Summer Camp Survival Guide

Tiny Dancers-06256.jpg

It's summer camp season at Tiny Dancers! We hope this survival guide for dancers new to our summer camp program—and veteran campers—will provide some tips to make camp a breeze. You may look at this post and think, is my child going to summer camp or training for a marathon? The answer is YES! Our camps are 3 hours long and full of dancing, crafting, snacking, reading, and dress-up. That is quite a lot for children who are not school-age yet. The tips below will help your dancer get the most out of our camp and possibly their nap later that afternoon!

First things first... a good night's rest. This is easier said than done, I know. Try to make it easy on yourself by not scheduling a camp the morning after your 16-hour flight back from your family vacation.

Next thing: Fueling up for the day with a hearty breakfast. Try to avoid things that are overly sugary, and instead go for protein-rich foods that will keep them going until snack time. You can check out my blog post on snacks for kids-on-the-go in Karly's Corner.

For camp: Pack a filling and fueling snack. Once that breakfast wears off, the teachers notice a significant difference in campers' ability to listen and stay focused. Eating a well-rounded snack helps bring that attention back.

Arrival: All you need is 10-15 minutes before camp starts to have time to settle in and meet the teachers. Getting settled is an important step for children who feel anxiety when their parents aren't in the room. It helps tremendously in making them feel comfortable and safe.


Proper Dance Shoes

Ballet Camp= Ballet Shoes

Hip Hop Camp= Sneakers

Tap Camp= Tap Shoes

Musical Theater/Tiny Broadway Camp= Jazz Shoes

Try it Out Camp= All the shoes!

*Everything but sneakers are available to borrow.



Change of clothes for campers who just finished potty training.

Shoes to wear to and from the studio; dance shoes should never be worn outside.

Proper Dance Attire

Ballet= Leotard and tights (tutu or skirt optional)

Hip Hop/Tap= Comfortable stretchy clothes you would wear to the gym or yoga

Tiny Broadway/Musical Theater= Black jazz pants or leggings and a leotard

Finally, please be here promptly when your child's camp ends to take pictures of them in their costumes. Showing you their costumes and dance moves can be the highlight of their day!

Well, that's about all the tips I have this summer! Stay cool and keep on dancin'!


Dance Class Spotlight: Tiny Broadway

At Tiny Dancers, of course we love ballet. We believe it builds a strong foundation for a any dancer (not to mention soccer and football players) but we also love other styles of dance! Once children turn 4 they are eligible for our Tiny Tap, Tiny Hip Hop, and finally Tiny Broadway classes. A lot of people know tap and hip hop but what exactly happens during a Broadway class? Read on to find out!


Warm Ups

Just like a Tiny Dancer's ballet class, Tiny Broadway students will dance along to age appropriate songs that inspire movement. Unlike our other styles of dance, we also sing along to warm up our vocal chords.


Tiny Broadway is divided into three sections, the first section is dance! Students will learn Broadway style jazz moves such as jazz squares, grapevine, and drag step. They will learn different ways to travel across the floor and age appropriate jazz technique in the center.


Next we sing! We will begin by warming up our vocal chords with silly exercises. Students will learn a song or two from a different Broadway Musical every month. Occasionally students will sing solos for each other to practice getting up in front of an audience and to learn how to be respectful to people performing.


The final, and possibly most fun, section is acting. Students will play various acting games, act out short scenes from well known musicals and children books, and learn how to use props and costumes to tell a story. They will also learn proper theater terminology such as stage directions.

As you can see this is a lot to do in 45 min! The fast paced, always changing atmosphere is great for kids who might find ballet too slow, or who simply need to sing out loud every now and then!

I hope you have found this spotlight helpful! Please contact your studio manager if you have any questions or would like additional information.

