The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life

As we celebrate the coming of our King to earth this month, I think I am finally ready to put into words some thoughts about our trip to Haiti this past July. Ms. Vicki, my dad, my oldest daughter, and I made a trip with a team from Joy in Haiti, an O’Fallon-based ministry organization. We had the privilege of spending 9 days in Haiti doing various things with the House of Joy Orphanage and the New Christian Church & School of Tabarre. Following God’s leading to make this trip, I went in open to receive whatever God had for our team as well as the Haitians we had the privilege of meeting there. I was overwhelmed with the joy the girls shared with us.   Teaching dance to girls who do not always have the opportunity to learn like this was a joy. Many of the girls were full of energy and loved tumbling. Many of the girls enjoyed expressing themselves through dance as well. They soaked up the instruction like sponges – never complaining about the 100 degree heat (indoors) or feeling tired. They were excited when we were wrapping up the learning of the dances, and it was time to prepare for dancing at Sunday’s church service. Handing out costumes and taking group photos was a treat – similar to dance concert time here with excited girls who love dressing up! There are a few girls from the orphanage who do the hair of the other girls, and it was a fun surprise on Sunday to see that they had coordinated their hair ribbons and ponytail holders...
Trusting the Process

Trusting the Process

A few months back, I was speaking with the mother of one of our students after a performance, and we were going over the experience. In our discussion, she mentioned the Matheny Manifesto as a contributing factor to how she approaches her daughter’s dance instruction. Her attitude was so positive and refreshing. The trust she placed in my instruction and the studio was inspiring to me and equally humbling. I was curious enough to go look it up and read it for myself. The Matheny Manifesto is a letter written by Christian, former professional baseball player, and current Cardinals’ manager, Mike Matheny, to his potential little league baseball players and their parents. While not everything he says translates from baseball to dance – most of it does! Parents – there are some challenging thoughts in his letter, and I say that to you as a fellow parent. If you are interested, you should look it up and read the original letter. I mention the Matheny Manifesto because the beginning of the school year is always an exciting and intense time at the studio.  While teachers make class recommendations in the early Spring – we do not get to see our recommendations play out until classes start back up in the Fall. I know those recommendations look like just checkmarks, but believe me – each teacher puts a significant amount of thought and energy into each recommendation. The director looks over every form as well, and there are countless conversations between staff as we strive to get every student’s placement just right. There are so many things to consider when placing a...
Coming Down the Mountain

Coming Down the Mountain

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters…” (Matthew 17:4) I hope that this summer has been a time of renewal for you and those closest to you. When the students come back to class at the studio in August, it is always fun to hear about their summer highlights. Maybe it was a summer camp, a mission trip, a sports camp, a memorable milestone reached, a great family vacation or outing. These are the mountaintop experiences from the summer that help get us through the daily grind of the traditional school year. This summer, several of our teen dancers had the opportunity to attend various summer dance intensives in the St. Louis area. These students had the privilege to spend around five hours a day, for a week or more focusing on just dance. The life lessons learned, relationships formed and improvement in technique can be huge and feel life altering! It’s amazing what progress can be made in a short time when it’s the main focus. These students literally spent the equivalent amount of studio time in just one week that normally takes place over the span of six months.  Just like all intensives, camps, and vacations-we have to come back to our daily lives. We have to come down from the mountain. We might feel forever changed by our experience but the world around us has continued to go on. Nobody in history has had a greater mountaintop experience than Peter, James and John. “After six days Jesus took with him Peter,...
Kingdom Dancers Instead Of Competition?

Kingdom Dancers Instead Of Competition?

Are you looking to up your dance game, but are wary of the cost and costuming/messages of competition? Do you want your dancing to have a message and an impact beyond just combining tricks and moves? We have a great opportunity for you, but you must act by May 16th! Kingdom Dancers is the team of dancers who get the most experience performing for an audience, bar-none! Not only do they perform at 8-10 retirement homes (for groups of 20-100 residents), but they also get to perform in all four dance concerts for a total audience of about 2400 in one weekend! Occasionally other opportunities come up and guess who gets the first call to have the chance to perform? You guessed it! In 2017, the older groups in the ministry went to St. Joseph, MO to perform in a benefit show, and also participated in National Dance Week at Grand Center. Last year dancers performed at Washington University as part of a gospel concert. In years past, Kingdom Dancers have performed at conferences, church services, public events and more. If you are wondering how you can take your dancing to the next level, this is it! Kingdom Dancers participate in a mandatory Summer session where they learn their dances, so when the school year starts they are ready to start performing. Then, during the school year on two Saturdays a month they rehearse from 12:20 to 1:30. Then (generally on the 3rd Saturday) there is a performance starting at 2:00 or 2:30 in the community. The main requirements are that dancers must be enrolled in at least one other class at...
Comparison in Dance and Life

Comparison in Dance and Life

[An] important lesson to impart to a young student is that they can be proud of their achievements, regardless of how those achievements compare to another’s. It is a waste of time and energy to be concerned about the achievements of others. (John White, Teaching Classical Ballet) We live in a time that is rife with comparison. With the constant presence of social media, it is even easier to know what is going on in other people’s lives. But do we really know what is going on? I’ve heard it said before that it is all too easy to compare other people’s highlight reels to our personal behind the scenes. This is not fair or healthy. You cannot be envious and happy at the same time. From time to time, I find it is helpful to give myself a quick check-up in the comparison department. I ask myself “Do I compare my talents, my accomplishments, or even my belongings to other people’s?” I am often surprised at what is revealed, and it helps show me that there are more important things to do than compare myself to others. The Bible warns us against the dangers of comparison and gives us advice that is still relevant today. People have struggled with comparison and how to overcome it for as long as there have been people. In Jude (Jude 1:19) we are warned against the division comparison can cause, directives to avoid comparison run throughout the ten commandments (Exodus 20:17), and Israel’s first king, Saul struggled with it. “Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David...
You Do Not Have to…, You Only Have to Love

You Do Not Have to…, You Only Have to Love

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. -Ephesians 4:4 Lately, I have been struggling with a couple things – One – Making mistakes. I tend to be a perfectionist, so end up putting a lot of (unnecessary) pressure upon myself. Two – As a natural problem solver, I want to try to fix things. Things that are not even mine to fix maybe… God whispered to me today, “You Do Not Have to Fix Everything and Be Perfect, You Only Have to Love.” In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus lays out the 2 greatest commandments: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” What is it that you “do not have to…” do today? What can you replace with love? There is so much freedom in letting go of the “should’s” in our lives and allowing love to be our focus. As we learn more and more about UNITY this year, it is encouraging to know that we are all learning and growing, maturing in our faith and in relationships. May we express compassion, grace, forgiveness, and mercy toward others. And when we do, may we experience peace, joy, and hope! So maybe, I can learn – One – To rest...
MKS OUT and ABOUT – 2016 Discovering Abilities Day

MKS OUT and ABOUT – 2016 Discovering Abilities Day

Two of our students from the Dance 4 Special Dancers – Level 3 class, Jaime & Alex, along with Miss Michelle, attended the 2016 Discovering Abilities Day at a local elementary school last month.  This was their 2nd year presenting to the 3rd graders as part of the school’s annual educational program.  The school brings in many different groups that teach the students about how different we all are, and yet how we can all interact with one another – sounds like UNITY to me!  Alex, Jaime, and Miss Michelle demonstrated a dance combination for the students to do with them.  The students also got to see Jaime & Alex’s class video performance from last year’s Dance Concert.  It was a fun morning dancing with the kiddos, and even some of  their teachers joined in! 2SHARESFacebookTwitter Facebook Twitter Google+...
Welcome to a Dance Year All About UNITY!

Welcome to a Dance Year All About UNITY!

I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:23 We are so excited about the 2016-17 Dance Year! We have had a great start already – getting to work with our classes for a month now. Thank you for joining us this year! We are thankful for each of our students and families! We want to also welcome Miss Amy to our Front Desk this year! She is joining Miss Angela & Miss Bridgette and is enjoying getting to know everyone. The Front Desk Staff is always available to help if you have any questions. The instructors and I spent a great deal of time this summer and into the start of the school year refreshing and updating curriculum. We will continue to work to make the content that is taught here at MKS top-notch, challenging and enjoyable too! We will also be sending out letters from your teachers. Please look for those in your email inbox very soon. UNITY is our theme this year, and we are focusing on sharing the love that God has given us. In doing so, we hope to encourage one another and get along well with each other. We are working on making sure that My King Studio is a positive atmosphere – in our classrooms, in our lobby and in our lives! Looking forward to a great year of dance and tumbling at MKS! 1SHARESFacebookTwitter Facebook Twitter Google+...
Movement

Movement

I remember sitting there, and the girl was hardly moving. Her face, her heart – they said everything that needed to be said. It was clear that she did not have extensive, if any, formal dance training, but it was also clear that she loved to dance. This girl was using her body to truly worship – to say something to and about her God, the creator of the universe. This is a memory of mine from a dance ministry event I attended in Arkansas in August of 2004. I will never forget that moment in which God showed me so clearly the purpose He has for dance. It was a teachable moment that, in the ensuing years, would remind me that we do not have to be in competition with one another or with other studio dancers in order to be successful at dance. Dance is to be joyful, expressive, God-honoring. Our staff strives to offer the best possible technique and teaching methods to our students, and we are free to present dance differently than the world does. It is incredibly important to us to do everything with excellence, but not for the purpose of being able to pat ourselves on the back. It is so that we can honor God with the gifts He has given us, and we can be used to point to the God that we serve. That girl, the dancer in Arkansas – she danced with no reservation and no concern for what others thought about her technique. When she danced with abandon for her audience of one, I learned one of the...
Responsibility

Responsibility

It is interesting to me is that, year after year, people are surprised at the appropriate, yet in-style costumes our students wear, the variety of good music, and the technical ability and talent that our dancers show at the dance concerts.  A large part of our mission is to teach dancers to share their gifts while using appropriate music, movement & costumes.  When I say that, I think many people imagine dancers wearing dresses as big as tablecloths and dancing to “Kum Ba Yah.”  Not that that would be terrible, but I feel like we do a good job of keeping everything God-honoring while still being fun and not out-dated. I also want to be sure to say something meaningful with each song and dance.  I have seen performances that show beautiful talent and athleticism but express nothing to my soul.  I feel like these can be missed opportunities for those artists to share something meaningful to their audience.  I have seen performances that express something negative or degrading.  These are sad moments.  I hope that our students learn that their dancing gives voice to their souls and that they use that voice with integrity & joy. Jesus is the living water, the ultimate refreshment – when we express ourselves within His will, the result is refreshing for us and for those who see it. So, express yourself – your hurts, your happiness, your anger, your silliness, your love, your prayers, your praise, your worries, your hopes.  God has created you to speak with your whole self, and we pray that you will use this voice with responsibility. It...