Columns

Tips for Tap Teachers | Take the Shuffle From Simple to Complex

by Thelma Goldberg Tip 1 I’ve discussed shuffles before (2 Tips for Tap Teachers: “Shuffles,” May/June 2015), but there’s always more to say about this basic tap skill, which can challenge both beginners and professionals with ideas that range from simple to complex. First, let’s keep it simple. The simple shuffle combines a brush forward…

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Editor Speak | New Year, New You

It’s September—the New Year of the dance studio industry. Just as January 1 motivates people to exercise more or curb bad habits, anything seems possible at the start of the new studio year. This year, teachers everywhere vow, we’ll be sticklers about the dress code. We’ll draw up a lesson plan, watch our tone, dial…

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Tips for Modern & Contemporary Teachers | Can Your Students Tell Modern From Contemporary?

by Amber Perkins Can your dancers tell modern from contemporary? Thanks to its rising popularity, contemporary dance is often merged into modern classes and competition categories. But your students should understand that modern dance is its own genre, with an established history, specific curriculums, and exact elements (for example Horton technique’s Ts, laterals, and overcurve…

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Ask Rhee Gold: The hows and whys of class placement

Advice for dance teachers | The hows and whys of class placement Dear Rhee, I am frustrated by parents who question everything I do, especially the decisions I make relating to class placement, who is on the competition team, and who still needs to work before making the team. These parents watch what I do…

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Taking Care of Business | Four Steps to Setting and Reaching Your Goals

by Teri Mangiaratti   Short-term goals, long-term goals, goals, goals, goals! Books, conferences, and seminars advise us how to set and reach goals and measure our progress, yet it’s still difficult. Here are four simple steps that truly will help you set and reach your goals effectively. Cut out this page to use when you’re…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Keeping Current

by Sandi Duncan Once upon a time, we were the cool teachers. We created cutting-edge choreography and classes and felt on top of our game. But as time has passed and we’ve aged oh so gracefully, new trends have emerged in our field, leaving many of us scratching our heads and wondering how to keep…

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Ask Rhee Gold: Choreographer Contracts

Advice for dance teachers | Choreographer Contracts Dear Rhee, Off and on for many years, our studio has brought in master teachers to create choreography for our competitive students. This year a choreographer set a fantastic routine on a large group of our older students. The total expense for this was more than $4,000, including…

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On My Mind: Find the Real Win in Competition

Words from the publisher As we begin a new competition season, let’s remember that our goal should be to instill in our students a passion for performing rather than merely the desire to win awards. The satisfaction of an excellent performance is all the inspiration we and our students need to work harder and continue…

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Tips for Special-Needs Teachers | Communication: Receptive & Expressive Language

by Tricia Gomez Tip 1 Most special-needs students are in therapy and/or working with an individualized education program (IEP) in school. Their goals will fall into one or more of five developmental domains: cognitive, motor, self-help, social/emotional, and communication. Whether you’re teaching a special-needs class or have one student with learning differences, understanding these domains—and…

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Ask Rhee Gold | The Importance of the Recital

Advice for dance teachers | The Importance of the Recital Dear Rhee, At the end of last season, I had parents who were upset because they thought the recital experience was too much trouble. One parent actually sent me an email to say her child would not be returning unless I decided to drop the…

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Editor Speak | Weird Science

A headline in the April 20, 2017, edition of USA Today caught my eye: “People trust science. So why don’t they believe it?” The writer was grappling with the notion that while many people claim to have full faith in science, when they’re confronted with data that contradicts what they believe—regarding global warming or vaccinations,…

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Wearing It Well | By Design With Lauren Weissman

by Karen White How do you design a dance costume? First, you listen. “When I started attending trade shows,” says Lauren Weissman, “all the teachers were saying, ‘My parents are driving me crazy because the kids are complaining about all these sequins under the arms.’ ” Apparently, company designers had been outlining costume armholes with…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Building Community in Class

by Samara Atkins Tip 1 Dance educators understand the importance of harmony in the classroom. Remarkable ideas come alive when everyone feels inspired to create together. When you are teaching, you are the host of a classroom for a block of time. Accomplishing your goals will hinge on the class’ collective energy and vibe. You…

