Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Summer Stride

The Summer Stride

Summer is just around the corner and here at Kick Performing Arts we are super excited about all our fantastic summer program offerings!

With the current dance season winding down and the new season ramping up, you might have been wondering lately if summer dance classes are right for your child. From our experience, every student has the potential to hit their “summer stride” … in other words, they all have the ability to keep their learning power going in the summer, without losing any momentum!

We believe there is a unique benefit for each and every student who dances with us in the summer, whether it’s during a weekly class, a dance camp, or an intensive. Read on to see which advantages might be in store for your child!

Making Progress
Because dance is built on muscle memory, summer study can help your child fine-tune their movement vocabulary and technique, allowing them to improve their skills, grow stronger, and be better prepared to take on new material.  With so much more available time, we see our dancers make huge progress each summer!

Being Consistent
Young children do well with stability in their routine, so maintaining that normalcy with summer dance can give them (and you!) peace of mind, even as the rest of your summer plans may vary.  For our older dancers the consistency allows them to stay strong all summer long!!

Getting Motivated
After the showcase, we find that some students are eager to try a new dance style (usually something they were inspired by!) to see how they like it. Summer is THE perfect time to test out those new interests, without a long commitment.

Gaining Confidence
Our summer programs, with their blend of both structure and fun, can give your child the boost they need to jump into fall classes feeling good about themselves. There’s nothing quite like the personal development that can be built in the summer!

It’s part of our mission to ensure that your child is learning how to balance their hard work with time off, and the summer offers the best of both worlds. We encourage all of our students to make time for rest and relaxation, and also make time to keep their bodies strong and minds engaged. This balance is what the true summer stride is all about!

There’s something for everyone here this summer at Kick Performing Arts. We’re happy to help you customize the right schedule for your family or make a special recommendation for your child … just ask!

Beating the Back to School Blues!

Beating the Back-to-School Blues

“But I’m  tired!”

It’s that time of year again! School is back in session and after-school activities abound, meaning “I’m tired” can become a frequent refrain from the backseat of your car.

It’s not uncommon for us to hear about young dancers who fall asleep on the way to class during the first month or so of school. Getting used to a new schedule is not easy! Some children won’t be shy about stating how tired they are after school is out; others just feel a little grouchy by the time dance class rolls around.

What can you do to help turn this feeling around (and end your own exasperation)? In our experience at Kick Performing Arts, the suggestions included here have the potential to completely bust those back-to-school blues!

Create a fun “going-to-dance” ritual. Whether it’s the music you jam out to on the way to class each week, or a family pizza night afterward, a special ritual can always perk up the day. The routine built around attending dance class can have a tremendous impact on your child’s ability to adapt to their new schedule.
Offer gentle, consistent reassurance. While we all know that logic doesn’t always fly with children, sometimes they feel better just knowing you understand and are there for them. Remind them that feeling tired after school is normal, and that the feeling will get better over time. Let them know that you’re proud of them for making an effort.
Be prepared with water and snacks! Children who are well-hydrated and who’ve had a light snack before dance class feel more refreshed and ready to move. They have the energy they need to enjoy the experience and retain what they’ve learned.

If there is a “best part” about the back-to-school blues, it’s that they are temporary. At Kick Performing Arts, we know that this period of time will soon become a distant memory, one replaced with the refrain of “Is it time to go to dance class yet?” Consider yourself warned!

 

What is Age Appropriate Movement….and Why it MATTERS!!

What is Age-Appropriate Movement in Dance?

Why is it so important that Kick offers age-appropriate movement for its dance students? Because your child’s safety depends on it!

Safe movements for young dancers are dependent on their ages and rate of physical growth. For example, growth plates in the skeleton—the growing tissues that help bones become strong—don’t reach full maturity until a child’s teen years.

This is one reason why an eight-year-old dancer will still be introduced to age-appropriate movements even if she has been dancing for six years. Kick’s instructors understand that certain skills may not be safe for her to practice just yet.

