Columns

Ask Rhee Gold | Changing with the times

Advice for Dance Teachers Hello Rhee, I remember that you spoke years ago at Project Motivate about how teachers can assure that their male students look masculine by having them do the same arm positions as the girls, but with fists instead of feminine hands and such. When I judge, I often comment on this,…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Thank-you card etiquette

Advice for Dance Teachers Hi Rhee, This year I started working at a new studio, and was overwhelmed with gifts at Christmas. I spent almost two hours writing thank-you notes, then started to panic about forgetting someone or overlooking a gift, and maybe causing offense. In one small class I received gifts from all students…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Setting policies for dance trips

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, Some of my studio parents have backed out of our upcoming performance trip to Disney, causing a lot of issues at the studio and stress for me. These same parents still want to attend this spring’s competitions. The Disney trip was our original plan—the competitions weren’t added until later.…

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On My Mind | Making fulfillment a priority

Words from the publisher You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. One day while I was scrolling through Instagram, those words stopped me cold. It was the start of the year—the time when people face the future with fresh attitudes and resolutions. When I read the quote, I was scheduling a year of…

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Editor Speak | The Pain of Pointe

I’ve been carrying a chip on my shoulder for more than 30 years, and it has to do with dancing on pointe, or rather, stumbling around the dance studio in pointe shoes. When classes began the fall I was 10 years old, my ballet teacher made an announcement that came as a surprise: we were…

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Editor Speak | I Know What I Like

At this point in my dancing life, I know what I like. I’m lucky if I dance twice a week, so I try to choose classes wisely. Here’s what I look for: Quick-moving. Slow classes were great when I was getting back into shape after having kids. Now they’re frustrating. My muscles get cold, the…

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Tips for Tap Teachers | Improving Step Recall

by Thelma Goldberg With recital season upon us, let’s talk about memory and how to help our students strengthen their long-term recall of tap steps. Memories form when our neurons get fired up and make connections (or synapses) with one another to form a pattern of activity. During the memory encoding stage, dancers learn movements…

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Taking Care of Business | Five Steps to Surviving Summer

We all long for the free time and sunshine of summer. Yet summer is a difficult season for most studio owners. Monthly tuition drops off as students hit the beach instead of the studio. As business owners, we must prepare carefully for the seasonal nature of our field. Let’s take a look at five steps…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Just Be

by Sandi Duncan In this ever-changing landscape of life, we may find ourselves constantly on the go, working to complete as many tasks and goals as the day will allow. If your to-do list is longer than your leg and multitasking is a way of life, you may be in need of some time to…

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Tips for Special-Needs Teachers | Encouraging Self-Help

by Tricia Gomez This month we’re focusing on the self-help developmental domain, which requires skills from the motor and cognitive domains. Activities of daily living (ADLs), such as feeding, dressing, self-care, and self-regulation, are often taken for granted, but this is an area where many students with learning differences and special needs struggle. Let’s take…

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Editor Speak | Studio Safe Place

I know someone in prison. He’s a dance teacher—or was, before he was found guilty of raping girls he had taught at dance studios in two states. At this point, he’s been in prison for more than nine years with time still left to go. Whenever I read a story about a dance studio instructor…

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Wearing It Well | Costume Cleaning Tips from The Line Up

by Heather Turbeville Let’s be honest. What do your students’ dance costumes smell like after a performance? What about after three or four performances? And what stains have the garments accumulated—makeup, self tanner, permanent marker? But you can’t wash those sequined leggings or that rhinestone-studded biketard, can you? Yes, you can. According to Deb Erickson,…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Rhythm Skills

by Samara Atkins Rhythm is at the heart of doing hip-hop dance well. The most amazing hip-hop dancers in the game now are revered for their skill in playing off a song’s many rhythms. To practice catching nuanced rhythmic changes, try this exercise I call “the ever-evolving soundscape.” Students stand in a circle, facing inward.…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Lesson Planning

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, Do you have a solid estimate of how much time teachers should spend on class planning per class? I know it varies depending on the discipline, but I’m trying to help my two full-time staff members figure out what portion of their work week can reasonably be spent on…

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Tips for Ballet Teachers | Winding Up & Shoulder Tension in Pirouettes

by David Arce A clean preparation is crucial in pirouettes, whether en dehors or en dedans. To combat the bad habit of “winding up” the preparation port de bras (to gain force for more turns), try this. Students prepare for the turn in a lunge or plié in fourth, one arm in first position, the…

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Ask Rhee Gold | New Music Choices

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I’m frustrated and want to pick your brain about music. I spend endless hours making it easy for my staff to choose fun and interesting music for recital dances. I research new music every week. I set up Spotify playlists and provide Kindles in every classroom with playlists for…

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Editor Speak | The Genius Myth

When a raft of sexual harassment and physical abuse allegations surfaced in December against Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet, I was first shocked, then not surprised (hello, ballet world!). Then I thought, if Balanchine were alive now, he’d be in big trouble. No one, as far as I know,…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Lots of Love

by Sandi Duncan The dance studio industry can be competitive. Owning a studio may lead to insecurity, fear, doubt, and complete exhaustion. As owner, you have many people around you, yet the loneliness can be overwhelming. Often we build walls around ourselves for fear of being hurt or disappointed by clients or our competitors. We…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Looking for New Teachers

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, What is the best time of the year to search for new teachers? I’m looking for someone to start in the fall. Is it too soon to post an ad? I’m thinking the sooner the better, so that the teachers I hire can make any plans they need. Also,…

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On My Mind | Success through continuing education

Words from the publisher For the past few weeks my mind has been focused on the 2018 DanceLife Teacher Conference. The creation process has been a blast—more than 100 sessions and classes are scheduled, faculty is booked, and special events are planned. We are ready to go! Since the last conference was three years ago,…

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Dollars, Cents & Due Diligence | How to Track Your Expenses

by Michelle Cote Business success depends on revenue, so we tend to focus on it. Small studio businesses often give most of their attention to marketing, class content, and branding, hoping to increase the number of students, which translates to revenue. But the other half of the income statement is important too, and sometimes gets…

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Tips for Preschool Teachers | Teaching Global Dance

by Susan Bennett Teaching global (world) dances to preschoolers is easy and fun when you focus on elements of dance. All global dances have common elements: tempo, formation, purpose, and specific steps. Set the rhythm with up-tempo music. (Look for the genre “World Music,” which generally represents various global cultures, online or in stores.) Have…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Selling Your Studio

Advice for Dance Teachers Hi Rhee, I have been teaching for 42 years and I’m ready to retire. I have a beautiful studio in the center of a very nice town. My teachers love to teach but no one wants to take over. Is there any procedure to follow? I am not sure where to…

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Editor Speak | The Sad Tale of the Stolen Props

  I’m scrolling through the news, past stories about Republican party turmoil and the latest Hollywood sex scandal, when one headline shocks me into a scream: “What? Not again!” “Dance studio trailer filled with props stolen.” The reporter on scene in front of a strip mall dutifully explains that the studio owner isn’t as worried…

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