February 2013 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

We are in conference mode here at the Rhee Gold Company and Dance Studio Life. What started as Project Motivate with 20 attendees in 1998 has morphed into the DanceLife Teacher Conference, which attracts more than 700 teachers, school owners, and studio managers from across the United States and Canada, and from as far away as Italy and Australia.

As we celebrate our 15th anniversary as conference producers, we’ll offer more than ever—well over 100 classes and seminars in the first four days of August, presented at the five-diamond Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The diverse faculty includes some of the brightest minds in the field, coming from backgrounds in hip-hop, classical ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz, preschool education, and more.

It’s important, I believe, to get back to basics with dance classes. Although there are numerous conventions that offer advanced master classes, few provide the chance to learn new concepts for preschool, beginner, and intermediate students. Yet these classes are exactly what every school owner or teacher needs to do well, in order to maintain their school’s financial health.

A full track of business sessions for studio owners includes concepts and techniques for marketing, office organization, summer programs, websites and social media, building new profit centers, plus more. In addition, there will be special sessions for studio managers and closed “studio owner only” events.

Since communication is key in dance education, many schools have brought their entire faculty and staff to our last few conferences to ensure that everyone is learning and sharing with a singular mind-set. Often, while the teachers take classes, the studio managers and school owners attend the business seminars. Together they build camaraderie and bring a bounty of new ideas back to their home studios.

As the conference director, I have a goal of bringing the dance community together to share a love for the art of dance, while simultaneously providing opportunities to learn and grow as professionals—and thus improve as teachers and as business owners. I look at the conference as a way for attendees to rejuvenate their dance spirit, build confidence, and learn new teaching skills that will not only improve students technically but also inspire them to develop a lifelong passion for dance.

As I look back to the beginning of my journey as a conference producer, I remember the skeptics who told me that dance teachers and school owners were too competitive to want to share their knowledge. My instincts told me that wasn’t true. As the DanceLife Teacher Conference has proved over and over again, dance educators embrace the chance to communicate and to celebrate their common bond.