Advice for Dance Teachers Hello Rhee, I remember that you spoke years ago at Project Motivate about how teachers can assure that their male students look masculine by having them do the same arm positions as the girls, but with fists instead of feminine hands and such. When I judge, I often comment on this,…Read More
Advice for Dance Teachers Hi Rhee, This year I started working at a new studio, and was overwhelmed with gifts at Christmas. I spent almost two hours writing thank-you notes, then started to panic about forgetting someone or overlooking a gift, and maybe causing offense. In one small class I received gifts from all students…Read More
Budding choreographers learn basics in choreography class by Joseph Carman Jessica Totaro had taught for three years at Dance for Joy studio in Brielle, New Jersey, when she decided she wanted to pass on the choreographic skills that she had honed while earning her BFA at Rutgers University. Totaro approached studio owner Kimberly Houli about…Read More
Ideas and advice from teachers Props add excitement and spark imagination—and can serve as a much-needed energy release—in classes of children ages 2 and a half to 5. Ribbons. At the beginning of class, dancers visit my ribbon wall to select a prop, which they wave as they move about to familiar music. Beginning class…Read More
Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I’m frustrated and want to pick your brain about music. I spend endless hours making it easy for my staff to choose fun and interesting music for recital dances. I research new music every week. I set up Spotify playlists and provide Kindles in every classroom with playlists for…Read More
Advice for Dance Teachers Hi Rhee, I have been teaching for 42 years and I’m ready to retire. I have a beautiful studio in the center of a very nice town. My teachers love to teach but no one wants to take over. Is there any procedure to follow? I am not sure where to…Read More
Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I have been teaching for 25 years, and I’ve owned my studio for four and a half years. I’ve become increasingly concerned that parents don’t seem to be aware of the importance of bringing their children to class on time. This year, tardiness is at an all-time high. At…Read More
Makeovers, renovations, and dream spaces by Heather Turbeville “It’s a dream come true,” says Tamara King, principal of Boston Ballet School’s new Newton, Massachusetts, studio, which opened in September. It’s not hard to see why she loves the space. At 26,550 square feet, it has seven studios, state-of-the-art HVAC and acoustic systems, high-end fixtures, and…Read More
Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I’m in need of suggestions on how to deal with competition parents who have a hard time getting along with each other. They are adults—I shouldn’t have to police their interactions. Most conflicts arise over fundraising: they can’t agree on a fundraiser, no one steps up to take the…Read More
Dear Rhee, I have a dilemma. There are two dance stores in my area. The owner at one has been nice to me since we opened 17 years ago, and the other store’s owner hasn’t been very nice. Guess who I send my customers to? Anyway, the situation at the second store has turned nasty.…Read More
One of my favorite parts of editing this magazine is reading the great advice. Our Dance Studio Life columnists are a smart bunch, and their ideas often stretch beyond the studio. As I work with them to refine their writing, I frequently find myself mulling over ways I can use their tips. I might not…Read More
Managing relationships with students Dear Rhee, After attending one of your seminars, I have decided to pull all communication between our students and the studio into the office because I’m seeing improper teacher–student relationships happening around me. I have run into our students hanging out with their teachers around town and they’re constantly texting or…Read More
Taking back preschool classes Dear Rhee, I’m doing my best to build my dance studio business in a small town. In the beginning, almost five years ago, my studio was booming; it was full of preschoolers and lots of kids under age 10, plus my competitive team. For the last couple of years, I have…Read More
Advice for dance teachers Hi Rhee, I love your magazine and this column! Now it’s my turn to come to you for some advice. This year I’m reaching the 30-year mark for my studio. Recently, a well-known school that has been in business for 65 years (ironically, the school I attended as a girl and…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
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
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
Classroom Connection: The Power of Questions
by Holly Derville-Teer
By questioning rather than chastising, Edwards maintained control of the classroom. I was impressed by how the dancers listened. Answering questions also increased their level of engagement.
Reality Check: Sensitivity and Caring
Q. I have a talented dancer who lost an arm in an accident. She came back to ballet class and is doing amazingly well, but I don’t want to pretend that this is not going to affect her balance or her dancing. How do I navigate this situation with sensitivity and caring? Read More
by Thom Watson
In wide-ranging conversations about contemporary dance, DSL asked celebrated choreographers Tyce Diorio, Teddy Forance, Mia Michaels, and Derrick Schrader how they define the genre, the pros and cons of making dance in an age when dance videos are ubiquitous online, where they find inspiration for their work, and how they approach choreographing and staging contemporary dance. We also asked for their advice for dance teachers in hometown studios.Read More
Classroom Connection: Resistance Band Exercises
Consider integrating stretch/resistance band exercises into pointe and pre-pointe classes to strengthen dancers’ feet and ankles.
Reality Check: Communication Challenge
Q. I’m looking for ideas that will help multiple front desk staffers handle office communication more effectively. Example: Suzy’s mom calls about registration. One staffer calls back and leaves a message—which is noted in the message book—but no one follows up or calls the mom again. Does anyone have a solution? —Neala Dunn
Classroom Connection: Picturing Dance
Dance photos can support your curriculum and offer playful springboards for activities with students—from preschoolers to high schoolers.
Reality Check: Tough Moments
Q. I just lost my first student to another studio. I understand we all offer different things and people will choose what matches their needs best. But it still hurts and makes me wonder if I am doing enough. How do you handle these moments?