Dazzlers Dance Studio
I confess...I am a bit of a Dickens addict. It began with Great Expectations, but this season it's all about A Christmas Carol. If you haven't read this gem, I encourage you to do it. (Don't take Hollywood renditions - they leave out so much, including the humor! Yes, it's a highly humorous book!)
So this year I'm thinking about the title (and how on earth does this relate to Dazzlers and dance!)
A Christmas Carol
Christmas: Christ's Mass, or Christ with us as we go
Carol: a religious ballad, a song of joy and mirth
Mr. Dickens was able to encapsulate in a small number of pages the life of us all - we all have a story. There are the beginning chapters that shape us and give us context for our lives. The middles chapters are what we do with what we were handed in those first ones. Do we grow the joys and charity we've experienced? Do we overcome the negative and hardship? Or do we give in to the path of least resistance and further the difficulties? (This was Scrooge's choice.) The final chapter is our legacy. What will we leave behind? Because we all will leave something behind in the people who know and love us.
And so I come to Dazzlers. We are part of your story - the beginning years for some and the middle chapters for others. Our heart is to glorify God in such a way that your life is moved into joy and success as you dance and develop your talents. We want our legacy to be one of joy and mirth as you remember your years with us.
Merry Christmas everyone!
As we begin our New Chapter let us say a loud and clear THANK YOU to the woman who started Dazzlers (along with Kathy Locke) 21 years ago. Her vision of a dance team that would exemplify excellence in dance, personal growth & development, and a team that would glorify God in every aspect has been carried through and now the baton has been passed.
Cammy took Dazzlers from a handful of dancers in homemade t-shirts and BIG hair bows in the back of a pickup truck, to a multi-National Award winning team that offers dance to ages pre-K through adult.
Don't look for her to be sitting home eating her bon bons and watching TV. She's got tons of excitement with work, church, Younique and being Nisi to her sweet granddaughter.
Thank you, Cammy, and happy trails! ~Gail S.
There is a lot of talk about thankfulness this time of year. With the holidays quickly approaching, we are reminded to take a few moments to consider all the good gifts we have been given. That is, after all, the reason for Thanksgiving. This is a right and important thing to do. I'd like to suggest that this year we consider thanksgiving more deeply than we have in the past. We are told to be thankful for the good things in our lives- family, friends, good health, air conditioning, and our pet chihuahuas. We should be thankful for these things. But what happens when we lose one, or several, or all of the these good things? When we can't see the good gifts, should we then stop being thankful?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What does it mean to do this? Rejoice always? Give thanks in all circumstances? Surely this doesn't include the bad times. This can't mean I am to rejoice in a sprained ankle, a failed chemistry test, or being fired from my job. What about when I'm fighting with a parent or spouse, when I can't seem to pay the bills, or when I'm drowning in homework? Bible times just couldn't have been as difficult as life is today, right?
The Apostle Paul wrote Thessalonians. Paul was a convert to Christianity in a time when conversion was dangerous and even illegal in most places. Paul lived in poverty. He had been rejected, imprisoned, and stoned. He was soon to be imprisoned again and then shipwrecked, and all for his ministry. Paul knew hard times better than we do. He knew them every day, and yet he told us to be thankful.
I don't say this to negate the reality of our struggles. Even when times are incredibly hard, we are to be thankful, not because the difficulties we face aren't really difficult. They are. Pain is real. Bad things happen. Even Jesus wept at the brokenness of the world around Him. Still, we are to give thanks.
Then, you may be asking, how? How do you give thanks when you've been rejected by your friends, you've been publicly humiliated, you live in constant pain from a physical ailment, or a loved one has died? How can you rejoice when you are overwhelmed, stressed to the breaking point, exhausted, and it feels like the entire world is crumbling around you? The answer, I believe, lies in the second half of verse 18: “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Our God is the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of His universe. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. He knows the difficulties you are facing. He knows the difficulties left to be faced. In fact, He planned them. He intended them to be there in your life. Why? There are a myriad of reasons, but they all come down to this: they are for His glory. His goal is not your happiness but His glory.
