December 2012 | 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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November 2012 | Mail

It feels good to read about other young women who have chosen this path [“What They Do for Love,” July 2012]. I took over my mother’s business at age 23 and I have had so many moments of doubt about myself and my abilities to succeed at such a young age. When you surround yourself with people who believe in you, and when you trust that you have been living this life since you were born (for all us studio babies), it becomes clear that there is no better person than you to carry the torch.

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November 2012 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Artistic Vision

Transitions, staging, and visuals will enhance your choreography in a big way. Don’t be afraid to get beginner dancers transitioning and moving in their routines instead of standing in one spot for an entire song.

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November 2012 | 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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November 2012 | 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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November 2012 | 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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November 2012 | 2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Strong and Liquid

Challenge the core. To build students’ core strength in each class, have them do the yoga “plank” with weight on the forearms. Tell them to hollow the abdomen (exhaling to bring the navel closer to the spine) and maintain this form for at least 30 seconds. As they become stronger, encourage them to place one hand at a time behind the back and then to lengthen one leg at a time until the foot leaves the floor. Incorporating these into longer movement phrases with music allows students to experience them as dancing rather than exercises.

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October 2012 | Higher-Ed Voice | “I Can Do That!”

Auditions can be harrowing, whether dancers are trying to get into professional companies, pre-professional training programs, shows, or colleges. But my years of experience teaching in the University at Buffalo Theater and Dance Department—and conducting auditions for prospective students—have shown me that teachers can help prepare students to put their best selves forward when auditioning.

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October 2012 | Recital Rescues

When something goes wrong with your recital venue, it doesn’t just seem like a problem; it seems like a nightmare. In addition to the usual recital stress, you may find yourself with no access to the wings, no lights, or locked dressing rooms. Sometimes, because of scheduling snafus or disasters like floods, fires, or auto accidents, your venue suddenly isn’t available at all. Still, the show must go on.

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October 2012 | Shelter from the Burnout Storm

We’ve all experienced it: feeling exhausted and overwhelmed to the point where we can hardly bring ourselves to care anymore. Burnout.

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October 2012 | Shared Seclusion

By Karen White

The five wild turkeys were in no rush, scratching their way methodically across the DanceLife Retreat Center lawn, looking up and loping into the woods when a car crunched across the gravel drive.

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October 2012 | Ask Rhee Gold

Dear Rhee,

I teach for an amazing woman who built a big school with the help of her mother, who worked in the office until she died over a year ago, at a young age. It was stunning to all of us involved in the school because she really was the one who prepared and had everything organized for everything that happens outside of the classes. She died in the spring, so all the teachers and friends jumped in to help get through the rest of the year. It worked out fine and everyone bonded, feeling like they were part of the team. It was very rewarding. When the next season started my boss had hired a new studio manager to replace her mother.

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October 2012 | Mindful Marketing | Getting Connected With LinkedIn

For many people, the word “marketing” drums up colorful images of advertising: print and television ads, brochures and flyers, websites and blogs. But that’s not all marketing can be. For dance teachers—and studio owners in particular—marketing must go above and beyond common, passive forms of advertising to showcase the value of our skills and services and build and sustain positive relationships.

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October 2012 | 2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Developing Trust

Tip 1
Please trust your students. If you are clear about what you expect from them and they understand and know their dances, there is no need to stand in the wings and vigorously perform the dances. This distracts the dancers and makes it hard for them to concentrate, which prevents them from performing at their best.

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October 2012 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Thelma Showman

NOMINATED BY: Paula Showman Bridges, daughter: “I would like to nominate Thelma Showman. An extraordinary woman and teacher, she has touched thousands of lives. She officially retired two years ago but, at 96, still teaches her Showman Showoffs class for adult ladies and classes in tap and ballet.”

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October 2012 | A Better You | Wobble Your Way to Strength

How do dance teachers stay sound and healthy enough to demonstrate safely after they stop dancing full time? It’s tricky business. We take for granted the flexibility and strength acquired throughout our performing and early teaching days. But all too often our bodies let us know that after all those years, they need more attention.

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October 2012 | EditorSpeak

If you want to be successful, says Chade-Meng Tan, retrain your brain. It’s as simple as this: if we let our emotions rule us, we are, Meng (as he’s called) says, letting the horse drag us instead of being in command. Meng, an engineer and the author of Search Inside Yourself, is now Google’s official “Jolly Good Fellow,” and the book is an evolution of a course he taught there. (Look for him on YouTube, giving talks at Google and TED on this topic.)

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October 2012 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Watch and Learn

Homework! Understand the history and the styles. Studying old films is a great way to pick up moves and understand where they came from. Wild Style, a movie about hip-hop pioneers, is a must. Beat Street motivated me to breakdance and battle. Breakin’ is more of a commercial film but has some great popping—Turbo and Ozone rocked it out! The Freshest Kids, one of my favorites on hip-hop history, is an essential hip-hop tool.

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October 2012 | 2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Energy Paths

Yield and Push. By studying developmental movement patterns, which take place in utero and during the early months of life, we have discovered the necessity of yielding to and bonding with gravity and then pushing through every point of contact to the earth. Yielding establishes an active give-and-take relationship with gravity and a readiness to move. Pushing sends energy from the earth along open pathways of flow through the joint centers to the body’s core.

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October 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Amping It Up

Tip 1 When dancers reach the advanced level, it is always helpful to introduce a “show and tell” exercise that gets them used to adding 8 counts of their own steps to small pieces of choreography. For example, one student might do flap flap cram proll, shuffle step heel stomp, shuffle step heel stomp; another might add riff back flap heel tap heel stamp, stomp back flap, stomp back flap stomp. Keep this going in a group with four or five kids and they will have made a dance in no time.

