Christmas 2019 - two of our Ballet B dancers enjoy the AOD Ballerina Tree

Dear Parents and Students,

‘Tis the season for Christmas music in ballet class and all things Nutcracker! I hope the dancers are enjoying the change of scenery at the studio as we’ve made everything look a bit more festive. As always, please save this email for your records as it contains some important information!

December tuition is now due for those who are paying monthly. In addition, I’ve added the costume fee to all accounts that indicated they are participating in the concert. The costume fee pays for your dancer’s costume, as well as any necessary alterations and embellishments, which we do in-house. The costume fee is $55. We also charge a $50 performance fee that covers the studio’s costs for the concert (all ticket proceeds go to our youth company, Spokane Youth Ballet, which covers the bulk of our concert costs, so the studio itself does not make money on the concert). The performance fee will be due in March. If you have not yet indicated that your child will participate in the concert, or if you initially said no and have since changed your mind, let us know ASAP. Costumes are ordered in January as they can take a few months to ship.

This week (December 6-11) is another Dance Buddy Week for those who have signed up. If you haven’t signed up to be a dance buddy and would like to, check the Register for Classes link in your parent portal to see if there is a class that fits into your schedule. You do not need to attend the full class as a dance buddy – even 15 minutes gives us time to have some fun together.

Costume Week AND Parent Observation! Our last week of classes before we break for the holidays will be December 13-18. During this week, students are invited to dress up like we did for Halloween (reindeer antlers, jingle bells, angel wings, ugly sweaters, Santa hats, etc.). As always, dancers still need to be have their full range of motion in whatever they’re wearing, should still wear their hair in a bun or other secure updo, still need to wear ballet shoes, and should not wear any necklaces, scarves, capes, or other accessories that wrap or tie around the neck. December 13-18 is also our next Parent Observation Week. Once again, feel free to join us in the studio for your dancer’s class. All observers except children under 3 years old must wear masks at all times. If you are a parent of an older dancer and can’t sit through a full two hours, I suggest coming to the latter part of your child’s class, especially on Thursday (for Ballet 4) and Wednesday (for Ballet 5) as well as to Character, Jazz, and Contemporary if your child is enrolled. Students may wear their skirts/tutus during Parent Observation classes (in addition to or instead of a costume, in this case).

Next week, we will start taking dancers’ measurements to order their costumes, and all classes will begin learning choreography for the concert after Christmas. Even dancers who don’t intend to perform will learn and practice choreography, since that is an important part of dance training (if your dancer won’t be performing on stage but you would still like to purchase a costume, please let me know). As I have mentioned in previous letters, our concert this year is La Boutique Fantasque, an early 20th-century ballet about the secret lives of dolls in a Parisian toyshop. I will be sending out a cast list for the ballet possibly within the next week!

A few dancers have asked me about bringing treats for their classmates on the last day of class. This is acceptable, but all treats must be individually packaged and dancers may not eat any items in the studio or without parent approval. I do not have a comprehensive list of food allergies or dietary restrictions, so please let me know if your child has any. This information will remain confidential but I will be able to let classes know what ingredients to avoid if possible. If you want to bring something for your fellow dancers, a non-edible goody is always appreciated, such as a Christmas card or ornament. I will be passing out our annual studio Christmas ornament starting this week.

I hope you are all staying cozy and warm this winter and on behalf of the studio, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

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Dear Parents and Students,

November is here! We had so much fun last week with costumes. If you follow us on Facebook (@SpokaneAOD) or Instagram (@spokaneacademyofdance), you can see some of the pictures from the week.

November tuition is now due, and parents enrolled in auto-pay have been charged. If you are paying quarterly, quarterly tuition is due November 15.

Our mask, skirt, and tutu order finally shipped! If you ordered a mask or a tutu, they will be sent home with your child once they arrive. If you missed out on the order, I did purchase a few extra masks and skirts that can be bought in the office (again, once they arrive). You can also place your own order any time at; just enter the code KD_AD509at checkout. This will give you a discount as well as ensure your items have the Academy of Dance logo printed on them! These items are not returnable since they are branded, so I recommend holding off on ordering leotards until we get some samples in the studio (I’m still waiting for these to ship).

Speaking of merch, did you know our website has a store now? Go to this link and check out the items we have for sale, including apparel, bags, and more. Most items come in multiple colors and everything has the Academy of Dance logo either printed or embroidered on it. These could make great gifts! If you have ideas for merch you’d like to see us sell, let me know!

There’s an exciting opportunity for high school seniors coming up this month. Gonzaga University is hosting a Fall Dance Day for prospective students on Saturday, November 20. You can find out more here. If you’re a high school student and you are curious about dancing in college, whether as a major, minor, or an elective, this is a great opportunity to learn what that would be like. The day will consist of ballet and contemporary classes, a Q&A session with current students, an informational session which can also be accessed via Zoom, and in the evening, a performance by Spectrum Dance Theatre from Seattle. (If you would like to attend the performance but not the Fall Dance Day, you can purchase a ticket for the show for $20 through the GU Box Office). Our own alumna, Brooke Geffrey-Bowler, is currently pursuing a dance major at Gonzaga.

Dance Buddies! I would like to re-introduce Dance Buddies this year! The Dance Buddy program is a way for older students to connect with and mentor younger students. Most young dancers idolize the “big kids” in their studio, and giving them a chance to actually get to know those students is a very meaningful experience. One of our Ballet 2 students, Berkley, was a “Little Buddy” several years ago and is every excited to be a “Big Buddy” this year. I asked her to write why dance buddies are important to her. This is her response:

“Being a buddy means to me being somebody to inspire another dancer, and encouraging them to work harder and do their best at what they do. Getting to be a buddy would mean to me, I would be a better dancer because of them.”