That sounds cold. It sounds uncaring, as if He's only concerned about Himself. The beautiful thing is that we know our God. We know that He is good, and that He has promised to bring us to glory with Himself. He has promised that He will work for our good in order to accomplish His glory. We know that He is so glorious and beautiful, that His glory is the ultimate good.
Many times God uses trials and tribulations to teach us things, to prepare us for future service and ministry, or to help us avert unforeseen disaster. Sometimes we don't or can't see the reason for our trials. Always we know, as believers, that trials bring us closer to our Savior. They prune us, build us, and prepare us for His glory. We thank Him in both the good and the bad because it is for His purpose, and there is nothing greater.
Let us revel in His power and sovereignty, and ultimately in His goodness. Let us dance in our Savior's presence, being thankful at all times and for all things.
Dazzlers Dance Studio was founded only a few months after Taylor Cary was born, and she was present from day one. Taylor, the daughter of the head director, was literally attending dance classes as a baby. She began dancing at two years of age. She would stand on the side of the room as the big girls danced and attempt to copy their movements. Years later, Taylor would graduate out of Dazzlers and go on to become a teacher and director.
Taylor loves to dance “because of the creativity behind it. Most dances try to tell a story or convey a message without saying a word. Through the choice of music, movements and expression, a beautiful story can be told. Dance is also an outlet for ministry and expressing the message of the gospel. For that reason, there is importance behind every movement no matter the genre.” Her favorite styles are contemporary, because of the beauty and grace required, and hip hop, because it is fun and gets the audience going.
Aside from dance, Taylor's other passions include baking, country music, coffee, and shoes. Her favorite television shows are Supernatural and Friends, and she's a huge fan of college football.
When asked what she loves about Dazzlers, Taylor responded, “my two favorite things about Dazzlers are one, that we strive for excellence in every aspect of life, not just dance. Dazzlers helps to instill characteristics that create a confident, respectable, poised, intelligent and caring daughters of the King, not just talented dancers. Whether it be at home, in school, class, at a performance or contest, we want to be excellent because our creator deserves our best. Second, Dazzlers pushes the importance of sisterhood. The girls I danced with growing up are still my best friends. Even though we did not start out that way, we grew up and went through so much together. It has created a bond and trust that will always be there. I cannot imagine where I would be without my forever Seniors!”
Dazzlers would not be the same without Taylor's commitment and hard work. Not only does she teach classes, choreograph, complete directorial staff duties to maintain and organize Dazzlers, and work the front desk, but she is also the creative talent behind many of the Dazzler props, the artist who painted the Dazzler dancer outside the studio door, and a tireless volunteer who has spent hours painting the walls and installing the floors inside our new studio space! Next time you see Taylor, thank her for all her hard work, and bring her a Pepsi when you get the chance!
Let's face it guys, dance is expensive. It's time consuming and it's hard work. Why bother? Besides pirouettes and grand jetes, what are your kids learning in dance class?
Dance education is valuable. It is more than simply learning how to do an excellent calypso or a perfect plie. There are larger life lessons learned through dance. Here are seven important things your kids will learn in dance class.
1) Team work.
Dancers must work together. If one person in a group routine is off by a half of a count, the entire thing falls apart. Dancers work independently, but they must work with the others in their routine at the same time. They have to work within the same physical and emotional plane, as well as counting the music and hearing the beats the same way. They learn to listen to others and to encourage them. They create their own dance language, and laugh at their mistakes together. The hours spent in practice create a bond between dancers that lasts a lifetime.
2) The importance of physical fitness.
There is no denying the athleticism required to dance. Dance is like no other exercise in that it requires the use of every muscle in every different direction. There's no repetitive single movement in dance, as there is in almost every other athletic pursuit. Dancers twist, turn, jump, run, squat, and perform every other difficult movement you can imagine. Dancers must be in excellent physical condition and have superb control of their own bodies. In a society plagued with childhood obesity, dancers learn how to develop physical fitness, and they become addicted to it. Dancers can leave the studio confident in their ability to maintain physical fitness for a lifetime of good health.