TD slide show-29.jpg

Your Guide to Halloween Week at Tiny Dancers

Halloween Blog Pic 1.jpg

At Tiny Dancers, we LOVE playing dress up, so naturally Halloween Week is a week we look forward to! Costumes are strongly encouraged, but never required, so if your child doesn't want to participate that's O.K. Have more questions? Need some tips? This blog is here to help!

Is there any kind of costume my dancer shouldn't wear?

Yes, any sort of costume that limits movement (for example: mermaid tails) should not be worn. I like to recommend the 'leap test' where you try various leaps and jumps in the costume before coming to class.

Halloween Blog Pic 2.jpg

Does my dancer still need to wear the appropriate dance shoe for their class?

Yes, appropriate footwear is important for a dancer to have no matter the occasion. Your dancer should always be wearing his or her dance shoes to class. Please save any costume footwear for trick-or-treating.

My child's Halloween class is tomorrow and we don't have a costume. What should I do?

Turning your child's normal dance outfit into a costume fit for Halloween Week can be as simple as adding cat ears, a royal crown, a super hero cape or butterfly wings. You can run over to a nearby Dollar Tree for sparkly wings fit for a fairy princess or, if you're feeling crafty, you can try to DIY with one of these tutorials.

T-Shirt Super Hero Cape:

Garbage Bag Butterfly Wings:

Oh no! TODAY is my child's Halloween class and I totally forgot. What should I do?

Never fear! Tiny Dancers has you covered; just tell your teacher and they can grab one of the many costumes or accessories we have for just this situation. If your child is adamant that they get to wear their own costume, it is O.K. for them to wear it the following week.

Halloween Blog Pic 3.jpg

Should I bring treats to class?

We will have plenty of tricks and treats of our own to share that week but if you do bring something, please make sure to bring enough for every child and avoid peanut products. On November 1st we will be collecting any leftover Halloween candy and donating it to service members and their families. Please be on the lookout for donation boxes at your studio the first few weeks in November.

That about does it! If you think of something we haven't covered, please call your studio manager. We look forward to a week full of Halloween dress-up fun!

a need to read

Best Books for Young Dancers

Ages 1-4

Miss Karly says: 'Flora and the Flamingo' by Molly Idle is a great book to read to your future ballerina-in-training. It is a wordless flip-style picture book that follows a girl and her flamingo as they dance their way around the page. Since there aren't any words, you can make up a different story every time or simply put on music and let the pictures dance.

Ages 4-8

Miss Krissie says: 'Belinda the Ballerina' by Amy Young is one of my favorite story books about ballet. Belinda is a beautiful dancer, but she has two big problems... her left foot and her right foot. Her feet are so large that when she tries to audition for the Metropolitan Ballet, the judges make fun of her giant feet and won't even watch her dance! Belinda gives up dancing and gets a job as a waitress. She is an excellent waitress but she misses dancing terribly. One night a band comes to the restaurant and Belinda just can't keep from dancing. She twirls and soars through the restaurant. Everyone is so enchanted by her dancing that they tell the maestro of the Metropolitan Ballet! The Maestro is so charmed by her dancing, Belinda lands back on stage where she belongs. This story is for anyone (everyone) who thinks their body is less than perfect and finds themselves questioning their dream because of it. Belinda’s passion shines through in the mood-evoking illustrations and I love the message of pursuing your dreams, no matter what! You will be delighted with 'Belinda the Ballerina' and even more delighted to find 3 more books in the series.

Miss Donna says: I love a little book called 'I Wear My Tutu Everywhere!" by Wendy Cheyette Lewinson. The main character, Tilly, wears her new tutu everywhere she goes--even to the pool! But one day her tutu rips and she has to get through the day without it. She discovers how much easier it is to ride her bike, go to a birthday party and even go to bed in the proper clothes. And you know what? She can still be a ballerina and wear her tutu--to ballet class.

Miss Josie says: 'The Silver Slippers' by Elizabeth Koda-Callen tells the story of a clumsy ballerina who can't get her balance in dance class until her mother gifts her with a necklace: a pair of tiny silver ballet slippers dangling from a silver chain that helps give her confidence. The best part of the book is it comes with the necklace for your ballerina to wear!

