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I had to let some time go before I responded to “Happy Ending” by Amy Moy in your October issue [“Thinking Out Loud”]. The studio I work at is all about family as well. We support each other through the tough times, which hit home for me when I’d been on the wild ride of my mother’s illness. After the year-end show, I let my dancing ladies know that I probably wouldn’t have my mom much longer. The next day my mom went into the hospital for the last time; a week later I saw my dancing ladies at the funeral, and a month later they were at my home for our annual picnic.

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Commenting on “Micromanaging Moms” [by Karen White, EditorSpeak] in the August [2013] issue: One of the first topics I cover in DANC 216: Creative Dance for Children is choosing age-appropriate themes, music, and costumes. I show my class a half-dozen YouTube videos of little girls wiggling self-consciously onstage to “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” in studio recitals. (I stop at six because it gets ridiculous at that point, though there are a bazillion recital dances to this same tired old song out there.) We have a discussion of why teaching young girls to be ashamed of their bodies might not be a positive way to build confidence and a positive body image.

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I picked up another great teaching tool from the January magazine [“Thinking Out Loud: Feedback Frenzy,” by Holly Derville-Teer]. Guiding students to watch each other and give a correction and a compliment . . . I could see their thought process working, not only developing physical skills but empathy and respect for each other too. It was with students ages 13 to 16.

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I am currently the proud owner of a subscription to Dance Studio Life and about 25 copies of the issue with this article [“Through the Lens of Gaga,” November 2012]. To say I was floored, honored, flattered, and humbled would be a huge understatement. What a lovely article, what beautiful writing, glorious sentiment, and honest reporting. I was blown away by the depth of the piece and its completeness. Ohad [Naharin] would be very proud indeed.

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Your September issue was a beautiful tribute to the dance world. I was very grateful to read about Dance Excellence and Annie McQuitty [“An Excellent Option”]. My studio has had the honor of representing Texas at Dance Excellence on more than one occasion. It was a fantastic experience for my studio and me. I commend [McQuitty] for producing this wonderful experience for young dancers.

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So inspired to see so much work go into such a worthy cause [“A Shoe Show With Heart,” October 2011]! The ripple effect is always there; we just need more people to throw the first stone. Congratulations on a wonderful show and community service.

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Thank you for the beautiful article on Young Dancemakers Company [“Show on the Road,” November 2011], so articulately written by Elizabeth Zimmer. It was featured expertly in an especially readable layout, the photos perfectly chosen and placed.

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Thank you for inviting our studio to be a part of the October issue. I loved the diversity of ideas regarding recitals. One thing I love about your magazine is that it reminds me that I am not alone in this wonderful business of teaching dance.

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Words from our readers You put together more practical content than all of the dance magazines combined. Thank you for your passion and spirit. Victoria Hunt Highland Dance Academy Sammamish, WA Thank you so much for the features on my products in your August edition. I had a very good month . . .

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Just wanted to let you know I was inspired by the article on the Estelle Dennis Peabody dance training program for boys [“Breaking Down Barriers,” October 2010]. I wrote to Estelle to get information on how we could start a program at the Jersey City Dance Academy. Along the way your Male Voices videos came out, which were a great inspiration. Last night we held auditions and 22 boys showed up!

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Miss Nancy [“Teacher in the Spotlight: Nancy Lacy Stewart,” May/June 2011] is amazing on so many levels. Besides being a great dancer, teacher, mentor, and performer, she is also funny, charming, and just plain awesome.

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Words from our readers Thank you to Bonner Odell for writing that beautiful article about Kathy Mata and my Adult Beginner Ballet documentary [“Beginning Ballet, Big Ambition,” October 2010]. I’m floored and honored to have such a special feature in Dance Studio Life. The article was so heartfelt and really . . .

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I had to write a response to the [August issue’s] Thinking Out Loud, “A Sofa Story.” I’m back to wooden benches. Heaven help your white sofas. I had beautiful cushions made for my benches, and the first day a parent spilled coffee, a child drew pictures with crayons, and a baby got changed on them.

