Playing by the Rules

It’s happened to you, right? One day, when your head is full of choreography, itineraries, costume adjustments, and competition schedules, a student comes up to you with a look on her face that says you’re not going to like what she’s going to tell you. And you’re right. She cannot make the next two rehearsals, she says. Nine days before the competition.

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Ask Rhee Gold

Hi Rhee, I am toying with the idea of making my teachers part-time employees versus independent contractors. A neighboring studio owner contacted me about a teacher of hers whom she pays as a contractor (1099 income) threatening to report her to the Labor Department about her payment practices. How should we proceed?

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Technique + Heart = Art

At a Dance Masters of America competition last March, the students of The Gold School got a standing ovation, and it wasn’t just for their technique. It was because of their artistry. Seven years ago, when Rennie Gold, director of the Brockton, Massachusetts, school, decided to scale back from the competition scene and showcase his students through a series of benefit concerts, his goal was to create artists through dance.

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EditorSpeak

You hear it all the time, from studio owners and competition directors: competing isn’t about winning; it’s about the experience. About learning, teamwork, developing stage presence, testing your limits, finding out whether you’re a minnow or a giant koi in the big pond of the competition arena. All good stuff.

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Competition Made Simple

If the thought of the upcoming competition season makes your stress level skyrocket, I have one word for you: prepare. Know what you want and how to achieve it. With careful planning, good communication, realistic goal setting, a professional attitude, and a firm grip on your standards, you can make your school a winner at every competition. And no, I’m not talking about trophies, awards, and medals.

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Danspirations: The Process is the Prize with Bruce Marks

Bruce Marks is one of the world’s most respected ballet masters. DanceLifeTV.com caught up with him at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, where he served as the jury chairman. Hear his inspiring words on what dance means to him, the evolution of dance technique, and his thought-provoking comments on the competition experience in the ballet world. You’ll be inspired by a true master of the ballet world—guaranteed.

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Rhee’s Blog | Judging the Judges | Opinion

The moment you sit at a judges table, it is your responsibility to have absolutely no prejudices about a school, teacher or a certain style of dance. A judge is there to adjudicate what is being presented on that stage, at that moment in time, with a focus on the technical skill of the dancers, their choreography, performance skills and all the other things that come into play when you put those numbers on paper. That’s it.

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Rhee’s Blog | An opinion-dance competition

Some dance people on Facebook post that they are going to kick butt at a competition. I wonder if they are missing the point? Are they passing the “kick butt” mentality on to their students and parents who will be disappointed if they don’t end up kicking butt? Instead should we express how excited we are to see other …dancers do their thing? We need to understand that dance is a gift, not a tool to beat others?

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On My Mind | September 2008

Several weeks ago I hosted a national dance competition for some old friends. It had been five years since my last national competition experience, so I didn’t know what to expect. But as I sat in the host chair, I was pleasantly surprised. The caliber of talent and creativity was better than I expected, and I love to see young dancers with an obvious passion for our art. They were abundant at this event.

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Ballet Scene | Leaping Into the Future

On a warm Friday evening in April, the packed audience at the 860-seat Skirball Center for the Performing Arts breathes as one. Together the viewers gasp as a petite dancer loses her balance at the end of an impressive variation; they burst into applause as the next dancer executes 16 perfectly placed fouettés; and they fall into respectful silence as yet another competitor’s number is announced. The crowd is a mixture of nervous fellow competitors, eager young dance students, attentive coaches, and proud parents, all gathered in lower Manhattan for the final rounds of the Youth America Grand Prix.

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Words to Learn By

Most dance teachers would think twice before saying that the reason they send their students to competitions is to win, win, win! There’s no denying that coming home with an award in hand is a heady feeling, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the real reason for competing, most would agree, is that it offers students—and teachers as well— one heck of a learning experience. Although the in-the-moment glow of being onstage has its own lessons, much of what can be learned at a competition comes in the form of words: valuable words of advice and constructive criticism offered by the event’s judges.

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Common Ground: for teachers and students | Competition Kids Tell It Like It Is

With the competition field growing every year, there must be some persuasive reasons why young dancers keep showing up at these events weekend after weekend. Who better to tell us why they compete than the students themselves? Dance Studio Life talked to six students who told us why they put their hearts and souls into the competition team, what they are learning, and the joys and sorrows of competing.

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Dancing for Dollars

Owners of dance studios that participate in competitions know that to do well requires hard work, good choreography, and dedicated and talented dancers. So when you hear “And the first-place winner is . . .” and your studio’s name is called, you have reason to be excited and proud of your accomplishments. It’s likely that a lot of people participated in making that number first rate: the teachers who gave the students good technique, the studio owner who provided them with the opportunity to compete, the choreographer who shared his or her creativity with them—and of course the students themselves, who carried out the assignment effectively.

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