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Words from our readers

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.

Like Amy Moy, I know how wonderful it is to be surrounded by your dance family. They add to the joy of the good times and lend support for the tough ones.

April Mosher
Instructor, The Mary Ann Studio of Dance
Springfield, MA

 

 

Thank you for the great article on Dance Canvas and our partnerships with KSU and Atlanta Ballet [“Dancing on Common Ground,” by Ann Murphy, November 2013]. I thank you for taking an interest in what we do!

Angela Harris
Executive Artistic Director, Dance Canvas, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

 

 

I read with much interest this month’s “On My Mind” [December 2013]. We are a rare breed, those of us who gave our hearts to dance early and who continue to dance today. I would never change my life or the international friends I have made, or the wonderful and exciting places I have danced, from Bermuda to the Bahamas to Nova Scotia to Argentina, for any diploma on the wall. I have no regrets, only wonderful memories.

You are a great success. You give great advice to dance teachers, and we enjoy your knowledge and magazine.

Johnna Forrester
Owner/director, Carolina Dance Academy, Inc.
Durham, NC

 

 

 

 

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14 MailWords from our readers

The [September] convention/competition issue had so many great tips and ideas, and I “borrowed” my favorite one. I had buttons made that said “Awesome Dancer” and told my dancers to give them to a dancer who inspired them at the convention. It was touching to hear the reasons they gave the buttons away.

A parent told one of our moms how excited her dancer was to have received a button, and that amidst all the craziness at competition this was a pleasant surprise and positive experience. Thanks for sharing the great ideas and tips in your magazine, and keep the positive ideas coming!

Melanie Pede
Robin’s Dance Studio
Missouri City, TX

 

 

The article “Dancers With Voice” [by Maureen Janson, November 2013] truly captures the dance program here and the uniqueness of the curriculum. Thank you so much for your exceptional, creative writing. I feel the students who read it will understand our program better.

Teressa Wylie McWilliams
Coordinator and Professor, Dance Program
Wright State University
Dayton, OH

 

 

I love books, so I pay extra attention to “Page Turners.” A few months ago you mentioned a book, Brain Compatible Dance Education. It is fantastic! This book has excellent ways of working on coordination, spatial awareness, and patterning. I have tried some of the lesson plans with great success. My next book to order is Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity in your November issue.

Kathryn Barnett
Kathryn Barnett School of Dance & Allegro Dance Academy
Middleton, NJ

 

 

Bravissimo on your editorial [“On My Mind,” December 2013]! You certainly have leadership qualities that you can’t learn from a book. Would you consider running for president?

Dorothy Beaton

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Mail

Words from our readers

I think “On My Mind” in the October issue is the most profound—and shortest and simplest and to the point—ever! I hope every dance teacher in America will sit back and ask, “Who, me?” Thank you!

Patricia Cohen
Tarrytown, NY

 

I have enjoyed your magazine for years. I absolutely loved the October “On My Mind.” I’ve been working with children for 45 years and have sometimes been horrified at the dance recital selections in our area. Thank you for all you do for the dance community.

Michelle Klimesh
Diablo Gymnastics School
San Ramon, CA

 

Congratulations on the excellent feature article “Dancing Inside” [by Arisa White, November 2013]. You captured both the central issues and the complex tensions around this work. I liked the series of dancers working in prisons you included. Your writing is also very clear and fluent. Thank you for giving this work such serious treatment. It is much appreciated.

Janice Ross
Dept. of Theatre and Performance Studies
Director of Dance Division
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

 

Very good, loved it [“Dancing Inside,” by Arisa White, November 2013]. I read it to the dancers inside. Thank you.

Susan Slotnick
Figures of Flight
New Paltz, NY

 

The September issue’s “Warm Up, Tune In, Let Loose” is a good article, but the accompanying photo was not a good choice. The dancer is maybe 7 years old with her front teeth missing, but she has on pointe shoes. A dancer of a more suitable age would have been better.

Jennifer Horvath

 

 

 

 

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Words from our readers

Thank you for the wonderful article about NBS’ Assemblée Internationale festival [“Assemblée Internationale 2013: Canada’s international festival proves there are no borders, nationally or technologically, in ballet,” by Joseph Carman] in the September issue of DSL. It looked great! Hopefully you’ll be able to join us for the next AI!

Danielle Paroyan
Senior Communications Officer
Canada’s National Ballet School
Toronto, Canada

 

Thank you for including us in your October issue [“Showtime Styles: A look at who does what for recitals across the U.S.,” by Maureen Janson]!

Andrea Wachholtz
Andrea In Motion/AIM Studio
Staten Island, NY

 

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I read the July issue with the story of the Christmas Butterfly [“Tempting Twists on Tradition”]. I enjoyed it greatly, but was wondering if there was a CD of all the songs from the story.

Kimberlin Richardson
Clinton, Iowa

Editor’s note: We’re glad you liked it! There is no CD, but the songs are available individually on iTunes.

 

I was deeply moved by the thoughtful and detailed work that went into presenting Manatee School for the Arts and my life in the dance studio [“Ballet Scene: Ballroom to Ballet,” July 2013]. Joseph [Carman] wrote every detail in a thorough and compelling manner. The students, the principal, and I were delighted with the generous spread that you so artistically created. Even my dance teacher wrote to thank me for mentioning her in the article, and I thank Joseph for letting me do that publicly. It meant so much to me.

I was honored to be a subject that was promoted by the many talents of your staff. Thank you for sharing my love and representing MSA and me in expressing our studio life story.

Cheryl Carty
Dance Co-Chair, Manatee School for the Arts
Palmetto, Florida

 

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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.

What would teachers do if they had a boy in class—and why present inherently sexist dances such as this that reinforce our culture’s view of dance as a non-masculine activity? Why on earth would any teacher choose this topic? We discuss themes, music, and costumes that are age-appropriate. Then I ask my students to promise me to never, ever choreograph a dance for anyone, much less 3- to 5-year-olds, to “ . . . Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” I hope they all follow through with this promise.

Dr. Elizabeth Gibbons
Dance Program Director
East Stroudsburg University
East Stroudsburg, PA

 

You [Rhee Gold] are a light in the dance world and I look forward to every new issue of Dance Studio Life. Thank you for your motivational magazine that gives us directors and dance teachers a connection with each other in the world of dance. We realize that we all deal with basically the same issues, whether it is students, parents, income, etc., and it brings us together. Thank you again for your inspiration!

Anita Doucette
Director, Culture Shock Performing Arts Center
Hamburg, PA

 

I read the July issue with the story of the Christmas Butterfly [“Tempting Twists on Tradition”]. I enjoyed it greatly, but was wondering if there was a CD of all the songs from the story.

Kimberlin Richardson

Editor’s note: There is no CD, but the songs are available individually on iTunes. And we’re glad you liked it!

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I just received the issue of Dance Studio Life that includes the “Teacher in the Spotlight” feature with Dede Miles Burger [August 2013]. The feature is just wonderful and I was proud to nominate Dede! Thank you so much for honoring her; she truly is a mentor and inspiration to our kids—especially mine!

CeCe Wilck
Dragonfly Partners
Winter Park, FL

 

Congratulations on the ninth anniversary of Dance Studio Life. You and your staff are to be highly commended! The magazine is in my studio for all to see.

Bonnie Cokinos
Beaumont Ballet Theatre
Beaumont, TX

 

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It’s an honor to be in Dance Studio Life magazine [“A Different Lens,” by Rita Felciano, May/June 2013]! 
Thank you for sharing my story!

Antoine Hunter, faculty
Shawl-Anderson Dance Center
Berkeley, California
via Facebook

 

As an avid reader and admirer of Dance Studio Life, I firmly believe that Rhee Gold and all the contributors to the magazine have made many significant positive changes in the realm of studio ownership. Upon reading any issue I am not just informed about my business but also encouraged in regard to whatever challenge I might face.

MaryBeth Kemp
The Arts Academy Charter School
Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania

 

I would like to say thanks so much for all you do and for your commitment to the teachers of dance! In offering business ideas, motivation, and inspiration to us busy teachers, you have filled a void for so many of us who need inspiration to keep going!

Rebecca Bryan, RADTC
Sarasota Dance Academy
Sarasota, Florida

 

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I wanted to thank you for including me in the article on seniors [“Aging Boomers, Dance Boom,” May/June 2013]. I was so pleased to be interviewed with such an amazing group of instructors who have a passion for the same demographic. Thank you so much!

Mia Alicea
West Coast Movement Project
Laguna Hills, CA

 

I am a teacher at Backstage Performing Arts. I want to personally thank you for running the story about Ella [“Thinking Out Loud: Miracle Girl,” May/June 2013]. She truly amazes me each week. Thank you for sharing her story with everyone!

Jordan Dickey Allen
via Facebook

 

I have been a subscriber ever since I started dancing many years ago. I have looked to your magazine for advice and inspiration on hundreds of occasions. Rhee’s letters [“On My Mind”] are usually right on target with whatever is going on with my studio that month. I want to thank you for helping me through some difficult times!

Lyndzi Barnes
Danceworks of Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, CO

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Thank you so much for this extraordinary spread in the magazine [“Capturing the Truth,” March/April 2013]! It’s rare, I’ve found, that my work and my words are presented with such care and beauty. I am really moved by your sensitive and thoughtful presentation. I hope your readers enjoy it.

