Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Chloe Mathieu performing at CNDC April 2016 in Winnipeg

Chloe Mathieu, a 12 year old student at Encore Studios, recently attended 3 local dance conventions.  We thought this was a recognizable commitment for such a young lady, so we asked her to share her experiences with us.  Which convention was her favourite, what did she learn, and why she recommends other dancers should attend conventions.
The three conventions she attended were View Dance Convention, Triple Threat Dance Convention, & iDance.  Chloe says her favourite was View: 
“It was the most organized of the three.  It was less crowded (because they limit registrations) which meant you had more room to dance.  The teachers were really nice too, and took time to connect with the students.  Overall, it was the most welcoming of all the conventions.”
When asked what she learned out of these conventions, she mentions two important realizations:
“First, I realized how important it is to focus on the details the choreographers are giving as they teach.  I needed to try to work in the details as I was learning the moves, because this is what they are looking for in the final product.  The second thing that I learned about was musicality and the importance of staying in the beat and rhythm of the song being used.  I had just never thought about it much before these experiences.”
The most inspiring moment came from iDance and the Q & A session with the teachers at the end of the convention.  It was here that she heard from Hip Hop teacher, Tyger B, that it doesn’t matter whether you are the best dancer right now.  What’s important is the effort you put into your dance, and if you work at your personal best, eventually you will get to be the best. 
With Vocal Theatre as her favourite class at Encore Studios, she was thrilled that there was a Theatre class at iDance, which was “super fun”.
Chloe was the only student from Encore Studios to attend Triple Threat this season, and luckily she found it the easiest to make friends at this event.  But overall she said that all of the conventions had a competitive feel amongst the participants.  “It wasn’t bad though, it just pushed you to work harder.”
Chloe was one of three Encore students that won scholarships at View Dance Convention (the others were Sierra Reid and Anne Leveille).  About being recognized, Chloe says it was a surprise that she truly was not expecting.  She was excited with winning the award which made her feel like she had accomplished something, and pushed her to work harder at all of the conventions.
We asked Chloe what her advice would be to other dance students about attending conventions:
“Attending conventions helps to expand your horizons.  You learn more.  It’s also good to be with new dancers and learn from watching others that you don’t normally dance with.  Overall, I found that attending these conventions is really encouraging and I would recommend others to attend conventions when they can.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Getting to know our Artistic Director and Owner, Ms. Tobi

As a young girl, I started out as a figure skater training about 12 hours/week.  My parents spent countless hours and dollars on my training and our family gave up ever going on a family vacation because of the time and financial commitment to figure skating.  (This is why we respect family time so much with our Encore families, because you only get this time with your children once in a lifetime).

Initially I started to dance ‘on the side’, as a supplement to my figure skating training which included ballet, jazz, & tap. Eventually my passion for dance took over but I was never encouraged by my family to consider it as a career option.   My other interests in high school included the sciences and business through Junior Achievement.

I started university in commerce and stopped dancing (as a lot of kids do because we think we don’t have time for it).  I was very depressed and decided I needed to change my path.  I enrolled in Medical Radiological Diagnostic Technology and shortly after, went back to dancing.  It made such a difference in my mood, and actually helped me to be more organized with my studies. 

Upon graduation there were no full-time jobs in x-ray, so I asked the director of my dance studio if she had any positions opening up for the next season.  She hired me to manage one of her three locations, which included teaching 20 hours/week.  I was in heaven!

Later on I enrolled in the Teacher Training program through the RWB, and made my way into the RAD Teaching Certification program. I taught and choreographed for Royal Dance Conservatory, Sisler High School, Royal Dance at the Forks, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

I realized through continuing professional development that I needed to work for myself because I had developed very strong views about what and how I wanted to teach. These beliefs include:

·   People who dance are stronger mentally and physically
·  Having a passion for dance trumps talent in terms of how far one can progress through meaningful practice
·  Everybody should be given the opportunity to shine regardless of skills and limitations
·  Quality dance education should be made equally available as both a recreational activity as well as a vocation 

With these ideas, combined with my previous interest in business, I started my own studio, Promenade Dance Academy, in 2005.  We rebranded in 2014 as Encore Studios and are now in our twelfth season.

