Arts Alive! provides inter-disciplinary arts education and specializes in early childhood development. Learn positive and inclusive teaching philosophies from Founder Tina Sabuco and Executive Director Anissa Dwiggins.
Follow them at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpXHemagk4lPUPMD0AJRdug, https://open.spotify.com/user/o7jwnfcgzeys9kr1jmfhiaoxj?si=B9TF3Z3T4iZ7tQGUEU-ZQ, https://www.facebook.com/artsaliveinc, and join their community of educators at https://www.facebook.com/groups/47861236917193.
This site – Thinkific – hosts their Professional Development: https://artsalive.thinkific.com/
Hello, and welcome to dance talks. I’m your host. Andrea Cody today is November 6th, 2020, and my guests are Tina SaBuCo and a Nissa Wiggins. Tina is the founder and artistic director of arts alive, and a Nissa Wiggins is the executive director of arts alive, Tina and a Nissa. Welcome to dance talks. Hi, thanks for having us. Thanks for being here. Let’s start from the beginning. How did you learn to dance and develop your skills?
When I was, this is Tina and when I was three years old, my mom put me in dance in upper Michigan, Escanaba, Michigan, and I have been dancing ever since I took ballet tap and jazz. And when I was in high school, I started teaching when I was a freshman, 15 years old. And so I have been teaching for a very long time and that’s how I got started. I just, I loved it and dance was my life. And I also got into theater in middle school and also been doing that all my life.
0 (1m 11s):
Cool. How about you? Annisa
2 (1m 13s):
My experience has been as an adult. I met Tina in 1998 of in a creative movement, arts alive class. And I’ve been there ever since, and I’ve had a really no professional like dance classes or anything like that. It’s all been through arts alive and as Tina, as my guide and mentor.
0 (1m 33s):
Awesome. How did you two meet, like, how’d you end up in that class?
2 (1m 37s):
Funny story. I graduated in 1998 from U of H and went to teach in H I S D and was just not happy at all. Teaching an art class. And a friend of mine had come across this company called arts alive. And she said, it’s not for me, but I think it might be a good fit for you. So I called Tina, went to go see a class at Becker early childhood learning center. And that was in the morning, excuse me. And we interviewed that night and she hired me and I’ve been with the company ever since. And, you know, I went from just teacher to coordinator, executive director, and now I’m part owner and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
2 (2m 21s):
Wow. 22 years crazy. Yes. Half my lifetime practically.
0 (2m 30s):
That’s awesome. So please tell us about what you do, what arts alive does.
1 (2m 35s):
Well, it’s, it’s evolved over the years in the beginning. I, when I first moved to Houston, I was still working on my thesis, which was basically using creative drama to teach dance to preschoolers. And I was going to UT and I still was working on my thesis and I was here in Houston and saw that it seemed like people could really use, even, even in the preschool, a lot of movement kids were still sitting in circles a lot.
1 (3m 17s):
And I just really thought that what I was developing was going to be great for this area. And so I started teaching at the children’s museum and teaching a class and somebody found me and said, Hey, we’ve been looking for somebody like you at Becker, which Nisa was talking about. And then I also was, I contacted Montrose library and they were doing their summer reading program. And I said, I’ve done what I’ve done summer reading programs in Austin.
1 (4m 1s):
And they said, come on, do your thing. And then the third person was, I went to the H a Y C, which is, was Houston area association for the education of young children. And I presented at their conference and Anne Weiss, dr. Weiss came up to me and she was the director of a school for young children. And she said, I’ve been looking for you for a long time. And I was like, I just moved to town. And she’s like, no, S somebody like you. And so I started arts alive.
1 (4m 46s):
Just, it, it, it was at first an idea that I’m like, I think I can make this work. And, you know, I was, I was not doing anything else as far as working. And so I was hoping that I could, you know, create this program using creative movement, music, creative drama, and, and arts concepts to teach what I called integrated arts. And the other thing that happened was I was substitute teaching at a school st.
1 (5m 26s):
Mark’s in the Heights. And I said, could I try my program here? And they let me, and in the fall, when I wasn’t substituting anymore, that was really the first time that okay, arts alive is, is a real thing. And so that was our very first class. So all of those schools were, are, are for my, I say our cause, but at the time it was just me, my first clients. Awesome.
2 (5m 60s):
And they are all still with us. Yes. That’s, what’s really incredible. Most of the clients that we do have, have been with us since the beginning. And usually once we get a client, they’re just, you know, part of our family, I’d love to chime in a little bit about what arts alive is. When I first met Tina, it was a class of maybe three and four year olds, half hour class. I’m like, how do you get anything done in half hours? And I didn’t have a lot of experience with dance or movement or even teaching little ones. And the, it was just really magical. What arts alive does is it takes children on a, what we call imagination exploration, and that’s morphed into education through imagination.
2 (6m 49s):
So the theme of the day was dancing through Disneyland, which we’ve transformed that title into amusement park adventures. And we tell a story, set it to music, and it’s full of all of these different movement and dance concepts, as well as communication and social concepts. So the kids are just playing along with us. We’re telling the story, the songs change, we give different prompts or instruments, and as the songs change and the story develops, they dance and play along with us. And it’s truly magical for them. I, the, the joy that it brings is just so fulfilling for us and for them, it’s lots of fun.
1 (7m 32s):
And lots of times when we start to describe what we’re, what we do, people are like, Oh, so you’re putting on a show and it’s like, no, it’s, it’s very process oriented. What we are doing, the children are involved 100% and it’s not like wherever standing up, you know, demons not demonstrating, but you know, like a show, right? We’re not putting on a show completely participatory. Right. And you mentioned the amusement adventures,
2 (8m 7s):
Amusement park adventures. So we,
1 (8m 10s):
How many themes do you have
2 (8m 14s):
Around 50 or more like over the years? You know, we have about 50 that are our core lessons that we rotate on a bi-weekly basis. But over the past five years, we’ve also developed a music curriculum and a yoga curriculum. So the beginning of arts alive, we’ve now we now call that our creative movement curriculum. And it was just, this is arts alive. Now we have arts alive, creative movement, arts, alive music and arts alive yoga. So,
1 (8m 45s):
Well, I would say between the creative movement themes, the yoga themes and the music themes, we’re close to a hundred different of themes and lesson plans.
0 (8m 58s):
Wow. It’s so with your music and your yoga, do they still have that narrative that the children go to?
2 (9m 5s):
A hundred percent of both of those curriculums have been developed by us, our staff through years of doing arts alive. So music was just a natural progression and Stacy hall, one of our other staff members helped develop that. And she and Tina have worked on it for a while. And it’s, it has the same thing. There’s a story, there’s a playlist. We have props and instruments and the kids learn the concept of whatever that lesson plan is through the music, through the movement, through the imagination, and then came the yoga curriculum, which I developed. And it was just such an easy transition to take the stories that we already have and develop that into a flow of yoga poses and telling a story.