To develop proper technique and a love for dance, we help all of our students build a strong dance foundation over time.

At Kick Performing Arts, we take pride in knowing that our teaching methods must include different approaches for different ages. Our faculty take great care in their teacher education to learn how to instruct children of all ages with the most-relevant tools and resources. Our curricula allow us to ensure the pace of learning is just right at each level.

Here are some examples you may notice from your child’s class:

With little dancers, we focus on developing gross motor skills, such as marching, galloping, and hopping—not intricate technique
Our younger dancers also work on non-locomotor movements such as bending, turning, stretching, and balancing on one foot
Since the muscles that support a child’s hip joints are still developing, we never force a child’s “turnout” (the rotated position many dance steps are performed from)
As our dancers grow, we introduce strength and flexibility exercises only at developmentally-appropriate times
We ensure our dancers of all ages know to never overstretch their muscles, either in class or when they stretch on their own time

Your child’s safe physical development in dance is a top priority in our classrooms, and it is a privilege for us to be a part of their personal growth in the classroom. We appreciate your trust in us as we help your child progress in dance, step by step!

Maggie Martin

Maggie Martin: Finding Strength in Dance

Strength.

Maggie Martin thinks her mom is strong. Her mom Kristen thinks her daughter is strong. We think they’re both strong.

At 14, Maggie has had to learn lessons that some adults never will. According to Kristen, she’s had to grow up quickly.

“She’s learned compassion and how to really help people,” said Kristen.

Kristen was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) 16 years ago. Maggie is her biggest fan and supporter, always worried that she’s ok.

“She brushes my hair and massages my feet,” said Kristen. “Even the things I can do myself she’ll do for me.”

But when Maggie is in her happy place, all those concerns melt away, and that’s the way Kristen wants it. Her happy place is Kick Dance Studios.

“When I’m a Kick, I’m in the zone,” said Maggie. “It’s such a freeing atmosphere. It makes my heart feel free.”

Maggie MartinMaggie has been dancing at Kick Dance for six years, taking contemporary, jazz, hip hop and musical theater. During the photo shoot for Kick Dance Studio’s 15th anniversary celebration, Maggie’s grace and poise radiated through the entire studio. She moved elegantly between her position and her mother sitting in a nearby chair, always checking on her, keeping an eye out. While getting her mom situated in the chair, Kristen commented on Maggie’s strength.

“She’s so strong!,” said Kristen.

“I get it from you, mom,” Maggie replied softly.

We whole-heartedly agree.

Dancing at Kick has helped Maggie hone that incredible physical strength. But it’s done something for Maggie’s emotional strength that no one could have imagined. It’s given her a mentor to turn to when things get rough. A mentor, that like Maggie’s mom, has MS.

Michelle Tolson lives and breathes dance and performing. Dancing since she was little, Michelle went on to become Miss New Hampshire, a contestant in the Miss America Pageant, and a Rockette for six years. But her passion is teaching.

“I’ve taught dance since I was 16,” said Michelle. “l started teaching out of a garage, and I continue to teach at Kick and Wagner College in New York.”

Michelle was diagnosed with MS in 2014, but that diagnosis isn’t allowed to affect her dance life. About this she is adamant.

“I do this because it’s not a dance studio, it’s a family,” said Michelle, who drives two hours each Saturday to teach at Kick’s studio in Rumson. Michelle teaches solos, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, ballet and co-teaches advanced dance.

Michelle and Maggie have a bond. A bond so firmly rooted in strength that it would be impossible to break.

“I hope I can be as positive and wonderful a role model for Maggie as her mom is,” said Michelle.

In Michelle, Maggie sees a different face of the disease. Kristen and Michelle are in different stages of MS, so it looks different to the outside world.

“She’s watched her mom power through when there wasn’t the medication there is now,” said Michelle. “She has such a positive attitude; you’d never know she was sick.”

Dance motivates Maggie to be the best she can be and really focus on what she loves. And she does it about 12 hours a week. That’s dedication.