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Mail | May-June 2010

I was fascinated by the excellent focus on global dance in your January issue. I enjoyed each article. From 1988 through 2004, as a professor of dance at the University of New Mexico (where I am now a distinguished professor emeritus), I experienced the richness of multicultural dance traditions and produced three world dance productions for regional and national conferences. Our modern and ballet students grew immeasurably from exposure to African, Spanish, Mexican, Native American, and other dance traditions. Thank you for encouraging your readers to broaden their interests in the wonderful diversity of dance forms and styles that might enrich their students.

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Mail | March-April 2010

I’m sure whoever wrote “Mary” that horrible note will be mortified to see it published [“On My Mind,” November 2009]. This is sad but typical. Wasting time with sour grapes is no good. Small businesses are closing their doors every day. If your doors are open and you’re paying your bills, celebrate. Nonprofits with their noses in the air are going to have a hard time when the handouts dry up. Instead of alienating neighboring studios, they need to mend burnt bridges.

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Mail | January 2010

I have just read the vocabulary list by Diane Gudat [“Dance Studio Lingo,” October 2009]—how funny. We label our crazy parents as family members—the crazier they are, the closer members they are. For example, the craziest are labeled a certain teacher’s sister or mother. The lesser of the crazy moms are called aunts and cousins. Thanks for the good laugh!

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Mail | December 09

The magazine gives me inspiration, keeps me grounded, and gives me teaching suggestions. I enjoy the techniques section where teaching skills (how to improve turns, body alignment, and the like) are explained. I also like the articles that feature suggestions on how to create music collections and use technology for performances. I am too much of a people pleaser sometimes, so the magazine helps me deal with “letting some students go” or not trying to be all things, how to enforce dress codes without being crazy, and things like that. Thanks.

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Mail | November 09

We want you to know how thrilled we were after reading the wonderfully written article, “When Frank and Victor Met May” [August 2009]. Everyone who read it loves it, including the entire board of May [O’Donnell’s] foundation in New York City! You did a super job of describing the essence of Shawl-Anderson and its inspirational source—May!

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Mail | October 09

Roslyne and I just received the August 2009 issue of Dance Studio Life. Roslyne is a good friend of Mignon Furman; in fact, she was her sponsor to the board of the International Committee for the Dance Library of Israel, located in Tel Aviv. Roslyne was remembering that she first met you when you were 20. We both agree that your magazine looks great and its success is very evident to the experienced eye. In fact, I am glad not be competing against you. All good wishes for your continued
success.

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Mail | September 09

The letter from Frances has moved me to comment [“Ask Rhee Gold,” May/June 2009]. I see both sides of the equation. I work at a dance studio that has a main studio as well as rented space in a church, with portable bars and a curtain dividing the classrooms. While the main studio has more of the “bells and whistles,” the students there may need to adjust when recital time comes and they have no mirrored friends to follow. But at the church space, the students copy the teacher, so face the audience is less of an issue.

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Mail | August 09

Just completed reading the April/May issue—wonderful and inspiring is all I can say. As an ethnic/world dance instructor for almost 30 years with a ballet, jazz, and modern background, I am excited and thrilled to finally read about our dance forms with integrity and recognition. Your articles are well researched and well written and deserve kudos. I save every issue in its entirety. They are treasures of information.

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Mail | May/June 09

I read your article [“My Life as a Studio Owner’s Daughter,” DSL, January 2009] and I am so moved. I’m a studio owner with one 13-year-old child. His nursery was more the office at the studio than a crib at home, and the guilt was overwhelming, so he too started class earlier than I normally accept students. He was a handful to say the least. He claimed to have already learned all this “baby stuff” and at age 3 even made music suggestions, during class and at the top of his voice, informing everyone that he was sick to death of this horrible music that he’d listened to “all of my life.” He was right!

