The Spark! – November 2019

A Note From The Director
Dear Parents,
I can’t believe we are already at the end of November and speeding ahead to the holidays. Thanksgiving is a time of year to reflect upon what we have and to give thanks. One of the things I am grateful for at Discovery is its continuity as a neighborhood treasure and its evolving and growing community. A community that extends beyond just a few classes in one’s childhood. While I have only been a part of the program for the past 12 years, there is no doubt of its treasure as a place for inspiration, connection, education, arts, athletics, and longevity. 

This month, we capture just a bit of Discovery’s legacy as we interview past and more recent alumni. Natalie Smith, our new music teacher, grew up taking classes at Discovery. Our Student Spotlight features two former students who are current volunteers and two more students we remain connected with through their performances. There are countless gymnasts, dancers, and karate students who check in with us and reflect fondly upon their time here. We even have former students who bring their own children to class. Just the other day, I met a new mom in Baby Social who was a former Discovery student. Discovery is a place that is passing through generations and is enriched by the students and families who are a part of it. Thank you all for being a part of this vibrant community. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm Wishes,
Katie Kheel

Interview with Natalie, Music Teacher!

This month we are interviewing Natalie. She is a new music teacher here at Discovery and she works with our students in Almost On My Own and Baby Social! She’s also starting a music class for 1-3 year olds called Stories and Sounds. Natalie and her sisters were students at Discovery Programs when they were children!
What is your background in music? 
I started taking piano at the age of 6 and still consider myself a student to this day – it’s an instrument with endless learning possibilities! I started studying voice in earnest when I was 10 years old, although I had been singing and performing before that in various children’s theatre programs in the city, including Discovery Programs.
Which classes did you take when you came to Discovery as a child? 
Over the course of about 8 years I took a whole slew of classes at Discovery – mainly tap dance, ballet, musical theatre, and gymnastics.
What do you remember about your time as a student at Discovery?
With so many kids, parents, and caregivers around it was a very vibrant community, and I remember feeling nestled in the pace of it all. Although I would frequently be called out (fairly) for chatting and hamming it up for the audience, I loved all my teachers. My teachers all seemed to take great pride in what they taught us in their particular areas of expertise which served as one of my models as an artist to this day; to take pride in the grace of a single gesture in a ballet dance, or to train your body to make the tallest handstand it can make, to listen with full attention to another child speak their lines on stage. I remember learning not to try and be the best, but to do everything to the best of my ability. 
How does it feel to return to Discovery as an adult? 
Kind of surreal! When I first walked into the lobby I felt almost like I was dreaming – so many memories and everything looking almost exactly the same. It’s also amazing to experience a full circle like this, and it makes sense that I would be drawn to teach somewhere that taught me so much. 
What do you like most about teaching music to children?
So many things, it’s hard to pick…I love the experience of being able to lead a child to the point where they can ultimately make the discovery themselves.  It’s such an empowering feeling you can see in their eyes when they realize how capable they are, and it sort of bounces back to you. I also love how funny kids are and how much they make me laugh. 

Photo Op: Fall Programs

Photo Op:

Happy Halloween!

Fall 2019 Calendar
Winter/Spring 2020 Calendar
Discovery Announcements!
Priority Registration is open for Winter/Spring: 
We will hold your child’s current spot until Monday, December 2nd. After that, all classes will be open for enrollment to new students. If your child is in a full or almost full class, it’s important to register before December 2nd if you want the same class day and time. 
Fall Semester Closing Dates
-November 28-30
-December 23-31
-January 1-3, 20
Nutcracker Suite: Sunday, December 8th at 11:00am. There will be one show only this year! Check your email and the flyer handed out in class for details. Call 212-749-8717 if you have questions.
Parent Viewing Days: Parents can come and watch their children the last or second to last class of the semester. You will receive an email with the viewing dates for your child’s class. 
Lost and  Found: We have a number of water bottles, headbands, books and other items. If you think you may have lost something, come check it out. We will be clearing the Lost and Found in January. 

Alumni Spotlight

This month we’re highlighting some past students who are sharing what they remember about being a student at Discovery.
Emma, now 16 years old, was a ballet student for years and says, “Probably the biggest thing that I remember was just how much fun I had. I loved the opportunity to just dance and be myself…especially when I got to wear a tutu at same time!” Emma now volunteers at Discovery as a ballet teaching assistant. 
Ilana, now 13 years old, took many classes as a child and then competed on our gymnastics team until this past spring. Ilana says “when I was a student at Discovery Programs it was a place where I could come and release my stress, a safe place. I learned a lot about gymnastics but also how go out into the real world and work with people and challenges.” Ilana now volunteers as a gymnastics assistant coach! 
Philip and Jamie are former ballet and gymnastics students who now attend the School of American Ballet.
Philip: The teachers taught me ballet technique, how to focus, to be more independent, and to have lots of fun.  I would never be where I am today, pursuing my dream of being a professional ballet dancer, if it were not for the warm, caring environment of Discovery. My teachers from Discovery still come and see me perform with New York City Ballet every year.
Jamie: I loved tutu day and all the steps I learned in ballet. I also loved gymnastics. I competed on the team and I was able to go to the State Championships where I won a medal. I am now a student at the School of American Ballet thanks to everything I learned at Discovery.

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