Ages 8-14

Miss Olivia says: One recommendation I have is actually a graphic novel, "To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel" by Siena Cherson Siegel. This autobiography follows the life of a ballerina on her journey from classroom to stage. It depicts her passion and love of dance with bright and colorful illustrations.


Miss Jenna says: I like 'Max' by Rachel Isadora. It is about a boy who plays baseball, and he finds himself enjoying a ballet class with his sister one day after dropping her off. It's a really cute story and I like that it has a boy doing (and loving) ballet. With so many books about ballerinas, this is a great story that our boy dancers can relate to.


recital costumes for halloween

Turn your extra recital costume into a Halloween costume: Crafts for the non-crafty Parent

During Halloween week at Tiny Dancers, students are invited to wear movement-friendly costumes to dance class. While we love a good mermaid, leave your restrictive fins at home! Here are some craft ideas that turn last year's recital costume into a perfect Halloween class look while allowing you to spend some quality creative time with your children. And don't worry--these tutorials won't leave you spooked!

Princess Pointed Toes

Princess Pointed Toes

It turns out that recital costumes and princess dresses have a lot in common! They both have that certain sparkly something that makes a kid feel royal. To turn your recital costume into a princess (or prince) look, just add a crown! You can learn how to make an easy yet elegant lace crown here:

Three Cheers for Animal Ears!

Three Cheers for Animal Ears!

It doesn't matter what the color or silhouette of your recital costume is, the only thing your child needs to be their favorite animal is the ears! Bonus points if you paint on some whiskers and a nose. Here is a kid friendly tutorial on cat ears that your child can help decorate:

Fairies Forever

Fairies Forever

I always see extra big smiles in class when I break out the fairy wings from the dress-up box, so why not flutter around Halloween class as this fairy tale favorite? You can get in the Halloween spirit with your child early by decorating these $1 fairy wings together with hot glue and flowers, gems, leaves, pom poms, ribbons, etc.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Dancer!

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Dancer!

With comic book heroes gaining popularity among kids in the box office, I wanted to include a no-sew cape that can be created using an old t-shirt. Any recital costume is only a cape away from being a super hero! Check out the simple tutorial here:

Happy Halloween!

gotta fuel the fun!

I hear it at least once a day in class, “Miss Karly, I'm tired.” That goes double at our 3 hr long summer camps. I get it -- kids have very full days. Between school, after school activities, and the bustle of daily life they have every right to be exhausted. This is where food comes to the rescue! It provides the fuel your dancer needs to not only make it through the day but to thrive in their activities. Ballerinas have their own specific fuel needs, mostly in the muscle strengthening and energy department. Here are a few ideas that would be perfect to pack in your child's snack for a successful week of summer camp at Tiny Dancers.

Sandwich: The Energizer Tummy Tortilla Wrap

The turkey and cheese provide protein while the avocado is a good source of healthy fats (which allow for the transportation of vitamins through out the body). Even the carbohydrates from the tortilla are doing their duty providing a burst of energy to keep your child dancing all camp long. Just roll up all the ingredients below into a whole wheat tortilla!


Turkey Slices
Avacado Slices
Swiss Cheese (or whatever your child prefers)

Dessert: Monkey Pie

If your child has a sweet tooth or prefers softer food this is the snack for them! Bananas are a great source of fiber and help keep bones healthy. Greek yogurt is full of phosphorous which creates energy and helps distribute oxygen to muscles in the body. Cut banana into medallions and add to yogurt (for extra sweetness, add a touch of honey).


1 banana
1 cup of greek yogurt (any flavor)
tsp honey (optional)

Snack: Nuts*, Cheese Stick, Berries

All of these healthy options are tasty, easy for kids to eat, and most importantly give that boost of extended energy instead of a quick burst and inevitable crash (that usually occurs around pick up time, and no one has time for that).

