Start With Focus and Turn Down the Noise by Susan Bennett Tip 1 Start your preschool classes with focus, so students are ready to learn. Preschoolers become distracted and disengaged when they have to wait in the classroom for other students to arrive. Create a separate waiting area for them, with quiet activities (puzzles, for…Read More
Advice for dance teachers | Retaining Recital Choreography Dear Rhee, What are your strategies to help students retain recital choreography? This year was especially hard, which resulted in a lot of stress for my students and me. I know I must be missing some tricks of the trade. Any expertise is appreciated. —Mikala Hi Mikala,…Read More
Contemporary Classroom Etiquette by Jennifer McQuiston Lott Tip 1 Ballet has its history of established etiquette; classic modern techniques such as Graham or Limón follow clear rules of conduct. A typical contemporary class may be more relaxed, but classroom etiquette is still important. Outlining and enforcing a code of behavior will prepare your contemporary students…Read More
Advice for dance teachers | Competition Programs Dear Rhee, At what age do you believe a child should begin a competition program? We’ve always started at 10; now parents are asking me if I will accept kids as young as 6. I don’t know if the children and their parents are prepared for the amount…Read More
Butterflies and Beginnings I have a confession to make: The last time I taught dance was many years ago, although the butterflies I felt before every class are still fresh in my mind. My university’s dance department required its students to teach a semester-long dance class to preschoolers at the school’s childcare center. My first…Read More
Everything Old Is New Again by Thelma Goldberg Tip 1 Summer is a perfect time to plan ahead for a fabulous new year of tap dance programming. Remember, investing now in your own growth and training (with intensives, books, DVDs, etc.) will pump new energy and ideas into your classes. Begin by planning new warm-ups…Read More
Advice for dance teachers | Special-Needs Students Dear Rhee, This season I introduced a dance class for children with special needs. I taught the class, but with my limited experience it was a huge growth experience for the kids and me. By the end of the season I was thrilled with what we all accomplished.…Read More
Words from the publisher I recently traveled to Glendale, Arizona, to present weekend seminars at the Spisak Dance Academy. It was a different seminar experience than most I’ve had, because I got to work with everyone involved—the faculty, the students, and their parents. The kids and the teachers were easy for me, but the parents…Read More
by Teri Mangiaratti Presenting families with a full season schedule at registration makes a fantastic first impression. Putting all of your season’s dates on a calendar now will help dancers’ families and your staff plan their year, and they will absolutely appreciate it. So pour yourself a cup of coffee, print out a calendar, and…Read More
by Sandi Duncan The word summer may conjure up fun childhood memories of splashing in the pool, playing on the swings in the park, camping, or vacationing at the beach with our families. Those times allowed us to rest, relax, and rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Nowadays, however, our summers probably look very different. Those…Read More
by Nina Pinzarrone
Tip 1: With year-end recitals and Royal Academy of Dance and Cecchetti exams around the corner, in my final column, I’d like to share tips for choosing music that will help your students remember the steps, keep count, and look their best.
Tip 2: Ragtime melodies can be fun. Scott Joplin’s March Majestic (2:52) and Rosebud March (3:09), both in 6/8 with multiple sections, are wonderful for skips, gallops, spring points, and chassés.
by Samara Atkins
Tip 1: Many hip-hop students struggle to connect their upper bodies (arms, shoulders, neck, head, chest, and torso) to their lower-body moves. It’s easier said than done. Here are some ways to develop the upper half’s ability to complement the lower—and make your students into more expressive, dynamic dancers.
Tip 2: Once students are comfortable with the upper body following the lower, have them try making the upper body contrast with the lower.
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by Toni Pierce-Sands
Tip 1: The start of class can be challenging if I don’t allow students time to transition from their everyday routines into class time.
Tip 2: Repetition is always important, especially with middle- and high-school-aged students.
Advice for dance teachersRead More
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: Since the early days of tap, flash steps have been used to bring routines to exciting climaxes or to challenge other dancers in contests.
Tip 2: Popular flash steps with wings include the single-foot wing in the third step of the B.S. Chorus, the double wing in Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s “Doin’ the New Lowdown,” and the alternating wing and tip in the traditional buck and wing.
“Learning With the Body” by Tamsin Nutter: I don’t have the brains to be a dance professional. Never did. I can pick out a spelling mistake at 50 paces, and I gamely answer kids’ questions about human cells and World War II. But the dance pieces I rehearsed and performed hundreds of times have vanished from memory. And please don’t ask me to show you last week’s combination.
“Comings and Goings” by Thom Watson: The upcoming July issue will mark DSL’s 13th anniversary. In conjunction with this milestone, we plan to roll out some exciting new changes: beginning in July and August you’ll find tips for teaching preschoolers and students with special needs; new columns about competition, costuming, business management, self-care, and studio style; a revamped dance history spread with resources to use in the classroom; and more.Read More
by Rhee Gold
This March I had the honor of giving a keynote speech and presenting seminars at the Victorian Dance Festival in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The experience reminded me once again that dance educators are the same no matter where they practice their craft.Read More
by David Arce
Tip 1: To obtain a higher extension in grand battement à la seconde, students often rock the weight back into the heel of the standing foot.
Tip 2: Most students love the sensation of a grand battement derrière into arabesque. This common step needs constant maintenance, as students can form bad habits quickly.
by Nina Pinzarrone
The great modernist composer Igor Stravinsky first intended Petrushka as a concert piece for piano and orchestra. At Serge Diaghilev’s urging, he instead wrote music and (with Alexandre Benois) libretto for a one-act dance drama in four “tableaux” portraying traditional Russian puppet theater. The resulting score was electrifying—but difficult for the dancers to count.Read More
by Samara Atkins
Tip 1: The 1990s offered a fresh take on urban culture. The music, clothing, and messages were loud; the movement was big, colorful, and “hype.” To me, the expressive moves of classic ’90s style are still the pinnacle of hip-hop.
Tip 2: Imagery can be helpful when you’re breaking down a compound move. With the Reebok, I like to use the image of a door closing and opening.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: Staying at the front of the studio during class can limit you as an instructor. Changing your vantage point is a good way to catch issues that otherwise might escape your attention.
Tip 2: The ease and fluidity associated with contemporary duet work can begin with a simple weight-sharing exercise.
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: Getting a tap routine ready for performance is like putting frosting on a cake. The ingredients have been organized and laid out, and now it’s time to concentrate on the final details: making it look and (in tap’s case) sound great.
Tip 2: Tap is a full-bodied dance form, and the upper body can express rhythm just as clearly as the feet can make sounds.Read More
“The Rights Stuff: Who Owns Choreography?” by Karen White: There I was, in another conversation about who owns choreography, the teacher or the studio. Sometimes I think this issue will never go away, doomed to be debated forever by two clans glaring at each other over an immovable fence.
“Cycles of Inspiration” by Thom Watson: There are days when I really love my job. For this issue, for example, I exercised editor-in-chief privilege to assign myself the delightful task of interviewing several of my favorite choreographers and master teachers for a feature story, “Cool & Contemporary.”Read More