Rose Eichenbaum
Los Angeles, CA

 

A note of thanks for the beautiful work done on the Teacher in the Spotlight [March/April 2013]. I am so pleased and humbled to be featured. It’s nice to receive recognition on a broader scale, for me and all the other dance teachers out there.

Lisa Swenton-Eppard
Founder and Artistic Director, Capitol Tap
Washington, DC

 

What a wonderful article Jennifer Kaplan wrote in the recent issue of Dance Studio Life [“You Say ‘Modern’ . . . ,” March/April 2013]. And thanks for using our photo. It looks terrific!

Amy Marshall
Artistic Director, Amy Marshall Dance Company
New York, NY

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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.

June Lawrence
DanceLife Retreat Center attendee
via Facebook

 

The article about Next Steps [“Dance Steps, Next Steps,” February 2013] is great—thanks so much. It’s really great to have the attention and know that we are helping.

Kimi Okada
ODC School Director
ODC Associate Choreographer
San Francisco, CA

 

[My book] Summer Dance looks perfect in the layout [Page Turners, February 2013]! I appreciate your enthusiasm and support very much. I hope the story will bring joy to young dancers.

Lynn Swanson
Silver Spring, MD

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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.

I am so in love with this technique, the genesis of it, and the way it can transform dancers, and I feel so privileged to have been included in something like this.

George Staib
Emory University
Atlanta, GA

 

Always so excited to open Dance Studio Life magazine when it comes in the mail! Hands down the best magazine for dance studio owners!

via Facebook
Misty Lown
Misty’s Dance Unlimited
Onalaska, WI

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Thank you for broaching the “No-Touch Zone” [September 2012] subject. It is an important article, and it is so refreshing to not be quoted out of context. I loved Elizabeth McPherson’s and Elizabeth Gibbons’ suggestions for correcting without touch, and my son is looking forward to using Moreno’s suggestions.

Your magazine is a beacon to dance education. I constantly use it for my tap pedagogy classes. Thanks again for all you do for the art of dance!

Patricia Oplotnik, Artist in Residence, Tap

Ann Lacy School of Dance and Arts Management, Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City, OK

 

 

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.

Also, thank you for recognizing Alzine Cuppett [“Schools With Staying Power: Alzine’s Vision”] for the wonderful teacher and person she is. It was a beautiful tribute.

Bonnie Cokinos

Bonnie Cokinos School of Dance

Beaumont, TX

 

 

I am devastated that the magazine below has stooped to such a low point [Editor’s note: Coleman is referencing an image on the October cover of Dance Teacher]. When I asked the editor about this, the answer was: “We strive to always bring ‘hot’ topics to our readers; the article focuses on the pros and cons of her teaching style. . . . However, mainly, the numerous dancers she has trained that have made it to Broadway.”

Stunned I am! With so many other multitalented icons in this business? And this one makes the cover? They must have never heard of Jo Rowan or Fred Knecht—what about Charles Kelley or Luigi? Fred’s [former] student [Christopher Gattelli] just won a Tony for the choreography in Newsies!

I prefer the Gold company’s way of doing things—for that I thank you.

Randy Coleman

CEO/president, International Dance Challenge

Mt. Juliet, TN

 

 

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Words from our readers

Just a quick note to let you know how excited we were to see the article about the CNADM Centennial in the May/June issue [“A Century of Dance Education”]. Steve Sucato did a great job pulling it all together from many different sources. We very much appreciate the coverage and all the support that we receive from DSL every year.
Kathy Velasco
Chicago National Association of Dance Masters
Rockford, IL

I love Dance Studio Life and really believe in what you are doing with your publication. Thank you for being such a positive and “real” resource for the dance community.
Caron Moore
Director, Encore Performing Arts Showcase, Inc.
Fort Worth, TX

Dance Studio Life seems to be the only dance-related magazine I have read that always takes care of the little guy. I was thrilled to read the article about Mary Alpha Johnson [“Reviving Mom’s Dream,” May/June 2012]. Over 20 years ago I met a teacher at a dance conference who let me in on The Magical Kingdom of Dance. The book is a wonderful way to use imagery that is child appropriate but still gives the exact quality to bring the movement out of the student. I hope the mat will be a big success and that her daughter can find an effective way to market the products.
Shelly Holmes
Topeka, KS

I am so impressed and excited by the incredible article [“Ballet Without Barres,” July 2012]! You covered so much in a factual and eloquent way. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect representation of BalletBarreNone—and right before the Dance Teacher Summit! I am so grateful to you for this phenomenal exposure.
Eileen Juric
Founder, BalletBarreNone
North Carolina

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I cried when I saw the news that modern dance legend Ruth Currier had passed [“FYI,” December 2011]. I first encountered Ruth at the Limón school; she became the director shortly after José Limón died. Ruth made up for missing the opportunity to study under José in so many ways. She was always true to the Limón, Humphrey, and Weidman techniques and inspired us with her stories of José. She was truly my mentor. When she left the Limón company and opened her own studio, I relinquished my scholarship to follow her.

Taking a class with Ruth was ever so challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally. She pushed us to go beyond our comfort zone; she loved it when we fell off balance because she knew we were trying to do the movement more fully.

I remember telling her I wished I had been alive when Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman had their companies since their movement felt so natural to me. I actually felt I had learned them before, as if I had been dancing in that time. She commented that I probably had and that I would have fit in nicely in that era. That conversation has given me inspiration ever since. Ruth was sparse with her compliments in class and I cherish every one that came my way. Ruth may be gone, but I will pass on her knowledge to my students so that her memory lives on.
Joanna Furman-Markowitz, Director
Orange County School of Dance
Little Feet Dance Company
Monroe, NY


Just wanted to thank you wholeheartedly for the beautiful article about our Dance Academy and the “Road Trip to the Future” [December 2011]. The students were electrified when they saw their photographs and names in the article. Your dedication to our dance community is second to none—keep up the fine work.
Diane Swirka
PR Manager, Kinetic Expressions Dance Academy
Daytona Beach, FL

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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.
Michelle Ballaro
Ballet Arts Center for Dance
Cheektowaga, NY
via Facebook


I enjoyed reading the article [“Dads on Demand,” October 2011]. This story is all about the kind of dancer dad I want to be.
E. Keith Turner
via Facebook


We all love the article [“Ballet Scene: Ballerinas of a Certain Age,” November 2011]! You were able to capture the essence of our school and the “ladies of a certain age” quite well. Mimi is already planning her next ballet spoof of Coppélia for November.
Jayne Santoro
Dance School/Performing Arts Director 
JCC of Mid-Westchester 
Scarsdale, NY


I just finished reading “Thinking Out Loud: [Creating a Culture of Welcome]” in the November [2011] issue. My, how the opening statement hit home. I travel to Florida quite often and always thought I’d like to take a class there. I called to ask if a recreational dancer would be welcome and was told it was definitely a class for adults who wanted to stretch and tone. [Once there] I overheard a student saying that just because it says “adult” doesn’t mean just anyone can drop in. You can bet I won’t be returning to class there again.
April Mosher
Agawam, MA

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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. I am so grateful to you, Dance Studio Life, and Elizabeth for this opportunity to spread the word so effectively about Young Dancemakers Company.
Alice Teirstein, Founding Director
Young Dancemakers Company
New York, NY


Congratulations to Mrs. Schleifer on a job well done [“Teacher in the Spotlight,” October 2011]. I am one of her former students from Andries Hudde, I.S. 240, in Brooklyn. When I started her class I had never done a live performance and was scared to perform in front of an audience. I was told by Mrs. Schleifer, “If you think it, imagine it, and can achieve it, you can do it. Express yourself!” I had never heard the song “Iko Iko.” Every time I hear that song I think of my days at Hudde and anticipating dance class. Mrs. Schleifer was a big influence in my life as far as music. A big thank-you to Jamee Schleifer for introducing me to expression!
Nadia Powell
Initial L&T Specialist
LeasePlan USA


From Our Facebook Fans:

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.
Michelle Ballaro
Ballet Arts Center for Dance
Cheektowaga, NY

I enjoyed reading the article [“Dads on Demand,” October 2011]. This story is all about the kind of dancer dad I want to be.
E. Keith Turner

Wonderful article [“The Eye of the Beholder,” October 2011]! My iPod is wonderful for taking a quick video of a step such as a pirouette during class so the student can see what I see. It’s so true that they feel like they are correct, but when they see it they can understand why I gave the notes. And then they are much more driven to correct it!
Christina Munter

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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. I love learning and being inspired by my peers. I appreciate your hard work and dedication to inspiring us!
Robin Stuyverson
Wildwood Ballet
Tallahassee, FL


The feature on our ABT exhibit looks great [“FYI,” October 2011]! Thank you so much for including us in the magazine—we sincerely appreciate it.
Ruby Whitney
Design & Development
National Museum of Dance
Saratoga Springs, NY


Thanks for the recent article on copyrighting choreography [“Thinking Out Loud: Choreography and Copyright in the Digital Age,” September 2011]. This is something I’ve been struggling with and have added a clause to my registration form about it. I’d really like an article to help me figure out how to copyright my pieces. I’ve been online and read the forms and process but still can’t figure it out. Just a thought.
Toni-Lynn Miles
Middlesex Dance Center
Middlefield, CT


As a filmmaker and documentarian about the dance world (Why Dance? 2006), I am troubled by the series Dance Moms and the way it portrays a dance studio environment [“Thinking Out Loud: Dance Moms Sells Out Dance Education,” October 2011]. I am married to a studio owner and have seen the dance studio operation up close.

