Ask Rhee Gold

I need some advice on an extremely sad, unfortunate situation. As a member of Dance Masters of America, I uphold a code of ethics. I respect my colleagues and do my best to maintain a professional working relationship with everyone. Recently, though, a full-time teacher of four years at a local dance studio got arrested for multiple instances of lewd and lascivious acts with minors. One incident occurred at a dance convention. The studio owner knew about it and still kept this teacher on staff for several months. When the owner finally let her go, she still planned to have the teacher choreograph privately for the school’s competition team. My problem is that this has lowered morale and trust in dance studios and teachers.

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No-Touch Zone

For a certain generation of dance educators, feeling a teacher’s guiding hand on a leg, back, or even a rear end was often standard when they were students. That’s the way things used to be—a touch here, a tap there with a hand or stick were part of the usual learning experience for many dancers.

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Bright Biz Ideas | Reviving Mom’s Dream

During those long drives, Johnson’s creativity peaked, and she began thinking of ways to improve her teaching. At conventions she had noticed that dancers needed help remembering proper dance terminology, especially the tricky French words. She decided there had to be a better way to help young dancers learn basic vocabulary, which she referred to as “the ABCs of dance.” With that in mind, she developed a concept that would transform the way she taught dance.

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Kids Make Dance

Walk into a dance studio and you’ll see that little about it, from the mirrors to the barres and the bare wood or linoleum floor, has changed in decades, even centuries—save, perhaps, for a CD or Mp3 player in the corner replacing or joining the piano. Walk into Kathleen Isaac’s dance studio in Queens, though, and it looks like she went on a shopping spree at Best Buy: cameras, laptops, cords, video monitors, tripods, iPhones, and sundry other “e-toys” abound.

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Danspirations: The Greatest Profession in the World with Rhee Gold

See Rhee Gold share his passion for teaching dance in this special keynote address at the 2009 DanceLife Teacher Conference presented to more 600 dance teachers and school owners from across the world. His words are thought-provoking, humorous, and refreshing as he reinforces all the reasons we have chosen to become dance educators in the first place. Viewers will feel rejuvenated as they listen to Gold explain why we’ve chosen the “greatest profession in the world!”

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Rhee’s Blog | Finding Refuge In Dance

Each week her dance teacher makes a snide remark that duplicates the atmosphere she has at home. She becomes even more intimidated, thinking that her dance teacher doesn’t like her. Even worse, she tells herself, “I stink at dance, too!” Before long she drops out of dance. Why go to dancing school to be berated when you can get that at home?

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Rhee’s Blog | The Sequin Eating Boy

In my years as a teacher and studio owner, I have produced more than 27 year-end recitals and at least 16 full-length story ballets. If I have learned anything about the production part of the dance business, it is that it requires two important attributes: the ability to compromise and the ability to enjoy the humor in the things that can—and always will—go wrong.

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The Correct Way to Correct

“At least you didn’t find anything wrong with my ears!” If you hear a reaction like this to criticism, you may have just lost a customer. You want to bring out the best in your students by offering enough criticism so that they improve—but not criticize so much, or so harshly, that they lose self-confidence, withdraw, or defect to other schools. Striking that balance is one of the hardest tasks that you face as a dance school director or instructor.

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Beyond Expectations

They come in with hopes and expectations. Enamored of the pink slippers and the possibility of someday wearing a tutu, these little girls glimmer with light in their eyes and dreams in their heads. Their parents, too, carry hopes and dreams. Maybe they secretly want them to curtsey at the Met or high kick on Broadway, or, more plainly, they just want their children to find a friend and fit in.

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Higher-Ed Voice | Semester One—Won!

Each fall they enter the dance studio, faces full of fake confidence or sheer panic. Some arrive for class 30 minutes early; some run in late, in breakdown mode because of morning alarm malfunctions. New leotards, pink tights, some sparkles somewhere, intact ballet shoes, some still sporting a color other than pink (probably leftover from a matched recital costume). They have arrived. The new recruits. The freshmen class of ’0?

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Words to Live By

Over the years I have become attached to a handful of inspirational sayings that I like to share with my students. I have posted a few of them on my studio walls, where they have remained for years; I write others on the classroom mirrors and rotate them as needed. Since I have been repeating most of them for so long that I can no longer remember their sources, I send a sincere thank-you to their originators.

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Going Public With Private Lessons

“Do you give private lessons?” That’s a question that prospective clients often ask—are you prepared to answer it? Most studio owners have no trouble setting schedules, pricing, and dress codes for their schools, and they routinely hand out that information when new students walk in the door. But they may be much less clear in their thinking about private lessons. Setting up a policy about private lessons, and then publicizing it to your clientele, can boost your school’s income and provide students with an added incentive to work their hardest.

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