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Ask Rhee Gold: Changing Your Faculty’s Perspective on Competition

Advice for dance teachers | Changing Your Faculty’s Perspective on Competition Dear Rhee, Although I enjoy the competition experience and I know that my students learn and grow through the process, some of my faculty members believe that preparing students for competition is the most important aspect of teaching. How would you suggest that I…

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Editor Speak | That’s the Work

One of my favorite dance-teacher phrases is “That’s the work.” I’ve heard many teachers say it, always with a look of deep satisfaction. I can tell they love that “Aha!” moment when teacher and student together figure out what an exercise or step is really all about. When you finally feel those inner thigh muscles…

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Tips for Ballet Teachers | “Music Is the Boss” and Ballet Knees

by David Arce Tip 1 Young dancers often don’t follow the music’s tempo during an exercise. This is usually either because they can’t perform the steps at that tempo, or because they are speeding ahead of the music. In either scenario, it’s helpful to say or sing the steps on the music. I also have…

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Ask Rhee Gold: Ending Class on a Positive Note

Advice for dance teachers | Ending Class on a Positive Note Dear Rhee, As a studio owner, I believe that my faculty needs to remember that our students should feel a sense of accomplishment by the time they leave dance class. It isn’t about hollow compliments or accolades, but about ending class on a positive…

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On My Mind | The Beginning of a New Season

Words from the publisher The beginning of a new season offers dance teachers and studio owners a clean slate with awesome possibilities. Faculty and kids are enthusiastic about returning to the studio, but what can we do to maintain that enthusiasm throughout the season? Although classes always have a certain structure, usually consisting of a…

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Dollars, Cents, and Due Diligence | Common Mistakes New Small Businesses Make

by Michelle Cote So you’re opening a new dance studio, you’re excited, and you’re sure the location and space will work. In my work as an accountant, I’ve seen small-business owners—both new and existing—make various financial mistakes. Here a few common mistakes to watch out for: Undercharging. New business owners frequently undercharge for services, hoping…

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Teacher Tune-Up | The Feeling Is Mutual

by Sandi Duncan “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space,” writes Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, author of the 2008 book My Stroke of Insight. Read that request again—paying attention to it could improve the emotional outlook of your entire studio. If you’re experiencing a lot of negative energy at your studio,…

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July 2017 | Ask Rhee Gold | Retaining Recital Choreography

Advice for dance teachers | Retaining Recital Choreography Dear Rhee, What are your strategies to help students retain recital choreography? This year was especially hard, which resulted in a lot of stress for my students and me. I know I must be missing some tricks of the trade. Any expertise is appreciated. —Mikala Hi Mikala,…

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July 2017 | Tips for Modern & Contemporary Teachers | Contemporary Classroom Etiquette

Contemporary Classroom Etiquette by Jennifer McQuiston Lott Tip 1 Ballet has its history of established etiquette; classic modern techniques such as Graham or Limón follow clear rules of conduct. A typical contemporary class may be more relaxed, but classroom etiquette is still important. Outlining and enforcing a code of behavior will prepare your contemporary students…

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July 2017 | Ask Rhee Gold | Competition Programs

Advice for dance teachers | Competition Programs Dear Rhee, At what age do you believe a child should begin a competition program? We’ve always started at 10; now parents are asking me if I will accept kids as young as 6. I don’t know if the children and their parents are prepared for the amount…

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July 2017 | EditorSpeak

Butterflies and Beginnings I have a confession to make: The last time I taught dance was many years ago, although the butterflies I felt before every class are still fresh in my mind. My university’s dance department required its students to teach a semester-long dance class to preschoolers at the school’s childcare center. My first…

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