I have seen the benefits of dance on our youth. I have seen kids transformed into confident and skillful dancers full of poise and grace. Most are the product of hardworking dance teachers who themselves possess such traits. What I see on this show is a playbook of what not to do when running a studio. Some viewers [may] blow it off as entertainment instead of reality, but I believe it reflects the dance industry in an unfavorable light and has the potential to make people think twice before committing their [children] to such abuse and criticism.

As for the mothers, the fact that they would participate with their kids on this show says more about them than I ever could.
James E. Manning
Half Moon Bay, CA

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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 in August thanks to you. It is very hard for small businesses to get off the ground and succeed. Your kindness in these features gave me a size of advertising I could not have afforded. I look forward to placing more classifieds with your magazine in the future. 
Janet Jerger
Dance Teacher Press
Seward, NE


Just wanted to express my thanks for such a great article about our new Dance Studio Concentration at MSU. We are all very appreciative.
Dr. Elizabeth McPherson
Coordinator, BA Dance Education
Montclair State University
Montclair, NJ


I want to thank you for the article you wrote about Mrs. Marsden [“Teacher in the Spotlight,” August 2011]. She has been more excited than I’ve ever seen her, and that warms my heart.
Gloria Silva
Attleboro, MA

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From a note to DSL writer Jennifer Kaplan about her story “Pas de Deux With Parkinson’s,” May/June 2011:

. . . your wonderful, informative, entertaining and extremely accurate story about the Dance for PD program. You captured the program beautifully—with compassion and intelligence—and I’m most grateful. Thank you. It’s unfortunately rare that a writer has been able to get every single fact and quote about the program correct. You did, and for that all of us at the program are most grateful.
David Leventhal
Program Manager, Dance for PD®
Mark Morris Dance Group
Brooklyn, NY


I have worked with Nancy many times [“Teacher in the Spotlight: Nancy Lacy Stewart,” May/June 2011]. She is as awesome as the article reads. The betterment of the arts is always in her heart.
Boni McClung
via DanceStudioLife.com


Thank you for this wonderful article [“Modelski’s Magic,” July 2011]. My heart is full of gratitude. I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love most in my life, first my own dancing and then the teaching. Thank you for so generously bringing your interest and expertise into sharing me through Dance Studio Life.
Madame Peff Modelski
Chicago, IL

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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! 
Robert Brown
Jersey City Dance Academy
Jersey City, NJ


I see this as an excellent opportunity for upgrading dance education in the future [“Investing in Dancers,” May/June 2011]. The students who are awarded scholarships through this program may initially perform, but performing careers do not last forever. With a college education in dance, these recipients will have knowledge that most performers have not had access to in the past. Classes in dance history, kinesiology, dance composition, movement analysis, and pedagogy will give the graduates diversity to take the information they received into the dance world at large. As integration between dance and the media continues, opportunities will abound for increasing awareness of sound training tactics and improved levels of performance as well as creativity, and hopefully an increase in the demand for knowledgeable individuals. It will mean that the bar will be raised in the field of dance overall.
Suzanne Kirsch
via DanceStudioLife.com


This is long overdue. I want to thank you so much for highlighting me in your fabulous magazine [“Teacher in the Spotlight,” January 2011]. It is wonderful for an average, everyday dance teacher like myself to be honored. I continue to read your magazine regularly and learn so very much.
Carolyn Dutra
Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio
Warwick, Cranston, and Greenville, RI

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I read your article “Ambassadors of Tap” [March/April 2011]. I am in my third year of tap at A Class Apart in Deltona, Florida, and can’t remember when I’ve had more fun. When I began, my 12-year-old daughter came along so she could laugh at Dad. Now she’s in two classes, one with her age group and the adult class with me. Given our age difference, it was awesome to find something we could enjoy together. I’m 63, and I expect I’ll tap until I die!
Bruce L. Warner
Deltona, FL


Thank you for writing this article of overdue praise [“Tops on the Tap Scene,” October 2010]. I am one of two living grandsons of the late Sadie Bruce Glover. You’re right—it’s amazing how deeply entrenched tap dancing is in Chicago. Tap dance is a serious game and we need people like you to raise the awareness to get the fire back. Keep up the good work and continue to spread the ‘good’ word (gospel) about those who suffered and put their sweat and name on the line to lay the foundation for entertainers today. These unsung heroes do not receive the respect they deserve, especially on a national stage.
R.N. Glover
via DanceStudioLife.com


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. My daughter studied with Miss Nancy for several years and those were very special times. She was remarkably kind, patient, and a great disciplinarian. Miss Nancy makes learning fun. Period. Long after my daughter has grown up and moved on, I have kept in touch with Miss Nancy and am mighty glad I have.
Frankie Dee
via Dance Studio Life.com

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Mail | February 2011

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Words from our readers

I thought your response to “Going Broke” [“Ask Rhee Gold,” October 2010] was perfect. The attitude that the competitor studio’s teaching was more like playtime and that they are superior because they teach real technique made me cringe. Not many dancers desire to or have the talent to become professional, or care that their technique is flawless. They just want to have fun. Why is that a bad thing?

Teaching dance is just part of my job; I care about my students and am concerned with their whole well-being. I’ll never forget how I felt after a parent asked me to talk with her daughter, who was threatening suicide. The next day she told me that her daughter was a new person and she was so grateful. I never have forgotten that I, a mere dance teacher, could have such a positive effect on a student.
Linda Twiss Gioscia
Performance Dance Center
Weymouth, MA


Your magazine is the publication that I always take home and curl up reading. This dance director needs you to keep doing what you’re doing. I am sending you a sincere thank you!
Lori Long
Dance Productions
Charlotte, NC


I want to thank you for all of your hard work on this story [“From Campus to Community,” DSL, December 2010]. The dancers were delighted to see their program recognized, and the layout and pictures and article itself were all so nicely assembled.
Dr. Kim Chandler Vaccaro
School of Fine and Performing Arts/Dance
Rider University
Princeton and Lawrenceville, NJ

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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 captured the essence of my film and of Kathy herself. I know that you and [editorial assistant] Arisa White worked hard to ensure that everything was accurate and had integrity—two things that, along with your lovely use of language, truly impressed me. I was also delighted to see those high-quality photos. The magazine layout and design are truly top-notch! I will cherish this article forever. Kathy is also aglow with excitement!
Michelle Ortega
North Beach Digital LLC
San Francisco, CA

I received a lovely letter from my neighbor, a retired English teacher who is over 80 years old. She writes, “I really enjoyed this article [“Beginning Ballet, Big Ambition,” October 2010]. It was exceptionally well written and made it easy for the reader to view you through sensitive eyes. The film project sounds like it is really flying. Ms. Ortega will surely succeed with the educational TV access. The author of the article really made a grand picture of you.”
Kathy Mata
San Francisco, CA

Thank you so much for the wonderful article [“All the Tools They Need,” August 2010] about the American Dance Pedagogy Program at Oklahoma City University. It was superb! The article was very in-depth and well written. Thank you so much.
Mary Price Boday
Associate Professor in Dance
Oklahoma City University

I just finished reading “Laying Down the Law” [DSL, August 2010] by Hedy Perna. I was pleased to see almost all of the same policies I have at my studio. I agree that if you spell out your expectations for your students and their families, you eliminate (or at least cut down) confusion and problems from the start. My website is easy to follow for any new parent, with one tab that lists policies. I recently received an email from an anonymous parent who, after going to my site, named me “the dance studio rule Nazi.” Perna’s article reassured me that clear, reasonable policies are a must for any studio, so thank you.
Molly Kaleikilo
Innovative Dance
Wilsonville, OR

What a pleasure to see our beloved Chiaki Yasukawa featured [in “Opening Eyes, Ears, and Minds,” September 2010] with her partner, Balazs Krajczar, in the USA International Ballet Competition. Chiaki has been one of our studio’s ballet mistresses for a few years. I remember Rhee telling me a few years back at a competition to never change my ballet faculty, as the jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and even tap dancers had such a marvelous ballet technique, which showed in all their styles and body lines. We continue to use these talented young artists at our studio, and their passion truly shows here in that photo of Chiaki.

She was still teaching for me while rehearsing this piece, and I saw how incredible she was about her performance. She was bruised, sore, bleeding at times, but always ready for another round of rehearsals! Our thanks to Orlando Ballet for allowing Chiaki and an equally talented Brazilian, Andrea Feria, to be a part of our faculty. They continue to amaze and encourage us all.
Rolann Owens
Rolann’s School of the Dance
Longwood, FL

Your magazine is the publication that I always take home and curl up reading! This dance director needs you to keep doing what you are doing. I am sending you a sincere Thank you!
Lori Long
Dance Productions
Charlotte, NC

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I anxiously anticipate the arrival of your magazine each month. I feel like a 5-year-old at Christmas when I receive it. Your magazine has become my “dance studio bible.” Each issue I receive makes me a better studio owner. Please tell your staff how much their hard work is appreciated!
Crystal Boutselis
Showcase Dance Studio

Manassas, VA

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. Then the parent asked me for paper towels to clean up after the baby. Then I painted the benches bright colors and by the end of the first week they had been scraped with metal toys. You said it—the days of respect for other people’s property are gone. I say let them sit on wood.

