When I launched Dance Studio Life in July 2004, many of my well-intentioned friends and colleagues warned me that print was dead, and that digital was the way to go. It was not very encouraging advice, considering that I was investing my heart and soul, not to mention a lifetime of savings, in a print publication. Then I became so busy building a staff and learning about publishing that I had no time to contemplate the fact that my magazine was supposedly facing an imminent demise.
Despite that dire prognosis, what started as an every-other-month publication soon increased to seven issues per year, then eight, then nine; for the last five years, we have published 10 issues annually. It’s not easy; print is pricey. The cost of paper has doubled since 2004, and postage fees have risen dramatically in the last decade. During the hard times following the financial crisis of 2008, I did wonder if I had made a mistake in not listening to those who thought digital publishing was the future. But that period was the exception in our 10 years of growth. Defying the odds, Dance Studio Life is alive and well, with new subscribers and advertisers coming on board with every issue. Today the magazine is the largest single publication in the dance field.
What is the secret to our success? A combination of factors: a humble passion for education and the art of dance, the commitment of editors and writers who understand the soul of the dance community, and a constant desire to be on top of an evolving dance education field.
We pull it off with a dedicated team. The West Coast is home to editor in chief Cheryl Ossola, whose efforts are responsible for a huge part of the magazine’s success; her West Coast team includes associate editor Lisa Okuhn and editorial manager Arisa White. On the East Coast, associate editor Karen White, production manager Scott Oxhorn, and advertising manager Rob Adams, plus support staff, keep the publication rolling. Boston-based art director Mim Adkins gives the magazine its distinctive look—which, as you’ll see in this issue, she has redesigned for our move into the next decade of publication.
What the digital world makes possible is impressive: news faster than anyone could have imagined 20 years ago, and an online community that gives voice to more ideas than ever. Digital publishing has its downside too; speed isn’t everything. But I’m not interested in voicing negativity about a process I embrace; Dance Studio Life has an online presence, and the Rhee Gold Company has multiple websites. However, I will say this: to me, there’s nothing like feeling that glossy cover stock and the heft of our information-packed issues. There’s nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and perusing the table of contents to decide what to read first. There’s nothing like turning the pages, feeling the substance, the permanence.
Dance Studio Life is there for you, on your kitchen table, or in your studio’s conference room, waiting to be shared and revisited.
Ten years and counting. It’s there for you.