On My Mind

On My Mind: Moving Forward

Words from the publisher Life is a journey. We’ve all heard that idea many times, expressed in many ways. But to make the most of that journey, sometimes we need to pause at the crossroads along the way, to look back at the distance we’ve traveled and toward the paths leading into the future. First,…

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On My Mind: Impress with your recital

Words from the publisher Your recital is your best opportunity to leave clients with a lasting impression of your creativity, organization, and dedication to making their children feel special. Think about it: when do we have all of our clients in the same room at the same time? I consider it a chance to wow…

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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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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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July 2017 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher I recently traveled to Glendale, Arizona, to present weekend seminars at the Spisak Dance Academy. It was a different seminar experience than most I’ve had, because I got to work with everyone involved—the faculty, the students, and their parents. The kids and the teachers were easy for me, but the parents…

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May-June 2017 | On My Mind

by Rhee Gold

This March I had the honor of giving a keynote speech and presenting seminars at the Victorian Dance Festival in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The experience reminded me once again that dance educators are the same no matter where they practice their craft.

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March-April 2017 | On My Mind

by Rhee Gold

Just as I admire school owners for working together to improve dance education, I have always respected UDMA’s ability to unite some of the largest and most respected vendors in the industry. Together these vendors donate thousands of dollars for National Dance Week, offer continuing education seminars for teachers and school owners, and produce the largest American trade show in the field.

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February 2017 | On My Mind

by Rhee Gold

Creating choreography is an opportunity to be an artist, to make a statement, or to entertain. An audience, except perhaps for dance teachers or judges, isn’t generally impressed with spectacular feats; the average audience member doesn’t even know the difficulty of a given move. However, an audience always responds positively to performances that elicit an emotional response or provoke thought.

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January 2017 | On My Mind

by Rhee Gold

A new year is upon us, the time when we traditionally make resolutions about things we want to change about ourselves—lose a few pounds, read more, budget better, and so on. It’s a great opportunity for studio owners and dance teachers to resolve to change their professional lives for the better too. Here are my suggestions for you to adopt and share.

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December 2016 | On My Mind

Let’s imagine that one town has two very good schools, and let’s say that they are roughly equal in size and that each offers a quality dance education. What could make one school stand out above the other?

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November 2016 | On My Mind

Children depend on us to protect them from being exploited or sexualized. In a society that appears to accept and promote the sexualization of women and girls, it’s hard to stand strong and insist—as I’ve done for decades—that dance teachers must be advocates for their students. But I believe every dance teacher must stand firm against movement, music, and choreography that inappropriately sexualize young girls.

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October 2016 | On My Mind

After months of attending conferences and giving speeches across the United States and Canada, I’ve discovered that there is always more to appreciate about our dance education community.

We are witnessing a time in dance history when many school owners have become smart small business owners who offer quality dance education to every child—and they are being rewarded with financial success. For dance teachers, there have never been more opportunities to teach, not only at these schools but also in a new field that has evolved, in which master teachers travel throughout North America to teach and choreograph at small-town studios. And everywhere they go, they inspire young people to pursue their dance dreams.

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September 2016 | On My Mind

Today school owners want to learn to lead with confidence, both in their schools and as mentors, leaders, and teachers in their communities. They want to be part of a unified voice in dance education that stands for everything that is good for their students and the field. By working together, teachers and school owners can preserve the integrity of dance education—and, on a personal level, evolve in this exciting, ever-changing world of dance and dance studios.

I am proud to lead this call to unified action by founding the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association (I.D.E.A.), the first business association for dance school owners who are ready to stand up for a business model based on a code of ethics. In addition, I.D.E.A. focuses on cultivating new knowledge—the members’ website is loaded with management tools, e-learning courses, and webinars, along with such tools as customizable forms, correspondence, policies, coloring pages, and marketing materials. Regional professional development seminars will be held around the United States and, eventually, internationally.

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August 2016 | On My Mind

Not too long ago, marketing at most dance schools meant investing big bucks in printing, postage, and newspaper ads. Many school owners couldn’t pay for that kind of marketing, but nowadays, social media puts all schools on a level playing field. My motto is “Give it the time, and it will give you the return.” Where many school owners make mistakes, however—and squelch their social media success—is in moving beyond dance into hot-topic issues in their posts.

