General

Dancing for Darby

  Parents’ loss becomes dance world’s gain by Maureen Janson Valerie Jones travels the country attending dance recitals; in the spring of 2017 alone, the Huntsville, Alabama, resident saw 10 different recitals in 6 different states. But in each dark auditorium, she waits for one dance in particular: the one performed by students with special…

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A Community Takes Care of Its Own

Dance world comes together for an awards show like no other by Tamsin Nutter Dateline: Hollywood. The red carpet buzzed as women in floor-length gowns and men in sharp suits posed for photographers before filtering into the historic Avalon Theater. It was a typical La-La Land scene, but this event—the 2017 Industry Dance Awards &…

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Mia Michaels’ Next Move

Choreographer shares her skills—and her philosophy—in online subscription series by Karen White It might seem utterly unbelievable, but there was a time when Mia Michaels questioned whether she knew how to make a dance. She did know, of course. In fact, choreography came so easily to Michaels that she figured she must be doing something…

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ABCs in Action, From Apple to Zigzag

Inspire young dancers with this alphabet of playful images Now I know my ABCs, next time won’t you dance with me? A major accomplishment for many children is learning their ABCs. Once they’ve mastered these 26 letters, children are on their way to words—which, in turn, lead to songs and stories, ideas and imagination. But…

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What a Concept!

Rhiannon Archerelle’s Ballet Concepts class reframes classical training by Mary Ellen Hunt Initially, Rhiannon Archerelle’s Ballet Concepts class—which weaves together several strands of dance education, including history, anatomy, somatic practice, improvisation, and choreography—was designed to engage students who didn’t particularly enjoy taking ballet. Archerelle, 39, first developed the class while she was teaching at The…

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The Manly Arts

Focus turns to male dancers at National Dance Education Organization symposium by Ryan P. Casey The sprawling hills and lush greenery of Morgantown, West Virginia, served as the backdrop for “Men in Dance: Bridging the Gap,” the first symposium sponsored by the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) to focus on male participation in dance. Approximately…

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Bolshoi Ballet on the Big Screen

Using live performance cinema as a teaching tool by Joseph Carman Few experiences educate a dancer like seeing an inspiring program of live dance. When a budding ballerina witnesses a world-class ballerina dancing onstage, a dream crystallizes. Second to that, seeing one of the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema productions, broadcast from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre into…

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A Little Friendly Competition

  Professional association unites industry businesses for the good of all by Kay Waters Multi-city dance conventions and competitions have been around since the 1950s (see “Grand Tour,” September 2017). The dance convention and competition industry hasn’t, however, consistently had a professional association that could bring together competition directors to discuss shared interests. The Association…

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10 Ideas to Keep Your Recital Running Smoothly

by Mary Constantine-Nelson Want a smoother, less stressful recital? Who doesn’t? Here are 10 tips to try. 1. Be positive. Have fun! It may sound trivial, but make up your mind to be positive. Even if stressful situations prevent you from truly enjoying yourself, be a good actor and remain upbeat. Your attitude will influence…

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Package Deal

Bundling fees can make studio life simpler by Tiffany R. Jansen Dance training is many things, but free isn’t one of them—there are fees for costumes, competitions, team attire, recital tickets, and photos, to name a few. Which means you may be spending lots of time invoicing, chasing, and collecting payment. Now imagine switching from…

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The Anatomy of a Recital Postmortem

Your recital may be over, but don’t bury it just yet by Tiffany R. Jansen Pulling off a successful recital feels great, but there is nearly always room for improvement. That’s why it’s a good idea to break down your most recent recital shortly after it’s done to determine what worked, what didn’t, and how…

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Media Hub | New Work Created at the Pillow

New Work Created at the Pillow This Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive playlist features clips of performances by artists who created work at Jacob’s Pillow over the course of its nearly 85-year history. Includes Doug Elkins Choreography, Etc.; Trisha Brown Dance Company; and Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers. Available at danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/playlists.

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Editor Speak | A Delicate Dance

This summer, heat rose over President Donald Trump’s claim that the “tremendous medical cost and disruption” of transgender individuals serving in the military outweighed their value. While none of us in dance would question the invaluable contributions of gay and transgender individuals to professional dance, many of us in private studios have not dealt directly…

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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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