Dear Dancers, taking care of your body is more important than ever!

“As a young studio dancer, I remember being afraid to come out of a balance or not do something full out, even if it hurt me. The culture at the studio was ‘push through the pain’ or you were seen as lazy.” says Miss Melissa, a teacher at MOVE by Morelli. 

Dance was my home away from home, the place where I felt like I belonged and I wouldn’t dream of sitting out even if I was in pain. But after 16 years of competitive dance my body started to feel the effects of the “push through it no matter what” culture that I grew up in. My achilles tendons were weak, my knees felt like they could give out at any moment and I just generally did not feel as strong as I once did. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who this effected. Owner and director Missy Morelli experienced something similar during her time as a dancer.

“Because of the dance culture I too grew up in, I had ignored my MS symptoms for so long, because I also was used to just dancing through pain.” says Missy Morelli. 

That’s when we decided our students deserve better. How can I teach them to be strong, resilient and not give up while still teaching them to listen to their bodies. 

Some dancers often ignore pain as a way to show their full commitment and that is something that needs to change. As teachers it is our job to treat our dancers like athletes whose body is their instrument and help them learn how to prioritize their health. 

Move by Morelli has partnered with 4corners Sports Performance to make sure our dancers have the information and the resources to stay healthy and have longevity in dance. “Working with young athletes of all ages and abilities in their respective sports, it is important that we understand that pain is NOT normal and is our body telling us that we need to take a step back and assess what is going on because something is not right. Often times pain in a particular area is rooted from an underlying deficit in strength, mobility and/or stability and addressing these issues and deficits before they turn into major injuries is critical for long term health and success. The faster someone comes to us or talks about what they are feeling, the faster we as physical therapists can return them to pain free competition, often times competing at a higher level than they were before they walked in to see us. It is important for young athletes to be proactive with their health and to bring up any aches and pains as soon as they arise, not waiting for weeks or months to say something once the pain is unbearable because ultimately this leads to poor performance in competition and missing time doing what he/she loves to do.” says David Fathalikhani, physical therapist at 4corners sports performance.

It’s time that the dance community shifts its focus to creating healthy dancers who take care of their bodies. As a dance educator, it is so important that we create a space where dancers are not afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right and that we use the “listen to your body” ideology. 

Physical therapy, sports recovery and training with teachers who are knowledgeable and credible are all ways we can help our dancers stay healthy. We are committed to keeping our dancers happy and healthy and want to produce a new generation of dancers who are strong and able to avoid injury with the skills they learn throughout their dance training. That’s why we are so excited to have 4corners right next door to Move by Morelli! Our dancers have these resources right at their finger tips and we will now be able to ensure that our students have the absolute best chance at a long, healthy dance career!

Farewell, Mr. Kevin!

Mr. Kevin is starting a new chapter in Arizona! We are sad to see him move, but are lucky he handpicked some amazing new teachers for us. He has been an integral part of the music program here at MOVE and helped pioneer MOVE School of Music. We will miss you, Kevin! Listen to Kevin’s message below and join us at Back to MOVE Night on August 15th to say your goodbyes! Kevin will be at the event from 5-6pm.

Meet Miss Christina!

Meet one of our newest MOVE teachers, Miss Christina! Christina is excited to teach ballet at MOVE by Morelli this season!

Christina Bargelt was born and raised in Denver, CO and dedicated her childhood to the performing arts. She began her ballet training at age three, her violin training at age five, and her professional singing career with the Colorado Children’s Chorale at eight. Christina recently graduated from the University of Utah in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet (Pedagogy Emphasis) with a Ballet Teaching Certificate and a Minor in Violin Performance. In addition to her teaching pursuits, Christina works at Boulder Body Wear fitting dance shoes and active wear and joined Reformation Dance Company as a Soloist for the 2019-2020 season.

Meet Miss Tory!

Meet one of our newest MOVE teachers Miss Tory! Tory is excited to be teaching a variety of styles at MOVE by Morelli this season!

Tory grew up dancing in Colorado. She trained in many styles from a young age. Tory has a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in performance and choreography from Dean College in Boston. Since graduating in 2017, she has enjoyed teaching young dancers throughout Colorado. Tory is a member of Rogue Co. – directed by Meghan Lawitz, and performs regularly with the company. Most recently, Tory has become an instructor for CorePower Yoga.

Let’s give Tory a big MOVE by Morelli welcome!

Let’s give

Staff of the Month- Ms Jen

Q: What made you decide to become a teacher? 

A: When i was younger i loved dancing and seeing the impact my teachers had on me i wanted to do the same for kids.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

A: Spend time with my kids, be outside, and watching my 8 year old wrestle in his tournaments!

Q: Did you have a favorite teacher in your dance career?

A: I did! Rhi we called her Rhi-Star

Q: Is there anything you do in your class to emulate that person?  

A: Love having fun, being goofy and making kids laugh!

Q: If you could teach your students a life lesson what would it be?

A: Live life to the fullest everyday!

Q: What are you most excited for this season with MOVE by Morelli?

A:  To see everyone on the BIG day perform and have them show their loved ones everything they have learned over the oast year!

Q: If you were a flavor of ice cream what would you be and why?

A: I would be vanilla with strawberries both good and sweet!

Staff of the Month- Miss Dani

Q: What made you decide to become a teacher?  

A: I’m your “typical” first born, really. I’ve always thrived on being a leader of sorts, and when I started assisting at age 13, it was just easy. Since then, I moved up the totem pole, got my own classes, and again- it was simply something that I was good at and liked. I know they say that people who can’t do, teach, but I’ve found that my teaching has made me such a better dancer, and a better overall person.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? 

A: I like to watch sports. I’m an obsessive sports nut. Football, basketball, baseball, you name it, and I’d rather go to any sporting event or watch any sporting event than mostly any other things.

Q: Did you have a favorite teacher in your dance career? 

A: My favorite teacher was also a great friend of my parents, who I’d known since I was a baby. She really nurtured me through a lot of things (teenage years), and also helped me find my “edge” in teaching. She did a great job in showing me that the best way to teach others is just to be yourself, and let them in on your wealth of knowledge.

Q: Is there anything you do in your class to emulate that person?  

A: Yes, the above for sure. I’m totally “me” in class: making jokes, laughing with students, and always striving to be passionate, warm, open, yet appropriately serious about class.

Q: If you could teach your students a life lesson what would it be?

A: I think that the lesson is that life can sometimes be hard, and so is learning. Being “successful” is always relative, and is about effort and being yourself. Eventually, that absolutely will pay dividends either tangibly or intangibly. 

Q: What are you most excited for this season with MOVE by Morelli

A: I am most excited honestly for the new students coming in. This studio is so hospitable, and that further creates a great environment for our students and families.

Q: If you were a flavor of ice cream what would you be and why?  

A: I would be Moose Tracks- a little salty (my jokes & sarcasm), mostly sweet (passion, love for teaching), and a bit of a surprise for the rest!

Promoting Self-esteem and Body Positivity in the Studio

The dance studio is a second home to dancers and their experience in class has the ability to shape their self-image at a pivotal time in their lives. Many current dance professionals remember a time when the dance industry was less than body positive and the pursuit of perfection was paved with stress, fear and self-doubt. The fact is: we can do better! By using the right teaching techniques, encouraging individuality, and leading by example we can give our students the highest level of training without giving them a complex.

How do we teach students in a way that makes them hungry for more knowledge rather than leaving them feeling self-critical and frustrated? Instead of shaming students for making mistakes, correction can be encouraging while sharing the exact same information. A positive teaching environment does not mean a lack of correction; it’s all about the delivery.  The classroom should be a place where knowledge is shared, and students can feel empowered and inspired to put in the hard work it takes to be successful. Students who are passionate about dance and confident enough to try new things are often the hardest workers in class. If we as teachers can build our students up, they are more likely to develop a strong work ethic in class and dance full out. With the resources available to teachers in this day and age, we have fine-tuned our teaching skills in a way that makes the environment of fear and intimidation a thing of the past.

The art of dance has really evolved over time. Uniqueness and individuality has truly become mainstream thanks to television and the internet. When teaching students to improvise, for example, they are taught to embrace what makes them unique and special. This gives students the ability to use the mirror to recognize their individual power instead of focusing on comparison to others. Though they will not be great at everything they do, students can find their own niche and avoid feeling defeated in class. The goal is for students to look in the mirror and recognize their great qualities rather than ask the question “why don’t I look like the others”.

As a teacher, being a model of self-love and body positivity is crucial. We are role models to young students who look to us as examples of how to act and they will instinctively mimic behavior that they see. In class, affirmations can be used to help mold powerful young dancers as well as encourage perseverance in times of struggle. “I am powerful, I am strong, and I can do anything I put my mind to”- what better affirmation to ask students to repeat when the air is heavy with sweat and students are tired. Simple practices like this can help students develop a positive inner voice that they can rely on for their entire life. Pushing past self-doubt and learning to focus on the positive is an important life skill that we are in the position to teach every day in class!

MOVE by Morelli staff members recognize the power that a teacher has to shape the lives of our students. We are in the business of sharing our love of dance and music and making our students feel great about themselves, so they can blossom into who they were meant to be. With the most qualified staff around and a shared vision of empowerment, we are changing the game of dance and music training and rejecting the ways of the past. The performing arts are for everyone, and we are proud to share it with hundreds of kids in Colorado.

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