• Mickey Fridley

What to do when you want to Fan Kick someone in the Face - Rivalries & Jealousies of Coaching Dance.

(A little controversy issue I had to address after seeing some nasty responses to jealousies over Dance Studio Owners and Local School Team Coaches.)

So it's that time of year when your super excited about your new dance season! You've gained a few new members you've lost a few but as a whole your dance life is pretty much still rocking and rolling with over 50 kids your responsible for.

In a small town like we have our business in; having over 50 students is tremendously successful! Especially when you get more outside of your town clients then the potential ones that actually reside in your community.

What can that reason be? There are many factors that weigh in on this issue. One can be not enough interest in dance; more in participation in sports; one can be jealousies or rivalries from other parties that live within your community that like to bad mouth your studio or reputations. Another can be just the idea that if your friend doesn't go to that studio then I won't bring my kids to that one either. Another can be simply financial reasons; They feel that if they are dancing at a small town studio it's weak or cheap or cheezy or simply just plain lame. Then finally it can be maybe people where you have your business just don't like you. Especially in small towns that can be a pretty hard reality to swallow but; it does happen and sadly it's a disappointment that one person's attitude or opinion can ruin so many opportunities for other small town kids who just want to dance.

This is why I have always been a huge supporter of all our small town performing arts programs! Especially of their school's cheer and dance team programs! During this time of year you will see one of us coaches from our dance studio surprising and visiting our dancers at one of their home games if we can make it. Cheering them on while they are dancing and showing our support to those dance communities that have formed in our small towns. Every year you will find me at my favorite place during football season at the Burlingame High School Football field during Homecoming supporting our Bearcats. I was fortunate enough to start a dance team at the school back in 2006 which was the birthplace of why I opened up a dance studio. The community was so supportive of the performing arts and dance that it blossomed into so much more! We have provided so many opportunities for our small town kids through the performing arts especially dance because of that one fateful year I decided to coach our local school team.

What happened? Why am I still not coaching at the school? Well for two reasons - The first one is I LOVE DANCE COMPETITIONS! I love it so much that unfortunately in our small town many of the kids can't afford to compete and to have enough dancers to choose from for competition made it difficult for us to push our dream of being a top notch competition team a lasting one. My kids have always been friends with students that attend other schools and yes because of that reason they have jumped back and forth between Santa Fe Trail and Burlingame. During that time both my girls danced and cheered for both schools. This made it hard when I first started coaching dance for one group of dance friends to feel like we weren't shunning another group and so on and so on; so that's when I decided to make a team that everyone can participate on and that doesn't hurt one group of friends feelings over the other by showing loyalty to one school over the other. So we started a studio in what was a central location between the two small towns and funny thing was we started gaining more new dance friends from even more local small towns. That was back in 2010 and we have yet to look back from that moment. We just continue to thrive and push forward for more dance dreams being created. Three years later we were fortunate enough to open up a home location in Burlingame about the same time we started our second location in Alma.

Why in the heck would we open up a second location especially all the way out in ALMA? Well when Courtney went off to College her first dream was to be a KU Jayhawk there she met a lifelong friend and roommate that told her all about her home town in Alma and how amazing it would be for us to start a program just like we had done in Burlingame back where she lived. So with a little support from her family and friends we started up our first second location and THE DANCE SPOT now became a chain! It's still amazing to me how fortunate we were as a dance studio to even get started at all because one small town school gave me the chance to share my love of dance - So I will forever be grateful to the wonderful people of my hometown for supporting our dream that now has reigned down to become a national championship powerhouse dance program! We have helped to launch 6 graduating dancers with Full Ride (Books & Tuition) Scholarships after high school to local colleges and future careers in the dance world!

