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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Bright Biz Ideas | The Future Is Now

There are countless intangible benefits to being a dance teacher, including being a mentor, having a positive influence on students, creating, expressing yourself through movement, and introducing children to the joy of dance. But there are practical issues to contend with when choosing this path—a traditionally low-paying one that offers few full-time, benefited opportunities—as a career.

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Higher-Ed Voice | Jazzed by Jump Rhythm

In a dance studio at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (UWSP), enthusiastic voices call and respond in a rhythmic scat-singing pattern. Sounds like these are more often heard in a music class, but these voices emanate from a Jump Rhythm® Technique (JRT) class taught by associate professor Jeannie Hill. She is one of a handful of college-level teachers in the country instructing young movers in this unique method.

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Photo Fun

A typical dance school year provides a feast of opportunities for images that you can use to convey the personality and professionalism of your school. And who’s better positioned to record them than yourself? Because you’re a familiar face, your young subjects may be less self-conscious than if they were being photographed by an outsider. Also, you’re there every day, which improves your chances of recording the kind of wonderful, unscripted events that arise around the studio or the beauty captured in a formal photo shot.

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Mindful Marketing | A Birdie on Your Shoulder

As it so happens, there is a little bird that can help keep your customers informed and do much more—Twitter. As you probably know, it’s a micro-blogging social network whose logo is a bird, and the messages exchanged are called “tweets.” But have you thought about it as a marketing tool for your dance studio? Twitter can reach your customer base and beyond, giving your school a connection to prospective customers, your customers’ family members and friends, and other dance organizations.

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Teacher in the Spotlight | Rachel Good

My children have learned to embrace dance and how to put it to use in their everyday life. The studio is their second home. I am happy knowing that is where they want to be in their free time; that is all because of her. She is dramatic—aren’t all dance teachers?—but at the same time she recognizes when a child needs to be given a hug because maybe her day did not go so well. She knows each and every child and all of their quirks.”

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On My Mind

This month we zero in on creativity, which immediately brings to mind the artistic aspects of dance education. But creativity is a state of mind that can flow into all areas of life, including our attitudes toward our businesses. Being creative means being open to possibilities and exploring options. So let’s look at how that mind-set can play out in these imaginary scenarios involving two studio owners.

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SBA Offers Low-Interest Loans to Hurricane Sandy-Damaged Dance Studios

Hurricane Sandy swamped Christine Mignone’s Midland Beach dance studio on Staten Island, New York, warping floors, waterlogging equipment, and rendering it a total loss. Mignone is among countless Staten Islanders trying to pick up the pieces of their battered businesses in the wake of the devastating storm. To aid in the recovery, the U.S. Small Business Administration is making low-interest disaster loans of up to $2 million available to borough businesses.

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Well-Rounded Rec Dancers

Recreational dancers make up a huge part of many dance studios’ enrollments, and they often bring in the top dollar per class in tuition. Most teachers see these dancers only once a week, for an hour or less at a time. Since we’re trying to give them as much instruction as possible over the course of a school year, that’s a very limited amount of time.

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Hedy Perna Returns to Share her Business Savvy at the 2011 DanceLife Teacher Conference

Longtime studio owner Hedy Perna returns this year to the DanceLife Teacher Conference faculty lineup. Dance teachers and school owners from across the United States can expect to hear her practical and to-the-point advice on studio business issues at the conference, held at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona from July 30 through August 2.

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Intimate Intensive

The studio owners and teachers filling The Gold School studio had a million questions—about marketing techniques, dealing with problem personalities, balancing work and family, providing quality education, and making money.

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Ask Rhee Gold

Dear Rhee,
Why can’t people see what dance brings to children and the community? We are going into our seventh year, and when most studios are growing we are not. Enrollment is low and parents think we are like Burger King and that they can have it their way. Parents don’t like rules here and the whole town revolves around church and sports.

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Hold the Glitter

I have read wonderfully insightful articles about the struggles of children whose dance teacher is their parent, such as “My Life as a Studio Owner’s Daughter,” in the January 2009 issue of this magazine. All children who live in the shadow of a parent with a dance studio experience both struggles and advantages. But what of their non-dancing siblings? What kind of pressures and problems do they face when they don’t share that world?

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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?

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New Insurance Program for Dance Studios

Scott Danahy Naylon Co., Inc. has a new tailored program for insurance for dance studio owners that includes abuse and molestation. In addition to liability insurance, recitals are covered for no additional charge as well as accident insurance. The premium could be as low as $450. (Terms and conditions may vary by state.)

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Teacher to Teacher | Heat

Previews for Precious are rolling, as are tears down my cheeks. A mother in a scene from the film throws a frying pan at a child and later snarls, “You’re a dummy. Don’t nobody want you, don’t nobody need you.” Some people are embarrassed to find themselves crying at the slightest provocation (even Hallmark commercials can make me reach for the Kleenex), but I’m not. I like to think of my quick-on-the-draw emotional response as part of my professional equipment as a teacher. It leaves me open to moments that can touch my core and lead me on a spirit-filled journey of reflection and gratitude for a life in dance.

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