Each year, Kick Dance Studios picks a charity to support with their annual performance showcasing new dances. Two years ago they chose the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Maggie performed a lyrical dance to a song called “Cry” and dedicated it to her mom. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

“It was such an emotional experience,” said Kristen. “She danced that dance throughout several competitions and it always meant so much.”

Watching Kristen and Maggie together is a special treat. It’s obvious where Maggie gets her funny and witty personality, and it’s clear that Kristen is extremely proud of her daughter. During the photo shoot, Maggie looked at her mom and grinned a grin full of admiration and love. Mom looked back with pride, seeing her daughter in her element and full of strength.

Michelle joined Maggie and Kristen for their photos, highlighting the special bond the three share. While getting Kristen in her chair, she joked “It might take a village,” to which Michelle responded, “Well, you’ve got one.”

The strength that emanates when the three are in the same room is inspiring and humbling. Three strong women, in different stages of their lives, coming together in strength.

Photos by Purelee Photography

Kick Dance Studios 15th Anniversary

15 Reasons to Celebrate Kick Dance Studios in 2016

 

Fifteen years of tutus and sparkles, competitions and trophies, costumes and choreography. Fifteen years of watching kids make their dreams come true in classrooms every day. Fifteen years of watching hard work pay off. Fifteen years of tiny dancers in big tutus experiencing the first day of dance, then falling in love. Fifteen years of tears at graduation and fingers crossed they come back to visit. Fifteen years of teamwork and friendships that last a lifetime. Fifteen years of dance moms watching their dancers’ amazing accomplishments. Fifteen years of entrepreneurship and striving to make the studio the best it can be. Fifteen years of recitals and a year’s worth of teaching on display on the Count Basie stage. Fifteen summers full of amazing camps and plans for a bigger, better following season. Fifteen years of sharing the art and passion for dance with countless kids, building confidence with each step. It has been an amazing 15 years and the best is yet to come! Here are 15 reasons we’re celebrating this milestone anniversary:

Community Counts. Kick Dance makes giving back to the community a priority, encouraging community outreach and community service from its dancers. This fosters students to become great people, on and off the stage. Each year, the studio chooses a charity to work with, and all proceeds from fundraising efforts support that organization. The studio has worked with StrongMom.org, Project Write Now, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Monmouth Beach Elementary School, All Fur Love Animal Rescue, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.Kick Dance Studios 15th Anniversary

Friendship is Forever. Good friends are irreplaceable. Having someone to love, support and get you through the tough times just makes life easier. For children, making new friends comes much more easily when surrounded by other children who have a similar interest. At Kick Dance Studios, students certainly have one thing in common — DANCE! The friendships made during classes and performances are often lifelong ones, and the bonds created make for strong and fluid performances.

Family is Foundation. Ask any Kick dancer or instructor and they’ll tell you their favorite part about being at the studio: FAMILY! Kick Dance Studios is a home away from home for all, and the love and support is obvious just walking in the door. This quote from a Kick dancer sums it all up: “Being at Kick is the best feeling in the world. It’s a joy that I don’t get at any other place, and when I’m there, I don’t want to be anywhere else.” – Jessie Boak, 17

Technique and Talent. Being a dancer at Kick is about having tons of fun, but it’s also about learning proper technique and form. Kick offers a wide variety of Dance, Acro, Musical Theater, and Vocal classes for all ages and abilities. It is our goal to provide the highest quality training while developing a love for the arts. Kick Dancers hone their skills through practice, then show off what they’ve learned at recitals and competitions.

Inspiring Instructors. Kick Dance instructors are the heart and soul of what we do. Without them we’d be lost. We have musical theater experts, classically-trained ballet dancers, jazz and tap pros, and even a former Rockette on staff. You can tell these teachers know their stuff, and they have a passion and love for what they do that resonates with each and every student. Their real-life experience translates into life lessons for our dancers.