2 (9m 54s):
And it’s, it’s just the best. I love it so much.
1 (9m 59s):
One of the wonderful things that Stacy hall did with our music curriculum is that she took the concept of creating a story from a theme. But instead of her themes being like our creative movement ones, which are like fun on the farm mermaid mania, zany zoo, things that are thematic from, I’m trying to think of how to say it. What she did was she took music concepts, and those become the themes. So it’s like love and Louisiana it’s desire to go music. It’s folk festival, you know, fun at the folk festival.
1 (10m 43s):
It’s a country music theme, it’s woodwinds, it’s percussion. And the story revolves around that instead of the other way around. So I love that. I love teaching the music curriculum it’s and we also tweak it a little bit. So we can use some of the music curriculum to teach creative movement too. Cause there’s always movement involved. But Jenny, our, one of our teachers just took the love and Louisiana lesson plan, which we created to be a music one and she tweaked it so that we can use it as a creative movement. One primarily a creative movement, one fun.
1 (11m 26s):
Yeah. It is fun. What
0 (11m 28s):
Age range do you teach
2 (11m 31s):
Infants through a lower elementary? Usually second grade for our core curriculum is we do infant. So baby babies, six weeks and up. And we, they of course each have a adult with them, but once they’re able to sit up and walk on their own, they’re, you know, they can fully enjoy all of our, and second grade around eight years old is really when kids are like, I’m a little too cool to dance and play around. So we actually have developed arts alive, advanced where we take the concepts of what arts alive is and morph that into Asia appropriate movement and drama games.
2 (12m 13s):
The yoga itself actually extends a little bit further to fifth grade just because yoga is what yoga is and it’s, it’s more physically challenging. And we start our yoga program at about three and a half years old.
1 (12m 30s):
I would say for the creative movement, the majority of the children that we teach are from two to five. Right? And then the other thing I was going to mention is I do work with seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia right now. We have not been doing that as much, but Sue chef min is our expert in that area. And she was teaching at seven acres. We’ve been at seven acres forever. And it’s one of her highlights of, of her week when she is there. And I love doing it too. I just have not been doing it as much. And neither of us obviously have been doing it much lately.
0 (13m 14s):
So on a typical year, how many schools do you visit and approximately how many children do you get to teach?
1 (13m 21s):
Oh, I’ll give that one to a Nissa.
2 (13m 23s):
We have about 40 schools per semester with a approximately 10 teachers that fluctuates a little bit, depending on the season. Cause summer is a little bit different, but it’s crazy to say, but thousands of kids per semester, because you know, we’re going out in some of our schools like, Oh, I have a half hour class and I’ve got six students enrolled in this where at another school, Becker’s a perfect example, bringing them up again. We are part of their curriculum. So they bring all of their kids to us. So on a weekly basis we have 12 classes rolling, every single student on campus. And we have a lot of schools like that.
2 (14m 4s):
So it’s, it’s really fun to try and look back over 25 years and think of how many kids we have been. We’ve taught, been in their presence and it’s, you know, just, I think we came up with, well over 10,000, maybe 20,000 or even more, I don’t know, it’s it’s mind boggling because we will do a summer program and I’ve got a hundred kids in a room, not necessarily this past summer, but in normal times.
0 (14m 37s):
Awesome. And when you’re there, you’re always observed by the teachers in that typically teach those kids. So how do you think you’re, how do you think you’re impacting? Like when you go to school,
2 (14m 53s):
What footprint do you leave? There? W a few things happen. It’s, it’s really interesting. We have some schools where the teachers stay with us with their class and participate with us. We have some teachers that that’s their break time. It’s literally, you know, arts alive. As part of the family arts alive comes. They, we take their dozen kids and those teachers get to take a break or one takes a break. One stays with us. And some schools like a school that parents enroll their students. We go collect the children from a classroom and take the kids with us. So the teachers aren’t actually in the room with us. But as far as the footprint that we’re leaving part of the arts alive philosophy in everything that we do is really, we’re, we’re a part of their family and they’re a part of our family.
2 (15m 43s):
So we work with every school, just whatever they need. And we’ve even developed programs where arts alive can provide professional development hours. So if their teachers stay with us and participate with us, we can give them tips on how to use our techniques and their own classrooms. So we have those teachers, you know, kind of sign up with us. We give them their credit hours for that semester and we just do our best to work with each school based on whatever their needs are.
1 (16m 15s):
And another thing that we do is we do a lot of in-services and professional development. We were at con conferences where one of our goals is to share our philosophies and our methodologies. And it’s not just a lecture. We take them through all of the things we do with the children. And then we talk about the why’s and it’s, it’s really, that is one of my favorite things to do. I love sharing what we do with teachers so that they can go out and do the, you know, similar things. It’s not like we are trying to teach them how to teach an arts alive class.
1 (16m 58s):
We make that very clear, but some of them are, I mean, some of them are movement teachers. Some of them are music teachers that come, but the majority are usually their preschool or early elementary teachers, just regular classroom teachers that just want some ideas on how to make their classroom time more dynamic.
2 (17m 22s):
We actually call that program igniting joy through movement. And that’s what our entire philosophy is based on like bringing a little bit of joy into your classroom or a lot through movement through music, and we’ve been doing it so long. There’s just, we get a lot of questions, you know, hands in the air. Well, how am I supposed to do that in my science class or my math class? And we always have the answer because we’ve encountered so different scenarios with so many different topics that there’s always a way.
1 (17m 55s):
And we do have some naysayers that are like, well, this is never going to work with Stevie, or this is never going to work with gene, you know? And it’s because they are thinking their glasses half empty oftentimes, and they are already thinking like, well, this isn’t going to work because this is how this child is. And we go from, you know, a whole other philosophy that it’s so magical and so fun. And I, I can really say that rarely do I have a child that is not into the way that we teach. They love it because it’s through their imagination.
1 (18m 36s):
And there is usually, you know, the philosophy of, you know, never say no, yes. You know, yes, elephants fly, yes, trees are purple and who wouldn’t want to be doing that. So we do with those teachers, give them examples and talk about a particular, you know, children that we’ve had, that it, you know, it, it will work. It does work awesome.
2 (19m 6s):
Can I chime in on that? One of our philosophies is creating success for every student. And when we do our professional development and are talking to these large groups of teachers, it’s, you know, excuse me, our, our experiences a little bit different. We have these kids, you know, once a week. And a lot of teachers are with their students all day long and trying to get our message across, to like really look at every single student and do what’s best for them is sometimes a challenge. But, you know, our goal is to share that philosophy of finding, connecting with that one particular student that might not be joining in with all the others.
2 (19m 49s):
And yeah, we hope that we reach all of the ones that are having the difficult times with their students, but yeah,
1 (19m 58s):
And those children are the ones that needed the most. Oftentimes we will often have a teacher when they are delivering a class to us saying like, you need to watch out for this one. And we kind of, you know, we put blinders on and earplugs and just like, okay, they didn’t, they didn’t say that. I’m just going into it. Thinking that these kids are all, you know, just people that I am teaching. And oftentimes those kids are the ones that are our favorites and we love them. Can you give us a hint on how you bring them into the fold and, you know, shepherd them, both of us raising our hands.
