On My Mind

I recently ran into a dancer for whom I had choreographed solos when she was a teenager. I had followed her successful performing career in New York and Los Angeles, and by anyone’s standards she would be considered a hardworking professional. Now in her mid-30s, she told me she’s ready to shift into the next phase of her career, which is to open a dance school. Her plan of action is to open a studio in a town that doesn’t already have any dance schools. She has saved an impressive chunk of money that will get her new small business off the ground.

Continue reading

Bright Biz Ideas | Ticket to Sales Success

For many studio owners, the most hectic day of the year isn’t the day of the recital or the first day of classes—it’s the first day that families can purchase tickets to the end-of-the-year show. Owners arrive at the studio in the morning to find a line of parents wrapped around the building, tapping their feet as they wait to buy their tickets. The entire day is given over to ticket sales, crowd control, and the hope that clients will be satisfied.

Continue reading

The Lessons of Kwanzaa

At dance schools across the United States, the winter holidays offer varied performance opportunities, with Christmas, Chanukah, and winter themes abounding. But for some schools and students, another holiday takes center stage: Kwanzaa, a winter holiday that focuses on African American culture and values.

Continue reading

Under New Management

As a dance teacher, you feel that you’ve paid your dues—teaching classes day in and day out, coming up with recital and competition routines, and following the protocol of the studio you work for. You’re ready to be your own boss, and you think you understand the business enough to be a successful studio owner. But is it smart or realistic to start a studio from scratch? Or should you consider buying an existing business?

Continue reading

Schools With Staying Power | Bernice’s Starrstep Dance Studio

Eleven-year-old Bernice Miller stood on a chair to teach her first ballet class to neighborhood kids with as much authority as she could muster. It was the fall of 1929, and her “studio” was her parents’ two-level garage in Pensacola, Florida. Eighty years later, Bernice’s daughter, Starr Burlingame, carries on her legacy as director of Bernice’s Starrstep Dance Studio. Starr chalks up the longevity of the school to her mother’s zeal for her work and treatment of her students with respect and acceptance.

Continue reading

Rhee’s Blog | Recital Thoughts

“Your fall registration will only be as good as your last recital!” These words were often repeated by my mother, who believed that the quality of a recital had much to do with a school’s success. I think of those words every time the topic of recitals comes up at my seminars.

Continue reading

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!”

Continue reading

Rhee’s Blog | Advice: Husband Shares Dream

I am one of the lucky dance teachers with a husband who supports what I do. He has dinner waiting on the table when I come home and he takes on as much responsibility with our three children as I do . . . Together we have been saving for three years to come up with a down payment for a piece of land that we know is a fantastic location for the dance school of our dreams.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

Dancers’ Menu: Pork and Onions

Dancers from the Fort Lauderdale-based troupe will be on hand at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Aventura, Florida, at noon February 27 to act out the story of Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig as a storyteller reads the children’s book aloud. The book by David Ira Rottenburg, who will be on hand to answer questions and sign books, tells the story of a pig who longs to dance but lacks a ballerina’s grace.

Continue reading

Alternative Marketing

Marketing—it’s a dreaded part of running a business for many dance school owners. It takes time and money and can drain even the most enthusiastic entrepreneur of creativity. But it doesn’t have to be that way. How can you build enthusiasm for your classes and your product without feeling that pressure? One great way to get the word out is by having new faces continually flowing through your school. Sometimes the joy the students show in their dancing is a better marketing tool than a brochure or website—the trick is to get people into your school to experience their enthusiasm, and that means tapping into the community. So if you’re looking for ways to bring in new faces but don’t have a huge marketing budget, these innovative, alternative marketing methods are for you.

Continue reading

Rhee Gold on Recreational Dancers

Why are you such an advocate for the recreational dancer?
First off, I believe that dance is an art form and that every person, whether child or adult, can experience that unique feeling that dancing gives us, whether they can do 10 pirouettes or only 1. To me it’s that inner-gut thing we should be passing on, regardless of the skill level of the student. If we as teachers lose sight of the value of the recreational dancer and focus only on our best or most promising students, then I wonder if we’ve also lost sight of why we became dance educators in the first place.

