Vanessa Finnegan, Author at Infinity Arts Center

September 5, 2019
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It is shocking how many dance instructors like to simply run out the clock with kids rather than engage with them in meaningful dance education. I once met a dance studio Director who was in the process of INTERVIEWING ME who actually stated “I love to waste time.” I cannot fathom why it is that these people got into their field… especially those who are so blessed to be in a position in which they can make important decisions for an arts institution such as who to hire.

As for instructors who like to waste time, I have worked with a few in the past, and for those parents or employers out there who might pop in once in a while.. here are some tell tale signs to spot those time wasters.

  1. The instructor spends chunks of class time playing games that have nothing to do with dance. If you know that you have a good dance instructor who is utilizing class time so well that there is some extra time to play “sharks and minnows” or “duck duck goose” at the end of class or as a quick warm-up then this can be just fine. But it’s a slippery slope, and if you ask your child “what did you do in dance class today?” and all they can come up with is “we played freeze tag” then you definitely have a time-waster teaching your child.
  2. The instructor is standing by the door with the speaker, acting as “DJ” rather than interacting with the kids. This can happen when a teacher has the mistaken idea that once they have taught a group of kids some choreography they’ve done their job. They will then have the students run the dance over and over again without much commentary and without moving from their spot. When this type of teacher does make commentary on the most recent run through of their dance it will be a vague accusation – something like, “you guys need to get those counts on the wave part” in an exasperated tone, before playing the music again. The most frustrating part of watching this kind of teacher work is that their attitude says “this is not worth my time” and it is clear that the class is indeed excruciatingly long for them, but if they would just engage with their students, or god forbid, do the dance with them! Then time would go by much more quickly and enjoyably so.
  3. The instructor plays freeze dance every class, for a good chunk of the duration of the class without any attempt at making it educational. This is a hard one for me because I use freeze dance a lot in my classes, especially my younger age groups. But there is a BIG difference between playing a birthday party freeze dance game in which the only goal is to win, and using this stop and start game as a structured tool to encourage improvisation. So ask yourself these questions when deciding if using freeze dance in the classroom you are associated with is okay: does the instructor encourage the children to use some dance movements that have been learned in the classroom? Does the instructor point out and praise certain movements and improvisational choices as the students move? Does the instructor change it up with new and fun parameters?  If the answer to all of those is no and the instructor is doing something you could do with your child in the living room while eating dinner on the couch and pressing stop and start with your free hand, then you’ve got yourself a time waster.

It is sad that anyone in such a rewarding profession would take their time and the time of their students for granted in this way, but just like in any field dance has it’s fair share of workers who are just waiting out the clock till pay day. If you yourself are a dance instructor, it’s possible that you are wasting time in your classroom without realizing it, or without thinking about what wasted class time means for your students and for yourself on your career path. Just like any academic field, there are surface understandings of the subject (rote memorization of a single routine for example) and there are deeper understandings (for example, the awareness of the natural movement of the arms and legs in cross lateral motion and the ability to coordinate increasingly complicated combinations based off of that understanding). Do not sell dance short by teaching, purchasing for your child, or taking a class that does not respect the full potential of what dance has to offer.


July 10, 2019
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At Infinity Arts Center, all of our classes have an impressively low student-teacher ratio. Small class sizes ensure that students receive a quality arts education through hands-on learning.

When you or your child sign up for one of our classes, camps, workshops or after-school programs, you can be sure to get the one-on-one nurturing small class sizes provide. Read on to learn about eight benefits of low student-teacher ratios.

  1. Working One-on-One

Students and teachers at IAC have plenty of opportunities to work together one-on-one, allowing the opportunity to tailor instruction toward the student’s needs.

  1. Participation Opportunities

Small groups mean having to compete less for participation opportunities. Students can have their voices heard and apply what they are learning to class discussions.

  1. All Students are Noticed

In large classes, students can hide and get left behind. But, fewer students means that each one gets the attention he or she deserves.

  1. Ability to Focus on Learning

In classrooms with fewer students, teachers can spend more time teaching the material and less time regaining the attention of students who might be easily distracted. They can also cater to different learning styles among students.