If your dancer is in Ballet 2-5 and would like to be a Big Buddy to a class of younger dancers, go to your parent portal and click “register for classes,” then select the tab “Dance Buddies 2021-22.” You will see a list of classes your dancer can sign up to be a Big Buddy in. Make sure the day and time listed doesn’t conflict with your dancer’s own ballet class! “Enroll” in the class (you should not be charged any fee) and voila! You’re a dance buddy! You should receive a confirmation email listing the Dance Buddy dates as well as the expectations for being a Big Buddy. (I’ve also attached a revised calendar to this email that lists the Dance Buddy dates as well as other special days at the Academy).

Some of our younger dancers have expressed interest in having a movie night to watch our 2021 Summer Concert (this was playing during Open House in August and it seems to have made quite an impression on several dancers!). Let me know if this is something you would like to attend and we can set it up for a Saturday afternoon in the coming weeks. We can host it in our big studio, but we would need to limit the number of participants, and everyone who attended would need to be masked. This could be a good way for our new families to see what our concerts are like and to get them excited about participating themselves – which brings me to the final piece of news:

Summer Concert 2022 will be an adaption of the 1919 French ballet La Boutique Fantasque (The Magic Toyshop), a charming ballet about toyshop full of dolls who have a secret life of their own. All Academy classes will participate in the concert; however, you can opt out if you choose (dancers who opt out of the performance can still purchase a costume). The concert date is Friday, June 17, at 7:00 pm, with dress rehearsal the day before. We start rehearsing during classes after we return from Christmas break. Rehearsals will be incorporated into regular classes until our last week of classes (May 31-June 4). After that, we will have a two-week rehearsal period in which each class will be called for a specific set of rehearsals with other classes, culminating in our full run-through on Wednesday the 15th at the studio and our dress rehearsal on Thursday the 16th at the Fox Theater. Typically our Creative Movement, Elementary, and Ballet 1-2 dancers will have two rehearsals the first week and two the second week in addition to dress rehearsal; Ballet 3 dancers may have two or three each of the two weeks, and Ballet 4 and 5 may have three or four each week. I will have a schedule for this two-week rehearsal period by spring break, and you’ll hear more about the concert as we get closer to the performance.

Remember that we will not have class Wednesday through Saturday the week of Thanksgiving (November 24-27). Have a great month!

Dear Parents and Students,

Happy October! We have a lot going on this month as well as some reminders and announcements, so please read and save this letter for reference.

October tuition is due now for those who are paying monthly. If you are enrolled in auto-pay, your card has been charged.

By now everyone should have had a chance to get the correct leotard for their child’s dress code: pink short-sleeve for Creative Movement, lavender short-sleeve for Elementary 1, light blue short-sleeve for Elementary 2, burgundy tank for Ballet 1, plum tank for Ballet 2, teal any style for Ballet 3, and black any style for Ballet 4-5. Please do not purchase the leotards that have attached skirts or tutus (although these can be worn during special days - see below). Please also be sure to put your dancer’s hair in a neat bun before taking them to the studio. A secure bun requires bobby pins and sometimes a hairnet to keep everything tidy. If you’re not sure how to do a ballet bun, I have a few videos on this YouTube playlist.

I don’t yet have a video for doing short hair, but if anyone wants to volunteer their child, I can make a video with them to post.

Related to dress code, please remember to have your dancer cover up outside the studio. This is for two reasons: first, the weather is turning cold and it’s not good for our muscles to go through rapid temperature changes. Secondly, we are located near a gym and two sports bars and while we’ve never had a problem with passersby, we feel it’s safest when our dancers are wearing more than just a leotard and tights outdoors. Also, make sure your dancer does not wear ballet shoes outside. This will track dirt and oils onto our special dance floor that can damage its surface.

Now for the fun and exciting stuff!

Our first parent observation week is October 11-16. During this week, parents are encouraged to come into the studio during any or all of your child’s classes to observe in person. Due to our space limitations, we ask for no more than two family members of each student to be present. Additional family members, as always, can watch via Zoom. Feel free to take pictures or video during parent observation classes. Parents will also have the opportunity to ask questions after class. Female students may wear a matching skirt or tutu to class on parent observation days.

Another special dress event that is coming up is our first costume week! Students will be allowed to wear costumes during class October 25-30. We do have a few stipulations on costumes, however: first, absolutely no capes, scarves, necklaces, or anything else that wraps around the neck, as these are potential choking hazards while dancing. Secondly, do not wear anything that impedes the free movement of the body, especially the legs (no tight skirts, etc.). Dresses should be worn with something underneath, such as a leotard or shorts. Any hats, wigs, or other headwear will need to be removed during class or be small enough to be secured to the head with bobby pins. Finally, please keep in mind that many of our dancers are young children who understandably may be frightened of scary or gory images, so use your best judgment in selecting a costume.

Merch is coming! We have partnerships with two different companies to bring you Academy of Dance branded apparel. First, Corps Dancewear has a line of leotards, skirts, masks, and more that come in our class colors and are very high quality. You can purchase any of these items at a discount with the AOD logo on it using the code KD_AD509 at checkout. However, be aware that all sales are final since they contain our logo. I’m waiting for the company to send me samples of the leotards so students can try them on at the studio. Second, we have an online shop now through Printify. I will be getting in samples of some of these items as well, but we will carry a limited inventory due to our small space. Printify has a huge selection of products, only a fraction of which are in our studio online store. If you browse and see a type of product you’d like to slap an Academy logo on, let me know!

Lastly, I am working on starting a new dance buddy system. I’ll explain more about this in a future email, but in short, it’s a way for older dancers to connect with younger ones by attending their classes about once a month. Be on the lookout for more information about this!

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Monthly parent letters are emailed to all families currently enrolled in the studio. They are reposted here along with other updates.