Of course all of these options can be substituted based on dietary restrictions and preference. As long as the great energy provider: protein is the star of snack time your dancer will have the fuel they need to get the most out of their summer camp!

*Due to allergy concerns we ask that all snacks are peanut free! Thank you

get crafty with miss karly

Age 2 and up

One of my favorite things to do as a child and even now as an adult, is to dance and flow with ribbon. It’s like having a fairy wand where you can see the magic trail around you. This is a very easy craft for children of all ages to make and then spend hours playing with.

Here is another straightforward craft for your little dancer. Your child gets to color and create a tiny popsicle ballerina with a colorful cupcake wrapper tutu. Bonus points if you make enough that your child can act out a full dance class!

Age 4 and up

This craft makes the list because it combines science and art. Your child will love making their animal “dance” its paper clip arms and legs using a magnet. Put on a song and watch those crazy metal limbs boogie!

Age 6 and up

I always love a project you can wear when you are done making it (I have a degree in fashion design to prove it). These hair tie tutus don’t require too many materials and your dancer can wear it to ballet class around her bun!

Age 8 and up

This ballerina craft just might be your next window ornament or special gift to Grandma. These wire ballerinas can bend into different positions and look beautiful hanging from a ribbon. If you want to up your craft game and make fairy ballerinas, check out the second link for making fairy wings out of my favorite fiber at the moment, Angelina Fantasy Film.

it's all about choreography

Since before I can remember, I loved to choreograph. I would go over to my aunt’s house and spend hours making up dances in the basement with my cousin Haley. Our brothers always found other things to do until recital time, when they would beg to be included. Of course my mom made me work them in somehow and I got to practice not only my dance moves but my ability to get creative if things didn’t go my way. Dance has always been about more then movement in this way. I owe a lot to my dance teachers but I also owe a lot to being able to explore dance on my own, on my own terms, and I always encourage my students to go home and do the same. How do you get your child to be passionate about choreographing dances at home? Well, we all know we can’t make them do anything, but you can certainly use these tips below to encourage them.

It’s hard to make up a dance when you have no space to move how you want. This is where my aunt’s house came in handy; she had a huge basement. Move some chairs in the living room or some furniture in the basement to create a small “stage.” Make sure you have some sort of music player in the room so the dancing can commence! Bonus points for creating a “back drop” with a large roll of white paper and some crayons.

I really enjoyed choreographing the most when I had a goal in mind (halftime performance, talent show, etc.) or someone to push me to finish. Having my cousin around encouraged me to come up with a full dance, plus it was fun to create with her and see what kinds of movement we could come up with together. Invite some friends or family over that enjoy dancing too (perhaps a fellow Tiny Dancer alum?) and ask them to show you a dance they made up so they can practice for the upcoming recital!

Lets face it, the best part of a dance recital is getting to wear a sparkly costume. I always had a chest full of old dance recital costumes, thrift store finds and things my mom collected here and there. When I was a little older I would come up with full concepts and create costumes to go with the theme (who knew I was practicing for my job at Tiny Dancers?). If you don’t already have a dress up bin they are very easy to create. Old dresses and jewelry that you don’t wear, a stop to a local consignment shop or Goodwill, or simply picking up some scraps of fabric to tie around the body from a fabric store will work.


Miss Karly

holiday presentation survival guide

The holiday season is here and with it, the glorious return of Holiday Presentation Week! What is Holiday Presentation week you ask? It's a wonderful showcase celebrating all your dancer has learned this year so far. For some of you, this sounds exciting and thrilling. For others, this sounds like a giant ballet slipper of stress. If you are the latter, never fear — this guide’s for you!

What is Holiday Presentation Week exactly?

During the week of December 12th 2016 through December 18th 2016 you and your family will be sitting in on your child’s normally scheduled dance class. You will get to see all the dance moves they have been working on and then your child will perform a thirty second to one minute solo.

