What it’s like to be a Just Dance Studio Dancer

By AMBER ANTHONY

Just Dance Studio dancers do more than “just dance”. Michayla Parsons, Makayla McGruder, and Taylor Williams detail their life as dancers at Just Dance.

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. — One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. AGAIN! One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. AGAIN! The following is what can typically be heard in the Just Dance Studio every other day.

To watch Just Dance Studio’s dancers leap and glide gracefully while performing, it can be easy to say that dance comes naturally to them. Although their dancing may seem effortless, plenty of work goes into it. Michayla Parsons, Makayla McGruder, and Taylor Williams  are three of the dancers at Just Dance.

“Dance is not always glitz and glamour,” Parsons said. “Yes, it is fun and I really enjoy it. However, there is a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into this field.”

About Just Dance Studio

Just Dance Studio is a Christian-based studio. Just Dance is a national award-winning dance studio that does not specialize in any particular style  dance. Just Dance offers recreational and competition classes in  ballet, tap, modern, contemporary, jazz, gymnastics, cheer, and hip-hop.

Dancers are derived from all age groups and are categorized as  — preschool, youth/teen and boys, as well as various competition/performance groups.

Health is Wealth

In order to be a better dancer, one has to not only practice, but be cautious of what they eat. Food is fuel for the body. If one’s body is not getting the nutrients it needs, it may not function properly.

According to the article, “Healthy Food Choices for Dancers”, by Treva Bedinghaus, a dancer’s diet should consist of a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and adequate fluids.

“The dance instructors at Just Dance Studio constantly stress to all of their dancers that a healthy diet is essential,” Williams said. “It is recommended that we include a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains.”

“Being disciplined when it comes to eating properly is tough,” McGruder said. “I would love to pig out all of the time like a few of my peers. It is more important to me that I stay fit and am the best I can be.”

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice is taken very seriously at Just Dance. Practices are held every other day during the week. The dance practices can last from an hour to four hours. At practice, dancers can be seen preparing for dance recitals or competitions, or simply learning a new routine.

dance practice
From Left to Right: Michayla Parsons, Taylor Williams, and Makayla McGruder during practice at Just Dance Studio. Photo by Amber Anthony

“Practice for competitions typically take four weeks with about two hours of practice each week,” Parsons said. “Personally, it takes me around 15-20 minutes to pick up and memorize choreography. I tend to fully master the choreography by the next practice. It takes other people longer to memorize choreography depending on their learning ability.”

Learning and retaining choreography is one of a dancer’s greatest challenges. Memorizing choreography in practice takes a while longer than others. According to the article, “Making It Stick, by Dance Spirit,” learning choreography is simply a matter of extensive practice.

“It usually takes me a month to learn a new dance routine,” said McGruder. “I learn by repetition and watching others. If I practice enough times, I’ll be able to do whatever dance with ease.”

Recent Dance Performance

just dance
Just Dance Studio dancers post performance at Andretti’s Indoor Karting & Games for a Sweet Sixteen birthday party. Photo by Amber Anthony

Just Dance is not limited to just competitions and recreational dance. Just Dance Studio can also be booked for parties. Just Dance Studio’s most recent performance was at Andretti’s for a “Kiana’s Sweet Sixteen”. The dance style for the birthday bash was a combination of jazz and hip-hop.

Just Dance dancers prides themselves on dancing for a Christian-based studio. Because of their beliefs, the music they incorporate into their performances are non-vulgar, wholesome songs. A few of the songs played were “Run the World” by Beyoncé and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. Just Dance’s performance was a success. The birthday girl, Kiana, was pleased and the dancers were relieved.

“A performance day for me is usually long and hectic,” said Parsons. “Performing gives me a rush of adrenaline until I crash by the last dance.”

A few of the other dancers echoed  Parsons.

“A performance day usually means having to deal with a lot of hair, makeup, and costumes,” said McGruder. “There may even be a few people desperately trying to recall dance numbers that they may have forgotten. I try to avoid doing anything the day of a performance in order to conserve energy. It is complete chaos.”

“The day of the performance is very rushed but somewhat organized,” said Williams. “Sometimes there is function within dysfunction.”

Why choose to dance with Just Dance Studio?

Just Dance Studio sets itself apart from other dance studios. Just Dance is Christian-based and offers cheer and gymnastics classes in addition tothe standard dance classes.

“I love how different Just Dance is from other dance studios,” said McGruder. “Besides being one of the few Christian-based dance studios in Atlanta, we are different in that we act and function like a real family. We support and encourage one another in all that we do.”

Parsons has been with Just Dance for nine years.

“I love Just Dance,” said Parsons. “I’m so glad that I joined this dance company. I have been able to be inspired by so many of the dance instructors and have met many great friends. We are like family here.”

Williams has been with Just Dance for a decade.

“I would definitely say that Just Dance is like my home away from home,” said Williams. “At Just Dance, I am able to express myself through dance and dance with like-minded people. The teachers are willing to teach you and help you better yourself. There are some tough moments, however, nothing worth having comes easy.”

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