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Mail | March/April 09

Reading the letter from Lee [“Ask Rhee Gold,” DSL, December 2008] was like reading a letter from me! It brought up so much emotion as I am facing burnout myself. I so love the art of dance. Ballet is still beautiful. I get excited watching tap and jazz. The issue is the business of dance. I have a hard time thinking of putting myself first, as I’m sure most women do, but I will most certainly try. If not, I may end up in a loony bin!

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Mail | January 09

Your magazine is such a great contribution to the dance world. We are very fortunate to be able to read about celebrations, challenges, humor, inspiration, and lives of other dance teachers and choreographers throughout the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do!

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Mail | November 2008

I just had to say thank you, thank you, thank you for including “Fantasy Comebacks” in your September issue. It put a big smile on my face at the end of a long week during an even longer registration season! It’s good to know I’m not the only one with less than perfect patience for my studio parents.

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Mail | August 2008

As a dance teacher for over 50 years and as an educator with a degree in education, I have always been aware that there are many effective and exciting approaches to teaching. I particularly love to see the excitement in the eyes of the very youngest dancers in my preschool classes, including the Mommy & Me classes, when I introduce a new fun-filled dance or activity to teach a step or concept. So I feel distressed when I hear a teacher say that Mommy & Me classes do not work [“Not Mommy and Me,” DSL, January/February 2008]. Perhaps they should say they haven’t found an approach that works for them, or perhaps they just don’t like to teach very young children, because Mommy & Me classes can be so beneficial to a dance studio. I love teaching them. It’s an awesome privilege and responsibility to be the first teacher to introduce these young children to dance.

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Mail | May-June 2008

While reading Diane [Gudat]’s article [“What Are Parents Thinking?!” Dance Studio Life, December 2007], I was either crying from laughing so hard or cheering! Thanks for the chuckles, and yes, it does make me feel better to know that others are suffering from being subjected to the same parental madness! My office staff wants to change the schedule to read: “Advanced Ballet 1, Advanced Ballet 2, Advanced Ballet 3,” etc. That way [the students] can all be advanced!

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Mail | March-April 2008

Your magazine has surpassed all magazines. It is wonderful, a collector’s item. I tear out articles in other magazines, but yours stays intact and I save the whole thing for future reference. I would also like to thank you for the articles on older teachers and selling, etc. [Studio Owners in Transition, Dance Studio Life, October 2007]. They have become invaluable in my decision to downsize. Thank you so much for the inspiration. After 30-odd years of running a studio I am focusing again on what I really want to do, and that is teach dance.

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Mail | January 2008

Great article by Nancy Wozny [“Two Worlds, One Dance Planet,” Dance Studio Life, October 2007]. I don’t think I would have my job if we did not have forward thinkers like [Houston Ballet artistic director] Stanton Welch. I came from a studio background and now run one of the largest schools in the U.S. The lines are definitely blurred as we evolve and mesh the best of both worlds, commercial and not-for-profit, as well as university life. As a leader in the field and one who has seen thousands of dancers as I recruit, I am amazed at how versatile students are now, and that is due to teachers in both studio schools and professional schools acknowledging the value of one another.

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Mail | December 2007

I want to thank you particularly for the article [“Middle School Girls Gone Wild,” July 2007] about the indecency in some dance performances. I was glad to see that someone else shares my disgust at the current trends in dance. It seems to be what audiences crave; the scantily clad students, some as young as 5 and 6, are rewarded for their efforts with thunderous applause! This season we lost our entire senior class of students to a studio that promotes that style of dance. I’ve been a studio owner for 11 years and have always been conscious of the fact that our young students are naïve and innocent. We strive to allow them to remain children as long as possible. My mantra has always been that I know they are going to be exposed to lewd and inappropriate lyrics, as well as choreography, in music, on TV, the Internet, and even at school. However, it doesn’t have to be within my walls.

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