Columns

EditorSpeak | A Trend That Must End

  No one’s happier than me when mass culture pays fleeting attention to dance. Dance in ads, movies, TV, and fashion means jobs for dancers. Right? Not always. Why hire an actual dancer when a model or celebrity can pretend to be a dancer, only hotter? Same difference, right? You know what I’m talking about.…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs

by Samara Atkins To make sure my students are ready to receive what I’m teaching, I start every class with a three-song warm-up. The first song is medium to fast tempo, and I focus on moves that loosen the muscles and get the blood pumping. I may introduce a few difficult moves here, giving students…

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EditorSpeak | Cutting Through the Chatter

“OK, OK. I get it! I like that you guys like each other, but can you please stop talking?” I was teaching my last musical theater class of the night—or trying to. Every time I paused—to reset the music, answer an individual question, take a breath, or even to think—two dozen voices created a tsunami…

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Tips for Ballet Teachers | Flexing the Feet and Pointing Through the Shins

by David Arce A flexed-foot position isn’t used in ballet technique (unless you are of the school of thought that uses a flexed foot in frappés), yet I find it invaluable for students. Here’s one of the first exercises my students do in class: Start in first position, while facing the barre, before or after…

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Dollars, Cents & Due Diligence | How Will the New Tax Law Affect You?

by Michelle Cote The new tax law was passed late in 2017 with much fanfare and discussion. Will it affect your 2018 taxes positively or negatively? The bottom line: overall, it will lower most people’s taxes, though in certain states, some higher-bracket taxpayers will see their tax burden increase. Read on for some of the…

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Teacher Tune-Up | “Why You Want to Leave Me?”

by Sandi Duncan It’s the time of year when we watch our graduating seniors eagerly preparing to move on from the life they’ve known within our studio walls. As their high school years come to a close, we see their excitement as college acceptance letters pour in and they attend proms and graduations. For students…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Changing with the times

Advice for Dance Teachers Hello Rhee, I remember that you spoke years ago at Project Motivate about how teachers can assure that their male students look masculine by having them do the same arm positions as the girls, but with fists instead of feminine hands and such. When I judge, I often comment on this,…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Thank-you card etiquette

Advice for Dance Teachers Hi Rhee, This year I started working at a new studio, and was overwhelmed with gifts at Christmas. I spent almost two hours writing thank-you notes, then started to panic about forgetting someone or overlooking a gift, and maybe causing offense. In one small class I received gifts from all students…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Setting policies for dance trips

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, Some of my studio parents have backed out of our upcoming performance trip to Disney, causing a lot of issues at the studio and stress for me. These same parents still want to attend this spring’s competitions. The Disney trip was our original plan—the competitions weren’t added until later.…

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On My Mind | Making fulfillment a priority

Words from the publisher You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. One day while I was scrolling through Instagram, those words stopped me cold. It was the start of the year—the time when people face the future with fresh attitudes and resolutions. When I read the quote, I was scheduling a year of…

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Editor Speak | The Pain of Pointe

I’ve been carrying a chip on my shoulder for more than 30 years, and it has to do with dancing on pointe, or rather, stumbling around the dance studio in pointe shoes. When classes began the fall I was 10 years old, my ballet teacher made an announcement that came as a surprise: we were…

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Editor Speak | I Know What I Like

At this point in my dancing life, I know what I like. I’m lucky if I dance twice a week, so I try to choose classes wisely. Here’s what I look for: Quick-moving. Slow classes were great when I was getting back into shape after having kids. Now they’re frustrating. My muscles get cold, the…

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Tips for Tap Teachers | Improving Step Recall

by Thelma Goldberg With recital season upon us, let’s talk about memory and how to help our students strengthen their long-term recall of tap steps. Memories form when our neurons get fired up and make connections (or synapses) with one another to form a pattern of activity. During the memory encoding stage, dancers learn movements…

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Taking Care of Business | Five Steps to Surviving Summer

We all long for the free time and sunshine of summer. Yet summer is a difficult season for most studio owners. Monthly tuition drops off as students hit the beach instead of the studio. As business owners, we must prepare carefully for the seasonal nature of our field. Let’s take a look at five steps…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Just Be

by Sandi Duncan In this ever-changing landscape of life, we may find ourselves constantly on the go, working to complete as many tasks and goals as the day will allow. If your to-do list is longer than your leg and multitasking is a way of life, you may be in need of some time to…

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Tips for Special-Needs Teachers | Encouraging Self-Help

by Tricia Gomez This month we’re focusing on the self-help developmental domain, which requires skills from the motor and cognitive domains. Activities of daily living (ADLs), such as feeding, dressing, self-care, and self-regulation, are often taken for granted, but this is an area where many students with learning differences and special needs struggle. Let’s take…

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Editor Speak | Studio Safe Place

I know someone in prison. He’s a dance teacher—or was, before he was found guilty of raping girls he had taught at dance studios in two states. At this point, he’s been in prison for more than nine years with time still left to go. Whenever I read a story about a dance studio instructor…

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Wearing It Well | Costume Cleaning Tips from The Line Up

by Heather Turbeville Let’s be honest. What do your students’ dance costumes smell like after a performance? What about after three or four performances? And what stains have the garments accumulated—makeup, self tanner, permanent marker? But you can’t wash those sequined leggings or that rhinestone-studded biketard, can you? Yes, you can. According to Deb Erickson,…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Rhythm Skills

by Samara Atkins Rhythm is at the heart of doing hip-hop dance well. The most amazing hip-hop dancers in the game now are revered for their skill in playing off a song’s many rhythms. To practice catching nuanced rhythmic changes, try this exercise I call “the ever-evolving soundscape.” Students stand in a circle, facing inward.…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Lesson Planning

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, Do you have a solid estimate of how much time teachers should spend on class planning per class? I know it varies depending on the discipline, but I’m trying to help my two full-time staff members figure out what portion of their work week can reasonably be spent on…

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Tips for Ballet Teachers | Winding Up & Shoulder Tension in Pirouettes

by David Arce A clean preparation is crucial in pirouettes, whether en dehors or en dedans. To combat the bad habit of “winding up” the preparation port de bras (to gain force for more turns), try this. Students prepare for the turn in a lunge or plié in fourth, one arm in first position, the…

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Ask Rhee Gold | New Music Choices

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I’m frustrated and want to pick your brain about music. I spend endless hours making it easy for my staff to choose fun and interesting music for recital dances. I research new music every week. I set up Spotify playlists and provide Kindles in every classroom with playlists for…

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Editor Speak | The Genius Myth

When a raft of sexual harassment and physical abuse allegations surfaced in December against Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet, I was first shocked, then not surprised (hello, ballet world!). Then I thought, if Balanchine were alive now, he’d be in big trouble. No one, as far as I know,…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Lots of Love

by Sandi Duncan The dance studio industry can be competitive. Owning a studio may lead to insecurity, fear, doubt, and complete exhaustion. As owner, you have many people around you, yet the loneliness can be overwhelming. Often we build walls around ourselves for fear of being hurt or disappointed by clients or our competitors. We…

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