How do I prepare my dancer for this presentation?

Be on the look out for an email sent within the past few weeks with links to various songs. Play the songs for your child and have them chose one to make up a solo to. Please make sure the song you select is appropriate for the style of dance your child is taking (example: classical music for a ballet class, or a current top 40 radio song for hip hop). Once the song is chosen, play it for your child a few times and have them dance along. You do not need to worry about providing the music during the presentation, all of the studios will have the songs we sent in the email ready to go.

What are the expectations of my teacher?

Here is the best part, this is no pressure celebration. The teachers at Tiny Dancers are happy when a dancer gets up in front of an audience and performs, regardless if that means they simply twirl until they fall down. You do not need to choreograph a dance with your child, or have them memorize anything. Students in a pre-ballet class or older should be showcasing some of the vocabulary they have learned in class. If your child is nervous about this, have them get some ideas after class from their teacher!

What if my child refuses to dance?

Every year I have at least a handful of students who refuse to dance. This is completely normal and understandable. Imagine walking in to a room full of strangers sitting a couple of feet away and you have to perform! At this point I usually ask the child if they want to dance with me, or a friend or a sibling. If they still refuse then that is that. I would never force a child to perform or make them feel bad if they didn’t.  While performance week is great practice for our end of the year recital, forcing a child to perform could leave a more lasting case of stage fright that follows them to the recital.

How can I make this day more special for my dancer?

This is an easy one, talk it up! Let them know how amazing it is that they are performing for their family. Bring a big support group (grandparents love this!) and maybe even a bouquet of flowers for all their hard work. Most importantly keep it fun and pressure free!

I am looking forward to seeing all the unique dances!

Love, Miss Karly


Welcome to the inaugural blog post written for Tiny Dancers by our very own Miss Karly! Please check back monthly for new posts.


I am extremely excited to be given this forum to share my knowledge of all things dance, craft and fashion. Today I would like to share with you some tips on keeping your little dancer’s special dance class outfit looking like new. It’s not an impossible task, I promise!


Leotards are notorious for being food, ink and dirt magnets. We understand that younger dancers love wearing their leotard outside of class and that means there are plenty of opportunities for stains. If you catch a stain early, say during snack time, try to dab with cool water so the stain does not set before you get a chance to launder it. If it is an ink stain, hairspray works best. Then turn inside out and wash as usual. You want to prevent shrinking of cotton leotards by putting them on the delicate setting when drying, or better yet air dry.


I hear this one every week, “Miss Karly there’s a hole in my tights.” Which makes sense because tights are made with a knit method, creating thousands of tiny loops just looking to snag on those evil bush branches or rough cement sidewalk. While it’s next to impossible to totally repair a hole in your child’s tights, you can prevent the hole from getting larger by brushing on clear nail polish around the edges of the rip.

BONUS: This is also a great way to keep your child’s ballet slippers knotted permanently! Just tie a knot, dab with clear nail polish and cut the extra string away.


Tutu’s are made of a delicate fabric called tulle. Tulle is very temperamental and loves to wrinkle easily or even melt when it is introduced to heat. The first rule when washing a tutu is SKIP THE DRYER. Even a washing machine on the gentle cycle can do some damage. It’s best to hand wash in cool water and then hang overnight to dry. This prevents the tulle from getting thin, droopy or warped and your tutu will stay like new!


You can turn last year’s recital costume into this year’s favorite dress up costume by simply cutting off the lower part of the leotard that falls underneath the tutu. This will allow your child to slip the costume on over their head and wear it like a dress. You do not need to worry about the fabric fraying but if you would like some extra reinforcement, dab the cut end in clear nail polish or finish the edge with a zig zag stitch (if you have a handy dandy sewing machine that is).

Favorite Coffee Shops This Month
Fairfax- Dunkin’ Donuts
Mosaic- Mom & Pop
Alexandria- Firehook Bakery