 Activities Abound. Kick offers so many different classes it will make your head spin… in a good way. Traditional ballet training is the foundation for all great dancing, and at Kick it’s taught at a quick pace to keep our dancers moving and focused. There are no limits to choreography and expression in our contemporary classes, which blend ballet, jazz, lyrical and modern techniques. Jazz is all about the rhythm, featuring the sounds of the oldies, pop, funk, soul and more. Tap makes our hearts light and happy, and dancers develop rhythm, coordination and balance. Hip hop is high-energy and suitable for all ages. Acro lets dancers tumble and flip, with cartwheels, back bends, walkovers, chest stands, back handsprings, back tucks, layouts and aerials. Trust us, no one is ever bored at Kick!

Cultivating Confidence. Our dancers go beyond technique to develop important life skills, learning to be respectful, confident and conscientious young people who share their gifts and talents with the community. We focus on both personal development and teamwork to make our dancers the best the can be.

Team Togetherness. We teach dance to make great kids! That’s why our team programs are focused on compassion, teamwork, commitment and life skills. Kick’s competition team allows dancers with a passion for performing the opportunity to showcase their talents. We’ve performed at Walt Disney World, ABC TV, Madison Square Garden and many other places! Team Kick has won numerous awards at both the regional and national levels.

 Forget Failure. From failure comes learning, and often success. We teach our dancers to practice and try their hardest, all while having fun and making lifelong friendships. Our dancers support their peers and are there to lift them up when times get tough. It’s the Kick Dance way.

 Mentors Matter. Our instructors become mentors for Kick dancers, and that’s evident in the passion and heart they put into each and every class they teach. Our mentors are dedicated to serving our students, not only in teaching technique, but guiding dancers through life’s challenges and being there, in the good and the bad.

 Overcome Obstacles. Dance is an excellent outlet for young dancers to put life’s stress behind them and focus on something positive and affirming. Not only does dance provide many health benefits, such as increased flexibility and muscle strength, it also helps improve mental clarity and lowers stress. The dancers at Kick Dance Studios have incredible dedication and can do anything when they put their minds to it!

 Fostering Fitness. Team sports like soccer, baseball and football keep children in shape and active, but what about when those sports are out of season? Dance provides the ideal activity for children to build strength and stay in shape until they’re ready to play ball again. Many professional athletes attest to the benefits of dancing, like 320-pound Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon, who has been taking ballet since his senior year of college as a way to keep himself injury-free, and he attributes dance with strengthening his knees, ankles and feet.

Showing Support. When a Kick dancer is down, fellow Kick dancers lift them up and help to rise above any challenge. With supportive students and instructors, Kick dancers can do anything. Students at Kick not only support each other when the going gets tough, they support their community. With so many people in need, Kick is always ready to lend a hand and support the community they so proudly are a part of.

 Models of Modesty. Kick’s top priority is that kids will be kids. In a world where children grow up too fast, Kick prides itself on age-appropriate music and costumes. We believe in preserving childhood and that children can learn self-respect and love the skin they are in when allowed to be kids. Our program goes above and beyond to encourage positive body image so children can love who they are and feel free to be themselves. We teach and model modesty, teamwork and positive body image.

 Broadway Bound. Kick teaches dancers to reach for the skies and dream big, that’s why dancer’s interested in ultimately performing on Broadway’s big stage have the opportunity to learn and prepare right in the Kick Dance Studio. We pride ourselves on making our dancers triple threats, because the performer who can sing, dance and act can’t be stopped. Kick’s acting, vocal and musical theater and performance-based classes provide a supportive, non-competitive atmosphere for young dancers to bloom. Kick dancers have had opportunities to see Broadway shows in preview, as well as get up close and personal with a real-life Rockette. These brushes with Broadway are a great way for our dancers to imagine the endless possibilities dancing provides for themselves.

As Kick Dance Studios celebrates its big 15, we’ll be featuring some of our dancers and the personal stories that make them unique. Check out our first dancer profile on Sadie Marino here, and stay tuned for more inspiring dancer stories!

