The Spark! – December 2017

A Note From The Director
Dear Parents,
December is a special month at Discovery, beginning with our Nutcracker Suite performance. It is truly an adorable and memorable experience. In my ten years here, I always find something new or inspiring about the Nutcracker and ideas of how we can add to our show. It’s gone from not much scenery to having a beautiful fabric tree, more costumes, new dance roles, red cheeks for dolls, a Mother Ginger skirt, and the list goes on! As I said at the performance, our Nutcracker is an abstract version but it doesn’t mean it’s any less special. Here is an interesting article about more traditional Nutcrackers! 
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/arts/dance/what-makes-a-traditional-nutcracker-ballet.html


I often have to remind myself that it’s not about how well or perfect the children perform but more importantly, that they enjoy themselves and have fun. As I watch in the wings, I am in awe of the children that are really feeling and dancing to the music and being in that moment fully. Then, there are the children who won’t go on stage for the rehearsal but by showtime, they are ready. They overcome their fear and we are so proud.  There are the other children that wave out to their grown up, don’t want to leave the stage at the end of their dance, or do something else funny. We laugh in the wings and remember these sweet moments together later as we recap the day. Putting on the Nutcracker is one of the top five most rewarding parts of my job! 

Enjoy your holiday season! 
Warm Wishes,

Katie Kheel
An Interview with
Katrina Muffley
Katrina Muffley, a California native, classically trained ballerina, and one of our beloved dance instructors, just completed her fifth Nutcracker recital at Discovery. This month, we’re taking a moment to celebrate her glowing presence and unmistakeable warmth.
TC: What is your personal history with the Nutcracker ballet, and what do you love about it?
KM: I started ballet at the age of 10, and the Nutcracker was the very first ballet I performed. Although my roles changed every year, till this day, when I hear certain pieces of music from the ballet, the choreography  I learned years ago still comes back to me. I treasure this ballet so much because growing up, it brought my family together. Whether it was my dedicated mom driving me to and from the shows, to my family sitting in the in audience each year, watching me perform. It was not only my tradition as a dancer, but became part of my family’s tradition as well, and as a young dancer, meant so much to me. 
TC: What do you think your students gain from this holiday classic, regarding the story, music, choreography, and opportunity to perform in front of friends and loved ones?
KM: Discovery’s Nutcracker suite is very special. Although it is not the full ballet, each class is a dance of its own, and the dancers become so dedicated to their roles on stage. Whether one is a Snow Flake, a Young Clara, or a Little Mouse, each dancer is able to learn the story behind their dance, its music, and movement. As a teacher, the best part about any recital is to see your students dance on stage. For my younger students, seeing them come out on stage is a huge accomplishment, as some become shy during performances. For my older dancers, watching them work together within their dance – watching one another, listening to the music for their movements cues, and dancing with presence –  is so important. Performing on stage in front of the people they care about so much (family and friends), gives them the opportunity to practice and hone in on these skills, which carries on with them in other realms of their developing lives. 
TC: During the holiday season, we talk a great deal about the joy and art of giving. What motivates you all year round to infuse your teaching with generosity? 
KM: My students are the ones who inspire and motivate me throughout the year to infuse my teaching with a sense of generosity. Movement, just by itself, is such a powerful and generous art form. As a teacher, I want my students to experience movement and ballet technique from a place of joy, expression, and freedom. Each week, my little students come to me with many stories about their busy lives, smiles, hugs, and true excitement. They inspire me each and every day to give a little more of “myself” to the art of teaching, and in return, I feel their movement and excitement for ballet expand, which is so rewarding to witness. 
-Tori Champion
New Year’s Eve Craft:
DIY Paper Fortune Cookies!
Materials Needed:

* 4″ Printable Party Tags (I used the ones from our New Year Printables)
* White Cardstock
* Scissors
* Cookie Fortunes 
* Hot Glue or double-sided tape

1) Print the 4″ New Year round party tags onto the white cardstock and cut. Make a small crease onto one of the circles, with printed side facing inwards.

2) Open the circle, then fold at 90 degrees to the first crease, this time with printed side facing out.

3) Insert your New Year Fortunes inside each ‘cookie’.

4) Then press gently with your finger on the crease made at step 1, whilst pulling the ends towards the center to create your cookie. Secure in place with hot glue or double-sided tape.

They get easier the more you make! The possibilities are endless with the kind of paper or sizes you choose.
New Year’s Eve Party | DIY Paper Fortune Cookies
Homemade Fortune Cookies Recipe
Spotlight On: 
The Nutcracker
Winter Ballet Recital
9 Amazing Podcasts for Kids
Discovery Announcements!
Holiday Closings 
– We will be closed from Saturday, December 23rd through Tuesday, January 2nd. Classes will resume on Wednesday, January 3rd.
Parent Viewing Days
The second and final Parent Viewing Days for the semester will be held in all Ballet, Parkour, and Karate classes on the last day of class
– Gymnastics classes will be holding viewing days on a specific schedule that varies by class. If you don’t know when your child’s viewing day is, please call or email us at the front desk!  
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