The one thing I did to control traffic and parents pushing to see was [install] a long viewing window. But they don’t watch; they are on their cell phones or laptops.

I’ve been teaching for 35 years and it’s never been so difficult to educate parents and students on common courtesy and respect. I’m lucky that I love to teach dance, I can   simply say, “Oh my dears, let’s try to keep the waiting area fresh and clean for everyone.” And I smile.
Name withheld by request

We love your magazine and pearls of wisdom! Thanks for all you do for us teachers.
Stephanie Sloop
Next Step Dance
Concord, NC

I’ve been with you since the beginning, and your magazine is the only one that I have time to read. Being a studio owner and choreographer, I thoroughly enjoy all your articles and learn a lot listening to other teachers’ comments. Your “On My Mind” [in the July issue] was right on! My parents stay with me not only because their children are learning, but because I care about what kind of music and appropriate costumes and dances are used.
Sherry Hines
Dance With Sherry Studio
San Rafael, CA

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Mail | September 2010

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Words from our readers

Thank you for a beautiful article that captures the spirit of New Bedford Ballet and its mission [“Ballet Scene: Year-Round Christmas Spirit,” DSL, July 2010]! A beautiful article, and so many nice pictures! 
Rebecca Waskiel
New Bedford Ballet
New Bedford, MA

Dance Studio Life is the absolute best dance magazine a dance studio owner or teacher could ever want. I and those I teach with all love it. Even my office manager enjoys reading each issue. It guides us, makes us think twice, and the added studio humor is sometimes exactly what we need.
Will Shover
Rhythm On Main
Elkin, NC

I really appreciate the fund-raising mention for Adult Beginner Ballet [in “FYI,” July 2010]. The article looked so nice and your magazine is great.
Michelle Ortega
North Beach Digital LLC
San Francisco, CA

Editor’s note: If you teach adult beginners, you won’t want to miss our feature story on Ortega’s film, coming up in the October issue.

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Mail | May-June 2010

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Words from our readers

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.
Bill Evans
The College at Brockport, SUNY
Brockport, NY

In response to Darrah Carr’s recent article on Irish dance [“Fired Up for Irish Dance,” January 2010], I would like to point out that the organization Carr refers to, Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha, is only one of many Irish dance organizations, and the one with the most restrictive and punitive rules regarding competition. Cumann Rince Naisiunta, the World Irish Dance Association, and the North American Irish Dance Federation are just a few others on the growing list of Irish dance organizations, all of which certify their own teachers, host their own feiseanna (competitions), and most important, offer open platforms, meaning any dancer is welcome to compete regardless of their school’s affiliation. There are opportunities for all Irish dancers, including those who take lessons from “uncertified” teachers or mainstream dance studios, and that’s the way it should be. Irish dance is our national heritage, and it belongs to all who study it, regardless of where they choose to do so.
Kathy Whitfield
Rince Na Saor Irish Dancing
Dance Biz
Rochester, NY

I love Dance Studio Life and what you have taught me at the DanceLife Teacher conventions. I am a much better teacher and studio owner because of it! For all that you do for those of us who are a part of the dance teacher “family”—especially for what you have done to inspire and help me—thank you!
Louanne Courtright
Louanne Courtright Dance Studio
Fremont, MI

We just received the magazine with our story in it [“Schools With Staying Power: A Charleston Tradition,” March/April 2010]. Tiffany and I could not read it without crying! It is wonderful and really does give the “family feel” to the article, which we so cherish. Ms. Trudy is so proud! Thank you for doing such a wonderful job and for taking the time to recognize my mom’s legacy she is passing on.
Linda Walker
Trudy’s School of Dance
Charleston, SC

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Mail | March-April 2010

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Words from our readers

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.

I’ve given up reaching out to local studios. National dance teaching organizations offer a better support group. Maybe the distance between studios removes the threat.
Shelly Beech
Art of Motion Dance Studio
Bartlesville, OK


I recently subscribed to your magazine. Thank you so much for the amazing articles and information that you can’t find in any other dance or dance teacher magazine. I love your attention to making things applicable to the classroom and for every age group and how you incorporate wonderful musical selections for all levels, as well as classroom ideas. Bravo!

I commend you for writing about creating bonds for dance teachers. I feel that a lot of dance teachers view each other as competition and do not treat each other respectfully. Two wonderful teachers in my city have become my mentors. Some people are scared about their students leaving them, but I’ve come to realize how amazed I feel when one of my students becomes so talented that she must go to the professional ballet company school. I’m just happy to be part of the journey.
Brettainy Sutherland
Instep School of Dance
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


I was very pleased to see the article on the Cecchetti method of ballet, which my studio teaches [“Class à la Cecchetti,” January 2010]. My highly qualified ballet teacher continues to study with a Cecchetti master several hours a week. Another dance teacher in our area has made derogatory comments about the method in an effort to encourage our students to study with him. Because he once performed with a professional ballet company, a few parents have been persuaded. I have posted your article on our studio bulletin board to enlighten the masses. Thank you for reminding me of what a quality program we are providing.
Doreen R. Freeman
Doreen’s Dance Center
Colchester, CT

We’d love to hear from you!

Send your comments to arisa@rheegold.com or mail them to Editor, Dance Studio Life, 10 South Washington St., Norton, MA 02766. Letters may be printed in the magazine and posted on dancestudiolife.com.

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Mail | February 2010

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More readers respond to “Dance Studio Lingo” by Diane Gudat, DSL, August 2009:

Here are a few we use at our studio:

Prostatot: 3-year-olds costumed in thigh-high fishnets, short-shorts, and crop tops and shake their butts to inappropriate hip-hop songs at competitions

Cha-no-no or cha-ne-ne (nay nay) turns: chaînés done in second position, or without spotting, or moving both arms at the same time
Denise Danzo
Danza Dance Academy
Castle Rock, CO


Pas de bour prep: pas de bourrée that ends in fourth position pirouette preparation

Pas de bourr-no: a pas de bourrée where the dancers cross back, step open, and then cross front instead of sus-sous (fifth), second, sus-sous (fifth)

Extreme piqué: any piqué move where the dancer is as high in relevé as physically possible and on the straightest leg possible
Toni-Lynn Miles
Middlesex Dance Center
Durham, CT


Devil-oppé: a painful extension of the leg
Atti-besque: an arabesque than never quite straightens
Pas de canard: step of the duck (a pas de chat done with flat feet)
Barbecued ribs: a protruding ribcage (courtesy of teacher Richard Munro)
Hula hips: an inadvertent circling of the hips in rond de jambe

I really enjoyed the whole list of terms—very amusing!

Name withheld by request


Thank you for the article on Luigi. It was wonderful to see that Luigi and his professional students live by his motto of “Never stop moving.” It seems that most articles on Luigi reflect his life in the past. It was nice to see his life reflect what is happening now, because he really “never stops moving.”
Alisoun Price
Assistant to the Assistant Artistic Director|
Luigi’s Jazz Dance
New York, NY

We’d love to hear from you!
Send your comments to arisa@rheegold.com or mail them to Editor, Dance Studio Life, 10 South Washington St., Norton, MA 02766. Letters may be printed in the magazine and posted on dancestudiolife.com.

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Mail | January 2010

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Words from our readers

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!
Cathy Finne
Artistic Director, Studio 1014
Jacksonville, FL


Thanks for providing an outlet for dance teachers and studio owners. I find your material therapeutic, inspiring, and very useful. Thanks for helping me do my job better and giving me strength to be true to my vision and integrity when at times I can feel the pressure to please the parents. You are making a positive difference!
Danelle Watson
Alexander Academy of Performing Arts
Maui, Hawaii


This has to be the funniest thing a parent has ever done! It certainly cheered me up this week. Not only have I been dealing with a former employee who opened her own studio and asked her employees to steal my summer camp info, a new ballroom studio in my shopping center that wants its sign to read just like mine, a parent I wanted to get rid of who’s staying (and I think I made a new friend), an employee who filed for unemployment because she had a baby (but was never fired), and the gym that offers free lessons across the street from me that tried to get my hip-hop teacher to leave me and teach there. Oh, the life of a dance studio owner! 

This note is to give you permission to auto-charge anything I am supposed to pay in regard to costumes, competition fees, company fees, damages to property, reimbursement to the snack center, and possible charges for excessive chatting and preening. Due to my total and utter lack of organization, if you don’t charge me I will most assuredly be late and may possibly pay in loose change from my car that could have bits of food and lint stuck to it, so really I’m doing you the favor here. If this doesn’t work, I’ll start putting the change in an old soda can to keep it all together.

