Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-Changes in Georgia

According to Allen Morris, author of Florida Place Names, there is one place name for every square mile in the United States. This fact he attributes to "place name specialists" (a job description previously unknown to me).

There are some cities that leave you to wonder, "Where did it get that name?" Stone Mountain, Georgia is not one of them. A massive rock dominates the skyline. This outstanding feature made this city one of the most memorable on our tour.

We would never have discovered Stone Mountain were it not for a number of last minute class cancellations. In the last part of July and early August, ten classes fell off our itinerary leaving us to worry about whether or not we'd cover our travel costs.

When I say "we" were worried, I mean that "I" was worried. We have a very strict division of labor. Valery worries about epaulement and combinations, I worry about covering our tour costs and getting to the next hotel.

In all, we had a record number of cancellations on short notice during this tour-- any advice on how to avoid this on future tours is welcome. I haven't figured out the secret yet.

At any rate, having to quickly fill some vacant spots on the calendar at short notice over the holiday weekend turned out to be a boon because it allowed us to come to two great studios and make some new friends; proving once again that an inauspicious beginning can be an auspicious beginning in disguise. And even with our new record for cancellations-- I believe it was 12 classes canceled on less than two week's notice at last count-- we will finish with a record number of classes. So in the end it all works out.

Our great discovery was the North East Atlanta Ballet also known as the Lilburn School of Ballet where we added two classes and enjoyed working with some highly skilled and focused students. It is a treat to be able to reinforce a class with a second day at a studio, even more so when it is added on such short notice.

Another last minute class was added at the Academy of Dance Arts in Canton, Georgia. We were thrilled at how many dedicated students both of these studios were able to attract so close to a holiday weekend. Kudos to both of you and we hope to work with you again.

We were also pleased to be able to return to Heather Wayne's Performing Arts Dance Academy as part of its summer intensive. Heather's was the first school to sign on to our summer tour and it was as lively as ever with its mix of theater and dance.

The dance world is very small, and while we were at North East Atlanta Ballet, Jennifer Gordon asked, "You're going to Warner Robins? Are you working with Georne?" She promised us talented, advanced level students, and that is exactly what we saw at the International City School of Ballet. It ranks among the studios with the most professionally focused students we've visited.