1 (20m 40s):
You don’t take her and go, great. You go, Nissa
2 (20m 44s):
Arts alive is all about joy. And if a child feels joy in just moving their body around, and it’s usually those kids that are the quote unquote problem children in a regular classroom, because they need to move their body. And as you know, Andrea, you know, this dancers and movers that we’re in the business of, excuse me, knowing that that’s what humans need is to move their bodies. And so when we get that one kid in our classroom, they become, they can shine because we’re not saying, go sit down. It’s okay. If I’m showing my book and that child is standing up instead of sitting down, because that’s what his body needs to do.
2 (21m 31s):
And that’s where we come in and really try to find that place where what can make this child successful. If he wants to sit on the edge of the carpet and observe and not participate, that’s okay. Because that’s what he needs to do. It’s not hurting anyone. It’s not disruptive, but here I have another girl that’s going to do laps around the entire area. While I’m showing my book or re you know, a child raising their hand. I had chicken nuggets for dinner. I had chicken nuggets for dinner, and all of that is going on at the same time. And it’s, it’s okay in an arts alive class. And that’s why most children, I mean, like Tina said, there’s rarely a case where a child doesn’t really enjoy our class.
2 (22m 20s):
Like, but if, if there’s a child that doesn’t want to participate, it’s usually because they are just an observer or maybe, you know, there’s music there’s movement. It might be a little overwhelming. Yeah. It’s but we give the freedom of a child, the opportunity to self-regulate and oftentimes in a regular classroom, every kid, everybody has to do the same thing. Sit the same way, keep, you know, keep quiet, do this. And we just don’t do that in arts alive. It’s I can listen to five children, tie a shoe, play the music and pass out props at the same time. It’s yeah.
1 (22m 59s):
Very good. Multitaskers. I have an example that just happened yesterday, about a way to involve the children. So I’m teaching on zoom right now at the school that I mentioned the school for young children, which is a school for children with language learning differences. A lot of them are on the spectrum. Some slow learners are dyslexic. I mean, there’s all different. And they are also a little older than our, our normal children. They start at age six and they go to 12. So these children are older.
1 (23m 40s):
And also when I’m teaching them in their regular classroom, I’m teaching 12 children at a time. But with zoom, I’m teaching between three and six at a time. And so I, the last couple of times, because of the disconnection on zoom, I’ve had a couple of children that didn’t seem like they were as they, they weren’t wanting to be as involved. And so yesterday I really wanted to have success and my theme was all about Thanksgiving. And so when I was lesson planning, I decided that I was going to have them invite guests to our Thanksgiving feast.
1 (24m 25s):
So when they got, when they arrived in the zoom room, I said, go find two stuffed animals as guests, because we’re going to take them to our feast today. And it was such a successful day simply because they got to choose whatever in there. I mean, they all, like, as soon as I said it, like they looked at me in disbelief. I was like, Oh, you know, they’re running to get them. And we, I used the, the stuffed animals. We went to the farm and we danced with the animals and we got to the feast and we were, you know, making food for them.
1 (25m 5s):
And it really was fantastic. And I, I, I taught six classes yesterday and all of them were so successful. And I think it was because I went to where they were, where they are, which I talk a lot about not only with, excuse me, not only with our children, but with, when we’re working with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia go into their world. And so I, there, these children are at home. I was trying to figure out what to do. So I went into their world too and let them choose their stuffed animals, just like we do with the classes, with people, with Alzheimer’s and dementia, I go into their, their world.
1 (25m 50s):
So instead of making them do something that, you know, okay, now we’re just going to do some exercise and stretch. We are, you know, we’re children again, and we’re picking apples in the tree and we’re reaching our arms up and I’ve had care. Caregivers say, I have not seen her reach beyond, you know, just up to, you know, her shoulder or in front of her body in so long. And you had her extending her arm. And those are always the things that make me so happy when I, when somebody is doing something that they have not ever done, or, you know, that they’ve stopped doing
2 (26m 36s):
Part of what we were talking about earlier with the professional development and our methodologies, that what Tina explained is across the board, every teacher that we bring in, we talked to them extensively about know your audience. Tina was working with the school for young children, she’s on zoom. And so she’s really trying to reach that audience. We go to about 40 different schools. Every school has a different way that they do everything. Every classroom is different. Some classrooms have teachers in them, you know, we’re teaching all these different ages. So a little, you know, key thing to remember is when you’re in front of your audience, your students it’s really about them.
2 (27m 22s):
We don’t have, well, we have our lesson plan. Like here’s our wonderful world of water lesson plan, but we can take that for infants up through the seniors by really training our teachers, how to engage and take it to where those kids are. So it’s not really trying to, we have a circle and it’s, everybody’s inside this circle. It’s now here’s our lesson plan. And we’re developing it as we go, really trying to make it successful for whoever we’re in front of.
0 (27m 54s):
Yeah. And I’ve heard you talk about it really being play-based so what’s the importance of play. And at what point do you think kids do need to just like get in line and put their heads down and sit in their seat and do their work? Yeah. Tell him so, so what’s so big about playing you go, you had, you have it first.
2 (28m 20s):
It’s so interesting. You know, I, I came in to arts alive in 98. Tina started it in 94. And so she just had all this background and, you know, developing this program from creative movement and drama and all of these things. And I really didn’t know other than I liked to have fun and play. So I felt like I just found this perfect job or I get to play with children and they’re actually learning stuff. And over the years we’ve seen all of the science behind what play-based education really does for kids. Like we knew it, we, you know, we didn’t have all of the, the science behind it right in the beginning, it was here and there, it was kind of like on the outskirts.
2 (29m 7s):
It’s like, ah, you’re just playing around with the kids. It’s like, you don’t understand, you know, we have fine and gross motor skills that we’re incorporating and all of these things. So using the imagination, not only does it give those kids the, a way to express themselves and find creative solutions in their own mind of how to move their body, how to communicate, what they really need, how to self-regulate. It also gives that opportunity to, for us to teach them skills that they need to know for your finding gross motor cross lateral development. So there’s using plate based formulas, open up so many possibilities.
2 (29m 48s):
And it’s just really interesting to see the progression of when art to life started to how it is now that there’s really a huge movement behind play-based education.
1 (29m 59s):
When I began arts alive, I did not set out to go, you know, I, you know, I I’ve done all this research. I had done research in my thesis, but it was not about play-based learning when I started it. I was just like, this is what I love to do. I love dancing with children. I love, I love dancing. I love teaching. I’m going to put it together. I love the theater and I love creative drama. I’m going to put all that together. And I just did what I love. And pretty soon I was, you know, out there going like, wow, this is a thing like, people are now like talking about, like you said, Andrea, you know, play-based learning and it’s an unused.