Thank goodness for some parents!
Darlene Giordano Cummings
American Dance Academy
Hockessin, DE

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Mail | December 09

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Words from our readers

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.
Cyndy Shreffler
Ballet Shreffler
Troy, OH


Readers respond to Diane Gudat’s story, “Dance Studio Lingo,” October 2009

Share this one with my friend Diane; we had many great years judging together. “Shower step”: a tap step choreographed in the shower—a great combo but somehow virtually impossible to do when not soaking wet. When I came in with a new combo, my students always knew if I created it in the shower!
Danie Beck
Dance Unlimited
Miami, FL


Loved this! What you call “Ara-second” we call “Sec-abesque.” We also have “piquévé,” which is doing a piqué by climbing up onto a bent leg first and then straightening it.
Love the “careography,” “peek-a-pants,” and especially the “side moon”—brought a chuckle to my day.
Barb Lotsberg
Barbi Lee Dance
Minnetonka, MN


I have just read the vocabulary list by Diane Gudat—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!
Cathy Finne
Artistic Director, Studio 1014
Jacksonville, FL


“Ballet blow-out”—that shoe where the big toe is peeking out from a hole in the bottom of the shoe. “Scenic tour dancer”—one who never spots and takes a “scenic tour” around the room while turning.
Kim Rowley
Academy of Dance
Warner Robins, GA


I am never disappointed! My partner and I laughed out loud at Diane Gudat’s dictionary and so appreciated the advice regarding recession effects. We are personally experiencing these as well and face many of the same issues. Every day we remind ourselves that we are lucky to have a job (many of our clients do not) and especially one that allows us flexibility of scheduling and time with great kids. It truly is a roller coaster! Thanks as always for a brilliant publication.
Melanie Gibbs
Boca Dance Studio
Boca Raton FL


I cannot tell you how much I needed this [DSL, October 2009]! I question myself and my choreographic choices constantly (using shorter pieces, older and odder songs, conservative costumes, etc.), and the competition article [“Smart Ideas for Small Dances”] was great! I also thoroughly enjoyed Diane Gudat’s terminologies [“Dance Studio Lingo”]. With a day job, a studio to run, teaching 95 percent of the classes in my studio, and a 9-month-old at home, I can barely find time to breathe. But I always enjoy reading your emails and magazine!
Patty Nowak-Briggs
Charlotte Braun Dance Studio
Parma Heights, OH

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Mail | November 09

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Words from our readers

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!
Frank Shawl and Victor Anderson
Shawl-Anderson Dance Center
Berkeley, CA


I want to thank you for including Dance Expressions in your article “Directors’ Dialogue” [DSL, September 2009]. We are a small company that has been on the competition scene for 18 years. It felt good to be part of such an important discussion among contemporaries that I respect. I love your publication—it always offers fresh ideas and always puts a smile on my face!
Cathy Tubolino
Dance Expressions


And some words from our Facebook fans:

I love your magazine and look forward to my issue every month. It has given me so many ideas and helpful tips, etc., etc. Thanks for such a great magazine.
Susie Pennington

I love the magazine! The most useful dance magazine in my library!
Susan Hubert-Jeep

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Mail | October 09

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Words from our readers

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 Rhee when he was 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 to be competing against you. All good wishes for your continued success.
Bob Stern
Santa Fe, NM


I just read your “On My Mind” blog in the August [2009] issue of Dance Studio Life. Very well put, brother—sweet and to the point. Talk about hittin’ the nail on the head! I hope people know true wisdom when they read it. Respect always.
Ryan Foley
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I’ve just opened my August issue of Dance Studio Life. I’ve only gotten as far as “On My Mind” and already I must stop to comment. The studio I work for has classes for special-needs students, and every time I see them perform, my heart is so overwhelmed by how much they try and how delighted they are to be doing something that “regular” kids do. Those students, along with the toddler classes, always get the biggest round of applause at recitals. It’s so very precious.
April Mosher
Mary Ann Studio of Dance
Springfield & Agawam, MA

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Mail | September 09

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Words from our readers

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 facing the audience is less of an issue.

Yes, at the church I might have to clean up after another group. But I’m sure my studio owner appreciates the fact that heat and electricity are included, and come winter, so is the plowing.
April Mosher
Mary Ann Studio of Dance
Springfield, Agawam, and Wilbraham, MA


Thank you so much for the great article on our studio’s Make-a-Wish experience [“Making Dance Wishes Come True,” May/June 2009]. I was reading the magazine at the doctor’s office and I almost wanted to stand up and share it with everyone. You are the best! It’s the only magazine we get or want. It answers everything. Now all the new features on the website—it is amazing.
Pennie Bleil
Just For Kicks School of Dance
Port Orchard, WA


I want to commend you on the success of your magazine. I’m sure you hear this quite a bit, but I’m totally hooked on Dance Studio Life. I see no need to subscribe to any other dance magazine because I can get all I need and more from yours. I go back to past issues for ideas and information all the time.

I’m writing to advise: As studio owners, we put trust in others, but we must never let our guard down. I got burned by a teacher and dear friend (so I thought), who informed me that she would no longer be teaching at my studio. Two days later I saw a sign announcing the opening of her school. I will not let her discourage me. I will continue to stay focused on my business and not hers. I want to make other owners aware that they should watch their backs.
Shelly Clark-Moore
Pink Slipper School of Dance
Leesburg, GA


Our studio is celebrating its 70th season this year and we would like to know how many schools across the country join us. I am sure there are many, and we would love to know who they are and what their stories are. We know that ours is the oldest school in South Carolina. My mom started the school in 1939, and she still goes to the local Elks Club on Friday nights and kicks up her heels a bit at 87.
Linda Oltmann Walker
Trudy’s School of Dance
Charleston, SC

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Mail | August 09

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Words from our readers

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.
Morwenna Assaf
Art/Dance Academy, Oceanside, CA


 Every day I want to sell or leave the business and the dance teaching world, school-owner business, and teach at my training ground of North Carolina School of the Arts or similar caliber, or go live on a farm and raise Burmese mountain dogs and be a vet technician, and then I read your magazine. (By the way, it is now next to my bible. Yes!) I pray to God to give me strength to continue to bring excellence and integrity to our children and community. Then I read your magazine and hear from others who feel the same way. I always feel better and have a bit of hope when I read your magazine! Thank you!
Terri Lee
Spirit In Motion Ballet Theater
The Pennsylvania School of the Performing Arts
Wrightstown, PA


Your magazine is so great because you root for all dance instructors from any background, regardless of credentials or training, and encourage individual growth. I have a college degree in dance and performed in dinner theaters, but I always felt a little insecure in comparison to some acquaintances who performed in professional ballet companies. It took me 10 years to realize that my capabilities in teaching ballet are vast and I have no reason to feel insecure. That professional experience may be a plus for some of those instructors, but it does not mean I am less. I think your magazine played a role in my growth and maturity as a teacher. Thank you.
Shananne Lewis
Move and Groove Dance Academy
Akron, OH

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Mail | May/June 09

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Words from our readers

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!

My heart ached when he realized how mean the backbiting could get. He is trapped between lashing out in my defense and doing what I’ve asked of him: to ignore it. It is quite a burden for such a young person to deal with.

Thank you. You’ve helped me see where he’s coming from.

Name withheld by request
Bartlesville, OK

 



I was pleased to see that your magazine featured the DVD Magical World of Ballet [“New Products for the Classroom,” DSL, January 2009]. As well as being its production supervisor, I am interviewed on it, and I must say it is a delightful DVD for pre-ballet. This was my first opportunity to see your magazine, and I truly admire the goals and mission of its contents.

Kathy Sullivan
Steps on Broadway
Ballet Hispanico School
Barnard College
New York, NY

 



I’ve gotten so much positive feedback about the helpful information in your article [“Dance Against Disease,” DSL, November 2008], and that of course helps us to spread the gift of dance therapy to children far and wide.

We have just expanded to Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA Medical Center and are in the process of starting up at L.A. Children’s as well as Mass General in Boston.

We are also expanding our mission in that we hope to find and fund dance companies who have experience with engaging fragile children in dance.

The attention that you gave to The Andrea Rizzo Foundation’s work of providing dance therapy to children with cancer and special needs is invaluable and has played a role in all of this growth.

I will be forever grateful for the effort you put into that incredible piece.

Susan Rizzo Vincent
President, The Andrea Rizzo Foundation
Charlestown, RI

 



I must thank and applaud you for your quest to rejuvenate, lift, educate, and inspire dance teachers. From the days of writing your Goldrush emails to Dance Studio Life magazine and now the conventions, you have not only met a great need in our dance world, but you’ve also provided dance professionals with a beacon of excellence to follow! Bravo, dear Rhee. Take a bow and know that you are doing all things in a fashion that is exceptional.

Patricia A. Goulding
Executive Director, National Dance Week
Pittsburgh, PA

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Mail | March/April 09

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Words from our readers

Thanks so much for this one [“Wish They’d Stay, Wish They’d Go,” DSL, October 2008]! Although we all think that way, it’s nice to see the words in print to confirm what we are feeling. This year, for the first time in over 30 years, I suggested that a parent find another school after only one week of evaluation. I stated that it was quite clear to me that she felt she knew better than my staff in what level her daughters should be placed. If she was that insistent, hardly knowing me, what would she be like in a year? That was not something I wanted to experience! It’s a hard decision to make but better for all in the long run!

Tracy Davenport
St. Charles, MO


I just finished reading Tom Ralabate’s articles on jazz [“Defining Jazz Dance,” “All That’s Jazz,” DSL, December 2008]. This was so fantastic. What a great piece of information! (I think Tom is one of the very best.) I think that type of article has been missing; congrats to you for those stories.

Debbi Dee
Debbi Dee Productions, Inc.
Boynton Beach, FL


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!

Thank you for your articles and all your work for our wonderful profession. I have been to several of your conferences and always leave rejuvenated!

