Features

Lights, Camera, Action!

Boost studio and recital attendance by creating a video trailer by Debra Danese Creating video trailers that highlight your studio and students is a great way to promote your program or recital. Taylor Sibrava-Kokoszka, co-founder of Dance Arts Center of St. Charles in St. Charles, Illinois, and Morgan Hansmeier, social media director/instructor at Llaina’s Dance…

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Performing Outside the Box

Year-end alternatives to the traditional dance recital by Bonner Odell Annual dance recitals are near-sacred rituals in the dance world. They’re milestones for young dancers—opportunities to showcase their progress, work with their classmates as a team, and hone their performance skills. But recitals can also be stressful and expensive for studio staff and families alike.…

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Short & Sweet

Streamlining recitals for everyone’s benefit by Joseph Carman A recital that feels longer than Wagner’s operatic Ring Cycle would make anyone want to sprint for the exits. Regrettably, many dance studio owners have learned that lesson the hard way. Poorly planned transitions between numbers, backstage chaos, vanishing dancers, sound glitches, and adherence to the impossible…

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Talk Therapy

How to prepare for challenging questions and difficult conversations by Maureen Janson In his book Creating Magic: 10 Common Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney, author Lee Cockerell suggests that businesses are more likely to thrive if they eliminate hassles. Although he wasn’t writing about dance studios per se, studio owner Dori Matkowksi has…

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Grand Tour

The unconventional history of dance conventions by Kay Waters Think of today’s dance conventions and what comes to mind? Ballrooms packed with dancers, from 5-year-olds to pre-professionals, all learning the latest moves from a Broadway star or reality-show celebrity; groups of hopefuls throwing themselves into scholarship auditions; and tables stacked with branded merchandise. For some…

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Dances on Demand

How to stay fresh when you’re choreographing multiple dances a year by Rita Felciano Most studio owners probably remember dancing in their first recital and looking out into a sea of expectant faces. Brooke Byrne, co-owner of San Francisco’s Geary Dance Center, does. She and her fellow 3- to 4-year-old bunnies had to shake their…

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Rules of Engagement

  Defining—and enforcing—ethical competition behavior by Lea Marshall At a recent competition, Stacey Perkinson, owner of Scenic City Dance in Chattanooga, Tennessee, had carved out space on the convention center floor for her dancers to rehearse before their performance. While they were practicing, another group walked into the space and began practicing too, offering no…

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Tune in, Turn Off | The benefits of finding a work–life balance

  The benefits of finding a work–life balance by Melissa Hoffman Studio owners and teachers can probably agree that although we have the best job in the world, we work constantly; there is always something more to be done. So we must learn to balance our work and our personal lives to succeed at both.…

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Agree to Agree

  Write a studio agreement you and your competitive students can live with by Tiffany R. Jansen Initially, The Dance Corner’s competition team was just a small part of the West Windsor, New Jersey studio. As the team grew from roughly 30 dancers to 40, however, co-owners Amy DeCesare and Roni Wilityer realized it was…

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A Culture of Kindness, by and for Kids

National Wingman for Dance empowers students to create a welcoming environment by Bonner Odell Every seasoned dance teacher knows what it’s like to face a less-than-ideal group dynamic in the studio. Whether the challenge is de-escalating drama, incorporating a new or shy student, or assimilating a dancer with learning differences, teachers may be unsure how to…

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Check, Please | How to vet potential studio employees

by Jill Randall Think about your most valued employees. How long have they been at your studio? What do they teach? What makes them so special, loved, and valued by staff and families alike? And how did you find, interview, and select them? Hiring is a time-consuming, multi-step process, but it’s worth it when you…

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Time on Your Side

Get organized with recital and competition timelines by Debra Danese A million tiny details can bedevil your recital and competition planning. There are costumes and music to choose, dates and personnel to book, families to notify, and pieces to create and refine. Creating a month-by-month timeline can help you break down and organize these big…

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Class Act | How to create effective—and adaptable—lesson plans

by Casey C. Davenport The process of teaching a single dance step, a combination of steps, or conceptual ideas in class can be overwhelming when you consider the many factors involved: what speed and style to teach the step in, a step’s technical execution standards, the most important aspects of the step to impart to…

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Best Job Ever

Teaching dance can be frustrating, exhausting, and low-paying. So why do we do it? by Chris Koseluk You know teaching dance probably won’t make you famous. You’re not in it for the money. And it’s probably safe to say you weren’t lured by the luxurious surroundings, the great hours, or the job security. But every…

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July 2017 | One-Stop Shopping Draws Studio Crowd to UDMA Fall Shows

Annual trade show offers everything from software to shoes by Karen White United Dance Merchants of America, or UDMA, has been around so long that some dance studio people may have forgotten how helpful the organization and its trade show can be. On four weekends each fall, in four different cities, the UDMA Dance Resource…

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July 2017 | Just a Couple of Coworkers

  by Tamsin Nutter Running a dance studio together would be a dream come true for some couples, a relationship disaster for others. Even partners who work well together face grueling hours, a relationship in the public eye, and a lack of family time. So how can couples draw boundaries between the professional and the…

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July 2017 | Tough Nut

Tough Nut | Acting exercises help coax Nutcracker performers out of their shells by Karen White For studios of all sizes, putting on The Nutcracker is a major affair. The cast is large; the sets and costumes formidable. Performers can range from 7-year-old mice to senior student Snow Queens. They all have to know ballet,…

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July 2017 | Holiday Helper

Holiday Helper | Hosting special events can spotlight your show during a busy season by Debra Danese The holiday season is a bustling time, filled with shopping, decorating, parties, and of course, holiday-themed productions such as The Nutcracker. With so many activities vying for people’s attention, how can you promote your show and maximize your…

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July 2017 | Scaring Up a New Seasonal Show

Studios find success with Halloween fare by Tamsin Nutter Halloween is big seasonal business all over town. So why not at your studio? The costumes and makeup make it a natural fit for a dance studio. On the other hand, Halloween can be, well, scary—making it challenging for a business that serves children. Do you…

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May-June 2017 | Making a Good Impression

We’ve all heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It may sound clichéd, but it’s true. A positive first impression sets the tone for your relationships with customers and plays a vital role in building your business. How your school looks and feels when potential clients first drive by or walk in can impact the entire customer experience.

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May-June 2017 | High Fidelity

When it comes to keeping dance parents happy, offering a comfortable atmosphere, family-friendly events, and warm customer service can be as important as hiring good teachers or winning competition trophies. Parents want to see their children fulfilled, of course, but they’re also bound to appreciate efforts that acknowledge their own value to the studio and help simplify their busy lives.

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May-June 2017 | Thriving on the Outskirts Part 2

Regardless of its location, a dance school’s reputation rides largely on the quality of its instructors. For schools in small or out-of-the-way places, finding teachers who are well trained in the dance styles on offer is hard enough. Finding staff with both training in dance education and solid teaching experience can seem next to impossible. But dance studio owners are by nature a creative and resourceful bunch. Networking, both in one’s community and at regional and national dance conferences and competitions, can yield surprising results. Many studio owners keep a running list of contacts they can turn to when they need to fill a position.

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May-June 2017 | Thriving on the Outskirts Part 1

Ask most professional dancers where they got their start, and they’re likely to name a dance school you’ve never heard of. That’s because, like most of us in the field, they were introduced to the world of dance through their hometown studios. These small independently owned businesses are the backbone of the dance industry. They offer children their first vision of themselves as dancers, their first taste of across-the-floor euphoria, their first memory-making moments on the stage. They ignite the dance spark and nurture the flame through the most crucial years of a dancer’s development.

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