I hope that by sharing a bit of my history that you can gain a better understanding about how and why we run the programs at Encore Studios the way that we do.  There are 30 dance studios in Winnipeg and not all are created equally.  What makes Encore Studios unique in such a highly popular and competitive industry is:

·        The belief that dance should be a source of joy and positivity for our students their families. 
·        That we limit class sizes to ensure we can offer truly personalized teaching and programming.  
·        That we have fun, celebrating all of our students' successes at every level.

We know that we have a unique approach that is welcoming and positive, kind and supportive, inclusive and healthy, so that we can develop students who are capable and confident for their futures.  We work to make registering streamlined and convenient, including getting class supplies, so that we can support our families.   Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of your lives, and for trusting us with your child’s development through dance.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Is this class right for my child?

In this video (Ms. Tobi's first!), she addresses some of the questions received in the office during the first couple of weeks of the new season.  

Is my child in the right class?  I'm not sure my child likes it, is that normal?  My child was crying / scared / shy - does this mean dance isn't for her?  We want to reassure our students and families that there is a normal range of reactions to the first couple of classes and encourage you to stay the course to see the amazing results.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Back to Dance! A message from Ms. Tobi

Back to Dance!

I hope that everyone has had a fabulous summer.  For me summer is a time to rest, reflect, plan, reconnect with family and friends.  Whatever summer is for you I hope it was exactly what you needed at this time.

The end of August for us at Encore Studios is both exciting and scary:  exciting because we get to start a new season, and scary because of the overwhelming amount of work needed to be done before the first day of classes which seems insurmountable!  Sorting schedules, planning teachers, lesson planning, music preparation, administration and paperwork, and getting the word out that we are a studio to be considered for dancers and their families takes an incredible amount of time, effort, and resources.  But it's all worth it when we get to our first day of classes and see that we have created a culture and space that is incredible with like-minded families who know that dance classes are about so much more than a 'pas de bourre' :).

Our families joined together last week on August 17th for a community picnic in Coronation Park.  It was great seeing so many members of our extended family joining in food, games, face-painting, and spontaneous dance performances.  We offered everyone the opportunity to purchase a 'meal' consisting of a hot dog, drink, and chips and for every meal sold we would donate $1 to the Children's Wish Foundation.  I am so proud that we were able to donate $125!  Some people actually gave beyond the 'meal' price.  Thank you so much for helping to make this donation possible.  It's just one more example of the caliber of families we have as part of the larger 'Encore Family'.

It also gave new families the opportunity to see what the people and culture of Encore Studios is all about.  We have one more formal opportunity to do just that before classes commence:  Our Open House will be held on August 31st from 5:30 - 7:30pm.  We would love to have our existing students take part in the demo classes to make the new students feel more comfortable.  The schedule is as follows:
     5:30 - "Mini Stars" for 2 year olds and their parents
     6:00 - "Little Shining Stars" Preschool Class for 3 - 4 year olds
     6:30 - Tap & "Vocal Theatre" for ages 5 - 8
     7:00 - "Hip Kids" hip hop class for ages 9 - 12
(By the way, the classes in quotes are programs exclusive to Encore Studios!)

We will also be have the teens doing demos throughout the Open House.  If you are an existing student and would like to help welcome new friends by dancing in the demo classes, please RSVP so we know to expect you at encorestudioswinnipeg.leadpages.co/open-house/

If you are looking to see if Encore is the right choice for your family - please join us!  And RSVP to the same link :). We can't wait to meet you!

We are busy getting together Grab Bags for those that are new to Encore.  Current students, if you bring someone new to Encore at the Open House, you will get entered into a draw for a special prize!