1 (30m 47s):
And I talk about, it’s like, we’ve been doing this for so long. You know, we are experts in this and, and, and try to share what we have learned with, with the world. Like we are today.
2 (31m 4s):
And to answer that question, Andrea, when do kids need to start falling in line? Or, you know, just really getting quote unquote, get with the program. What we hope to share with educators when we do our professional development or just people that come through our classroom is do they really need to fall into line? Can you have a group of kids walk down the hallway safely, quietly following instructions without having that authoritarian disciplinarian kind of structure around your classroom. It’s like, what if we were butterflies floating down the hallway so quietly.
2 (31m 47s):
And so there, there are ways to navigate. I don’t know, against the old school rules of keep your mouth shut, sit in a circle, the hands behind your back. It’s like, is it really safe to walk with your hands behind your back? What if you trip and fall? You know, and some teachers are like, well, I can’t have all the kids talking at the same time, but through something like play-based learning, you can develop the child’s ability to pretend and have a dramatic effect on what they’re doing. Even if they have to walk quietly down the hallway. And it’s an alternative way to think about things and really thinking outside of the box and changing the way that educators like bring some joy into the classroom.
2 (32m 35s):
Instead of like, I remember growing up and thinking some of my teachers just always angry and just like wagging the finger and yelling, and there’s so many different ways to do it. And I think play-based learning really helps open those doors to alternative ways to quote unquote, discipline a classroom or classroom management styles.
1 (32m 58s):
I think that children are capable of so much more than many people give them credit for. And they’re putting them in, in like Nisa was saying, you know, lines and circles and, you know, putting them in a box and just not letting them be free to begin with and learn from, from that. And I always, I, I, I wish that I could be a, a regular classroom teacher for a while and, and experience a whole classroom and being able to give them that freedom all day long and, and make them into a wonderful human beings that are just happy and, and doing what they want.
1 (33m 52s):
And I know that there are a lot of naysayers out there that say, well, we, you know, we have to do this because this is how it’s going to be when they get older. And it’s like, well, they can see that people are standing in a line because they need to, you know it, and they can do that when they have to. But, you know, like Anissa was talking about why not be able to just walk down the hall and, you know, talk quietly and not do you know, bubbles and tails, you know, having to blow up your cheeks and put your hands behind your back and pretend you’re, you know, not that your hands are tales. You see that so much.
1 (34m 32s):
And it just seems like it’s so stifling to children.
2 (34m 38s):
One of the things that I think Tina, you were the, one of, not one of you taught me this when I first came in, like when you’re in a classroom, you know, the teachers want the kids to sit in a certain place. Everybody has to be right here. But that child that wants to stand up in the back, or maybe can’t see in real life, people have to navigate through the world. There’s not always aligned to stand in there, not always a rule to follow. So teaching kids how to self-regulate and navigate their own space. Like, Hey, I can’t see. And if a child tells me that, then put your body where you can. They’re like, what?
2 (35m 18s):
Like I can move out of my square and to give them that freedom to problem solve and find a way to get through, you know, if you’re going to learn to drive, you have to know how to move different ways. There’s not always going to be a box to sit in. Also, I was
1 (35m 38s):
Going to say a lot of teachers put children in like a, in a circle and let’s say, they’re having story time or showing things. And if you think about it, the children that are on your right and your left, they can’t really see, you know, you’re having to turn and it’s like, why are you in a circle? Why can’t you just say to everybody, sit where you’re comfortable and, you know, make sure that you’re, you’re safe and show what you’re showing. You know, I know there are some games and things that you, you play in a circle, but I think that children are put into a circle or into align lots more than they need to be getting on our soap box.
0 (36m 20s):
Yeah. I mean, I’m still kind of curious to dive in deeper. Like why, why are, why is this the norm that we’re going to just make everything as kind of cut and dry? And like, we’re just going to get straight to the point. We’re not going to it because it’s easy. Right?
1 (36m 36s):
Well, go ahead, Taylor. Sorry. I was just gonna say it it’s one, it’s easy. It’s the way that they, you know, that teachers learn. That’s how they were taught. So that’s what they’re doing. And the second thing is they don’t want to take a risk. They’re afraid. One of the analogies I always talk about is, and not to equate a child with a dog. However, that’s my analogy is that if you have a dog and you keep them on a leash and you keep them on a leash and you know, all of a sudden you go out to a park and you take them off the leash, of course, they’re going to go crazy because they’ve never learned anything else. But if you have them on a leash and you train them and little by little, you train them how to be off of a leash.
1 (37m 24s):
Then when you take them off the leash, they’re like, Oh, okay. So, you know, and, and they’re fine. And that’s the same with children. If you give them a little bit of, and straighten out a little bit instruction and a little bit of leeway, little by little, then they’re going to understand that, okay, now we’re not going to go crazy. It’s such, it’s such a, a night and day experience. When we go into a classroom of children that we have been teaching for a long time, and let’s say, we’re going to blow bubbles and they don’t go crazy because they know that the bubbles aren’t going away and they’re, bubbles are fun to do lots of different things with not just pop.
1 (38m 4s):
But if we go into a classroom where we’ve never been, and we don’t give them any instruction, which we wouldn’t, we always would give instruction. But if we just started blowing bubbles, they’re going to scream. They’re going to go crazy because they don’t know anything else. And a teacher that is somebody that’s not a teacher that wants to take risks, then they’ll get shut down. It’s like, no, I’m never going to do that again. Instead of really, we have a whole list of how to make your teaching successful. And there it’s a list of 13 points, which always will help a teacher instead of just going like, okay, just, you know, yeah, try this all at once. It’s like, if they try something and they’re like, well, it just didn’t work.
1 (38m 48s):
And it’s like, well, did you start small? You know? Or did you use creative movement? I don’t mean as like a creative drama in it. Did you lesson plan, did you think about what music you were going to use? So there’s that whole list to help teachers be successful?
2 (39m 7s):
I think a big part like Tina, you were saying, that’s how teachers have learned to teach the play-based experience. And this innovative way of teaching is so fresh and so new. I think that a lot of teachers still have a really hard time with it because I came up in, you know, in the industry of, you know, I’m going to get my certification and this is the way you do things. And it’s a lot about control, controlling your classroom so that you can teach them. And the teacher has an agenda and there’s a checklist. And a lot of schools, you know, they’re having to do the, the teaks or the star test or whatever it is that they have to check that list off.
2 (39m 52s):
Whereas our philosophy, if it could just mix in a little bit, is getting outside of your comfort zone and taking that risk, letting go of your control over the children and let them take control. Cause like Tina said, there’s this assumption that everybody’s going to go crazy instead of teaching them self-regulation so that kids can be how they naturally need to be moving their bodies and talking and just going and being joyful instead of trying to keep them in this little box. I think if that philosophy of really opening up everything like that could help kids learn better to learn the math or whatever it is that they’re needing to do for the star test or their teaks.
