Don’t forget: what you do is amazing

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you amazing dance teachers, ographers, studio owners, guest teachers, and everyone else who helps young people develop their dance abilities. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your wonderful dance community.

Dance is a precious art form that requires a spectacular amount of dedication, knowledge, skill, and training. From concept to choreography, music to costumes, hair to make-up, and every movement, hundreds upon hundreds of hours go into a single routine of three minutes…. three amazing and beautiful minutes, never repeated in exactly the same way twice.

-a-deep-breathAt times, it may be hard to remember all the positives of dance, especially when you are dealing with crazy parents who don’t read the material you send, and students who don’t want to put in the time and effort, yet want to dance like Misty Copeland. It’s easy to be frustrated about the time and energy required to recruit new students, update your web page, chase parents who are late with their payments, coordinate recital ticket sales, pay the bills, and the thousands of other tasks on your plate which aren’t nearly as fun as inventing new choreography or being in the studio teaching your kids.

At those difficult times, take a deep breath, stop for one minute, and remember that:

  • you are creating something of exquisite fragility and beauty, lasting but a few performances before a new routine takes its place
  • you are making the world a better place with the beautiful routines you create in it
  • most importantly of all, you are building beautiful human beings, giving them a purpose, a pride, and dedication in the craft that they love so much

It’s the last one on the above list that is the most lasting and impactful. You never know when that small child you teach is going to herself grow into a beautiful dance teacher, and inspire yet another generation of dancers to take flight.

Never forget.

What you do is beautiful.

What you create is beautiful.

Who you touch, is beautiful.

No one can do it exactly the way you do, with as much care and passion for your students.

Break a leg this recital season, and don’t let the drama-mamas nor pompous-papas get you down!

Prince tribute for dance studios

Purple-RainIt is with great sadness to learn that the amazing musician and talented artist, Prince, has passed away. For many of us, his music is an integral part of the soundtrack of our lives.

It has been my honor to edit and remix some of his amazing music for dance studios and dance teachers. If you are interested in using a Prince song for a dance routine, here is an edited version of one of his songs that has amazing funk, yet is not very well known. It’s popular with the kids these days to say “Werk it!” but more than 30 years ago, Prince was already singing “Let’s Work!”. Enjoy this edit!

And for dance studios interested in a larger production that pays homage to “The Purple One”, we are pleased to present this 3.5 minute mix that includes five of Prince’s more popular hits:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Importing songs from iTunes into Audacity

audacity imageFor dance teachers who need to edit their songs for length, it’s not always clear how to get songs from iTunes into Audacity. There are several ways you can do it:

  • You can drag-and-drop the song file from where it’s located in your iTunes folder onto the Audacity program icon.
  • You can choose File -> Import and then select the song you want to edit
  • You can drag-and-drop the song file icon from where it’s located in your iTunes folder straight onto the open blank Audacity edit window.

If you haven’t done so before, you will also need to download and enable the FFmpeg import/export library in order to convert the m4a file. There is no cost to do so, and it can be done quickly and easily by going to Preferences -> Libraries and clicking “Download” under the FFmpeg library listing.

If you want to export your edit as an MP3 file, you will have to download and enable the MP3 library, which can be done from the same place as mentioned in the previous paragraph, namely Preferences -> Libraries, and then click Download under the MP3 library option.

For more information, check out this Audacity Importing help page.

If you want to save the time and hassle of editing songs yourself, be sure to check out the Squirrel Trench Audio library of more than 300 edited songs and remixes (almost all of which have been cleaned of objectionable lyrics), ready for purchase and instant download on Legitmix. Below is a small sampling of what is available. Click through to the Squirrel Trench catalog on Legitmix to see more selections:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Protect your hearing at dance competitions

hd-bw-solo_1024x1024We all love the music that our routines are choreographed to, and that’s why dance competitions usually play your music really LOUD. Sound pressure levels of greater than 95 decibels are common in competition venues. You can easily get an approximate measure of the sound pressure level of any environment you are in with a free smartphone app. (I use Decibel Meter-Free for iPhone.)

Most dance teachers and choreographers are unaware that exposure to sound sources at these volumes (94 db or more) for more than 60 minutes consecutively can cause permanent hearing loss (source:National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)).

That is why I ALWAYS use hearing protection at dance competitions. You can use the cheap, foam type found in pharmacies, but that type tends to muffle the sound, and is therefore not enjoyable to use. I use Ear Peace protectors, which reduce the volume uniformly across all frequencies. The result is that the music sounds just as good as without the ear plugs, but the sound pressure is reduced so that you don’t damage your hearing or leave the competition with a splitting headache. I find that music actually sounds BETTER at competitions or rock concerts with the ear plugs than without, because at super-loud volumes, music actually distorts in your ear drums. Best of all, you can get a pair of HD Ear Peace protectors, with carrying case, for less than $20.

The other great thing about Ear Peace protection is that you can still have conversations with people that are next to you.

