Columns

Tips for Preschool Teachers | Become a Classroom Zen Master

by Susan Bennett We think of a Zen master as a wise and hyperaware person who brings goodness and joy, practices deep contemplation, and has great insight. With the following tips, such mastery in the preschool dance classroom can be yours. Contemplate deeply what is developmentally appropriate for your preschool students. A master teacher should…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Different rates for different work

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, You talk about hiring directors for different programs like preschool or summer sessions, but how can a studio owner afford to pay an hourly teaching rate to a teacher functioning as a director? Should I hire an outside person who could be paid less? Your input would be appreciated.…

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Wearing It Well | Thrifty Possibilities

by Karen White Ah, to be a lyrical teacher! Costume catalogs contain endless choices—gossamer-kissed skirts that sweep the floor, leotards with lacy appliqués, classic tunic dresses, each more scrumptious than the last. Equally gorgeous are the oh-so-many ballet looks, from sassy tutus to Romantic-length charmers. Alas, I am but a lowly musical theater teacher, and…

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Tips for Modern & Contemporary Teachers | Memorized Warm-Ups

by Amber Perkins Through the many hectic competition weekends to come, one way to assure that students continue to stretch, focus, balance, and strengthen is to create a warm-up that they can memorize and use on their own. I developed a warm-up that can be done anywhere—in a hotel room, backstage, and even outside. My…

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Ask Rhee Gold | No-text policy

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, Is it OK for parents to contact dance teachers through text messages? I feel like I am at work 24/7 because there are messages waiting for me when I wake up, and more messages come in all day and night. I never have the chance to fully get away…

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EditorSpeak | A Pretty Good Magazine

“Just reading through the August magazine, and thinking that we put out a pretty good magazine.” Tamsin Nutter, DSL associate editor, made that comment one July afternoon. She was one of five editors, an art designer, and a production manager still here as DSL wound down to its end. Because of the months-in-advance work schedule…

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Tips for Tap Teachers | Moving Beyond Improv to Choreography

by Thelma Goldberg Tap students of all ages delight in creating their own rhythms. Invite your students to participate in the creative process—it will build their confidence, musicality, phrasing, and problem-solving, and it will engage their minds and bodies in new ways. Choreography requires advance planning (unlike spontaneous improvisation), an understanding of musical structure, a…

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Ask Rhee Gold | A passion for dance, at any size

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, I have a student who has sized out of all the costume companies’ charts. She has been with me since she was a baby and is only 13 years old. She loves to dance, but I don’t know what to do if she registers again this year. Should I…

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Taking Care of Business | Ban the “Can’t Afford It” Blues

by Teri Mangiaratti “I can’t afford it.” We often default to this refrain when deciding whether to buy new equipment, take a vacation, hire staff, sign a new lease, or make any other expensive change. And yes—at times we can’t afford what we want. But other times we can with the help of research and…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Bring Back That Family Feeling

by Sandi Duncan “We are a family, like a giant tree./ Branching out toward the sky.” These lyrics from the Dreamgirls song “Family” resonate with me. When I reflect on the many members of the dance family I’ve developed over years of teaching, and also of owning a studio, I feel love and deep gratitude.…

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Ask Rhee Gold | The importance of keeping control

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, I lost a teacher to a nearby school. She took about 20 percent of my enrollment with her and I am devastated personally and financially. The hardest part is that I let this teacher take over my most advanced classes. After 22 years of teaching, I thought it was…

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On My Mind | Where your true success lies

Words from the publisher As we produce our final competition issue, I’m grateful for the competition and convention businesses that have supported Dance Studio Life. As someone who grew up competing as a student, prepared students for competition as a teacher, and served as a competition director, I have always known the good that the…

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Tips for Special-Needs Teachers | Finding the Just-Right Challenge

by Tricia Gomez We’ve all experienced walking into a dance class as a student and finding it beyond our understanding or abilities. Maybe the teacher teaches too fast, uses unfamiliar terminology, or asks you to do something that requires more flexibility than you have. Or you’re excited to take a workshop—only to find out that…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Scaffolding Difficult Moves

by Samara Atkins Difficult moves in a routine—for example, the running man and cadence for youth, the Robocop for adults, and the Roger Rabbit for everyone—can be daunting. You can make them less daunting by introducing basic concepts to students early in class, and by using a variety of approaches.   Introduce basic concepts during…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Stepping back

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, I am proud to have made it through many trials and tribulations during 27 years of studio ownership. My business has been a godsend, and I love that I have created a special studio community where 200 kids feel safe. Although I see myself continuing to run the business…

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Tips for Ballet Teachers | Holding Plié and Feeling “Ballet Muscles”

by David Arce Ballet is all about plié. Once students leave the barre for the center, nearly every step and position starts with plié—especially jumps. So periodically, during warm-up changements or sautés, give your students extra time to find and hold deep pliés. During a repetitive series of jumps—for example, eight changements—students often sacrifice the…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Saying no to perks for friends

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, I’m a new studio owner. Many of my students are the children of parents who are my friends or people I grew up with. In the beginning, I thought I was lucky to have all this support from people who cared about me. But as I enter my business’…

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EditorSpeak | Don’t Apologize

It’s a new school year. Do you know where your convictions are? After a summer of lax schedules and lazy days, educators return to the classroom with high hopes. Perhaps you are like me, and as your body lay calmly on the beach your mind churned with “what ifs” for curriculum and choreography. Today we…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Kindness in Our Community

by Sandi Duncan In these challenging times, it’s refreshing to witness the good-hearted people of the dance community performing so many acts of kindness. In the past year alone, I’ve seen dancers, studio owners, teachers, and dance families raising funds for those affected by floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, and banding together to run clothing and…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Social Media Marketing

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, I’ve employed all kinds of advertising during the 14 years I’ve owned my studio. Last year I began dabbling in social media marketing, and as I use it more and more, I wonder how frequently I should post. My once-a-week posts have seen good results, but some of my…

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On My Mind | Swing the pendulum back

Words from the publisher A while ago I held a seminar for teachers and studio owners at a dance convention that included a competition. These awesome people were teachers for all the right reasons—everyone was excited about learning new approaches for the classroom and business. At one point, a conversation started up about dance competitions…

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Dollars, Cents & Due Diligence | You Need a Business Plan—and Here’s Why

by Bruce Lubatkin Don’t have a business plan? You’re not alone. Yet a business financial plan—also called a profit and loss statement (P&L) or simply a budget—is a crucial tool for small business owners. If used vigilantly, it will help you monitor and improve your studio’s financial health.   Why do I need a business…

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Tips for Preschool Teachers | Jump on the Beat

by Susan Bennett Here’s a fun game in which students jump into circles on the beat. The objectives are to learn how to travel safely and anticipate when to jump by counting and feeling the beat. First, create circles or any geometric shapes, two to three feet in diameter, on the floor using tape. (Test…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Announcing the sale of your studio

Advice for dance teachers Dear Rhee, I have owned my studio for 25 years. I’ve been suffering from burnout for the last three years, and today feel fortunate that I’ve found someone to purchase my studio. She is a wonderful person and I am so happy for her and my dance family. This is my…

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EditorSpeak | Learning to Love Dance

The college professor had a question: “Why don’t dance studios do more concert dance?” In one sense, the answer is easy: “Because we’re not a concert dance company or a college dance department.” Those exist in their own spheres where they are valued for what they are. (I doubt many modern-based concert companies constantly face…

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