I can't tell you how excited I am to start the new dance season with all of you!  I'm so grateful for your patronage, and will continue to work towards our objectives:
     Make dance FUN
     Allow all students the chance to SHINE
     Be a place of friendship and RESPECT
    Where students can appreciate the JOY of having dance in their lives

Ms. Tobi
Artistic Director

Monday, July 11, 2016

10 Things You Didn't Realize Your Dance Teacher / Studio Does...


1.    They scroll through HOURS upon HOURS of music choices to find the perfect songs for class and performances.  These songs don't just 'appear' in iTunes.  It takes hours to find music that is just the right fit for a successful learning or performing experience. 

2.    They found the right song, but its 5 minutes, not 2 ½ minutes so the music needs to be edited.  If you yourself haven't yet tried to cut music to make it sound like the song was actually recorded like that... don't!  Its painstaking and tricky and often takes HOURS. 

3.    COSTUMES!  Choosing over 50 unique costumes per season that are age appropriate that the kids like, sourcing reputable and quality products, finding the best price for the parents, making sure all students costumes are ordered on time and correctly…HOURS!

4.    Most dance teachers with families RARELY get a chance to sit at the dinner table and enjoy family time.  They eat on the run, take out, or reheat.  Children of dance teachers are usually already in bed before their parent gets home.  

5.      Clever choreography, creative patterning and artistic direction is HOURS of preparation.  Making sure that spacing will work, that choreography is current, creative and challenging for the dancer requires vision and preparedness.  Choreography is a product of the dance teacher’s own creativity and hard work. 

6.    They worry, they stress and they don't sleep (just like you!) for HOURS the night before a competition, an exam, a concert or a show.  No dance teacher wants you to fail, they want you to be amazing. 

7.    They push through the pain of injury and old age ;).  Who has time for the knee replacement that they so desperately need when HOURS of preparation are needed for exams in only 2 months.  Nights of restless legs and aching feet, the type of pain that really could only be fixed if one could employ a masseur 5 nights a week.   
8.    Dance teachers put HOURS of time and lots of energy towards the success of their ‘studio family’.  This usually means that their own kids and families are often forced to give up time with their parent and need to adjust their own personal choices.  Plus, their kids have to be at the studio for long HOURS while their parents work. 

9.    They want every one of their students to succeed.  They may raise their voice and speak passionately, but they do it with the best of intentions.  Dance teachers spend HOURS encouraging their students to kick, turn, jump, and split better so that the students get a feeling of confidence and accomplishment.  They challenge and encourage your kids to be the very best version of themselves every single day.  
10. They appreciate each studio family for being part of their community.  They are thankful that you chose their studio, and thankful that you have trusted them to guide and enrich the life of your child.  They genuinely love teaching, love what they do, and love dance enough to want your child love it too.   
To find out more about what makes Encore Studios a unique dance experience for your family, please visit our website at www.encoreperformer.com. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dancing Makes You A Better Student

Quite often we hear from concerned parents that dancing too much will take away from their child's ability to do well academically, especially as they enter high school or move on to university.  While each student is unique with individual strengths and weaknesses, for the most part we find that those students that keep or introduce dance in their life have more success at school.  Here are a few reasons why:
  • Dance is the only activity that works both sides of your brain, which helps to expand knowledge as well as memorization skills
  • Dance reduces stress levels because it is a form of exercise as well as a form of expression
  • Dance enhances the quality of life of a student as they are more fit and feel more confident
  • Dance improves kinesthetic intelligence
  • Dance gives structure in a student's mind, making it easier for them to manage their time and complete assignments in a timely manner
And if those reasons aren't enough, did you know that the average dancer gets 30% higher on their exams than the average student who doesn't dance?!

Whether you take a class once per week or several times, we know that dance will help you academically - and its FUN!

To find out more about programs for your child or for yourself, visit us at www.encoreperformer.com.