Kim Farmer
Mulford Dance Studio
Mount Ephraim, NJ


I have been reading your publication for years. It has been an inspiration and an affirmation of all my goals and hard work. You speak for all of us with neighborhood studios, dedicated to personally making a difference to many lives through dance.

I had to sell my studio two years ago due to circumstances beyond my control. I have continued to get your magazine and have been very grateful for it. It’s the only dance magazine I read anymore. It warms my heart. What’s in there reflects what’s at the top, and that’s you. Just as I was my studio, you are your magazine, and it’s wonderful. No other magazine can come up to your standards in its genre.

Margo Slaughter
formerly Springfield School of Dance
Springfield, OR

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Mail | February 09

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Words from our readers

Thank you for allowing Diane Gudat to express her phenomenally hysterical ideas in “Terpsichorean Calendar” [DSL, August 2008]. I sat at my computer cracking up, reading it and then rereading it over and over again. I have known Diane for years and she is still able to make me laugh with her quick wit and brilliant, oftentimes wacky humor! I look for her stories each month to add laughter to my life.

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!

Sandi Duncan
Hudson, NH


I really liked the story with ideas sent in from other teachers [“Collective Wisdom,” DSL, August 2008], especially the ideas that concerned classroom things (like creative movement ideas, dance games, etc). Could you think about publishing a book of everyone’s ideas? It is true that sometimes we have an idea, use it for years, and then stop doing it until another instructor reminds us of the success it can bring. Plus creativity in the classroom with the young ones ages 2 to 8 can be tough at first for some people who have just gotten off the professional dance wagon or the college degree program.

Another request is for an article on dance fitness programs and certifications. I am a certified Zumba instructor and would love to see an article about Zumba, Jazzercise, and Hip-Hop Hustle.

Your magazine is so great. It is the highlight of my month. It makes me grow so much. Thank you for contributing to my success as a teacher and businesswoman.

Shananne Lewis, choreographer
Uniontown, OH


Thanks so much for this one [“Wish They’d Stay, Wish They’d Go,” DSL, October 2008]! Although we all think that way, it’s nice to see the words in print to confirm what we are feeling. This year, for the first time in over 30 years, I suggested that a parent find another school after only one week of evaluation. I stated that it was quite clear to me that she felt she knew better than my staff in what level her daughters should be placed. If she was that insistent, hardly knowing me, what would she be like in a year? That was not something I wanted to experience! It’s a hard decision to make but better for all in the long run!

Tracy Davenport
St. Charles, MO

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Mail | January 09

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Words from our readers

I just arrived home to find the latest Dance Studio Life on my doorstep and immediately flipped to find the article on Andréa [“Dance Against Disease, November 2008]. I am overwhelmed and speechless, and yes, crying over this beautiful gift to The Foundation, Andréa’s memory, and ultimately all of the children who will be helped because of this wonderful exposure. The layout is phenomenal! I want to send this to all who will be touched by this incredible gift. Many, many thanks to everyone there for all the time, effort, and talent that you put into this beautiful piece.

Susan Rizzo Vincent
The Andréa Rizzo Foundation
Charlestown, RI
 


Just a short note congratulating you on your publication, Dance Studio Life, and the many excellent articles in your October 2008 issue. Most notable to me because of their importance to all members of the dance community are the following informative selections: “On My Mind” by Rhee Gold, “Beyond Expectations” by Lisa Traiger, “Conquering the Class Divide” by Debbie Werbrouck, “Wish They’d Stay, Wish They’d Go” by Melissa Hoffman, “Hip to the Movement” by Michael Wade Simpson, “Teaching for Healthy Bodies” by Darrah Carr.

My wife, Carol Harsell, and I started Kinderdance 29 years ago. We are always on the lookout for exceptional reading material and your publication, in our opinion, is among the best in our business. Keep up the good work!

Bernard Friedman
Executive Vice President, Kinderdance
Melbourne, FL


I have told more dance teachers about your magazine because it is the very best one out there. We are a small town with a studio of about 400 that my daughter started at age 15, 17 years ago. You touch on every problem and concern we have, [including] the burnout part. My daughter is so busy teaching that I am usually the one who gets to read the articles. I dog-ear or put sticky notes on so many pages for her that I am sure it is overwhelming. Every month, she would love or could benefit from reading almost every article. I cannot tell you enough what a great job you are doing. I am a mini advertising person for your magazine in Washington. Thank you so much!

Pennie Bleil
Just for Kicks School of Dance
Port Orchard, WA 


Thank you so much for the brilliant and funny article written by Diane Gudat [“Fantasy Comebacks,” DSL, September 2008]. I have, without a doubt, been asked every one of those questions and depended on the “nice” filtering system before giving a friendly, sensible reply. So glad I’m not alone!

Kelly Torza
Ballet Soleil
Haydenville, MA


Thank you for allowing Diane Gudat to express her phenomenally hysterical ideas in “Terpsichorean Calendar” [DSL, August 2008]. I sat at my computer cracking up, reading it and then rereading it over and over again. I have known Diane for years and she is still able to make me laugh with her quick wit and brilliant, oftentimes wacky humor! I look for her stories each month to add laughter to my life.

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!

Sandi Duncan
Hudson, NH

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Mail | December 2008

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Words from our readers

I just had to write and let you know how I laughed at Diane Gudat’s “Fantasy Comebacks” [DSL, September 2008]. Oh my gosh, I have had some of the same questions! That was the best laugh I have had in a long time. Thank you for your magazine; it is very inspiring.
Fran Norris
Miss Fran’s Dance & Tumbling Studio
Ponca City, OK


I was on the treadmill listening to my iPod and reading the September 2008 issue of Dance Studio Life (by the way, love this magazine!) and I came across the article titled “Fantasy Comebacks.” I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It was a hysterical but a realistic article. Many times I’ve had to be professional instead of saying exactly what I was thinking. I really enjoyed this article and made copies of it for my friends who own studios in other towns. Thank you so much for a great laugh!
Lisa Brown
Sunset Academy of Dance
San Francisco, CA


I was reading the letter from a teacher who had two of her teachers leave and open a studio close by [DSL, “Ask Rhee Gold,” September 2008]. My advice to all dance studio owners is to get a contract (and yes, it would be worth the expense of getting an attorney to do it) stating that the teachers employed cannot teach within a 10- mile radius for a period of two years following the end of the contract without written permission of the studio owner. How awful for someone to do that—but it happens, and studio owners must be very careful.
Louise Taitz
On Your Toes Academy of Dance
Buffalo Grove, IL


I love, love, love your publication! It has helped me more times than I can count—and as I am entering my ninth year of studio ownership, that is saying a lot!
Jill Robinson
Adams Dance Academy
Pittsgrove, NJ


I thoroughly enjoy your magazine and every article is real-world! So helpful to a studio owner. Keep the great issues coming because we look forward to new ideas every month.
Elizabeth Huebner
Classical Dance Center
Newport Beach and Tustin, CA

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Mail | November 2008

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Words from our readers

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.
Meghan Slade
General Manager
Dance Steps Studio, Inc.
Saline, MI

Please tell Diane [Gudat] that I was laughing until I cried reading her “Fantasy Comebacks” article. Every teacher should include a copy of this article in their newsletters or at least hand them out to the president of the Parent Association.
Christopher F. Davis
Producing Director
Dancers Responding to AIDS
New York, NY

I just wanted to say thank you for putting in that “Fantasy Comebacks” article in your magazine. It was hilarious. How true all of those questions that parents ask are. I wish your magazine would put “Fantasy Comebacks” in more often. It just made my day!
Jessica Mink
Dancin’ for Fun
Gulf Breeze, FL

I want to thank you for your work on Dance Studio Life, as it provides motivation, insight, and education for me and thousands of dance educators and managers each month.
Stacey Rogers
Assistant Professor of Dance
Ann Lacy School of American Dance & Arts Management
Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma City, OK

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for including me in the September [2008] issue of Dance Studio Life. I was honored to be mentioned in the “FYI: What’s up in the dance community” segment. It is publications like Dance Studio Life that allow educators like myself the opportunity to share our work with others in the field.
Debra Danese
Director, Kdance Productions
West Chester, PA

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Mail | October 2008

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Words from our readers

I just received the August Dance Studio Life. Congratulations on always seeking to broaden the field. Your editorial on parents (“On My Mind,”) was amusing—and horrifying at the same time. Yes, ignorance is rife in the public conception of dance education.

I particularly liked your article on the NEA’s study on artists in the workforce (“FYI,”). I think this is important information for teachers and parents to absorb. The material is dry reading but essential to our understanding of dance in the private sector.

Gregg Russell’s article (“Psyching Out the Guys,”) is an extension of [Rhee Gold’s] own important interest in boys in dance. The article was practical and engaging.

Thank you for “stretching” into improvisation and partnering (“Winging It,” “Art of the Pas de Deux,”).

Debbie Werbrouck’s articles (“Front Runners and Guardian Angels,” “Dance at Any Age,”) are great, a significant contribution. I hope all studio owners read them.
Patricia Cohen
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York University
New York, NY

I have to respond to “Frustrated in Kansas,” who asked whether she should give technique training to students from another school (see “Ask Rhee Gold,” DSL, August 2008). A similar situation happened to me, and I regret taking on the other school’s students.