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September 2012 | EditorSpeak

The results are preliminary, but they’re a no-brainer to anyone involved in arts education. A study has found that “children that partake in music activity in a group setting are more prone to developing one of humankind’s noblest traits: empathy.”

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September 2012 | Ask Rhee Gold

I don’t want my students or their parents to believe that I am not offering them the best training I can, but I know they are getting from my school what they need. And I know this girl should move on. Are my teachers right?

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September 2012 | On My Mind

As I’m writing this, I’m heading into my fifth week of seminars at the DanceLife Retreat Center. And what I’ve discovered is that not only can dreams come true, but they can exceed our expectations.

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September 2012 | A Better You | Fighting Fatigue

It’s no secret that dance teachers often have long, grueling hours. Handling your own fatigue when you’re faced with a barrage of personalities, minor emergencies, and classroom challenges isn’t easy.

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September 2012 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Intro to Advanced

To introduce students to the advanced level, give combinations that involve intricate footwork and coordination skills. I often use a combo that is tricky yet fun for the kids to figure out.

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September 2012 | 2 Tips for Modern Teachers | From the Ground Up

Muscular strength is not the same thing as stability; flexibility is not the same as mobility. Clarity of form without resilience leads to rigidity; flexibility without grounding creates formlessness . . .

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September 2012 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Grooving

Tell your students not to wait for the 5-6-7-8 to move. I always encourage my students to freestyle or groove to the music before a combination begins.

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September 2012 | 2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Vocabulary Lessons

Ballet vocabulary is often neglected. It helps to have young dancers understand the meaning of the French words because it gives them an image of what the step should be; for example, glissade (to glide), jeté (to throw), and assemblé (to assemble or bring together).

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September 2012 | Classroom Connection

Observing students with a critical eye and responding with thoughtful feedback is something dance educators do in every class. You can let your students practice these skills as well by using So You Think You Can Dance as a format for a role-playing exercise for 10- to 13-year-olds.

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September 2012 | Mindful Marketing | Create Interest With Pinterest

Businesses create boards that educate and inspire, attracting new customers and keeping current ones talking.

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September 2012 | Table of Contents

COLUMNS Ask Rhee Gold Advice for Dance Teachers 2 Tips for Ballet Teachers by Mignon Furman 2Tips for Hip Hop Teachers by Geo Hubela 2Tips for Modern Teachers by Bill Evans 2 Tips for Tap Teachers by Stacy Eastman A Better You | Fighting Fatigue by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT . . .

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August 2012 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Chris Grau

My mom has owned and operated her studio for 40 years. She has shared her passion for the art of dance with thousands of students and has always gone the extra mile for everyone.

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July 2012 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Jennifer Sue Peterson

While working a full-time job she managed to teach 12 classes a week as well as run the studio. Twelve classes soon became 15, and then 19, and so on.

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May-June 2012 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Katie Petronio

I am consistently amazed at the enthusiasm and determination Katie brings to every goal she envisions for the dance program. Her approach is student-centered, but with a keen understanding of the importance of the entire school community with regard to advancement of the arts.

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Thinking Out Loud | I Remember Tony

Who was Tony Stevens? Many things, not the least of which were a Broadway and film director/choreographer. But this man, who passed away on July 12, 2011, at age 63 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was much more than that to me, and to many others.

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Teacher in the Spotlight | Donna Abnathy

Ms. Donna is a great teacher because she inspires my daughter to dance even when she’s no longer in her class. Ms. Donna makes children see her as a friend as well as someone whom they must listen to if they want to perform the moves correctly.

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March-April 2012 | Rescued by Dance

GeBauer discovered dance as a young teen when his doctor suggested it as a way to help him recover from rheumatic fever. GeBauer, however, saw it as a path to confidence.

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Rhee Gold Inspiration: A Real Dancer

Yet when I see dancers with disabilities or a group of senior-citizens tappers- and of course that 3-year-old pretending to be a ballerina- I am reminded that anyone who touches the heart of an observer is a real dancer.

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Rhee Gold Inspiration: Curve in the Road

  Ok, so there is a curve in the road. Don’t panic. DANCE down that road to DISCOVER that it could be the best curve of your LIFE Rhee Gold

Rhee Gold Daily Inspiration: More Than Teaching Dance…

She’s disheveled, hides in the back of the classroom because she feels different from the other kids.
Her leotard is always dirty, her bun is a mess, and she never smiles.

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2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Homework for Teachers

Know the craft. Like ballet, tap, and jazz, hip-hop has a foundation. Popping, locking, tutting, waving, isolations, and break dance are all elements and styles within hip-hop.

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Teacher in the Spotlight | Cricket Mannheimer

Cricket is dedicated to the arts and does whatever is needed for the students, whether it is finding scholarships, housing them, helping them find jobs, fund-raising, making their costumes, or helping them with their performance.

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Ins and Outs of Hiring and Firing

Teachers are the lifeblood of any dance studio, no matter what the size or styles taught. The quality of their instruction, combined with their people skills, can make or break a studio.

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Welcoming Visual Learners

“Great! Welcome!” It’s the first thing you should say if a deaf or hearing-impaired child wants to take dance classes.

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Give a Dance Teacher Some Music . . .

If you give a dance teacher some music, she’ll want to count it. In fact, even if she doesn’t want to count it, she will anyway, because that’s what dance teachers do.

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