Photos by Purelee Photography


 

Sweet Words From Our Friends on Facebook

Congratulations Vanessa Berry and Kick Dance Studios on 15 great years! We’re proud to work with you! Hulafrog: Red Bank, NJ 

It was a privilege to be a part of it! Thank YOU Vanessa!    Polly Wardell 

Happy Dancerversary!  Susie Danzig

Happy anniversary. So happy to be a part of the Kick family! Michelle Tolson 

Congratulations Vanessa!!! You are such a huge inspiration to so many!!!! Alicia Knopps 

Congratulations on 15 Vanessa and family!!! The love of Kick really shines thru from you as well as the teachers and students! Keep up the awesome work! Min Hur Marino 

Congratulations! Our girls love Kick and all the instructors – thank you for providing a fantastic program. Matthew Scoble 

Vanessa, You are my children’s mentor, my best friend and our family. I’m amazed that you can juggle some many things at once and always remain smiling and professional. You are an excellent role model and a kind, sweet soul. Elizabeth Dipaolo 

Congratulations!! Wishing you many more years of success! So many great life lessons learned through dance! Cathy White Alescio 

Congratulations! We all love being a part of the Kick family. There is nothing like it. Starr De Angelis 

Congratulations Vanessa! 15 years…wow! My girls and I are thrilled to be part of the Kick family. Nancy Longo Mazzei 

Thank you for giving Cristina and our family many years of love, confidence, talent, fun, and forever friendships. We will never forget how important Kick Dance Studio was to her life. Congrats Vanessa & many more to come. Diane Dafonte 

That is so amazing!! Congratulations!! You gave my daughter the most amazing gift of confidence, how to work for her passion, gift of great friends and gave her a safe and fun place to go and do what she loves most. You are an amazing teacher! You gave her the gift of dance…..truly what you have given her is so priceless…I will be forever grateful for you and for Kick dance studio! Melissa Harris 

Happy Anniversary!! Happy to be part of it for NINE years! Kaitlyn Kurkemelis 

Congratulations, Vanessa- here’s to many more wonderful years positively touching children’s lives! Samantha Maguire Zaleski 

Holy cow!!! I had the pleasure and privilege to be a part of the Kick family and experience for 7 amazing years before I moved across the country (and the earlier years of the studio! I think 2004-2011?). And not a day goes by where I’m not only proud to see the progress of the studio and dancers here on Facebook, but where I genuinely miss being a part of the excitement and accomplishments of amazing families (you know who you are). Kick will always have a very special place in my heart!! Congrats and cheers to the beginning of 15 more!!   Alyson Christine 

Congratulations Vanessa…. So many of our greatest memories and friendships were created at Kick. Heather Cheney Kaiman 

My girls love being a part of the Kick family! Vanessa you know I have marveled for years at your uncanny ability to find a place for everyone to shine their best! I love that both of my girls have been inspired to try new things because you have believed in them and pushed them! Congratulations on this milestone! Debi Sanfilippo Demcsak 

Congratulations Vanessa! As a parent of a Kick graduate (who began with you when she was in 1st grade & danced with you for 11 years), I want to say THANK YOU for being a wonderful role model and offering a place where youth can dance and move in a positive, developmentally appropriate manner. Here’s to 15 more successful years! Liz DeBeer 

Congratulations Vanessa! I wonder if you knew 15 years ago that Kick would become so much more to girls than a place to learn dance. Here’s how I would describe it. A community where girls would be able to become who they really were meant to be in an incredibly supportive environment and make true lifelong friends. That’s what kick was to Sydney Ringer. I can’t even imagine life without it. A big thank you and lots of love! Kristi Bridges 

Congratulations!! What an accomplishment!! Emily loves every minute she is there!!!  Estelle D Ketterer 

Kick Dance Studios visits School of Rock

This Holiday Kick Dancers Rock Out and High Kick It With The Pros

Kick dancers are getting in the holiday spirit NYC style. Dancers from our advanced team were invited to rock out with Jesse Swim from Broadway’s new blockbuster show, School of Rock, and will soon tap to the holiday beat with Radio City Music Hall’s Rockette. You can just imagine our dancers’ excitement when we told them the exciting news that they were going to dance their hearts out with these world-class performers.