  1. More Efficient Learning

Students learn more in small classes, and they also learn faster. This means the class will progress through material more quickly, and students will have the opportunity to learn even more per class.

  1. More Feedback

In classes with smaller student-to-teacher ratios, teachers have time to customize their feedback to students. With individualized feedback, students get the help they need to reach their potential.

  1. Ideas are Expressed

In small classes, students have more time to share ideas and perspectives. They can explore their opinions and gain the confidence to express those opinions openly.

  1. Classrooms are Communities

With fewer students per class, students support each other and can connect more personally with classmates, which can lead to lasting friendships. Join the IAC community by enrolling in one of our summer camps or fall classes!


June 28, 2019
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Experiencing the arts is an important part of the human experience. The arts compel us to look within ourselves, to engage different points of view and to see the beauty in both the ordinary and the spectacular.

 

Almost as soon as children develop motor skills, they begin creating art with crayons and finger paints. As adults, people who participate in the arts display more civic engagement and social tolerance.

 

Most of us view the arts as a positive aspect of human life, but what are some concrete benefits that art participation provides? Read on to learn about four ways art can make us better people in a better society.

 

1.      Communication Skills

 

Whether it is a painting, song or other form, art is an expression of a feeling or thought. Sometimes we can’t put things into words, and sometimes feelings are more beautiful when not boxed into a set of words. We can find release and meaning through artistic expression.

 

2.      Problem-Solving Skills

 

Participating in the arts requires constant experimentation and assessment. Should a scene in a play be interpreted this way, or would another approach work better? How should I choreograph this dance to most clearly show my intent? This process improves the artist’s problem-solving skills.

 

3.      Social & Emotional Skills

 

Oftentimes, the arts are a group experience, from playing an instrument in a band to being part of a theatre production. These experiences teach cooperation and positive interaction. Art also teaches us how to confront and relay our emotions. Participation helps form a healthy sense of self and identity as well as fosters self-efficacy.

 

4.      Self-Expression and Creativity

 

One of the best things about creativity is that there is no “right” or “wrong.” Young people, especially, can benefit from an environment that is inclusive and encourages creative and self-expression.

 

We have so many camps, classes, workshops and after-school experiences that teach and celebrate the arts. We invite you and your child to participate in the arts with us and to reap the many benefits such participation provides.

June 21, 2019
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Did you know that more than 52 million people visit Disney World each year? Engaging characters, music and performances make Disney a favorite among kids, but your little ones don’t have to leave Virginia to get a taste of the fun. In fact, you can stay right here in town and avoid the heat and long lines, as well as the tired kids and feet!

Our upcoming Disney Camp is a fantastic way to bring the magic and fun of Disney to your child’s summer vacation. It’s just one of the many exciting and creative camps we are offering this summer at Infinity Arts Center. Read on to learn five things you should know about Disney Camp:

  1. Disney Camp is going to be FUN! Discover how to sing, act, dance and be crafty in just 1 week! In a far-off kingdom, there is a totally awesome summer camp at IAC for kids. Jump into the worlds of your favorite fairy tales and explore the characters and themes in a camp that is sure to end in “Happily Ever After!” We’ll cover the classics and then create some of our own “fractured” fairy tales.
  2. Disney Camp is right around the corner. It will be held June 24 – June 28 from 9AM– 4PM. Don’t let this camp pass you by!
  3. The camp is offered to kids ages 8-16. All of our activities will be geared directly toward this age group, making it an engaging and valuable experience for your child.
  4. We are offering Before Care from 7-9AM each day, as well as After Care from 4-6PM each day. These options can help Mom and Dad with busy work and carpooling schedules.
  5. To give you even more options, Disney Camp will be offered as Full-Day or Half-Day camps. Besides attending the full day, your child can attend from 9AM-12PM or 1-4PM.

These are just five of the reasons YOU should attend Disney Camp at IAC! You can register for camp by visiting our sign-up page:  https://campscui.active.com/orgs/InfinityArtsCenter#/selectSessions/2535314