Columns

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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Ask Rhee Gold | Looking for New Teachers

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, What is the best time of the year to search for new teachers? I’m looking for someone to start in the fall. Is it too soon to post an ad? I’m thinking the sooner the better, so that the teachers I hire can make any plans they need. Also,…

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On My Mind | Success through continuing education

Words from the publisher For the past few weeks my mind has been focused on the 2018 DanceLife Teacher Conference. The creation process has been a blast—more than 100 sessions and classes are scheduled, faculty is booked, and special events are planned. We are ready to go! Since the last conference was three years ago,…

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Dollars, Cents & Due Diligence | How to Track Your Expenses

by Michelle Cote Business success depends on revenue, so we tend to focus on it. Small studio businesses often give most of their attention to marketing, class content, and branding, hoping to increase the number of students, which translates to revenue. But the other half of the income statement is important too, and sometimes gets…

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Tips for Preschool Teachers | Teaching Global Dance

by Susan Bennett Teaching global (world) dances to preschoolers is easy and fun when you focus on elements of dance. All global dances have common elements: tempo, formation, purpose, and specific steps. Set the rhythm with up-tempo music. (Look for the genre “World Music,” which generally represents various global cultures, online or in stores.) Have…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Selling Your Studio

Advice for Dance Teachers Hi Rhee, I have been teaching for 42 years and I’m ready to retire. I have a beautiful studio in the center of a very nice town. My teachers love to teach but no one wants to take over. Is there any procedure to follow? I am not sure where to…

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Editor Speak | The Sad Tale of the Stolen Props

  I’m scrolling through the news, past stories about Republican party turmoil and the latest Hollywood sex scandal, when one headline shocks me into a scream: “What? Not again!” “Dance studio trailer filled with props stolen.” The reporter on scene in front of a strip mall dutifully explains that the studio owner isn’t as worried…

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Tips for Modern & Contemporary Teachers | Classroom Improv

by Amber Perkins I find that encouraging students to develop improvisational skills gives them not only a strong sense of confidence, but a chance to speak with their own voices and explore their own styles. You can incorporate improv into every single class you teach. Let’s say you teach a combo in class. At the…

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Ask Rhee Gold | The Importance of Being on Time

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I have been teaching for 25 years, and I’ve owned my studio for four and a half years. I’ve become increasingly concerned that parents don’t seem to be aware of the importance of bringing their children to class on time. This year, tardiness is at an all-time high. At…

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Editor Speak | The Language of Dance

When I moved to Costa Rica in 2003, I got to test an axiom I’d often heard: that you should be able to take a dance class anywhere in the world and follow along, no matter the local language. The studio near my neighborhood’s Más Por Menos grocery store was in a second-floor walkup with…

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Tips for Tap Teachers | Three-Sound & Four-Sound Cramp Rolls

by Thelma Goldberg Cramp rolls are useful both in class to strengthen small footwork and in choreography. With recital season on the horizon, here are some tips for using them: Begin with clean quarter notes. Dancers should shift weight correctly and separate their sounds. A favorite three-sound pattern for beginners is the press cramp roll,…

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Ask Rhee Gold | Parents Who Don’t Get Along

Advice for Dance Teachers Dear Rhee, I’m in need of suggestions on how to deal with competition parents who have a hard time getting along with each other. They are adults—I shouldn’t have to police their interactions. Most conflicts arise over fundraising: they can’t agree on a fundraiser, no one steps up to take the…

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On My Mind | The Benefits of Confidence

Words from the publisher Confidence benefits you and your students. Dance teachers experience frustration when they know what they want to accomplish, but fear that what they need to do to get there will upset or confuse students or parents. Sometimes anxiety about the confrontations to come, or fears of losing a student, or runaway…

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Taking Care of Business | Five Steps to Stepping Back

by Teri Mangiaratti “I’m missing too much of my children’s lives.” “I want a more normal life.” “How do I step back?” I hear these questions and complaints from studio owners all the time. Stepping back requires planning and management, but take heart: it is possible to shift roles and have a (somewhat) normal life!…

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Teacher Tune-Up | Who Am I?

by Sandi Duncan “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” wrote the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Having recently celebrated 53 years of life, I often find myself wondering, who am I? Am I living authentically? Have I become the person I hoped to be 10 or even 20 years ago? And who am I…

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Tips for Special-Needs Teachers | Fostering Motor Skills

by Tricia Gomez Let’s tackle motor skills for our ongoing discussion of the five developmental domains (cognitive, motor, self-help, social/emotional, and communication). Students with special needs often have significant delays in the motor domain, which includes both fine and gross motor skills. Focusing on motor skill development in dance class can make a profound difference…

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Editor Speak | Trust and Teachers

Trust is so important between employer and employee. Studio owners often come to our guru-in-chief, Rhee Gold, with this complaint: “I trusted my staffer! And now she’s betrayed me.” Whether the betrayal involved poaching students, overstepping authority, or spreading comments shared in confidence, the sadness and fury of the injured studio owner is palpable in…

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Wearing It Well | Curtain Call on the Art of the Catalog

Curtain Call on the Art of the Catalog by Karen White It’s a moment that never fails to work its magic. Your favorite costume catalog has arrived! Sure, weeks (or months) from now, making final decisions and fitting sizes might be frustrating, but right now, as you flip through the crisp new catalog, all you…

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Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Low-Stress Cypher Exercises

by Samara Atkins Tip 1 The street dance cypher can cause some apprehension for beginners, kids, or anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept. It’s helpful to remember that many of us come from cultures that for centuries have engaged in singing and dancing in communal circles. With some tips and exercises, anyone can approach…

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Editor Speak | Improvisation and Inspiration

The modern dance classes I took as a child started with every dancer taking a turn in the circle, improvising to whatever word the teacher called out—red, bumblebee, wooden. I loved it. In high school, I improvised a 30-second or so solo at winter guard competitions, flag and all. But now, the word “improvisation” and…

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Tips for Ballet Teachers | Using Landmarks and Boosting Morale

by David Arce Tip 1 The younger the students, the harder it is for them to interpret verbal corrections—especially directional corrections. How many times have you told students to move right, only to find them moving left? Most kids learn this skill by 2 or 3 years old, but that doesn’t mean they can do…

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