Kick Dance Studios visits School of RockSchool of Rock, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest Broadway musical, is based on the popular movie with Jack Black. It’s chock full of high-energy dance numbers. Through a special guest dance program started by Kick’s Owner Vanessa Berry, students had the unique opportunity to visit Pearl Street Studios where School of Rock’s Jesse Swim taught them ‘Stick It To The Man’, a show-stopping number from the musical. After the students rocked out with Jesse, they were in for a special treat. The group experienced the full red carpet treatment with a School of Rock special preview! Seeing the show as an unfinished product, from rehearsal to performance, allowed the dancers to fully appreciate and experience what it takes to put on a Broadway show.

 

Jesse Swim visits Kick Dance Studios“I know that when I was a kid in the theater getting to work with the “pros” on anything was that little extra I needed to get me to where I am today,” said Jesse. “To hear what is really happening on stage in that show, or any show for that matter, from someone who does it eight times a week is a valuable tool. It helps give you insight to what it takes to be professional and excel in this field.” Jesse said he loves guest teaching and even learns things about how he sees himself on stage when he teaches. “It helps me articulate in words what I am trying to convey every night,” he said. “It makes me a stronger performer and person.”

Kick dancers will also have the opportunity to get in the Christmas spirit during a three-hour master class with Rockette Michelle Tolson, a dancer from the precision dance company that blends modern dance and classic ballet based in New York City. Advanced dancers from Kick are invited to sign up for this ultimate Rockette experience on December 20. The day is complete with a trip to see the Rockettes perform at the famous Radio City Music Hall and a master class at the rehearsal studio where dancers will dance tap, jazz, ballet and more with the pros.

Rockettes at Kick Dance Studios“The Rockettes experience is a great chance to grow as a dancer and to learn from professionals,” Kristen Martin, dance mother of Maggie, age 13. “It’s great that she’ll be able to see some of the available opportunities that exist for her in the future.”

Maggie has been dancing for six years and loves the friendly atmosphere and the strong bond she and the other dancers have with the Kick Dance instructors. The opportunity to train with a professional dancer is a dream come true for Maggie.

“She just continues to grow as a dancer at Kick,” said Kristen. “She’s in great physical shape and that translates into other activities.”

Kick Dance students are thriving in their advanced team classes, so much so that Vanessa is already planning another Broadway musical preview team outing for the spring.

Other exciting winter workshops at Kick Dance Studios include:

Musical Theater Workshops:

School of Rock, ages 7-14
Monday, December 28, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Rumson Studio

The Wiz, ages 5-11
Wednesday, December 30, 9 a.m. -12 p.m., Rumson Studio

Miss Katie leads these two fun-filled Musical Theater workshops featuring songs and dances from Broadway shows. Performance at the end of each fun-filled morning.

Rockette Workshops:

Ages 4-8 (all levels)
Tuesday, December 29, 9:15-10:00 a.m., Rumson Studio

Ages 9 and up (experienced dancers only)
Tuesday, December 29, 10 -11 a.m., Rumson Studio

Join Radio City Rockette Miss Michelle Tolson and learn how the Rockettes perform those amazing Kicklines.

Register online.

Kick Dance Studios is More Than Just Great Dancing

Kick Dance is More Than Just Great Dancing

Being a part of Kick Dance Studios is more than just great dancing. Literally.

Kick Dance Studios is part of a group called More Than Just Great Dancing, an organization made up of dance studios around the nation focused on making a positive impact on dance students and the community. In fact, Kick Dance was one of 15 founding members of the organization, started in 2012, and is the only dance studio accredited by More Than Just Great Dancing in Central New Jersey.

