Saturday, October 26, 2013

Curing Technology Overload

Kids are more plugged in than ever
I recently embarked on an endeavor of daunting proportions... Banning my child from "screens" for a month.  I was using it as a consequence to bad choices but I have decided that it's going to be a more permanent arrangement.
Over the past year, through no fault of his own, my son contracted what I like to call "screen sitter disease." This is a new phenomenon which I believe is caught by kids when parents are overwhelmed and busy and need their children to be occupied while they take care of business.  For years parents have been in search of ways to stop kids from making that horrible statement, "I'm bored".  In my desperate quest to keep my child happy while getting things done, I began to rely on the Wii, the computer, the iPhone, iPad, Smartphone, Kindle, Nook, and/or the good old fashioned television to babysit or occupy him.  I'll just admit it.... I allowed my child to sit in front of one screen or another for more than 3 hours a day because I literally was so overwhelmed by my to do list. Bad idea.

Many grown ups are also suffering from a different form of the same disease known as "online addiction" or "device overload". This is evident on the freeway when you see someone going 80 miles an hour while emailing their clients (or maybe texting their girlfriend). I'm not pointing any fingers.... I've had my moments of bad choices, but the thought of injuring someone else so I could answer "K" has curbed the temptation. Could you imagine the humiliation of being found bloody in your car, phone in hand, with your latest how are you text glaring for all the world to see? Good deterrent. Don't do that.

Put down the phones and talk to each other

But I digress, the issue is the affect of too much technology on our kids and what to do about it. First of all, we need to set a better example. We need to take responsibility for the activities of our children. That's just my opinion. Once I turned the TV and computer off, I was forced to engage with my son. We played Scrabble, Monopoly, built marble tracks, drew pictures and colored, went to bowling, chatted, and were forced to find other things to go and do. When you turn the noise off you can find your family. I'm totally not OK with the new phrase "techgether time". Where everyone sits together in the same room talking to or playing games with someone in another town or perhaps another country. You get what I'm saying. It just doesn't count as family time.

These kids are not really together
So when I began my new project, everyone was like, "No screens over fall break? Oh boy... have fun!" and you know what? I did have fun! Yes it was harder. Yes it was different, but it was really amazing. My son's creativity was sparked in a number of ways. He was more excited to go to his classes. He was eager to get to a place where people were that he could engage with. He was creative with pens and papers and cardboard boxes... like us oldies used to have to be. I worry about the creativity factor with the younger generation. I know we are enhancing it in some ways with technology but completely squashing it in other ways. I definitely saw why many kids are having a harder time with their physical fitness these days. They are more compelled to head to the computer rather than their bike. Couple that with the heat in Phoenix and the modern fear of your kid roaming freely in a world of predators, and you have an unhealthy recipe both mentally and physically.

Dance keeps you connected to humans not phones
So we must find a way to balance the tidal wave of technology with keeping our kids safe, healthy, and fit. I do know a great way to get your kids off the couch and away from the TV and phone! It's called DANCE CLASS.  That's right, and I know a really good place to take those dance classes too. A place where it's easy to keep kids off their devices and in to the moment. A place that believes in encouraging children to be their best and keep a good balance in their life. DESERT STAR DANCE. It's hard to dance with a cell phone in your hand! Give your kids the chance to achieve something outside of the virtual world. Let them accomplish learning some step combinations rather than mouse clicks. It's easy to see why it is critical for us to improve our kids chances of success and ensure that they get adequate physical activity. They are so bombarded by sedentary options. We need to be sure we encourage organized classes and sports that encourage physical activity. Dance is a healthy and fun way to cure "screen sitter disease" as well as improve a child's life in countless and unlimited ways. Enroll your child in a dance class today! Here's the link to get more info on Desert Star Dance and how you can help fight this epidemic: or call us at (480) 813-7827 today!
Here's some other info I found regarding this issue that is interesting to read:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Punch lists... that has been my favorite phrase the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the list is not a list of ingredients to make a fabulous party drink or some crazy fantasy list of people that are lining up to get punched. It's a long list of tasks that needs my attention. That never ending list of things to do... but the list is finally getting shorter, and my yearning to get back in to the class room is finally outweighing my to do list.

Welcome to the all new Desert Star Dance
The studio has successfully relocated to it's new home! I am so exhausted I have barely had time to realize the magnitude of what just took place. Thankfully I had a great deal of help from people who love the studio. So, I'd like to take a moment to give some thanks to people who helped with this monumental job. 

First off, I want to thank Sherry Fleming. Every time I needed an opinion on something, a job to accomplish, or a helping hand - Sherry was there to help make it happen. Sherry's dedication to Desert Star Dance is unmatched. She kept the studio rolling while I did a job that proved to be bigger than I could have imagined. Thanks Sherry!

Cheryl and Ann steer
the boxes at IKEA
Secondly, I thank my teachers - Lisa Hammond and Audra Sheridan for holding down the fort in my absence! Taylor Manske for always being there in a pinch! And all of my instructors for your patience and assistance during this busy time of limbo. Also thanks to Terri Urie and Cheryl Bujold for their efforts and enthusiasm. Cheryl, I loved our IKEA moment... hilarious. Terri, you are the best cheerleader ever. Love you all. 

U-Haul packed up and ready to go
Finally, I'd like to thank all the people who helped out with the move by donating their time, boxes, bins, cleaning skills, and muscles during the move! Thank you to Alisa Ardavin for donating the U-Haul truck. Kurt Parker, for leading the charge with the U-Haul and doing much of the heavy lifting (also for returning things to the Goodwill that I just couldn't bear to put in the new space). Thank you Carmen and Raul Razo for removing the ballet barres. Thanks to Luis Morales for installing the barres at the new studio. Thanks to Karl Bode for putting together the trophy case and book shelves.  Thanks to Sheila Kemper, Jamie Taylor, Laura Martin, Agnes McNellis, Heather Parker, Susan Gentry, Bill Wilson, Karen Gloor, Toni Hanen, Chris and Kathy Krieg, Crystal and Albie Lopez, Keri and Todd McCleary, and Kris Jernigan for helping pack, move, clean, and make it happen! Most of all, thanks to all the students for your enthusiasm for dance and patience while we made this dream come true. 

We are so pleased to be able to present such a beautiful facility for all to enjoy. 
I just LOVE our sign... so beautiful!
When I drove around the corner of Ray and McQueen and saw that HUGE sign lit up on McQueen Rd. I got a little tear as I recalled our humble beginnings at World Gym when our only identification was our cute little tee shirts and our love for what we do. I am humbled by the story of this "thing" that is a mass of energy created by dancers and their families and years of love and dedication to a philosophy and ideal. Here's to the next ten years at the all new DESERT STAR DANCE!
Be sure and come visit our new home at 1020 E. Ray Rd. We are having an open house on Saturday October 19, 2013 and would love to see YOU there. Visit our web site often at: Refer your friends and neighbors! Tell them about the Open House.
See our fall schedule at:

Some Photos of our new home....
Big Front Desk
The Kitchen 
Awesome break room
The front 

East Side of the building

Giant Dance Rooms
spacious hallways

Drinking fountains yay!
Plenty of parking