2 (40m 36s):
And yeah, it it’s really breaking the norm and the standard of what always has been
1 (40m 44s):
Well. And it also has to do with the, the higher ups, the, the director or the principal or the administrator and them being able to have the philosophy that the teachers can try this. So, you know, it doesn’t necessarily even start with a teacher. It starts higher ups. And, and, and I do understand some teachers are like, well, yeah, this sounds great, but I’m not going to be able to do that because the rule of our school is this. Well, then it might be a good idea to, you know, have somebody like us come in and, you know, talk to the administrators to begin with it and to, you know, get it to trickle down to the kids.
1 (41m 29s):
Okay. Well, just jumping ahead, I’d imagine you guys are offering this kind of, and in
0 (41m 34s):
Services online now. So anybody in the whole world could probably tap into it. How can they connect with you and learn more from you?
2 (41m 42s):
We are still developing professional development for our online audience, but over the past few years, we have a Facebook page that’s dedicated to creative educators. We have been on the circuit of those live performances and when the pandemic started and everything got shut down, we really had to focus on our classes. So that virtual model, all of our energy has been put into children’s classes. But we do have, because of when we started our professional development. So many years ago, a lot of online content that’s already available where we were doing Facebook live classes.
2 (42m 22s):
And so we have lots available. And the way to reach us of course, is, you know, our website, which is arts alive, inc com. We have arts alive, Facebook, Instagram, all of those things. But we specialize what, when we’re talking with a particular school, we like to really be a part of their family and like, what are your needs? What are your ages? And so we try to specialize everything, but we do have some content that’s already available for free online.
0 (42m 51s):
Thank you. I’ll put a link to those in the show notes too, and I’ve seen them and they’re awesome. They give you, they give you such a great window really into what you guys are doing. So like, how would you give us an example of maybe how you would teach something? And when you say teaks, what we’re talking about is what Texas education, knowledge and skills. It’s
2 (43m 11s):
Kind of like the standard. Right.
0 (43m 14s):
But, okay. So it’s like a standardized educational subject, you know, where outline and need to be taught. Yeah. So let’s say I’m a teacher and I’m like, well, but I have to teach, you know, my science class, how plants grow, or I have to teach the ABCs, or I have to teach it’s addition and subtraction in first grade. I, you know, there’s no choice about it. How can you give us maybe just a little hint as how you guys integrate core curriculum into your lesson plans?
2 (43m 48s):
So I like two-sided, as far as our lesson plans go, we’ve got these really little guys. So we have the preschool audience. So it’s not as much. We have to teach those core curriculum. But when we, when, when it’s flipped and we’re not in the classroom, teaching our student students it’s flipped that we are the teachers to the educators. What we try to help those, the math teacher, the science teacher, what we’re trying to share with them is the philosophy behind how to teach that subject and still be joyful about it, and really know who your students are. If you’ve got a group of kindergarteners, you’re not going to treat them like they’re eighth graders, and we’ve been doing this so long.
2 (44m 33s):
So we have this, a lot of like a checklist of things you can do with this particular age, this particular subject of how to put joy in your classroom, through movement, through music and little tips like that, because we know that every school is different. Every classroom is different. And even with the same age, as you might have, this classroom is like way up here on, I need to really manage my, the discipline in the classroom and this classroom it’s like, Oh, this one’s, I can implement things a lot better, but we just really tried to specialize with whatever that teacher needs and try to figure out what they, what they need to have in their classroom.
1 (45m 14s):
One of the philosophies that we have too is tell me, and I forget, show me an, I remember involve me and I understand. And so everything that we do, we are making sure that the children are involved. Yes, we tell them, and yes, we show them, but we go that third step. And I think that sometimes educators are not taking that third step. A lot of times it’s because they are teaching to the test. They are thinking, okay, I have to get the kids to understand all this stuff, because it’s going to be on, you know, the test and they’re going to get, you know, the standardized tests and they never get to the part where they involve them.
1 (46m 4s):
So, Andrea, you mentioned learning how seeds grow, but we have a whole lesson plan called the growing garden. And I was actually doing part of it yesterday, where we were growing pumpkins and we were growing potatoes and talking about the difference between what you plan to grow a pumpkin seed and that a potato doesn’t grow from a seed. And, but they both have vines and becoming those, you know, we were in the binds, we were planting the seeds. We were the rain, we were the sun. And I know you’re not going to do that with an eighth grader. There’s a different way to involve them. But with early childhood, it it’s just so much more fun instead of, you know, just showing a book.
1 (46m 48s):
And we do that too. We have a book about, this is the seed. And you know, this is what it’s going to look like. It’s very important that you do the telling and the showing part, but also getting to the involving part. And I did not make that quote up by the way, many it’s used many different places, but it is one of my favorites.
2 (47m 11s):
Yeah. And I think that it was one of our biggest philosophies is when we have educators in front of us is really teaching out of the box. We have a whole lesson on that, of that part that you’re involving the kids is really getting out out of the box, teaching out of the box, finding different ways to reach that audience, the, that particular group of kids.
0 (47m 35s):
Awesome. So tell me about how you start a lesson plan. Like what’s your creative process, just going into it. Do you, do you start with a theme or a song or a prop? How do you, how do you come up with that stuff?
2 (47m 50s):
I think all of the above, like when I came in there was, I don’t remember exactly how many lesson plans, but since then we’ve developed lots more like I’m with Tina and we’re doing a cat lesson plan. I’m like, why don’t we have a dog one? And so he developed a dog one. I’m like, you know what, I love dragons. And I developed a dragon lesson plan. And as far as the original stuff goes, Tina, I don’t know if it was a song or something, but sometimes it’s the idea it’s like, could we have a whole bird lesson plan? Sure. Why not? And you know,
1 (48m 22s):
And that became extravagant. We don’t actually have a bird one, but we do have an egg one. Andrea, that’s such a great question because I think in the beginning, the first lesson plans were the ones that I had used for my thesis. And they were based on some of the, in, I used to work for a company in Austin called dance associates. And that’s where I was teaching. As I mentioned before, the ballet tap and jazz and, and tumbling also. And I was starting to use everything that I was learning. I was in grad school for creative drama and children’s theater.
1 (49m 7s):
So I was using my creative drama skills to teach the dance. And I was every, at the end of the year, we would have a recital and there would be a theme. And so we had a, you know, a cat one, we had a, a garden, one, we had a water one. And so I started teaching and using those themes. So the very first themes actually came from ideas from a different company. But then when I started and started developing other themes, it basically was just what are kids interested in dinosaurs?
1 (49m 48s):
You know? Yes. You know, go into the farm farm animals. Yes. Going to the zoo. Yes. Jungle. Yes. And it just develop more and more themes. And the LA one of the last themes I created was very different because like you said, is it based on a song? This one was when Pharrell Williams happy came out and it was right around our, the 20 20th anniversary of arts life. And I had not created a new lesson plan for a little while. And so I’m like, I’m going to do one because I love this song. So all the songs, where are you, where are you there?