“In addition to our network, we have live events to share and learn from each other,” said Vanessa Berry, owner and instructor at Kick Dance Studios. “We share both business and curriculum information, while learning customer service best practices.”

Kick Dance Studios is More Than Just Great Dancing
Vanessa Berry, More Than Just Great Dance founder, Misty Lown, and member Alicia Knopps.

But More Than Just Great Dancing has an even wider reach, encouraging community outreach, community service, and fostering and nurturing dance students to become great people, on and off stage.

“Kick Dance joined More Than Just Great Dancing to have a network of like-minded studio owners dedicated to elevating our industry and preserving childhood,” said Vanessa Berry.

And that’s precisely the mission of More Than Just Great Dancing — to raise the bar for dance studio education, and to honor, support and recognize the studios who desire to offer age-appropriate education for dancers growing up in a complex world.

Community service and outreach is a big theme at More Than Just Great Dancing, and something Vanessa and her instructors take very seriously. Each year the studio chooses a new charity to work with, and all proceeds support that organization.

This year, Kick Dance raised $10,000 for StrongMom.org, an organization supporting one mother’s battle with colon cancer, and Project Write Now, a group offering writing classes and workshop experiences to children, teens, and adults in Red Bank, NJ.

Two years ago, Kick Dance chose to support the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, and raised $8,500 with their annual “Kick for a Cause” performance on February 23. The charity was chosen to show support for a mother of one of Kick’s dance team students who has MS, a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system.

Other charitable efforts include raising money for Hurricane Sandy-damaged Monmouth Beach Elementary School, All Fur Love Animal Rescue, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Vanessa Berry and K-3 students during a Halloween flash mob rehearsal.
Vanessa Berry and K-3 students during a Halloween flash mob rehearsal.

“Our annual charity show has raised over $80,000 so far,” said Vanessa. “We also are very involved with our local schools. Right now I am teaching K-3 a Halloween flash mob dance to perform for the parents at the annual costume parade.”

This year, Kick Dance is standing up to bullying with the help of More Than Just Great Dancing. The organization is sponsoring a “Define Yourself” campaign to raise awareness about October’s National Bullying Prevention Month. The idea is for teenage dance students to start a movement to shed labels and define themselves by who they are and not how others define them.

“At More Than Dancers, we believe you are more than just a dancer,” said Misty Lown, founder of More Than Just Great Dancing. “You are a sister, a brother, an athlete, a student, a volunteer, a person of faith, etc. And you are even more than that! You are a person of worth and value simply because you are you. You are uniquely gifted and already have everything inside of you to reach your dreams!”

Kick Dance Studios is one of the first dance studios to support this anti-bullying movement, asking its dancers to fill in this sentence: I will be more than a dancer, I will be ______. Students may say “a positive influence to others,” “a good friend to everyone,” or “a person who tries my best.” The answers are limitless and are meant to remind us all that there is more to us than meets the eye. The campaign revolves around the fact that we all dance to a different beat and that we shouldn’t let others define us.

More Than Just Great Dancing and Kick Dance Studios are committed to excellence, both in the classroom and in the community. The close-knit group has proven to be a great resource and learning experience for Vanessa, her instructors, and the studio as a whole. For more information, visit www.morethanjustgreatdancing.com.

Now ask yourself, how will you define you? Then fill in this sentence:  I will be more than a great ______, I will be ________.

Photo 1: Vanessa Berry, More Than Just Great Dance founder, Misty Lown, and member Alicia Knopps. More Than Just Great Dancing provides dance studio owners with a knowledgeable and dedicated network of like-minded business owners who know the business of dance.

Cover Photo: Kick Dance students Anna Ciardiello, 9 of Fair Haven, and Lauren Connoly, 9 of Little Silver, on stage after a community performance at Harvest Fest at Knollwood School in Fair Haven. Kick Dance Studios is a member of More Than Just Great Dancing, a group of dance studios focused on making a positive impact on dance students and the community.