So why wouldn't we want to support our local community school dance & cheer programs? It makes sense that we want them to gain success as much as we do! Alma and the Wabunsee Schools have been even more incredible in their support of our dance studio and what we provide for their communities. They are constantly inviting us to perform at halftimes and local events but being a dance studio that focused on competition for so many years it has made it hard to find a way to get out there and perform! We did get the fun opportunity a few years ago when we tried to start a FREE dance program for the kids in Burlingame. Again - hard to get a lot of support when so many others wanted to join but didn't live in our town and then got upset when we said they wouldn't be performing in other small towns. So I canned that plan and went back to having everyone just participate in competitions. That's when last year we decided to bring back the idea of a Performance only dance team. No competing. Just performing. We would also open it up to anyone and guess what we would not only just perform at our recitals we would perform at local events that have been asking us too for so many years. Well that too came with some problems getting dance families to commit to the demand of requests we were getting for performing and that made it difficult to coordinate a solid performing schedule. Until this year. Now we have a plan. Based on the majority rules of the dancers and their school location is where we will plan our dance performances or we will find a central location for everyone to participate in that doesn't take us too far from our studio's home based locations. We already have 2 events booked for the season for our 2019 Pearl Company Dance Team this season along with our 2 recitals and I'm so super excited about the growth this young program will eventually generate.

(Here is our very own Diamond Company Captain & CIT for both our studios Katie and Coaches Courtney & Maddie showing support attending her first home game as a MV Golden Girl at Mission Valley High School for the new season!)

After reading all this your probably thinking .... "So then what's with the title? Sounds like you click baited us in this blog!?" No. I'm not gonna lie there are times when I do feel a tinge or sting of that desire to Fan Kick someone in the face over dance - but that's usually over IGNORANCE. It's no different than if I went in to tell the Football Coach at our local schools he has no idea what he's doing and I could do just a good of job - NOPE! I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THAT SO WHY WOULD I EVEN ATTEMPT TO SAY I DID.

I guess it all boils down to respect. Respect for each other and what we do for dancers. My point is STOP COMPETING over who's small town team is better than the other and especially if you don't attend competitions! I'm just proud your spending time teaching girls that they can be a part of something positive for their school and their community and if it was because of dance that brought them together for that purpose then WOOT! WOOT! I'm your number one fan! Also stop trying to compete or think that I or that dance studios in general are in competition with your school cheer and dance teams! You think these high school coaches would be doing flips over what we as dance studio owners and teachers can produce for their schools?! I know one is at Wamego High School constantly encouraging our dancers to tryout for their school team because they know the type of dancers we create are great performers and amazing technically! I'm so fortunate that towns like Wabunsee, Burlingame and Mission Valley have dance & cheer programs and I'm always proud to announce our dancers are also members of their amazing Cheer & Dance programs! Hello?! Why wouldn't I want us to be?! The better they are with our dancers on their squads the better it is for us in the long run and it's a win win for both the High School Coach and us as a studio that helps produce great members they need! So I guess the bottom line I'm trying to say is .... Be proud and respect each other especially if your a dance studio that comes from a small town like ours. Just because you have a dance studio doesn't mean there can't be more than one or that you have to be the all authority of dance in that area for the schools etc., I don't want to be that authority. I just want to be an option for young kids who want to learn some dance skills so they can make their high school teams or be an option for dancers that want to add a little more to their dance experience by joining one of our competition teams. I also want to be a great financial option for parents to see you don't have to drive 40 minutes away or spend hundreds of dollars a month to get quality enough training to still get a dance scholarship to college or produce dancers that can become a professional cheerleader. (I produced two myself My sister was a NBA Clippers Girl from my first year coaching in 1989; I also produced two members that ended up dancing in the Disneyland Parades for 5 years after high school and my first High School Dance Team I coached in 1993 from San Diego CA produced a proud NFL San Diego Chargers Cheerleader.) So it clearly is possible that I do know what it takes and the steps necessary to make those dreams a reality!