0 (50m 30s):
I was there with my son and we had happy anniversary celebration at the church.
1 (50m 38s):
That’s what I thought. Yeah. So it was all just based because I love that song. So it’s called house full of happiness. Cool. And all of the songs are based on our songs that either have the word happy or like joy to the world. Things like, yeah,
0 (50m 54s):
2 (50m 55s):
When I, the yoga curriculum is our newest curriculum and that it seemed very easy to develop for me. Like just being, you know, in arts alive for many years, I did it a couple of different ways. It’s funny thinking about what you guys are talking about. I would take an arts alive theme and switch it to a yoga theme. So wonderful world of water became depths of the ocean. But then I started thinking about particular poses that I love. And, you know, cat cow seems so easy, but you know, these three and four year olds, it’s really a challenge to do that particular post. So I developed revitalizing rain forest, just so we could do the Jaguars.
2 (51m 37s):
And so I’ve developed the yoga curriculum based on an arts life theme. I’ve done it based on a particular pose or like the sun salutation. I’m like, Oh, sunset mutation. I need to put that in with our sun and sky. And so I developed a whole sentence, sky, lesson plan for yoga. So being part of the hero, Oh, harden, the hero who was from superheroes, which was so funny because the kids get so jazzed. And it’s really interesting and challenging to keep the, the mindset of doing yoga. And it doesn’t have to be calm, but you want them to stay on their mats. But when you’re being superheros, can we fly around the room?
2 (52m 19s):
And that one was a, it was a learning process. Cause I’m taking all of these really high energy superhero songs. So I had to change the music. I had to change the concept a little bit about, we started becoming the superheroes and it was heart of the hero and using our heart power with our strength and our love. And that was, that was a real fun one, but they get super excited.
0 (52m 46s):
Yeah. I’m excited just hearing about this. I want to do all of them, but so much fun
2 (52m 53s):
0 (52m 54s):
Thank you. Well, you know, actually I’ve been playing a lot at home, especially these past six, seven, eight months. I’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to work for arts alive and train with Tina 20
1 (53m 27s):
0 (53m 42s):
Yeah. So they were singing it even with the hay, you know, and they were, they were having a ball. Yeah. Yeah. And I was just looking at them and it was such a dream come true, you know, to see how much they’ve picked up. And it was really, really awesome.
2 (53m 58s):
It’s so wonderful to hear that your kids are doing arts alive, things that home. I was curious if you knew that we have arts alive TV, it’s a page on our website with prerecorded videos that anybody can go and just watch.
0 (54m 13s):
Oh, that’s awesome. No, I didn’t know. Thank you for telling me. I will definitely tap into that and I would really encourage other parents to do the same. Can you guys talk a little bit about like, as a parent, you know, how this has impacted you and your relationship with your child, or maybe what you’ve heard from other parents and just how this isn’t just for teachers and kids, but also for the family.
1 (54m 34s):
And, and before we go onto that, I did want to say that the arts live TV, the it’s not like you have to commit to a half an hour or an hour. There, there are little snippets that you can watch or do, you can watch some longer ones. I think the longest is about a half an hour, but some of them are only like three minutes. Cool.
2 (54m 52s):
The arts alive TV page is designed for, for kids to just go in, click on anything. There’s just a scrolling thing that we have the music, we have creative movement and we have yoga and they’re all two or three songs. So five minutes, tops. If you want something a little bit longer, you can click on it’s on the, our little icons at the top of the page, our YouTube channel, where we have a full length, a yoga class. So there’s lots of different things to see. And to answer your question for not just kids and teachers, parents. Yes.
2 (55m 35s):
It’s so funny. There’s a whole segment of development that I have in my brain for arts alive advice, just for parents. Because when we started developing our professional development stuff, we realized that lots of these teachers are also parents and parents are also educators. So getting that message of what to do in a classroom can easily be translated into how you can do things at home. And lo and behold, here’s this pandemic where everybody, every parent is literally being thrown into being an educator full time. So our messaging that we have specialized for teachers, there’s a real easy translation to go to parents.
2 (56m 21s):
And we’re, we’re developing that towards more just parents centric, but we encourage parents to participate with their kids while they’re doing arts alive. Cause it’s just fun to play. And what we do when we’re on our arts alive TV or in the YouTube, we’re talking to the kids directly. So as a parent, my advice would be to let the kids guide you. I always tell parents, you’re welcome to come to my yoga class, but what you need to know, I’m not going to teach you, your kids will teach you because I’m teaching the kids and the kids will set the example of how to be the Jaguar on the branch doing cat cow. And you get to show the parent that the kids get to show the parents.
2 (57m 5s):
So yes, there’s so much for parents to learn through the philosophies of arts alive and what we are trying to communicate to teachers. And now that every home has a classroom, it’s even more relevant.
0 (57m 22s):
Awesome. Well, I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to have a ton of fun. Yeah. It’s so much fun.
1 (57m 27s):
How old are your children now? Five and seven. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah.
0 (57m 34s):
And they’re very young at heart and this has been, you know, it’s a family tradition to dance and play and play pretend. And your training definitely instilled in me and appreciation for just going with their imaginations and giving them my full attention and time and saying yes. And, and, you know, you always said going with the flow and keep the flow going.
1 (57m 59s):
Honestly, I have a great example that I, you know, it was something that really happened to me that instilled in me the, the, this works and it was, we keep talking about Becker. I mean, it’s so funny cause I remember it. And it was so long ago, you know, 18, 20 years ago I was teaching and I was all excited because it was a space lesson plan and a little boy came to class, you know, probably four years old. And he had firefighter boots on and he was so excited.
1 (58m 40s):
That was all he could concentrate on. And the other kids were interested in his boots and I’m trying to get them to listen to me. And we are going to go into the spacecraft and, and I said, Oh, wait a minute. It’s not the latter two are our spaceship. We are firefighters. And we are climbing up the ladder and getting, you know, we’re going to make sure that we can put the fire out. So we all climbed up the ladder. We put out the fire and as the fire was out and I was like, Oh, through the magic arts alive, here we are in our spaceship. So I went to where he was, I got them all satisfied with the firefighter story and the boots.
1 (59m 26s):
And then they went to where I was. And that is just the perfect example of going with the flow and keeping the flow going and not fighting against, you know, beating, beating
2 (59m 37s):
Your head against the wall, out of the box, teaching
1 (59m 40s):
Out of the box and, and taking a risk. You know, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I, you know, I had not put that into my lesson plan and it, it, it worked. So it was really one of those moments where I’m like, okay, this, this really does work. And I mean, it’s not going to work 100% of the time, but it, it is, it is a philosophy that I think is, is really important instead of, you know, I have these bullet points on my lesson plan and I’m going to get these done. And it’s like, it’s okay if that magical bullet point appears and you’re going to take a diversion and then get back, you know, hopefully get back to where you wanted to.
1 (1h 0m 22s):
And if you don’t on that day, then do it the next day.