We all want to be the best, but dancers learn quickly that they just aren't. There's always someone better, and that's okay. In fact, it's GOOD! Competition fosters improvement. Dancers inspire one another to work harder and get better. Dancers must learn quickly to respect others- teachers and fellow students. They learn to accept criticism, without criticizing others. They understand that people learn at different rates and that everyone is good at some things and not good at others.
4) The value of hard work.
Whether it is physical labor, house work, school work, or dance practice, it takes hard work to accomplish anything of value. Dancers learn this in a distinct and physical way. Dancers must give themselves entirely to their craft. Not only is every muscle engaged, but also the whole mind and the entire spectrum of emotions. Dancers spend hours perfecting a particular turn, remembering tiny details of a toe point, and a facial expression, and sweating from physical exertion. Furthermore, they have to draw from personal experience in order to connect to the piece emotionally. They are rewarded with sore muscles, cracked toe nails, bruised knees, and physical and mental exhaustion.
But then, there is that magical moment when they get it. They land a perfect double pirouette, perfect a difficult leap, or finally get the footwork right. Everything comes together and the dancer learns that hard work really is worth it. It's worth the pain, the time, and the energy to finally accomplish a goal and to create something beautiful.
5) To fail.
Dancers fail. They are human, after all. They try and try to land that triple pirouette or hit the perfect middle split and even after months and months of work they can't quite do it. They practice for hours, perfecting a routine, until they get to the performance and BAM! The whole thing falls apart. They fall on their faces both literally and figuratively. They have to learn to deal with their own fallibility and move on. This performance was a flop. That contest score was abysmal. That footwork is still sloppy. Dancers deal with it, move on, and work harder next time.
Art is all about passion. This is especially true of dance. Dance is about feeling deeply and pouring yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually, into that feeling. Dance teaches you to be passionate, and gives you the opportunity to cultivate that passion. Dancers carry this passion throughout every life experience, learning to care deeply about the things they do and the people they meet.
One of the scariest things you'll ever do is step on stage in front of a packed audience and perform. When this performance involves hard work, emotional vulnerability, and physical fitness, everything gets much scarier. Dance teaches courage to people in the face of real public failure and humiliation.
Courage doesn't start at the stage, however. Dance requires fearlessness from the first day of practice. Dancers attempt physically challenging, and sometimes downright scary, feats in every practice. They are faced with the risk of bruises, pulled muscles, and sprains and breaks if they fail. They try to learn dance styles they haven't attempted or enjoyed in the past. They can't hide their flaws, physical or emotional, from other dancers. Ever day of dance teaches courage.
The list could go on. Needless to say, dance education is not only valuable, but important. It teaches vital life skills, beyond proper arabesque technique. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, dance education will set you up for a lifetime of success.
Dazzler Dance Director
This picture doesn't go back to the beginning, only to 2010 or so. But as a mom of one of these dancers, and a second mom to many others in this photo, it fills me with joy. I see the young ladies that my daughter spent not just dance hours with, but many outside hours as well. I see young women who danced for God's glory on and off the dance floor. I now look at this photo and see college students and graduates, career women, models, nurses, teachers - and all of them loving Him and still loving each other though their lives have moved apart to a large degree.
Why Dazzlers? There are so many dance options, but Dazzlers has given my girls encouragement through good times and bad, helped them stretch and achieve skills they didn't believe (at first) they could attain, taught them that God is in everything and glorified as we dance for Him, given them friendships, taught people skills, developed leadership, taught them to handle competition with grace and humility, and how to serve in the community.
I've driven hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to practice, endured the chaos of competition, the drama of those blessed pre-teen & early teen years (mine and the whole team!), the glory of watching my girls learn and succeed in a new skill, and felt the pain of loss when the prize didn't come to them even after so much hard work. And I've seen them ministered to in all those moments, loved on, and encouraged by not only the directors, but the older girls as well. Now my girls are the older ones loving on the younger.
If I had the choice of doing this all over again I'd do it in a heartbeat. We have our memories, which are great, but even more we have a life that is better because of Dazzlers. I pray you will have that as well as we begin our 21st year! ~ Gail S.