Celebrating 5 Seasons of Inspiration

As an educator, I find myself yearning to make a difference. I want young people who come take a class from me to feel like they are not only excited to move and groove, but also inspired to always try something different. My favorite phrase is “I don’t know if this will work, but lets just play around and try”

So much of dance is a trial and error process. We are moved to create by a plethora of outside sources. A spark ignites, and the creative juices start flowing. Sometimes an entire piece can come out in one try, and sometimes it takes months of trying out a phrase, throwing it away, trying something new, then coming back to it.

Over the last five years RIDC has grown, evolved, blossomed, and through all that continues to inspire me every day.

A friend gave me a bracelet the day I announced I was starting my own company, it is engraved with:

“I dreamed it, and so I did” RIDC March 2014.

Some days I can’t even believe it has been 5 years since I dove head first into a pool of the unknown and started this little company. And some days it feels like I don’t know my life before it started.

RIDC is so different than the average dance experience. And I am moved to continue to welcome young dancers the opportunity to grow and learn in the setting we have developed.

Dance continues to grow in popularity throughout the country and the world, we moved past the age of “Dance Moms”, still enjoy a sprinkle of “So You Think You Can Dance”, and if you are like me, sit in awe as we watch the incredible talent on “World of Dance”

However, dance isn’t the only thing changing, school is changing, school sports are changing, our kids, the dancers are changing.

Dancing 15+ hours a week, while maintaining above average GPA’s, volunteering at local charities, holding a job, being involved in school activities, and let’s not forget about a social life. Those things can overbook a student leaving them run down and zombie like.

When we created RIDC we wanted a program which allowed a dancer to train blending impeccable technique classes, with artistically creative stylistic classes without overbooking the dancer, or their families.

Five years later we are still holding true that philosophy. That we can provide a space and home for dancers that will never let them feel like dance is a burden, or a chore. We will create a place they yearn to go to, and have a hard time leaving.

This March we celebrate 5 years of coming together to be inspired, and leave inspiring others!

Will we see you with us for Season 6?

Big hugs,

Jess

Why Choose RIDC?

Many people visit our page randomly, sporadically , or even often. People search to see what RIDC  is all about and who we are. They find great photos from our talented photographers, links to our vimeo page; to see full length copies of our annual gala and more. But as we enter audition season we wanted to provide you a small glimpse into what makes training with RIDC so unique. 

As educators for many years in the Madison area. Directors Jessica M Duplessis and Alyssa Gunsolus met by chance and have developed one of the most unique training facilities in the Madison area. Both of our directors have resumes that list numerous years of experience they bring to the dancers of RIDC, but also the many ways they have changed the way competition dancers train. 

Many studios have competition teams for dancers to join, by either signing up or auditioning. RIDC wanted to create a program that was audition based, but also provided an environment that was conducive to the extremely demanding schedules of the Madison youth. 

RIDC believes that quality of training will always out way that of quantity of hours in the studio. Especially because many dancers long for a place to train and receive excellent technique training, but also realize that they might not necessarily be training to be the ever elusive title of "employable dancers".

Todays young dancers juggle many balls during their academic year, with academic commitments, the requirements of community service, school activities such as sports and music programs, jobs, and of course a teenage social life. RIDC created a program that allowed dancers to successfully manage all of the juggling of those many activities but also never give up on their passion for dance. 

Does that mean RIDC is not a strict and serious program? NOT AT ALL. However , we do realize that not everyone who is a competitive dancer longs for a career in dance, they simply love dance and long to train with people who are liked minded. And lets not forget performing and competing is pretty fun too. 

Dancers are expected to take a minimum of 6 hours of dance training as a full company each week. They are expected to complete conditioning, ballet and jazz technique, learn and prepare competition routines, learn and perform original works for performance opportunities; as in joint collaborations with Fresco Opera Theatre of Madison, complete community service work, as well as create an original works for premier at their annual gala. We pack a lot of commitments into our 9 month program, and our dancers come to the studio EVERY rehearsal ready to work, and eager to improve each week.

Dancers ages 12-18 are encouraged to attend our annual RIDC Experience, a free dance event; which allows us to dance with our friends whether they be dancers in other companies, or friends from other sports. We want to share our love for our company, as well as our craft with as many people as possible. We are also deeply committed to easing the struggles of childhood cancer with our long lasting work with Atia's Project Ladybug Fund. 

We understand that dancers have lots of options when finding a "home" for them during their young dance time. We want to create a place that not only inspires dancers to try something different, but also allows our dancers to feel that they have the ability to enjoy things outside of the studio as well. 