Continue reading

The Gold School on DLTV

Our family school started by my mom, Sherry Gold in the basement of our family home in 1964. Today it is located in a 10,000 square foot facility, directed by my twin brother Rennie. It is a place where the passion for the art is #1. Enjoy–Rhee

Singling Out Soloists

If you’re a dancer who hits the competition circuit, you’ve noticed a trend: each year there are more and more solos at dance competitions. These soloists are dancers who have the guts to get onstage by themselves, are confident about their abilities, and aren’t afraid to accept the judges’ criticism. Most important, they are the dancers who are technically and emotionally ready for the experience. Or are they?

Continue reading

There’s Only One You

No two people are alike, so it follows that no two businesses are alike either. There might be a dozen dance studios in the country with identical names, all of which offer jazz, tap, and lyrical, but if you look beyond the surface, each is distinct. What makes them so? You, the school owners, that’s who. You are unique and your one-of-a-kind personality infuses your business. If there’s one idea I came away with after spending four days with roughly 500 dance teachers at the DanceLife Teacher Conference last summer, it’s that each dance studio is different.

Continue reading

Ask Rhee Gold | October 2008

Dear Rhee,
I am writing to you because I would like to open a dance school, but I want to do it the right way. I have read your book, The Complete Guide to Teaching Dance, and it is such an inspiration to me. It makes me very excited to teach! I want to open a school because I truly feel it is my calling, but I want my fellow dance colleagues to understand that I like to work with people and that I can be their friend too.

Continue reading

Hip to the Movement

Ever wonder why the kids of America are rushing to the nearest dance school to sign up for classes? The answer is hip-hop, and it’s a genre that poses a particular set of challenges for school owners and teachers. It can make older teachers feel out of touch and uncomfortable. Sometimes the students are undisciplined. Sometimes the lyrics are dirty—profanities aside, the words can be a minefield of innuendo. Much of the content is sexual, and some of it is demeaning to women. The lyrics can be hard to decipher, and it doesn’t help that the slang and the catchphrases change at a dizzying rate. It can make you doubt yourself: Am I being prudish here?

Continue reading

On My Mind | August 2008

Ahhh! A new season is in the works—and so are all those ridiculous phone and email inquiries from the parents of “exceptional” children. Here’s one of my favorites: “My 3-year-old does all the dances with the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance—it’s like she has already been dancing for 10 years! Do you have an advanced class for 3-year-olds?” And here’s another one I’ll never forget: “We just put a jungle gym in the backyard, where my daughter, who is 6, has been swinging and flipping herself all day, every day for the last couple of weeks. I know that she has the potential to be an Olympic gymnast. Can she take class with the 12-year-olds because she already has all the basics she needs?”

Continue reading

Front-Runners and Guardian Angels

You’ve invested the morning planning lessons and creating choreography. You’ve spent the afternoon searching for the perfect sequins to accent a set of costumes. Now you’re headed into class, ready to give your students your all—but the phone is ringing and a parent wants to schedule a makeup class. While you’re grabbing the phone, pulling out your planner, and glancing anxiously toward your waiting class, another parent brings in an overdue payment and a student dashes in saying that her baby sister put her doll down the toilet. You drop everything and head to the bathroom, where water is flowing across the restroom floor.

Continue reading

High Tech Meets Home on the Range

There’s not much, from the looks of things, to tell you that a 20-acre horse ranch near Sacramento in Northern California may be spawning a big step forward in dance stage production. Baseline Road in Placer County is flat, pre-tornado Wizard of Oz territory: golden-brown fields, barbed-wire fences, hand-painted signs touting “Fresh Strawbaries [sic] 4 Sale,” and the blue outline of the Sierra Nevada far off to the east.

Continue reading