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July 2016 | On My Mind

In my seminars I often talk about change: I believe that accepting it is key to personal and professional success. Some change is hard to accept, but some feels like a natural evolution. Some can be a little of both. That’s the case for me as Cheryl A. Ossola, after nearly a decade at the helm of Dance Studio Life, has decided to transition into a new role here. Though Cheryl has stepped down as editor in chief, she continues to provide valuable expertise and support in her new and evolving position as senior editor.

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May-June 2016 | On My Mind

Sometimes when I tell people that I believe dance can change lives, I receive skeptical reactions, especially from non-dance people. Maybe they’d change their minds if they heard about Pierson Feeney, an 11-year-old who lives in D’Iberville, Mississippi, and takes dance classes at Gulf Coast School of Performing Arts. The Kansas City Star recently reprinted a story about him, and I want to share it with you.

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March-April 2016 | On My Mind

Winning (or not) is part of competition, but the process is what offers the most gain for the kids. It bothers me when teachers, dancers, and parents can’t see the life lessons because they are so focused on winning. The high level of commitment expected of today’s competitive dancers is an excellent teacher of how to balance demands (of academics and of dance), to understand sacrifice, to appreciate the results of hard work, and so much more.

During this competition season, then, let’s all recognize the process as much as we do the outcome.

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February 2016 | On My Mind

There are many ways to evaluate a dance school. We might first think of the merit of the faculty or training. Or we might consider the awards won; the number of students who move on to the professional world; the quality of the customer service, organization, and professionalism; or other factors.

To me, though, quality is reflected most in the atmosphere and spirit of the community created within the school, especially among the intensive dancers. Instinctively, at a performance or in the classroom, I can feel whether (or not) the kids get along with and respect each other. Competitiveness or jealousy aren’t simply inward emotions felt by those who possess them—the actions, emotions, or distractions that they can create usually seep out to affect the classroom and sometimes an entire school.

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January 2016 | On My Mind

It’s a new year, and I’ll bet you have some sort of self-improvement goals for 2016. If one of them is to become a better teacher, try this: imagine that each time you enter your school you are walking in the stage door, prepared to give the best performance possible.

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December 2015 | On My Mind

As we prepare to head into 2016, I am thrilled to launch a concept that has been dancing around in my mind for more than five years: an international business conference and association for dance school owners. This dream will become a reality with the first I.D.E.A. (International Dance Educators Association) conference, held July 30 through August 1, 2016, at The Phoenician, a luxurious resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. With many respected dance teacher organizations offering high-quality dance conventions, master classes, teacher training, and competition or performance opportunities, I.D.E.A. will take a different tack, focusing on the development and implementation of high business and ethical standards.

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November 2015 | On My Mind

We all have opinions. And sometimes, when they’re on topics that have the potential to affect large groups of people, our perspective can be controversial. When I know that’s the case, I try to convey mine in a non-judgmental way, hoping to stir up thoughtful debate rather than offend people who disagree with me. Recently I stood strong on an issue, and I made some enemies.

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September 2015 | On My Mind

I’m writing this two days after the 2015 DanceLife Teacher Conference, our biggest and best yet. Each time we produce this event I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into it—and each time, as it concludes, I forget about the work because I’m overwhelmed by the enthusiasm, spirit, and generosity of the hundreds of dance teachers and studio owners who spend those four or five days with us, immersed in dance.

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August 2015 | On My Mind

For most dance teachers, this time of year—the beginning of a new dance season—marks a fresh start. You’ll welcome back students who are growing up before your eyes, and you’ll see many new faces, students who will experience the excitement of dance for the first time.

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July 2015 | On My Mind

In this issue’s “Ask Rhee Gold” column, I advise a school owner on how to approach a delicate situation. You’ve all encountered complex issues among your students’ families—divorces, deaths, substance abuse, and so on. But as our world changes, so do its complexities. The question this woman asked isn’t one that any of us would have heard even five years ago, but it’s likely to become more common.

The advice sought was about how to respond to—and how to explain to other students and their parentsa young transgender student’s request to be recognized as Jessica rather than as Josh.

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May-June 2015 | On My Mind

Honest. Trustworthy. We all label ourselves with those words, and that’s a good start. Next up: having the integrity to prove them true.

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