I was shocked at these students’ lack of training, and I soon realized that I was training them for the other school. I decided to stop taking any more students from there but kept training the few I had been teaching. I did this for six years, to the point where they were taking several classes a week with me and only going to the other studio to work on their competition pieces.

I never felt quite right about this, but I thought that when the students left for college I could finally separate my studio from the other one. Not so—one student who became pretty good under my instruction became the other school’s ballet teacher. I feel like this student and the studio owner used me. “Frustrated” hit the mark when she said, “I feel like this student is getting everything from my school and using it to the other school’s benefit.” I think she should tell the student to choose a loyalty, and not allow students to train with her and then use that training to dance across town. She is only helping her competition improve while giving away what helps her stand out in the community.
Name and address withheld by request

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Mail | August 2008

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Words from our readers

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.
Eugenia Smith
Eugenia’s Dance Studio, West Seneca, NY

Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Gus Giordano in the May/June issue of Dance Studio Life. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and graduated from Northwestern University, and Gus’ classes played an important role in my jazz dance experience. His teachings have become the foundation for my jazz style. He will be missed, but as you said, not forgotten. Thank you for a great magazine.
Paula Donahoe
Dare To Dance, Manteo, NC

Rhee’s article [“On My Mind,” DSL, May/June 2008] about Gus was so beautiful—absolutely perfect! I was also at that class in Boston. It was probably one of the first classes that I ever took from him. And I remember idolizing Rhee’s mother and Helen with their “Jeannie” ponytails. Rhee, Gus would have been quite moved by your article and by all of your successes!
Laura Klein-Weiner
California Dance Theatre, Agoura Hills, CA

We’d love to hear from you!
Email your comments to Cheryl Ossola at Cheryl@rheegold.com or mail them to:

Editor
Dance Studio Life
10 S. Washington St.
Norton, MA 02766

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Mail | May-June 2008

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Words from our readers 

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!

Also, thanks so much for the article on Tap the Map [FYI, November 2007]. Anthony Russo is my son. My dad saw the Tap the Map logo and immediately thought that someone had stolen Anthony’s idea. So he started reading the article and of course found Anthony’s name. It was a proud moment for grandpa!
Tracy Davenport
Performing Arts Centre, Inc., St. Charles, MO

I have loved your magazine since its inception. I really enjoy your variety of articles, especially those regarding studio management and the problems that studio owners come upon. I want to thank you for dedicating your December [2007] issue to tap dance. Dianne Walker’s [interview] was wonderful.

I’m writing to note some errors. Mike Wittmers’ article, “Rhythm Boot Camp” was very good, but there is a step that cannot be done. You cannot “shuffle (l) hop (r) toe (r) hop (r).”

“Tapping Into Your Potential” has a statement made by Joseph Fritz, the deputy dance director at New York’s Metropolitan Opera: “All tapping is done on the ball of the foot. You never have your heel down except when you stomp.” This is wrong, and when I read this to my students, they laughed!

Thank you for allowing me to clear up these statements.
Sherry Hines
Dance With Sherry, San Rafael, CA

Joshua Bartlett, who wrote “Tapping Into Your Potential,” responds: I was trained by Bob Audy, a highly regarded tap teacher in New York. He always stressed keeping the weight on the balls of the feet (unlike in ballet, where the weight is distributed evenly over the feet to enable proper turnout from the hips). Tapping on the balls of the feet allows for greater freedom of movement when turnout is not required.Editor’s note: In “Rhythm Boot Camp,” page 50, the correct sequence is:

 

 R       R       L     R      L       R      L    R     L

Heel-push step step shuffle hop toe hop step.

I’m writing to thank you for your comment to “Nancy” [in “Ask Rhee Gold”] in the January/February 2008 issue. When Nancy said we all complain about the recreational dancers because they will never be as good as the competition dancers, I thought, “How does she know? Does she have a crystal ball?”

I opened my studio 15 years ago. I have had girls start at age 12 and turn into wonderful ballerinas; I’ve had adults continue tapping into their 70s and thoroughly impress me. When I took evening ballet in New York City with “recreational adults,” they would say that they looked forward to coming to ballet and being transported away from their worries. The teachers in Manhattan never treated them any differently than the professional dancers alongside them. I believe it is important to train all children equally.

I enjoy reading the magazine. It is well balanced, and it’s also nice to feel it is run by someone with a heart, a business head, and an appreciation for all the different teachers, studios, and companies who train the young and old alike.
Jill Keating
Pointe Chautauqua Dance!, Mayville, NY

I have been the artistic director of [my school] for 27 years. I look forward to your magazine, and it would be like not having Nutcracker in December if I did not get it. Keep up the good work and continue pouring all that knowledge into all of us.       
Elizabeth Parsons
Elizabeth Parsons School of Dance, Orlando, FL 

When I was in Indianapolis for Dance Revolution, two ladies approached me saying they wanted to pick my brain about our program. They said, “We read your article ‘For the Greater Good’ [Goldrush, December 2006], and we said, ‘Here’s someone who gets what we are trying to do!’ ” We shared a nice time of mutual encouragement, and that wouldn’t have happened without you. So thank you for providing a platform for teachers and studio owners to build relationships to encourage and inspire!
Misty Lown
Misty’s Dance Unlimited, Onalaska, WI

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Mail | March-April 2008

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Words from our readers

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.
Morwenna Assaf
Art/Dance Academy, Oceanside, CA

I was very upset to see the article in Thinking Out Loud, “Lift a Rock, Watch the Sky,” by Ann Murphy [Dance Studio Life, October 2007]. This article highlighted a very negative and erroneous statement about the Catholic Church. Negative and attacking comments about any church have no business in a dance publication.

The sentence “The Catholic Church of my childhood frowned on dance” is simply not true! Dance in most Catholic churches is not used during the Mass, [which] is a time to calm our mind and body and give thanks and praise to the Lord. Dance and performances take our attention off the Lord and onto the performers. We as Catholics have always been free to dance to our heart’s content outside of Mass.

I fully understand the Church’s limitation on anything that causes us to lose our focus on God during our time of prayer. God bless you and please respect the faith of others in the future.
Ginnie Meyer
Hoffman Estates, IL

Editor’s note: In Thinking Out Loud, writers express their opinions and personal experiences. We do not censor their viewpoints, which do not reflect the opinions of anyone affiliated with Dance Studio Life.

I was so happy to read your article “Teaching With Love” [Dance Studio Life, November 2007]. I always felt that I was the odd teacher out since I never have followed the “old school” way of teaching. I feel that every child has a unique way of processing information and varying degrees of ability to reproduce what they are shown. Negativity only brings down their self-esteem and kills the love they have for what they are doing. No dancer should be left out or behind! This has been tested this year as I was seriously injured in a car accident in October and the teacher who has been teaching my students is of the “old school.” I have been grateful for her help because otherwise I would have had to shut down [my school]. The children have had a hard time adjusting to the changes and many have dropped out, saying they will return when I do.

Thanks again for your article; it was much needed at this time in my life!
Amanda LeVasseur
Dance Alley SE, Winter Haven, FL

Your magazine is a perfect literary medium for dance studio teachers and owners. I find valuable information in it every month. With that being said, I had to email you in regard to your editorial column this month [On My Mind, Dance Studio Life, December 2007]. December is the most hectic and stressful month for me. But reading your letter inspired me to give myself permission to let something go and I found the stress floating away. I told my students that pre-choreographing their dances would have to be put on hold. They were all so kind and supportive. So thanks for a great magazine and especially for that letter.
Nancy Chippendale
Nancy Chippendale’s Dance Studios, North Andover, MA

Just wanted to tell you how wonderful I think the December [2007] issue is. All the stories on tap! Finally—someone noticed tap dancing.
Debbi Dee
Boca Raton, FL

A standing ovation for “What Are Parents Thinking?!” in this month’s [December 2007] Dance Studio Life. Forget leaving the issue open to that page in the lobby—I am wallpapering with that thing!
Suzanne Citere
Realdance, Lighthouse Point, FL

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy Dance Studio Life. The articles are so varied and yet so relative to what we do every day. Bravo! Please keep Diane Gudat writing! Tuesday afternoon got off to a laughing start when I read her article [“What Are Parents Thinking?!”] to the staff before class. We love her!
Sharon DiCrosta
The Dancer’s Studio, North Haven, CT

While reading Diane [Gudat]’s article [“What Are Parents Thinking?!”], 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!

Also, thanks so much for the article on Tap the Map [FYI, November 2007]. Anthony Russo is my son. My dad was paging through Dance Studio Life and saw the Tap the Map logo. He immediately thought that someone had stolen Anthony’s idea! So he started reading the article and of course found Anthony’s name. It was a proud moment for grandpa!
Tracy Davenport
Performing Arts Centre, Inc., St. Charles, MO

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Mail | January 2008

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Words from our readers

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.

I am also proud to say that I feel I am from the generation that has recognized the change, accepted both genres, and is now responsible for teaching the next generation how to plan for a career that has many options. Dance is growing and the jobs are limited. Students, as well as leaders in the field, must think about that. Students/dancers must be open to all the options available.

Perhaps you could do an article about the value of a dance degree. Parents think (and I admit that I have thought this in the past) that there is nowhere to go with a dance degree. I met with Robert Cohen (he danced with Martha Graham) this summer and he changed my thinking. He said that a dance degree is a liberal arts degree, a way to get to know oneself, and it is no different than another liberal arts degree. I changed my thinking from that moment on.