RIDC also values our time outside of the studio with each other as much as in. Each year we take a trip to the wilderness during the holidays to spend two days enjoying time with each other away from anything "dance" related, as well as get to really know the new members of our team who have joined for their inaugural season. We spend time in the community doing things like volunteering at the River Food Pantry, we are the "big sisters" to the tiny dancers of Tutu School Sun Prairie, and of course as we mentioned our deep commitment to APLF. 

When finding your dance "home" you should always be encouraged to follow what you are drawn to. We love meeting new people, and respect that every program isn't for every dancer. If you have questions about our program or have a friend that might be interested please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We love hearing from new friends, and hope that if our program sounds like the right one for you we might see you at some of our events! 

 

 

 

The Second Annual RIDC Experience

It is some what surreal when you mention something is your second annual something. As a brand new company last season so many things were our "First" and now things are becoming an annual event. 

We created the RIDC experience to invite the dancers of Madison to come and dance with us. Sharing a dance class is a special and intimate exchange between young artists. Sometimes dancers aren't given the opportunity to do so, and some dancers don't  have the chance to take an official class at a real studio. 

The RIDC experience has been an event every member of RIDC looks forward to all year. It's a chance to open our doors and share a night of dance for free with our friends, and make new friends. 

Our mission has always been to create a space where dancers come to be inspired and leave inspiring others. Sharing a dance class open to the public is just the platform to do that. 

Dancers of all ages and abilities join us. There is no perfection strived for, there are no awards to win. Just dancers learning, moving, and letting loose together. 

The RIDC experience also allows other dancers to see how our company trains, do our conditioning and get a taste of our technique classes, and wrap the evening up with some fun combinations in Jazz and Lyrical. 

We all enjoy this night so much and hope that our friends that join us have as much fun as we do. We would love to see you next year out our 3rd Annual RIDC Experience!

Peace Love and Dance

RIDC 

Season 1- A year in the making, a lifetime of dreams coming true.

Well, We did it! We completed the first inaugural season of Raw Inspirations Dance Company. It took a lifetime to dream this adventure into being, and a short year to watch it develop into a reality. If you have been following our amazing story you will know that this has been a childhood dream of the director's come true. In 2014 the first auditions for RIDC were announced via the wonderful world of Facebook. A single event created that was the first tiny step to begin a journey that culminated in a performance that translated that journey into dance. 

On Friday May 22nd 2015, the members of RIDC filed into their rehearsal space at Madison Ballet to begin work on their end of the year show set to debut the week of June 22nd. One short month stood between these dancers learning an entire 13 dance first act, and re-staging of all 6 of their competition group pieces. The 7 dancers, and 3 faculty members had a task in front of them that they gladly accepted. And that night  "Still I Rise" began to take form. 

Long hours of extended rehearsal times, tired feet, messy buns, all became par for the course. Piece by piece our story started to take shape. RIDC wanted to provide a not your average performance for their end of the year gala. They wanted to share their story with their audience, and that mission never wavered, no matter what obstacle that came up. 

Part of being an artist is learning to be flexible, and part of being a team is sticking together no matter what life throws at us. Through some re-staging of dances, to even relocation of our performance space, RIDC and all of its members, including the parents, were determined to make this years performance memorable.

As the director I always say there is no way that we can do this alone, and I remain thankful every day to all who believe in RIDC and make what we do possible.

A busy weekend approached as it was 2 days before the show. A very full costume rack rolled into studio 1 of Madison ballet and in walked 7 tired, but excited dancers. A stop  watch, an awkwardly shaped futon, and a ladybug waited ready to start the day. The dancers took their mark and for the first time the faculty go to sit and watch the entire show from start to finish. With tears in my eyes as the first act ended, I said to the girls "you did it, you brought my dream to life, in every way possible" Then came the hard stuff, timing Act 2's costume changes. With only 7 members we needed to keep the show flowing, and they literally were the only ones performing. They did it. (show time costume changes were under 60 seconds....talk about professionals)

On Monday June 22, 2015 the dancers and teachers arrived at their performance space, McFarland High School. We set everything up (costumes back stage lit by small back stage lighting), and began setting the lights for the show, curtain was in 3.5 hours and we had to do a complete dress rehearsal before our audience had started to arrive. It's amazing to see how quickly that 3.5 hours passed, and before you knew it, I was back stage hugging the 7 young ladies that had grown up before my eyes, and brought to life a  a dream a younger version of myself at one time only thought would ever be a dream. 

