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The Summer Stride

Summer is just around the corner and here at Diamond School of Dance, we are putting the finishing touches on all our fantastic summer program offerings! 

With the current dance season winding down and the new season ramping up, you might have been wondering lately if summer dance classes are right for your child.  From our experience, every student has the potential to hit their “summer stride” … in other words, they all have the ability to keep their learning power going in the summer, without losing any momentum!

We believe there is a unique benefit for each and every student who dances with us in the summer, whether it’s during a weekly class, a dance camp, or an intensive workshop.  Read on to see which advantages might be in store for your child!

  • Making Progress

Because dance is built on muscle memory, summer study can help your child fine-tune their movement vocabulary and technique, allowing them to improve their skills, grow stronger, and be better prepared to take on new material.

  • Being Consistent

Young children do well with stability in their routine, so maintaining that normalcy with summer dance can give them (and you!) peace of mind, even as the rest of your summer plans may vary.

  • Getting Motivated

After the recital, we find that some students are eager to try a new dance style (usually something they were inspired by!) to see how they like it.  Summer is THE perfect time to test out those new interests, without a long commitment.

  • Gaining Confidence

Our summer programs, with their blend of both structure and fun, can give your child the boost they need to jump into fall classes feeling good about themselves.  There’s nothing quite like the personal development that can be built in the summer!

It’s part of our mission to ensure that your child is learning how to balance their hard work with time off, and the summer offers the best of both worlds.  We encourage all of our students to make time for rest and relaxation, and also make time to keep their bodies strong and minds engaged.  This balance is what the true summer stride is all about!

There’s something for everyone here this summer at Diamond School of Dance.  We’re happy to help you customize the right schedule for your family or make a special recommendation for your child … just ask!  

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Making Life Long Memories

The recital is known for creating special memories—both for the dancer and for their family and friends.  It is a sentimental moment in time for many parents, watching their child perform in front of an audience!  For most of our dance families at Diamond School of Dance, it marks the closure of one year’s journey in dance and “sets the stage” for the next.

After the recital, costumes become special mementos, programs become keepsakes, photos become scrapbook centerpieces, and DVDs often become your household’s most-watched entertainment!  The time may have passed, but the souvenirs remain … along with the personal growth each student has achieved.

One comment we often hear from parents after the recital is how their child won’t stop talking about it!  The excitement lifts them up long after the curtain has come down.  We love hearing about this kind of enthusiasm, and we hope you’ll keep the dance conversation going at home.  This is an excellent time to listen to what your child has to say about what they liked best or what was challenging.  Being able to reflect on the experience and communicate that to others is another awesome skill to develop!

Sometimes the memories made at recital aren’t the ones you’d expect.  Maybe your dancer became distracted at one point onstage and made a silly face that made everyone laugh, or maybe they forgot a step during the dance and seemed discouraged.  Live performances can be a little unpredictable like this, but with a growth mindset, you and your child can still choose to see the positive outcome.  Like how that silly face was sweet and entertaining, and grandma loved it.  Or that forgotten step?  What a way to show perseverance!

The lifetime memories made at the recital enrich our students’ knowledge and understanding of what a performance encompasses.  They create context for other performing opportunities, such as in theater or music, and they build the kind of confidence only experience can deliver.

Performing onstage is an incredible opportunity for dancers to share what they have been learning in class, and to showcase their progress from the beginning of the year to the end.  Learning how to dance is a gradual process, and some skills take years to fully master—but however big or small the steps are, it is a major accomplishment for anyone to perform in front of hundreds of people!  All the hard work is worthwhile when a dancer experiences the high fives and smiles and congratulations that the recital brings from classmates, family, and friends.

Whether it’s a young dancer performing for their first time or a teen dancer performing at the end of her senior year, recital achievements are incredibly special to celebrate.  Lifelong memories are made from those achievements—and for many dancers, a true passion for dance is ignited!  

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DSD’s New Performing Arts Facility Breaks Ground!

Diamond School of Dance (DSD) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, will be celebrating its 20th year of business by building a new, state of the art performing arts facility.

The facility will be home to the school’s 550 students, a dancewear store, a professional photography studio and another family-focused business. Excitingly, it is set to have its grand opening August of 2019!

Alicia Knopps, owner of DSD, is excited to see how this new space will serve the students  and families in the community.

“It has a blessing to watch the stories of lives changed through dance unfold over the past 19 years.”

Giving specific examples of studio growth, Knopps shares how 19 years ago, DSD opened in her parents’ basement as a 14 years old dancer with a dream. Today the studio boasts an impressive team of professional dance instructors and over 550 students taking over 1000 classes per week!

Overall, DSD will house 4 studio rooms with room for expansion into three more. It will offer a gorgeous reception area, plenty of gathering spaces, a private conference & office room, plus a separate dancer’s lounge and homework bar. 

The dancewear store called  Premier Dancewear LLC provides dancewear, shoes and more to the dance community at-large. The photography company, Diamond Collective Photography LLC houses the area’s leading dance photography studio.

The new facility will not only provide a beautiful training center but a great place for students to foster personal growth and relationships. 

DSD is committed to being More Than Just Great Dancing, helping to create well-rounded dancers that go beyond dancing to develop important life skills. That being said, our student lounge and homework bar will give students the opportunity to catch up on homework between classes in a quiet space.

Overall, this brand new, state-of-the-art facility will help DSD operate even more effectively. Even the little details like professional sound systems, professional sprung dance floors, viewing windows, wider hallways, classroom viewing areas and extra safety elements (such as security cameras) convey a thoughtful approach to the design.

DSD will have a soft opening this summer for its summer intensive program. Just before school starts, DSD will officially open its doors to the community for the Grand Opening Celebration, which will feature family activities and, of course, dance!

DSD’s new facility will bring top-notch faculty, training opportunities programs to our area and will serve as a hub of positive action for all of the community. It is a great gift to both the area we call home and the dance community.

Stay tuned for exciting updates as this project unfolds over the upcoming months! 

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The Benefits of Competition – Commitment

Making a commitment and sticking to it is a lesson that seems pretty easy to learn, but isn’t always so.  It can be a challenge—especially for young dancers—to navigate a big responsibility like that!  One of the most valuable life lessons our competition team dancers learn at Diamond School of Dance is following through on their commitments.  

From the start, joining the competition team isn’t something a dancer does on a whim.  There are auditions to prepare for and schedules to align.  There are team policies to consider and extra expenses to budget.  In fact, at Diamond School of Dance, we understand that participation isn’t a choice made only by the dancer; it’s a family decision.  

We know that being a part of a competition team requires commitment.  But we also know that the long-term benefits our dancers will experience from this commitment will far outweigh any temporary conflicts that may pop up during the season!  Below we outline the most important advantages to our competition team students when it comes to honing this essential skill:

  • Agreeing to a commitment teaches future-thinking

With a competition team agreement, dancers are looking ahead to an entire season and asking themselves, “Am I willing to give 100% effort all year to follow through on this commitment?”  Most pre-teens and teens make decisions based on how they feel right now, which is normal in adolescence.  Making a decision based on thinking ahead is a skill that needs sharpening.  Through their passion for dance and agreement to the competition team, our dancers are learning how to consider the future in their choices.

  • Following through on a commitment sometimes requires sacrifices

Though it can be an uncomfortable lesson to learn, sometimes making a commitment to the team means that it overrides other opportunities like parties, travel, or school social events.  Our students may find themselves feeling tested by their competition team commitment—and that’s OK.  We understand that it will happen and have built our attendance policies with it in mind.  It’s not easy, but standing by their commitment teaches our dancers to act with integrity.

  • Abiding by a commitment shows reliability as a team member

As a team, our competition students form close bonds and learn to depend on each other … sometimes emotionally and physically, depending on the choreography!  Becoming a reliable teammate shows each team member that they respect each other and value each person’s contributions to the group.  They share in this commitment together and learn to appreciate the effort everyone makes to achieve success.

We hope you’ll discuss with your dancer all the positive ways they are growing from following through on their commitments.  We’re grateful that they’ve chosen dance to be one of their top priorities and honored to have them as a member of our competitive programs! 

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6 Reasons Why Summer is the Perfect Time for Dance at DSD!

In our minds we think of lots of outdoor fun in the summer – swimming, tennis, fishing, cookouts and the great outdoors are why we love to live here!  But with 3 full months of summer, there is plenty of time to add the arts to your child’s summer fun!

Summer Dance at DSD!

The arts are a great way to unplug this summer and unleash your creativity with summer dance!   We’ve got the perfect cure for the summertime blues with our line-up of summer classes.  With all of choices that are available to families over the summer, we’ve put together our top 6 reasons why summer dance is special and important!

 1.     Engage your brain! During the school year children are learning all day, every day.  Summer dance camps are a great resource to trigger young minds through physical and observational learning.  Students are memorizing sequences of steps, spacing, music, formations and keeping their brains active!  Studies show that when we make split-second, quick decisions (like when we dance), we create new neural pathways that increase our intelligence. Learning lines or song lyrics helps with memorization skills and public speaking.  Give your kids a break from school but keep their minds engaged through dancing!

 2.     Beat the Heat! 
While summer weather encourages us all to enjoy the nice weather and cool pools, a break from the heat is always appreciated.  Switch up your normal classes and give your student a variation to try something new with their summer classes!

 3.    Discovery!
The Performing arts is a great way for children to discover what they are passionate about.  Many of our camps and classes offer a specific style or fuse several styles together within the week and focus on fun!   Maybe it’s the discovery of jazz, or, maybe it’s the opportunity to discover how good they are at something.   Discovery is a wonderful thing for every child regardless of age.  It fires the imagination and allows children to dream.