Keep up the great work, Nancy. The dance world applauds you and we love you for it.
Shelly Power
Associate Director, Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy
Houston, TX


I finally got the chance to read the September issue of Dance Studio Life. It just keeps on getting better! Loved so much of the information and articles—“Ancient Dancers,” “Bringing in the Boys,” “Zeroing In on the Zeitgeist,” just to mention a few. Especially loved “1,000 Words.” Congratulations!
Mike Robertson
Costume Gallery


I want to thank you for giving the dance teacher world such a worthwhile and meaningful publication to educate us on all aspects of our job. Most of all I appreciate the tasteful front covers of Dance Studio Life. Last month, when I received two other dance-related magazines, I was appalled at the covers. Quite frankly, I didn’t even want to leave them lying out for anyone to see because I thought they were indecent. Today, as we are all battling over inappropriate costuming and dances at competitions, it seems a shame that now we have to see it on covers of magazines designed for the dance world. I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to worry about that with your magazine. Keep up the great work!
Beverly Smithey
Stage I Dance Academy, Greenwood, IN


The magazine is looking great; very impressive this month [Dance Studio Life, October 2007]. Excellent job with the layout on the “Ballroom Blitz” story!

The faculty at University at Buffalo have made complimentary comments about the new look and even my partner, Thomas (a college academic VP), sees a difference in its value for dance educators. Congratulations.
Tom Ralabate
Associate Professor of Dance, University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

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Mail | December 2007

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Thanks so much for a fabulous magazine. I look forward to receiving it each month. I find so many useful and informative articles, and I pass it on to my staff each month so they can also enjoy and take advantage of all the great information in each issue!

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.

I’ve thought about the possibility of forming a group of instructors and studio owners to promote decency in dance. I believe that dance is a beautiful, pure art and I refuse to teach a style of dance that is not suitable for family entertainment. I don’t think I’m alone in my beliefs. If there are others out there who feel the same way I do, I would love to hear about it. Maybe, if enough of us joined together, we can bring back the pure art of dance.
Kim Yarborough, Director
Step Ahead Dance Studio, Garner, NC

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the article in your August issue [“Big-Time Marketing,” which includes Boston Ballet School]. It was really terrific and I hope it gave some of the smaller schools some good ideas. We actually received a couple of phone calls from some companies asking for some follow-up materials and our permission to borrow the format.
Elizabeth Benjes, Managing Director
Boston Ballet School, Boston, MA

Thank you, Dance Studio Life magazine and Sharon DiCrosta! We were so pleased to finally see an article about the reality of competition [Thinking Out Loud, “Turn Back the Clock on Competitions,” September 2007]. For years we have been frustrated that the majority of other competitions have changed their award levels and the standards of competition with their position that “everyone should feel good.” Yes, we want all the dancers to feel good, but we also want them to be proud of their achievements. At least when they come to a Headliners competition they know they earned the award they received. It’s nice to know that there are teachers that still appreciate honesty and awards realistic to the scores received and that are proud to have their students work to reach a goal. Congratulations to you!
Irma Ziegler and Shari Tomasiello, Nationals Directors
Headliners Competition, Randolph, NJ

This is a first—responding to a letter in a magazine—however, I was saddened by the events Kali presented concerning her mother [“Ask Rhee Gold,” Dance Studio Life, September 2007].

Kali, your mother definitely should not give up. I am a former studio owner with 25 years of ballet teaching experience. A discourteous student is dealt with very quickly in ballet. Why permit teenagers to destroy your confidence? Their judgment is based on—what? You are a capable teacher; they are immature teens. Keep the studio image you want and lose these ingrates. Assure them their safety is a primary consideration and they lack the ability to safely do hip-hop. Do recommend knee insurance and send them on their way. I hope [your mother] has had second thoughts and realizes she must continue to pursue her life’s work. She is needed.
Rita Colby
Ballet Basics & DansArts, New York City

I received many lovely comments from a wide range of people on the article you did on me and my studio in your Dance Studio Life “Teacher in the Spotlight,” [September 2007]. I appreciate it very much. When I read the magazine I think of Rhee’s mother. She was a fantastic teacher.
MaryAnn DeNucci Langone
The MaryAnn Studio of Dance, Springfield, MA

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Mail | September 2007

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Just wanted to applaud you on the new look of the magazine. It’s professional, sleek, and truly fabulous. I know a lot of very hard work went into the redesign and I’m sure that you are proud, and you should be. Very, very well done!
Beth Wheeler
A Dancer’s Dream, Inc., Marblehead, MA

There was an article several months ago about tips for dress rehearsals and recitals [“From Studio to Stage,” Goldrush, November 2006]. I applied several of the tips to our dress rehearsal this year and I am happy to say that we had the least chaotic and most productive dress rehearsal we have ever had. Even our sound, lighting, and video technicians had a chance to get their questions answered! Parents and dancers were calm and well informed about what was happening. I even enjoyed dress rehearsal and got to enjoy the dancers and their families! We will definitely be using these tips in the coming years. Thanks for all the much-needed advice [the magazine] provides!
DeAnna Stojan
Jubilee Dance School, Wake Forest, NC

 I am so pleased to get your magazine—so down to earth and practical. Please, can we have more from Mignon Furman? I have been teaching more years than she (54 years), but I still get much from her.
M. Evans
Academy of Ballet, Hampton, VA

Editor’s note: As of the July 2007 issue of Dance Studio Life, Ms. Furman is contributing a regular column called “Two Tips for Teachers.”

 What a wonderful article on disabled dancers [“Special Students, Special Needs,” Dance Studio Life, July 2007]. If you ever do another piece on this subject, please consider my studio’s artistic director, Timothy Miracle. He has been working with children who have spina bifida for 14 years. An article was recently written about [his work] in our hometown paper. Again, thank you for the article.
Jeffrey Pitzer
Miracle Dance Theatre, Cincinnati, OH

Congratulations on the new publication format. The information is great and very helpful to studios.
Luke C. Kahlich, Ed.D.
Department of Dance, Temple University
Philadelphia, PA

Just wanted to say I think the magazine is going great! My wife and I own a small dance studio—I wish this magazine had started seven years ago when we started the studio. We have had to learn some lessons the hard way. Keep up the great work! 


Lee Erickson
Dancers Inc., Decatur, AL

In response to the studio/dancer gossip article [“On My Mind,” July 2007] in the current issue of Dance Studio Life, maybe there’s a new product waiting to be designed for placement on studio walls that includes not only “Smoke-Free Zone” and “Scent-Free Zone” but also “Gossip-Free Zone.”
Patricia Filteau

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Words from our readers

I [am] so excited by your high standards, not only in the professional field but the personal as well. Thank you for your wonderful magazine that encourages so many dance teachers and studio owners, for the great motivational weekend seminars [Project Motivate], and most of all for your commitment to the wonderful world of dance and the special people who are blessed to carry that world to new levels. I feel honored that God gave me not just a gift to teach dance but a love for the art and for the children we influence every day! Keep doing what you are doing.

—Nickie Hutto,
Taps Dance Studio, Ltd., De La Danse Studio

Dear Ms. Wozny,
I am delighted with the article [“Nurturing the Whole Teacher,” May/June 2007]. Your remarks are just right, and the layout is effective. I am so relieved to finally be able to see my actual responses in an interview. (I had an experience with another writer who quoted me as saying exactly the opposite of what I said.) Thanks so much for your questions and for your willingness to work with me to shape it into something I can be proud of. My students at Brockport are delighted too. I hope to work with you again.
—Bill Evans
SUNY College at Brockport [NY]

 Great article on DEA and Miss Vickie in our 75th-anniversary year [“Strength in Numbers,” March/April 2007]. Thank you. Vic D’Amore,
President, Dance Educators of America 

I just found time to read my December 2006 Goldrush. “A New Year, A New Me” was the most fun article I have ever read for dance teachers. It reminded me that there are other people in this crazy dance world who understand the life we lead. The humor was priceless. It was like reading an inside joke. I have mailed it to several of my closest dance-teacher friends across the country. The “Occupational Hazard” article was also fabulous. Thank you for adding comic relief to my day. I am going to frame the article and re-read it when I am having a difficult day.
—Bobbie Tauber,
Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts, Newbury Park, CA

I [want] to tell you how much I enjoy your magazine. It is so much help to me. I open it up—and magic! There is someone going through the same things as me. Thanks for sharing your years of experience and wisdom.
—MaryAnna Gooch,
Dance Connection Too, Gilbert, AZ

On behalf of the family of Ann Barzel, thank you for the excellent “In Memoriam” piece by Cheryl Ossola in the current issue (Goldrush, May/June). So many great dance professionals working today throughout the country have their roots in the Midwest! I would like to request that you ask your readership, especially teachers, choreographers, and dancers who trained or work in the Midwest, to donate or bequest their dance documents to the Ann Barzel Dance Research Collection of the Newberry Library of Chicago. To do so, please contact Martha Briggs, Lloyd Lewis Curator of Midwest Manuscripts, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections, Newberry Library, 60 West Walton St., Chicago, IL 60610; briggsm@newberry.org; 312-255-3606.

On a personal note, I love your magazine!
Betsy Glass (niece of Ann Barzel), Pleasantville, NY

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