I pressed play on the slide show that included family photos of each dancers families, and baby pictures of them, and then the curtain came up. With a headset on my head and a shaky finger I pressed play for the first track of Act 1. The 1.25 hour show went so quickly I have thought I dreamt it. And as I walked on stage to thank our audience for coming, I had the pleasure of letting them know that they helped us raise enough money to sponsor 4 Ladybug Comfort Bags. RIDC and their amazingly caring audience had raised $1150.00 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund. I couldn't believe it. 

I am forever grateful thinking back on that night. We are so lucky to be able to do what we do. Our inaugural season taught us so much, and through it all these seven girls created memories for a lifetime. We are also fortunate enough to have the entire event captured and available for endless repeat watches on our Vimeo page. Thank you so much to Natalie of Natalie Armstrong Photography for capturing this ever so special event. 

"Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group, A tribute to our combined effort" ~Walt Disney.

 

Peace Love and Dance

RIDC 

Completing the Competition Season, and Moving Into Show Production

What a season!

 

We travelled around the state of Wisconsin as well as the Midwest Region. We've been busy, we've worked hard, and we are proud to say we have inspired. 

One of the things that RIDC is proud to participate in is a competitive program with events that are held around the state. Many companies host competitions and each event has a different feel to it. This year we decided to attend Starpower Talent, Groove, and Midwest Starz. We tried new locations, and enjoyed every minute of it.

The competitive dance world is a unique blend of athleticism, artistry, and more. Our dancers train hard all year working to really polish the routines that they choose to take to these events. Each time the dancers hit the stage, the pieces evolve into a better version of itself from the last time it was performed. 

One of the things we as a company were working on this year was to make each piece special in its own way. Leave the audience feeling something because the intent we put behind the performance. 

Our dancers were very successful in their missions this year, and our competition season ended on a very very very good, and humbling note. 

Normally we would list the award that each dance received here, but going in a different direction, We would like to just say that we exceeded our expectations on ourselves at each competition, and with scores and feedback that made us better with each performance we enjoyed a very successful first year competitive season. 

It's not about the trophies or titles, or scores. It's about the people in an audience coming up to you, or your dancers and commenting about how beautiful their ballet piece was, how stunning the group performed together as, and how people wished they lived closer to our location so their dancer could train with us. Our mission is to provide a place where dancers can come to be inspired and leave inspiring others, and we have succeeded. 

As a director I beam with pride from the moment the girls step on the stage until the moment that they come off the stage after awards with sleepy eyes, excited smiles, and giddy from excitement from the comments they get from the other amazingly talented dancers that they shared the stage with. 

As we ended our competitive season just last month we have been very busy preparing our end of the year performance for our first annual gala. This year was a learning year for all of us who chose to take a chance on this new venture called RIDC, and we hope you will join us as we take you on that journey with us in our first annual gala show titled "Still I Rise". We work closely in partnership with Atia's Project Ladybug Fund and the proceeds from our ticket sales will go to making as many Ladybug Comfort bags that we can. We hope you will join us and contact us for ticket information.

Thank you for stopping by, keep your eyes peeled for more news and amazing photos from our gala....

 

Until next time,

Peace Love and Dance

RIDC 

RIDC Debuts at Tremaine St Louis!

What an amazing weekend of dance we just returned from.

There are many choices dance companies and studios can make when picking and arranging their competition/convention schedules, an all time favorite for our dancers is the Tremaine Dance Conventions and Competitions. 

This past weekend we packed up our cars and made the 6 hour journey to St Louis. We joined many friends and families for a weekend of passion, dedication, dance, and of course inspiration. 

We kicked our Friday night off with a company dinner  and then headed back to the hotel to watch our Senior Solo's and Duets perform. 

Saturday we woke bright and early to begin our day of classes from some of the most passionate, educated, and kind teachers in the business. The excitement in the rooms is infectious and being surrounded by our Team Tremaine family is such an exhilarating experience.

Saturday night we gathered our costumes and prepared ourselves for a night of debuting all the dances we had worked so hard on the last six months. With quick changes, adrenaline pumping, we hit the stage. Our girls looked amazing. 

One thing every dancer should know that competition does not define who you are as a dancer, or who your group is. It is simply a small bench mark to help you grow, develop, and continue to push towards new things in your dancing. When you share the stage with so many different people, it is a privilege. Sometimes you are inspired by someone who you think is better than you, and sometimes you are inspiring someone else. That is the most beautiful thing we can take away from participating in competitions. 

Our results were extraordinary for our first competition. We have proudly listed them on our Facebook page. Have you liked our page yet? If you haven't you should!

We concluded the weekend with enjoying the scholarship ceremony where Ellie was selected as our Studio Dancer of The Year. Then we watched as Anna hit the stage with the Tremaine Performance Company. She is such a joy to watch and seeing her living up on stage was an experience of a lifetime. We are so proud of her!