4.     Engage in maximum creativity!
If your child is drawn towards creativity, summer dance classes are a perfect fit!  Dancers have the opportunity to enroll in one day camps, weekly classes, private lessons, pre-professional intensives and more! 

  5.       Stay Strong all Summer Long!  Summer is a long time for our serious dancers to take off!  By continuing their training in the summer months dancers stay strong, prevent injury and progress at a very rapid rate.  We find summer is the best time for technical development.

 6.     Make new friends
 One of the greatest benefits of summer dance is getting the opportunity to work with new teachers and meet new friends.  Dance involves a team like atmosphere and in many of our classes and intensives  dancers spend several days together forming new friendships.  Receiving instruction from a new teacher or continuing to grow with a current instructor is incredibly helpful and super fun!

Check out all of DSD’s summer offerings here and enroll today!

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DSD’s Spring Performances: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

You’ve heard us talking about it.  You’ve seen it mentioned on our website and in our emails.  You know there’s a lot of excitement around it … but what exactly IS the recital?

Just as soccer players have tournaments, football players have games, and gymnasts have meets, dancers have performances!  More than a year’s worth of planning goes into our annual performance at Diamond School of Dance—better known to most people as “the recital.”   

The recital is a memorable opportunity for our students to showcase their talents onstage.  From learning the first eight-count of choreography in class to the final bow onstage, the recital is definitely one of the highlights of a dancer’s year!

Consider this blog post your “recital primer,” where we break down a few key elements of what to expect these next few months—and why it’s all so important.

  • Choreography

Each class learns a particular routine to perform at the recital.  The choreography is the series of steps, patterns, and formations the teacher creates for each unique routine.  Your dancer will be learning and practicing this choreography during class time leading up to the recital.  This repetition allows our students to grow their confidence as well as their skills.

  • Costumes, Hair, and Makeup

Because dance is a performing art, this is where the “performance” aspect truly comes together!  As you’ve seen, each class will have a costume to wear onstage for their routine.  We will also be communicating specific instructions regarding their hairstyle and stage makeup here: 

(Check out all the  information, tips and details for the big day here!)

  • Dress Rehearsal

Prior to the recital, each class will have the chance to participate in our dress rehearsal.  The dress rehearsal is almost like the recital itself, except it’s just for practice.  It allows us the chance to rehearse our sound and lighting cues from backstage and helps us make sure the dancers are familiar with their new surroundings.  DSD’s Spring Performances will be held at the Pablo Center. Your dancer will receive an email with the event confirmation for the day and time of their dress rehearsal and recital performance.

  • Performance

This is it!  After all the preparation and practice, this is each dancer’s moment in the spotlight in front of their family and friends.  The buildup of excitement is huge.  It’s like when an athlete performs at the Olympics … our students perform at the recital!

We understand that the thought of choreography, costumes, rehearsals, and being onstage in can be intimidating at first, so we’re here to show you what an awesome experience this journey can be.  Stay tuned for more valuable insight as we approach the big day!

You may also find the recital section of our web site to be helpful when planning your dancers big day. Check it out here: 

~Miss Alicia 

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All about DSD’s Vaganova Ballet Program

From the desk of DSD’s Ballet Director, Miss Amy Trayers:

I am very excited to start the year with all of your students, and share with you some fabulous new additions to our ballet program curriculum. Here at DSD, we are committed to providing your students excellence in their dance education, and the foundation of this starts with their ballet technique training. This past July, I attended a teacher training intensive with highly-sought after coach and Vaganova pedagogy expert Carol Roderick. With this information in mind, we are working on implementing a studio-wide ballet technique syllabus that will be used among all of our staff, to provide consistency in how we are training our dancers from their first class to their graduating performance.


“DSD often talks about the Vaganova method. What does this mean?”

Throughout classical ballet, there are many different styles of training. The Vaganova method is the Russian method of training, founded by a woman named Agrippina Vaganova in the 1940’s. There are several different methods of ballet training, with the Vaganova method (aka Russian method) being one of the most highly sought-after training methods in classical ballet. This is because the training system is designed to give attention to every part of the body within executing movements and allows dancers to focus on the fine details of their technique. This approach allows for dancers a full awareness of their body, and thus allowing them the opportunity to execute their movements with precise technique, fluidity, and expression.

“Why is my DSDPC dancer required to take ballet technique, and why is it important?”

Ballet is the basis for all forms of dance, and crosses over in every style a dancer performs. For example, dancers know that they start every class with a demi plié and a tendu. In jazz, every jump starts and lands in a plié. Every battement must be done with straight knees and pointed toes, which are taught in the fundamental tendu exercise in ballet. Not only this, but ballet technique enforces the same pelvic alignment, posture, balance, and details in the feet, legs, and arms that are needed in contemporary, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, and every other style of dance. Through ballet technique, dancers are able to develop an awareness of their body so that they can correct themselves when they make a mistake without having to be reminded by the teacher. This allows for faster improvement in their dance training, and ultimately makes the difference between a good dancer and a great dancer.


“What if I have a child who doesn’t enjoy ballet as much as their other styles, or thinks it is boring? How can I encourage them to keep working in ballet technique?”

Ballet technique moves at a more deliberate pace than other styles, and this often can be frustrating for dancers that are eager to try more advanced movements. However, I often compare ballet to learning how to walk. You don’t go from crawling to sprinting; there is a deliberate process that you go through to learn how to stand, then walk, then run, etc. The basic mechanics of holding turnout, maintaining good posture and placement, coordinating the arms with the legs, etc., are crucial to be able to execute harder skills. Sure, you could teach a non-dancer to do a saute de chat (aka, a leap), and they could probably do it. However, can they do it with straightened knees and pointed toes? Can they do it with proper posture and arm placement? Can they jump high enough and have the flexibility to achieve a full split in the air? Probably not. These are all things that ballet technique focuses on, which is why we have to move at a methodical pace. This can be frustrating for dancers, because ballet technique is hard! There is always something more that can be improved within one’s own technique, even in a professional ballet dancer. However, with deliberate focus and work in ballet technique, dancers will start to see improvement in their other styles of dance, and in their own ballet technique. For dancers that think ballet technique is “boring,” I would encourage them to reframe their negative thoughts towards ballet as, “I don’t like this style of dance because I need more practice and am not where I want to be yet.” And with practice, this will come.

We are incredibly excited to be implementing our Vaganova-based program at DSD, and are eager to share it with your dancers!


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{Free Class!} Wiggle Wednesdays!


Join your little one for an exploration of music, dance and creative play the first Wednesday of each month at Diamond School of Dance!

The class is FREE and open to the community. Class space is limited. Invite a friend!

Connect with other moms, engage in fun activities exploring music and movement and create lasting friendships!

Ages 18 months and up. Enroll online to reserve YOUR place at “2018 Special Classes & Events”.

Share with a friend with a little one who would LOVE this fun class!

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DSD’s 2019 Performances to be held at the Pablo Center!


BREAKING NEWS… DSD’s Spring Performances to be held at the Pablo Center at the Confluence!

DSD’s 2019 Spring Performance’s will be held at Eau Claire’s premier, brand NEW state of the art performing arts theater, Pablo Center at the Confluence!!! We couldn’t be more thrilled to represent the arts in our community as the first dance studio in the region to grace the stage of the Pablo Center. It will be an experience you and your dancer will never forget!

Mark your calendar for June 8-9, 2019 for DSD’s Spring Performances and be sure to invite grandma, grandpa and your entire family and friends to experience DSD’s professionally staged performances starring YOUR dancer!

Check your email or visit to view your dancer’s performance date and time! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our staff team is happy to help!

WHAT: DSD’s 2019 Spring Performances “RISE UP”
LOCATION: Pablo Center at the Confluence
Dates: June 8-9 at 1:00 & 6:00

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Five Benefits of Dance

Five Benefits of Dance

At Diamond School of Dance, we believe that learning how to dance should be an encouraging and positive experience for children at any age! And while the dance steps themselves are an important element to every class, the benefits of dance go far beyond pliés and pirouettes.

Here are our five favorite benefits of dance:

1) Dance requires perseverance
In today’s world of instant gratification, dance is different because it teaches children how to work hard over days, weeks, months, and years! Consistent, developmentally-appropriate practice is the way to achieve progress.

2) There are opportunities everywhere
Every class is a chance to learn something new or grow in a new way. Whether it’s getting better at a step you already know or trying a new skill, the chance to try and try again is always there!

3) Forever friendships are formed
There’s something pretty special about the friends you dance with … you share laughs, work together as a team, push each other to do your best, and support each other’s dreams.

4) Dance prepares kids for life in the “real world”
The dance classroom is full of life lessons: from our preschoolers learning how to take turns with each other to our teenagers understanding how to prepare for an audition, everyone is developing the discipline and patience they’ll need in life outside the classroom.

5) The “comfort zone” is challenged
Trying new steps. Performing in front of an audience. Reaching for a goal. All of these things help children grow outside their comfort zones! A shy dancer can learn how to love the stage; an enthusiastic one can learn how to harness her energy.

As you may already have observed in your child, the immediate joy of dancing comes from the thrill of movement and music! What follows is another type of joy; one that comes from the long-term, deeply-rooted character qualities instilled during dance class.

These five benefits aren’t the only positives of course, but they are certainly some of the best! We hope you see them develop in your child as they discover their love for dance.