We have been asked on several occasions by many people in our small towns to do something at the schools and honestly if I had the time I would but being a cheerleading or dance team coach is tough and it's extremely difficult unless you can committ 150% of your spare time to their needs. With over 6 competition teams at two studios and now 4 performance teams and even this year adding some new styles of just technique classes I have to teach - WHEW!!! I just don't have enough time to truly do my best job!

(Our first year Dance Spot dance team. Students from SFTHS, Osage City, Lyndon and Burlingame schools - Kind of like the first Osage County All Star dance team.)

I love doing what I do and supporting our kids in their school endeavors! So that's what the whole point of this blog is about and what the point of what the Pearl Company philosophies and beliefs are. If you choose to join one of our 2019 Pearl Company dance teams what are gaining out of it besides just performing at events and not having to pay competition fees? FIRST OF ALL YOUR GAINING SOME EXCELLENT SKILLS THAT WILL SET YOU A STEP AHEAD OF THE GAME WHEN IT COMES TO TRYING OUT FOR YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL'S CHEER OR DANCE TEAMS! Secondly it teaches you about responsibilities and team-unity and commitments to a dance team. Nothing irritates any dance team coach school or studio more than the dancer who doesn't show respect for each other, their teacher or coach and what your doing together in the first place. So my job is to make sure I develop any dancer that is willing to work hard to be ready to tryout for their schools team to become the hot commodity that their future dance coach will know ahead of time "Oh that kid dances at The Dance Spot; not only will they know their dance technique skills but that will be a great overall committed and respectful kid." So by joining our Pearl Company dance team your gaining so much more than just Chase' steps or pirouette turns skills. Your gaining the tools you will need to be successful after you leave our studio whether after just a year or in 10 years. We want our dancers to find every opportunity to shine in dance either on a stage, on a gym floor, on a set, at a competition or on the football field. It's our job as teachers and coaches to stop with the petty jealousy games and celebrate each other's success and support what these kids ultimately want to do and that's just dance! So Studio owners - a word of advice - Be proud of your dance kids and their school team success even if you think you have nothing to do with it....When really if you were the first taste of dance experience they had then you had everything to do with why they want to be out there dancing in the first place! Plant the seeds of dance in kids and water it with support and growth even if their not in your studio anymore! Show your support in their love of wanting to still perform and wanting to be a star! You started that as a coach and nurtured it to where they are today! And word of advice to School Cheer & Dance Team Coaches - Celebrate your local studios that help feed and produce these kids you can count on to be at every practice, that you turn too for choreography advice or that will be the ones you know will shine during your performance halftime. They are a shinning product of years of a dance teacher who did all the hard-work ahead of time for you. Remember it was them who taught them how to do those alisicone turns you let them show off in your routines or it was them who taught them to never question or disrespect your authority when it comes to where people stand in routines or how a routine is put together. And if your a studio owner and a high school coach at the same time! MY GOODNESS - I BOW DOWN IN RESPECT AND HONOR TO YOU! IT'S NOT AN EASY TASK TAKING ON SO MANY ROLES SO YOU AS DANCE PARENTS THAT GET THE BEST OF BOTH A STUDIO COACH AND THE SCHOOL COACH IN ONE - MY ADVICE TO YOU! - YOU HAD BETTER GIVE THEM SOME MAJOR PATS ON THE BACK FOR THE TIME THEY HAVE COMMITTED TO YOUR DANCER! And for you dancers just remember you will have tons of teachers and coaches in your dance lives and careers so cherish them all. And remember what they have done for you is to give you their heart in soul in making you proud to be a dancer!

(our very first awards we won for THE DANCE SPOT in the spring of 2010! :) <3 )

That's what our goal as coaches ultimately should be! We are there to introduce, enrich and help our kids become better people! So congratulations to all our small town dancers and all dancers across this great country as they celebrate their first week of home town game performances! And to our girls who will be dancing or cheering it up in the next week or so! WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU ALL!!!! NOW GO #GETSUM

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