We will be busy this week preparing for our first "home" performance as we head to Starpower Talent Competition at Middleton High School this weekend. We will be performing Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon and evening. We hope to see you there.

 

Peace Love and Dance

RIDC (o: 

The Competition Season Approaches

As many dance studios, company's, and teams across the country enter a very busy time, the anticipation of debuting months of hard work is upon the RIDC members. We have been in the midst of a very busy season. Our dancers are dedicated to so many things that reach beyond the walls of our studio time together, and some how, they still find the time to focus, get performance ready, and really stun their audience members when they are on stage. 

One of the hardest things about a performance is making sure numerous elements that are really below the tip of the competition iceberg are in place. Hair, tights, makeup, props, costumes, straps, formations, you name it, the littles details are so important. So what a better way to get ready for the performance then to get on a stage and practice!

We are so fortunate that the amazing people in our community make things like using stage space possible for us. We gathered up our things and headed to Monona Grove High School on a cold Saturday night to test out all the small elements on stage. The atmosphere was casual, the stage lights bright, and we have to send a big shout out to Natalie Armstrong and Tara Kuhlow for capturing the most amazing moments in photos for us. 

Being able to have memories like performing together is great, but having still shots of moments that sometimes make you catch your breath, well that is really something special.

We head to our first competition at the end of this month, and that weekend kicks off a three in a row weekend extravaganza for the RIDC dancers. We will travel first to St Louis for the Tremaine Dance Convention and competition. We love being a part of Team Tremaine, and are so proud of one of our members Anna M for being part of the Tremaine performance group. We are anxious to be surrounded by our many dance friends, colleagues and of course the wonderful faculty as we immerse ourselves in a dance filled weekend of love, passion, and of course Inspiration. 

But don't worry everyone, after our fun filled adventure to St Louis, we will be back in Madison for the chance to perform locally! Keep checking back here for fun updates!

 

Have you saved the date for our end of the year gala yet? You are going to want to! Better yet, send us a hello on the contact page, we would love to send you an official save the date!!! 

 

Peace Love and Dance!

Spreading Ladybug Love!

RIDC company members have certainly been working hard to bring their mission of coming together to be inspired and inspiring others this fall. The company came together, raised money to put together a Ladybug Comfort basket after they learned of a young local girl battling the same cancer as the APLF namesake Atia was battling. 

The dancers had fun shopping for special items both fun and necessary for a person undergoing vigorous cancer treatments. They then got together to prepare the bag and later this holiday season got the chance to meet the young lady who they were going to be presenting the comfort bag to. 

Abigail was in awe of all the goodies that were inside her two overflowing bags. Her family members were so grateful, and as you can see by the faces on the dancers we enjoyed watching a small hero find a moment of happiness during a very tough time. RIDC would like to thank Deb and the others at Market Street Diner in Sun Prairie for helping them get in touch with Abigail and her family.

This summer RIDC's first annual Gala will be to benefit Atia's Project Ladybug Fund and it is our hopes that we will be able raise enough money to sponsor many more comfort bags. If you haven't saved the date yet, you'll want to do so and join RIDC for "Still I Rise" June 26, 2015 at Monona Grove High School, Monona WI.

 

 

RIDC.....the beginning

Our season has officially kicked off. Our dancers are entering their second week of training and are becoming more inspirational each day. 

The members of RIDC decided to donate to Sole Matter the intensive, a wonderful dance experience made possible by some of Wisconsin's own talented dancers led by the fabulous Cedric Gardner. As we continue on our path we know that we are very fortunate for the opportunities we as a company are provided. When the dancers took a moment to realize that they could help others have similar experiences, that may not other wise have these types of opportunities they whole heartily embodied the mission of RIDC. Through these experiences our company members truly gain life long experiences that foster philanthropic work in their every day lives. 

We also continue our wonderful partnership with Atia's Project Ladybug Fund. RIDC proudly sponsors its second Ladybug Comfort Bag with donations collected from the dancers and families. APLF is a non profit organization that works to ease the struggles of families and patients battling childhood cancer. Ladybug comfort bags are one of the most important pieces that we provide for the Ladybug families. This summer RIDC sponsored a comfort bag at the 4th annual Ladybug Bash hosted at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. We are so excited to be able to sponsor our second bag this year, and look forward to our end of the year gala which all the proceeds will go to sponsoring as many comfort bags as possible. If you are interested in learning more about APLF please let contact us and we can help steer you in the right direction.

Until Next Time!

Peace Love and Dance

~RIDC