Just as you wear sunglasses in bright sunlight situations, consider hearing protection to be the equivalent device for your ears in loud settings. Do yourself a favor and protect your ears the next time you are at dance competition, especially when the solution is quite inexpensive.

Proud to sponsor YPAD’s new memberships

ypad-logo-webI am proud to be an Advisory Panel member of the organization Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD). YPAD has just launched a membership option to further their mission to educate dance choreographers, studio owners, teachers, parents, and competition owners about the harmful effects of creating hypersexual routines for students.

And therefore, it is natural that Squirrel Trench Audio, your source for clean edits and remixes for dance studios worldwide, would be among the first to help sponsor YPAD’s new membership levels. In this exclusive opportunity, becoming a YPAD member will give you a discount of 10% off all of the clean music in the Squirrel Trench-Legitmix catalog. (There are currently more than 300 clean edits and remixes in the catalog, and more are frequently added.) Becoming a YPAD member will not only help further YPAD’s education mission, and get you other benefits, but it will also enable you to buy your competition and recital clean edits and remixes at a 10% discount.

Learn more about YPAD Membership here, and then make the purchase to get your Squirrel Trench-Legitmix discount code!

Check out the Squirrel Trench Audio catalog of clean edits and remixes on Legitmix:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

You can view clean edits and remixes by dance style here.

How to convert a song to MP3 in iTunes

apple logo with headphonesiTunes is non-intuitive when it comes to converting a song from one format to another.

iTunes can convert audio into any of five different formats, AAC (which has an m4a extension), AIF, Apple Lossless, MP3, and WAV. But right-clicking on a song only shows you one choice to convert to, and your conversion option is only whatever you have your CD import settings set to! (It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but it is what it is.) To change it to MP3, just go to Preferences -> General -> Import Settings, and select MP3 Encoder.

When you do, be SURE to set your MP3 import settings to:
• Stereo Bit rate: 256 kbps
• [check] Use variable bit rate encoding (yes)
• Quality: Highest
• Sample Rate: 44.100 kHz
• Channels: Stereo
• Stereo Mode: Normal
• [check] Smart Encoding Adjustments (yes)
• [check] Filter Frequencies Below 10 Hz (yes)

(Click for more information on the proper settings for MP3 files.)

If later, you need to convert music to a different format that iTunes supports, then follow the steps listed above, but select the destination format that you want to convert to. For example, if you need a WAV file, then select WAV in your Import Settings, and once you do that, Convert to WAV will be an option when you right-click on a song.

Congrats to Boca Dance Studio 1st Place Overall!

Katie Westrich of Boca Dance Studio has taken 1st Overall at Ticket to Broadway competition, with a routine that features a custom Squirrel Trench-created soundtrack! This wedding-themed production routine is quite elaborate, featuring a large gazebo prop, dancers of all ages, and a variety of music and dance styles! Congrats to Katie and all of her dancers! Enjoy this fun routine!

I Get to Love You by Ruelle

Brand new, a beautiful and moving song for a lyrical routine, the heartfelt I Get to Love You by Ruelle. Not only is this song lovely to listen and dance to, the official music video features the talented dancer, Ms. Brianna Roland, who has won numerous competition titles using Squirrel Trench Audio-created remixes. She is the first dancer seen in the video, and is featured throughout it.

Squirrel Trench Audio has three edited lengths of this routine, ready for your next competition or recital lyrical or contemporary routine, at 2:55, 2:43, and 1:57.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Enjoy the official video featuring Brianna Roland:

To learn more about the titles that Ms. Roland has won with Squirrel Trench Audio-created soundtracks, here is info about her Starbound senior title (2013), Starquest title (2012), and OnStage New York title (2013).

Stand by You, Rachel Platten, Squeaky Clean

rachel platten huge smile on stageDue to popular demand, Squirrel Trench Audio is pleased to present a squeaky clean version of the new hit Stand by You by Rachel Platten. All instances of the word ‘hell’ have been replaced with the word ‘fire’. This cleaned song is available in a full-length (3:33) version as well as a 2:24 shortened version. Enjoy!

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Barbie Girl by Aqua – Squeaky Clean

barbie with lipstickI am honored to be on the Advisory Panel of YPAD; Leslie Scott​’s organization to educate the dance community about the dangers to impressionable young minds when they dance in inappropriate routines. To further that goal, I am pleased to offer the song “Barbie Girl” minus the words “undress me anywhere” and minus other suggestive lyrics that occur in this otherwise fun and bouncy song. And I’m offering it for FREE ($2.28 if you don’t already own both versions used to create this cleaned edit). If your studio is already using this song this season, I will match your existing edit with this squeaky clean version for FREE so that no re-choreo’ing is needed. Don’t let your routine take deductions for inappropriate lyrics. Click the graphic below to take a listen and hear for yourself how great this song can still sound when the suggestive lyrics are removed.

In addition, Squirrel Trench offers three other shorter lengths of this squeaky clean edit at $9.99 each.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix