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Three Arts… One Dojo

The mission of Balanced Life Skills is to cultivate awareness, compassion and respect in all of our students.  We do this by helping them be aware of the negative messages that they hear and then be compassionate with themselves by replacing them with positive messages.  Replacing the negative thoughts we have with positive ones will help them to be willing to put forth greater effort in studying for school, trying new things, even standing up for themselves.  When this happens they can respect themselves.

never-good-enoughDid you ever have these challenges as a young person?  Most of us have.  In fact most adults still struggle with the negative movies running in their heads.  I certainly have had the struggle with messages that I still remember from a very young age, that I was not “smart enough”.  In fact I still hear the words in my ears of being called “stupid”.

As I looked for a solution I first realized that the number one fear of all people is the fear of not being “enough”.  Enough of many different things – mine was not smart enough.  What I learned through practice is that the practice of the martial arts was very helpful in growing my confidence.  After training in the martial arts I soon realized that this could be a great tool in building confidence in students.  But not all students are open to the physical approach, they prefer to do something in the visual arts or performing arts.

That is why our – Three Arts…One Dojo – approach is so effective for students of all ages.  The first thing you can do is come and try a class with Balanced Life Skills.  Try it for free, stick with it for a while and you will see the results for yourself.



Balanced Life Skills enjoyed their first week of martial, visual, and performing arts this past week. SSUMMER THEATER (2)tudents learned focus and respect and collaborated creatively in order to depict the fairies from William Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Although they may have been depicting confusion and conflict among the fairy kingdom, these students worked together in order to create a beautiful set and make interesting staging and character choices to tell this story.

The older students, playing Titania and Oberon displayed strong leadership skills by helping the younger students and overcome stage fright. Everyone cheered on their fellow actors and reached deep within themselves in order to tap into the creative energy required for this kind of production.

Peaseblossom demonstrated an impressive amount of innovation by leading the charge to write an original story about deforestation so that the animal (and fairy) kingdom will always have a home!

Registration is open for Theater Classes!
FALL SESSION 9/2 -11/15
Strong Performers (Ages 5+) T/TH 5pm -7pm
Ensemble Workshop (Ages 9 – 18) M/W 5:30-7pm


BLS Theater Sees The Light!

That is right… The Performing Arts Department has lighting equipment and we are not afraid to use it! It is a very exciting time! We purchased four Par 56 lighting instruments, 1 Dimmer, Two stands, a control board, and a whole bunch of gels. Here is a little information about lighting design…

Untitled design (2)

CONTROL BOARD: The control board controls the dimmers. You will adjust the control board in order to vary the intensity of the lights.

INSTRUMENTS: (A.K.A Fixture, Luminaire, or Unit) These are the actual lights; the lamp/bulb and the metal around it. We are using Par 56 Instruments. Par 56 instruments provide a wide range of lights and are great instruments for learning the basics of lighting design.

DIMMERS: Each instrument is plugged into a dimmer or dimmer rack. The dimmer rack varies the brightness of the light. The same way that a dimmer in your home does, except the voltage here is a little bit different.

GELS: Give the light color

GOBOS: Give the light shape; think of it as a stencil for the light.

HANGING LIGHTS: This is an activity for which the tech crew is responsible, prior to the actors coming in for tech week. Lights are hung at specific angles to give the light direction. It sets the overall tone for each scene. Then, when the actors come in during Tech Week, the direction may be adjusted slightly based on the height and position of actors.

Contact Ms. Ellen if you would like to learn more about Lighting Design!


“Creating original work to improve ourselves and the world around us.”


Balanced Life Skills is rolling out an exciting new theater program that will give students the opportunity to change the world. This program will teach students valuable life skills such as diction, movement, research and public speaking while harnessing their imaginations in order to tell compelling stories. They will also be exploring issues that are important to them and taking ownership of all aspects of production for  piece that will engage the community and inspire people to become a part of the solution. Here is a look at what we have planned for the coming year. If you have questions about any of these programs, please contact

Summer 2014

  • Summer Campers will explore the world of Shakespeare, Comedia Dell’Arte, and Kabuki
  • Students will explore Deforestation, Equality and War and make a presentation on these important issues at the end of each week
  • Kick It! girls perform at First Sunday Arts Festival
  • Click here to register for our summer camp!

Fall 2014

  • First 10 Week Theater Sessions begin
  • Participation in the Annapolis Fringe Festival
  • One – Two Day workshops offered that will include Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Fall Showcase for Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts
  • Click here to visit the performing arts page and learn more about our program offerings

Stay tuned to find out how else our students will change the world!






Teacher appreciation – They do so much for our students

Teacher Appreciation Day

Teacher Appreciation Day


This week we will celebrate the teachers of our students.


We are inviting all of the students to ask their teachers if they would like to visit Balanced Life Skills and see their students whom we share, practice their martial arts skills. I have a deep appreciation for all that teachers do for our students.


  • They spend a great number of hours preparing lesson plans, looking at student work, answering parent questions – much of this is outside of the ‘normal’ working hours.
  • Teachers have their own families and all the responsibilities that come with that job. Sometimes it is easy to forget and we may even be surprised to see teachers as parents, with all of the same issues that we are struggling with in our own family.
  • Teachers pull out of their own pocket money to provide for their students provisions that they do not have. On average a teacher spends between 600 and 800 per year and many spend much more than that.
  • Teachers fill the role of educator, caretaker, coach, nurse, and so much more. They are like the mom at school for the hours your child is there.

With all that they give they sometimes forget to replenish themselves with time for their own desires, spiritual strength, taking care of their own emotions and needs. Many times they will not ask for the help they need or want – as they continue to take on the role of super heroes.

This week please celebrate your teachers. They are kind and giving. When they go home at night it does not end for them, as they continue to think about what and how they can make your experience even better tomorrow. I would ask each of us to remember your own teachers, and those of your children as people with great big hearts and a desire to share with others.

How will you show kindness to your teachers this week?