the Ballet 5 dancers each created a one-of-a-kind 100th birthday card for Tom to deliver to Dixie. Upon his return, Tom said she loved the cards!
I often think that my passion for teaching has less to do with my love of dance, and more to do with the opportunity I have to share deep and meaningful connections with people in the studio and community at large. Sharing these cards with Dixie as Tom traveled across the country gave us a chance to think of the far-reaching, age-spanning influence that our human connections, through music and dance, can have with one another.
Mr. Tom Burson and I both agree: "These girls are so wonderful." It is fitting that for the 2017 Spring Dance Concert we will perform "Around the World." On the stage, the dancers will gracefully execute their choreography while Tom accompanies them live on piano. As for me? I'll be beaming with pride from the wings watching this artful merging of music, dance and the gift it will give to the audience!