Columns

Tips for Modern & Contemporary Teachers | The Benefits of Parallel

by Amber Perkins Tip 1 An important benefit of adding modern and contemporary classes to your curriculum, alongside ballet and other forms, is that working in parallel helps your dancers develop well-balanced alignment. The parallel position really helps align each dancer’s hips, knees, ankles, and feet. This, in turn, supports correct alignment and placement, whether…

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Ask Rhee Gold | How to handle adults who bully students

How to handle adults who bully students Hi Rhee! What would be the best way to handle two moms who are bullying each other’s daughters? Neither I nor my teachers have seen it personally, but other people I trust have spoken to me about it. I’ve addressed both moms individually, but apparently the bullying happened…

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Editor Speak | A Step in the Right Direction

The weekend after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia—and the upheaval that followed—I found myself looking for artistic consolation. The 2013 documentary Dancing in Jaffa, which had been sitting in my Netflix queue, turned out to be a timely choice. The film follows former championship ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine (whose Dancing Classrooms program in New York…

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Tips for Tap Teachers | Learning to Listen

by Thelma Goldberg Listening is an important skill for both tap teachers and students. Of all dance forms, tap is unique in that its sound is its essence. It’s easy to get distracted by how it looks. Challenge yourself (Tip 1) and your students (Tip 2) with these simple ideas for strengthening listening skills. Tip…

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Ask Rhee Gold | When kindness is perceived as favoritism

When kindness is perceived as favoritism Dear Rhee, Mandy, one of my students, comes from an abusive home situation. It’s not physical abuse, more like abandonment. Her parents are always fighting with one another and they often leave their young children to fend for themselves. Sometimes they forget to pick her up or they argue…

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Editor Speak | Lucky Editor

One of my favorite parts of editing this magazine is reading the great advice. Our Dance Studio Life columnists are a smart bunch, and their ideas often stretch beyond the studio. As I work with them to refine their writing, I frequently find myself mulling over ways I can use their tips. I might not…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Don’t Fear Change

by Sandi Duncan “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” Had I understood the truth of this William Arthur Ward quote 20 years ago, my life could have been a little less bumpy. I started taking dance classes at age 2 and a half. It…

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Ask Rhee Gold | The importance of confidentiality agreements

The importance of confidentiality agreements Dear Rhee, I have loved almost every minute of the 33 years I’ve owned my studio. Last year I married a wonderful man whose job includes lots of travel, and I would like to join him as often as possible. He has always told me that I don’t have to…

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On My Mind: Moving Forward

Words from the publisher Life is a journey. We’ve all heard that idea many times, expressed in many ways. But to make the most of that journey, sometimes we need to pause at the crossroads along the way, to look back at the distance we’ve traveled and toward the paths leading into the future. First,…

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FYI | There’s No Place Like (a New) Home

What’s up in the dance community It’s a scenario familiar to artists: move into a neglected urban area, make it hip and desirable, and then get shoved aside to make room for new residents attracted by all that hipness. Dance studio educators—with their modest revenues and need for sizable square footage—are particularly vulnerable. The downtown…

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Taking Care of Business | Three Steps to an Organized Office

by Teri Mangiaratti When I talk to my fellow studio owners across the country, they tell me that one of their biggest challenges is office organization. Maybe it’s because studio owners are creative, artistic, right-brained people. We don’t want to organize the office! Here’s a suggestion: to get and keep organized, try tackling the job…

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Tips for Special-Needs Teachers | Social and Emotional Learning

by Tricia Gomez Let’s talk about the social/emotional developmental domain. (The five developmental domains are cognitive, motor, self-help, social/emotional, and communication.) Kids with autism tend to struggle with social situations. They fail to pick up subtle cues such as lack of interest, and they often understand words literally, missing inferred meanings (in jokes, for example).…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Passing on the Essence of Hip-Hop

by Samara Atkins Tip 1 Do your students know their hip-hop history? Although hip-hop culture influences all of us in some way, many dancers don’t understand its history, and therefore, what hip-hop truly means—and so have a hard time embodying the movement’s essence. Students should understand that hip-hop originated as a cultural expression of Black…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Managing relationships with students

Managing relationships with students Dear Rhee, After attending one of your seminars, I have decided to pull all communication between our students and the studio into the office because I’m seeing improper teacher–student relationships happening around me. I have run into our students hanging out with their teachers around town and they’re constantly texting or…

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Editor Speak: The 15-Minute Recital

“Families, come on in,” said my daughter’s dance teacher, giving us her beautiful smile. I peeked into the studio and saw kids adjusting ribbon skirts and neck kerchiefs. “Costumes!” I said in surprise. “Aren’t costumes the whole point?” asked another mother, grinning. I didn’t expect costumes that April afternoon because this wasn’t a recital—just a…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Taking back preschool classes

Taking back preschool classes Dear Rhee, I’m doing my best to build my dance studio business in a small town. In the beginning, almost five years ago, my studio was booming; it was full of preschoolers and lots of kids under age 10, plus my competitive team. For the last couple of years, I have…

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On My Mind: Impress with your recital

Words from the publisher Your recital is your best opportunity to leave clients with a lasting impression of your creativity, organization, and dedication to making their children feel special. Think about it: when do we have all of our clients in the same room at the same time? I consider it a chance to wow…

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Dollars, Cents & Due Diligence | How Can I Save on Taxes?

by Michelle Cote When you make a profit as a business owner, that’s such a proud moment. Then your accountant tells you your tax bill. You think, “Was there any way I could have saved on my taxes?” There are ways to save tax dollars, some complex, some that involve spending money. Please consult your…

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Wearing It Well

Costume Sizing With A Wish Come True by Karen White Costume day can be the best of days—so many jubilant students! But if the costumes don’t fit, it can become the worst day. Students are sad, parents are frustrated, and studio owners face the nail-biting uncertainty of getting the right sizes in time for the…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Making Peace With the Mirror

by Sandi Duncan It’s a new day of classes and you’re ready to share what you know and love. You’ve chosen your music, created your combos, and put on your workout attire. You enter the empty dance space, set up your music, and glance in the mirror. “Whoa! Wait, is that me?” you wonder. “Have…

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Ask Rhee Gold | What to do when another studio opens down the street

Advice for dance teachers Hi Rhee, I love your magazine and this column! Now it’s my turn to come to you for some advice. This year I’m reaching the 30-year mark for my studio. Recently, a well-known school that has been in business for 65 years (ironically, the school I attended as a girl and…

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Tips for Preschool Teachers | Performance Prep

by Susan Bennett Tip 1 Preschool encompasses a wide age range, from children in diapers to kids soon entering kindergarten. As your older students prepare for competitions and recitals, make sure to consider what type of performance might suit your preschoolers’ developmental needs, as well as the needs of their families and your studio. Consider…

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Editor Speak | The XX Files

  Mao’s famous phrase “Women hold up half the sky” crossed my mind this summer while I was parked on a blanket in an amphitheater, watching Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Choreography XX project. According to OBT artistic director Kevin Irving, the project was meant to cultivate more work by female choreographers; after a national choreography competition,…

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Tips for Tap Teachers | Take the Shuffle From Simple to Complex

by Thelma Goldberg Tip 1 I’ve discussed shuffles before (2 Tips for Tap Teachers: “Shuffles,” May/June 2015), but there’s always more to say about this basic tap skill, which can challenge both beginners and professionals with ideas that range from simple to complex. First, let’s keep it simple. The simple shuffle combines a brush forward…

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