0 (1h 0m 26s):
Awesome. Well, I was going to ask you how you define success and what you just described. It really, you’ve been talking about the process and not, I want to hear it in your own words, but like, it sounds like, you know, you’re not trying to check some things off. It’s really, it’s really about that relationship.
1 (1h 0m 42s):
I think I define success in, in, in my teaching as that the children are happy and joyful and they are happy with themselves and who they are, and they are working with other children in big, you know, large groups and small groups and individually, and, and that, it’s just a very, it’s all becomes very natural to them. I just feel successful when everybody’s happy. Really.
2 (1h 1m 22s):
Absolutely cool. I think a lot of teachers that are in the classroom, it might be a different challenge to feel successful. We are very fortunate at arts alive to be able to go in and play with these kids. And for me, success in the classroom, is that a joy that I see in the kids? I know that I’ve, I’ve achieved success. If that one child that is the quote unquote problem kid that the teacher said, Oh, you better be careful with, you know, so-and-so today.
2 (1h 2m 2s):
If GAT child.
0 (1h 2m 5s):
Yeah. I’m afraid. I haven’t one of those kids from time to time I get from the teacher.
2 (1h 2m 13s):
Yeah. And it, it just, it doesn’t break my heart, but w I, I just, I live it. I did a demonstration class not long ago with a school and one little boy, like literally doing laps around his mat. And my words damn, just stay on your mat, stay on your mat. And I never got angry at him for not being on the mat. And I walked out of that demonstration class. I was like, whatever happens that child needs to be in my class. I told the director, I said, give me his mom’s number. And he is in my class. And he talks the entire time. He still does laps around his mat, but I see him and he just loves what we’re doing because he is successful.
2 (1h 3m 2s):
I am not wagging my finger at him. I am not telling him he’s doing it wrong. I acknowledged when he does like, sit on your mat center. Oh, I see you. You are ready. I’m so excited. And it’s just that one child finding the joy being successful just makes everything I do with it.
1 (1h 3m 23s):
I have, I have a question playing the devil’s advocate with somebody that would say to you and Lisa, well, what about the other kids? Is he disrupting the other kids? Are they getting the quality of a class that they should be
2 (1h 3m 38s):
Great question. So a lot of times that happens and it does need to be addressed where, but I it’s really addressing it with that particular child. I have the situation with this class. I have four children doing a yoga class. And right now, because of the nature of what, how it is my classes, small we’re social distanced. And so him doing laps around his mat for now is okay, because he’s not disrupting anybody else. He’s not being loud. There’ve been a few times where it’s like, if you need my help, I can help you. Nope. And they make that decision on their own because I’ve given that opportunity to do so.
2 (1h 4m 21s):
There was one instance where he was trying to act really silly and still the words like, excuse me, trying to get the other kid’s attention. And I don’t address it with him. I address it with them. I see what he’s doing. And I see that you’re paying attention to him. I need you to look at me and like, really kind of ignore the bad behavior and praise the good behavior, but the nature of arts alive and how we’re constantly, you know, teaching that self-regulation, it’s, I think easier for that type of child to just really realize in the moment like this behavior, isn’t doing anybody any good, but I know if I just do that one little thing she wants, she’s going to see me right away.
2 (1h 5m 10s):
She’s going to give me the praise that they’re obviously looking for that attention. And yeah, he’s, he’s only it once.
1 (1h 5m 19s):
I I’m just listening to what you’re saying. And Nisa made me think of something. Another of our big, big things that we do in arts alive. And it is when I have a new teacher, which you might remember Andrea Long time ago. I would talk about having a little mini mini me a little mini you on your shoulder that is observing how you are teaching. And if, for instance, and I do this still to this very day, if I’m talking to the kids and I think that they are being bothered by another child, by some, you know, teachers that are talking on the side, I have my little mini me going, Hey, Tina, it’s not that they’re bothering the children.
1 (1h 6m 13s):
They’re bothering you. The kids are fine. So you don’t need to address that at, at that time. Or the mini me might be saying, Hey, you just ask the kids a question, but did you really mean to ask them a question or did you mean to just give them some information? And that’s one of the big ones that we talk about a lot. If you are talking to children and you say, are you ready for class? It’s like, well, if you ask them, if they’re ready for class, you are ready for class. And it’s time for class to begin. What if the kids say no, then where are you going to go with that? And we see that so much in, in children and in parents.
1 (1h 6m 55s):
And then people just talking to each other, I I’ll watch a, somebody doing a lecture and they keep saying, right. And I’m like, why aren’t you asking me? Right. You know, it’s like, don’t, don’t, you know, you know, why don’t you just tell me? And I think it’s just a bad habit of like people in Canada and where I’m from Michigan, we say, Hey, a lot more at the end. And people are like, right. And they make it a question. Or as a teacher, are you, are you ready to go get a scarf on the table? What did they do?
2 (1h 7m 28s):
Who knows what? 10 plus nine is asking that question before you teach the material. And you asked a little while ago, Oh, sorry, Tina, what?
1 (1h 7m 38s):
I was just piggybacking on that. Why are you asking them? You are setting up half of the class to fail and not everybody to succeed. Why don’t you, whatever it is you are teaching, you should say, this is this here. This is a feather. And the feather comes from a bird and, and talk about the feather instate, instead of saying, who knows why birds have feathers? It’s like, well, who cares? Who cares? Who knows? It’s such a antiquated way of teaching and the antiquated way of, of, of talking to people of, of trying to get information.
1 (1h 8m 19s):
Why do you want them to give you the information you are, the teacher, you are the educator. So give that information instead of asking. And that’s that little person that I have on my, and I still do it sometimes too. Especially if I’m, Oh, you know, just not as prepared as I should be. Or I’m, I’m nervous for some reason, or, you know, whatever. I’ll find myself going into those bad habits. And luckily I have my little mini me saying, why didn’t you just ask them that? Just tell them why didn’t or why, why didn’t you show them or involve them, instead of telling them a Nissa,
2 (1h 8m 59s):
All of that, Andrea, you said something about, you know, how is it being a parent doing this? And you know, the communication we have with parents as a parent personally, it’s so interesting to look at how my kids have grown up in the world of arts alive. My daughter Marley is 15 now. And when she was, you know, early elementary, Steven, three years behind her, she wants to share all of this stuff with her. So I started teaching her at that age, you know, say she brings her math homework home, and she’s having to learn her multiplication tables. So she likes to ask Steven, she’s like Steven, what’s two plus five.
2 (1h 9m 42s):
I’m like Marley. You’re asking him that question, but have you taught it to him yet? You don’t ask the question until after you’ve taught the material. So she learned that at an early age, but now she’ll come home. She’s like, you would not believe these teachers, they just get up there. Who knows about Western civilization. Blobbity blind. Like Lucy’s question. She goes in, everybody’s sitting there, like, I don’t know you haven’t taught it to us yet. So I just love that my kids are coming up in this new mode of thinking that why are the teachers questioning when you just literally opened the book to this chapter? Nobody’s learned anything, but you’re going to question everybody here and make them feel like they don’t know anything.
2 (1h 10m 28s):
Right. Where really it may not be that the teacher wants them to feel that way. It’s just that that’s how they’ve learned to teach.
1 (1h 10m 38s):
And that goes right back to us, wanting you asked how do I feel successful? And it is when the children feel successful and the children have joy and you’re not setting them up to succeed. If you’re asking them all these questions and it, and it is the way that a lot of us have been taught. So it’s just what we do.
0 (1h 11m 3s):
Right. Well, you guys have been so successful in the arts and creativity and education, and also just as business people. So would you like to any insight or advice on how your company operates and how you’ve trained so many people and worked so long with your staff?
1 (1h 11m 23s):
Well, I want to go back to the beginning because like, when we were talking about how the lesson plans were developing, I didn’t sit down and do a business plan. I just did what I loved. And I’m not saying that that’s the best way to do it. I don’t need didn’t even know. And still don’t, you know, follow a true business plan. As far as, you know, like a company would, I started with just, you know, teaching from my heart and, you know, little by little it’s like, Oh, well this is successful. This is working. Let’s keep doing this. Let’s keep doing extracurricular classes and not so much curriculum enrichment, which is not as financially great for us.
1 (1h 12m 14s):
We still do classes like that, where a school pays for the class. However, we found that, you know, individuals paying for classes, individual families is better, more lucrative for us, but we didn’t stop doing it. We used to do birthday parties and, you know, practically giving them away for a song in the beginning. And my wife who is, you know, does a lot of business analysis, looked at what we were doing. And she’s like, well, yeah, you’re doing, you know, 10 birthday parties a weekend and you should be making money, but you’re not because of, you know, it’s not balanced.
1 (1h 12m 55s):
So you need to either up your birthday prices, birthday party prices, or stop doing it. And so, yeah, we, you know, started having birthday parties at a much higher price and we did lots less, but we didn’t. But all the work that went into the party made us realize that, Oh, well, that’s why we’re not, you know, it’s all the work on the backend. And then pretty soon it’s like, you know what, let’s just, that’s not really part of our business model anymore. That’s not really part of what we want arts alive tape representing. So then, you know, we didn’t do that anymore. And a new, I know can talk a lot about, you know, where we have just come from and where we are going, as far as our business plan and, and all that.
2 (1h 13m 40s):
Yeah. There’s a lot. Well, one thing to know about arts alive is we are not non-profit and that is a common misconception just because we are arts, we are education. And, but, you know, like Tina said, when she started this, it was how can I do what I love? And she did it and it just started Wendy and I, Wendy Hart is our director of operations. We have all been there. Wendy came in nineties 96. I came in at 90 and together we formed the beautiful triangle. And I think part of why we’ve been able to maintain what we’ve been doing for so long, because we have three creative brains working together that really compliment each other.
2 (1h 14m 29s):
And we work from our hearts and when we’re out there, it’s like, yes, we know we need to make money. We have teachers, we have to pay salaries, but we also have the schools that, you know, what the school can’t have us because they can’t afford us. And we go with that school and say, what can we do? Like, how can we be here? And so how can we work with you? We don’t want to lose you. Yeah. It’s, you know, being a for-profit business, but having the heart and the mentality of a, not for profit business, we just really try to move forward with all of those things in mind. And sometimes it’s a struggle and a juggling act, and we’re really trying to find how we can move into the future, keeping that the heart of arts alive with the magic that we bring to schools.
2 (1h 15m 20s):
And, but, you know, right now, like for everybody it’s just unprecedented, our business has, it has impacted our business. We’re trying to figure out how to navigate through finding different platforms, to reach children. Since a lot of kids aren’t in the schools, because we don’t in the past, we haven’t had a studio, we go out to schools because that’s what, what Tina found was something different. You know, kids go to the gymnastics classes or dance classes at the studio, but what about those parents that, you know, have a younger kid, or aren’t able to really do that after school or after work time arts alive goes to the schools and now that’s just totally different.
2 (1h 16m 1s):
So, you know, we’re navigating, yeah. We’re navigating the waters of, you know, we already have a lot of YouTube content and developing a more virtual choices for children and for children and for the professional development side for teachers. And then also, and development is, you know, a parent Avenue as well.
0 (1h 16m 26s):
Awesome. Well, I wish you all the very best success and success for you, I know will be a wonderful gift to the world. So thank you for sticking to it and I’m figuring it out. Thank you. Let’s close with this. Let’s pretend as you love to do what activity can we go do now to tap into the joy of arts alive and what are your words of encouragement to us? Oh, that is fun.
2 (1h 16m 58s):
Okay. I was going to say just something really simple for anybody to do to take a little bit of joy is just start. One of our keys to success is small. Just put some music on in your house. That is like the one thing that I think anybody that wants to just get their body moving and fill a little bit of joy, find what, whatever streaming service or playlist you have, and just put music on while you’re cooking your cleaning. When your kids come home from school, have music on as they enter and just see where the flow takes you.
1 (1h 17m 36s):
And I was we’re, we’re such a good team in ISA because I was also thinking of the prop kind of thing. And so a long time ago, I realized that sunglasses are magical because they become, they make us feel like we’re somebody else. And when you put that music on, put some sunglasses on and just like be somebody else for a little while and just you don’t, what is it? The dance like nobody’s looking well, you know, do that. The sunglasses helped that. And you know, if you have something to, you know, swing around like a dish towel or a tie or whatever, you know, that it just, it just helps having, you know, more props.
1 (1h 18m 22s):
It makes you, I know that we might be talking to a lot of, you know, dance people out there that it comes more natural, but to the people that, you know, it, it doesn’t, you know, using a prop or, you know, the, the costume, you know, put on a fun hat or whatever. We’ve seen so many, you know, wonderful videos of everybody at home, you know, doing fun things. And I, Oh boy, that just his bar brought so much joy to me to see that the families, you know, dancing together. And, and I just think that the joy that you know is in your heart, sometimes people have a hard time, you know, letting letting that out because they think they’re going to be judged and, you know, nobody is paying any attention to you.
1 (1h 19m 9s):
Believe nobody cares. Just do it and, and have fun.
2 (1h 19m 16s):
I think some words of encouragement, just go back, go with the flow and keep the flow going. It it’s okay. Whatever happens. Just keep the flow going. It doesn’t have to be that checklist if you have an agenda, that’s okay. But if it gets changed, go with the flow and you can always bring it back.
0 (1h 19m 36s):
My guests today are Tina SAA Buco and a Nissa Wiggins. Their company is arts alive. Tina and Anita. Thank you so much for being part of dance talks. Thank you so much for having us. Thank you, Andrew. Thanks for listening. Please subscribe and share our podcast and reach out to us on social media. If you’d like to talk to support dance talks, donate to dance. Houston, talk to you on Monday.