Features

Invitation to Talk

Whether you hold staff meetings or one-on-one coffee chats, make sure you’re making time to listen to your employees’ suggestions by Tamsin Nutter Tomorrow is photo day. Teacher A has worked on organizing and planning this event for weeks. In passing, Teacher B throws out a last-minute suggestion. Steam comes out of Teacher A’s ears—and…

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Making the Message Heard

Studios have many ways to communicate with clients—but is anyone listening? by Jill Randall Teachers and studio owners alike do figurative leaps, turns, and jumps to make sure that families have all the information they need about performances, rehearsals, costume fittings, open classes/parent observations, field trips, weather-related cancellations, and registration for the next season. But…

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2018 Dance Studio Life Generous Heart Awards

Join us in saluting dance humanitarians making a real difference Generosity permeates the dance education industry. You don’t have to look far to see a studio owner absorbing tuition costs for a needy student, a teacher missing a family gathering to attend an important rehearsal, or studio families stepping up to help another family in…

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Delicate Dance

A teacher’s recital choreography isn’t working. Now what? by Heather Wisner The pacing is sluggish. The transitions are clunky. The students are struggling with steps that are above their skill level. And the teacher who choreographed this recital piece is looking at you expectantly for your feedback. What do you do? Dance Studio Life spoke…

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Movement With a Message

In creating her socially aware choreography, Jessica Starr starts with her students’ stories by Joseph Carman In Los Angeles, opportunities and achievement came quickly for Jessica Starr. About a year after graduating from the University of Arizona in 2003, she moved to the entertainment hot spot. Her commercial resume soon filled up with choreography jobs…

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Holiday Hype

Fun promotions catch customers’ attention during the hectic holiday season by Chris Koseluk Looking for a way to attract attention to your studio this holiday season? Here are two fun studio promotions that play off seasonal conventions. Where’s Nutty? José Mateo Ballet Theatre promoted its 2017 holiday performances of The Nutcracker by going into hiding—hiding…

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A Camp With Character

Girls, boys—and dads—ease into ballet through Nutcracker camps by Michelle Wurtz Whether it’s The Nutcracker or your own version of a holiday showcase, a full seasonal production in a theater requires long-term student commitment, parental support, and funds. What if you don’t have some or all of these resources, but still want to involve students…

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Creative Casting

Schools attract publicity and create community by filling Nutcracker non-dancing roles with local celebrities by Jeanne Palmer-Fornarola More than 125 years after it premiered, versions of The Nutcracker are performed throughout the holiday season in regional theaters and high school auditoriums, professional venues like Lincoln Center and bare-bones in-studio settings. With so many Nuts to…

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A Nutcracker to Call Your Own

When it comes to creative inspiration, there’s no place like home by Casey C. Davenport Ballet has its fair share of repertory that transports us to a land far, far away in a time many years before our own. A sparkling example is The Nutcracker, which debuted at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia,…

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Handing Over the Keys

Maybe the best buyer for your studio is right under your nose by Chris Koseluk Owning and operating a dance studio was your career goal. It took years of work, struggle, and sacrifice, but you did it—and you’re proud of it. But nothing lasts forever, and the day may come when you realize it’s time…

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A Fresh Start

Studio owners find happiness the second time around by Ryan P. Casey As soon as Denise Johnson closed the door of Cedartown [GA] Academy of Performing Arts in 2000, she knew that leaving her beloved dance school—and surrendering her career as a dance teacher—was a mistake. “I regretted it from the very day it happened,”…

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Nonprofit Alternative

One studio owner enjoys the funds and freedom of a fiscal sponsorship by Michelle Jones Wurtz As a movement artist and studio owner, I’ve always sought to instill in my students a strong appreciation of technique as well as clarity, passion, and a general love for dance as an art form. That is my studio’s…

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Support Our Vets

Veteran teachers have much to offer a studio. Here’s some sage advice for keeping them engaged and active. by Jill Randall What a gift to have staff members who bring 20, 30, or more years of teaching experience to your program. Their understanding of technique, child development, lesson planning, and choreographing on students is deep…

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Curating Cunningham

Cunningham Technique teachers ensure a lasting legacy by Joseph Carman At New York City Center’s fifth floor studio in midtown Manhattan, former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member Jennifer Goggans leads 25 students through the rhythms and intricacies of technique that she learned firsthand from Cunningham himself. A pianist sets the tempo, punctuating it with occasional…

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Who Was Gail Grant?

We know her indispensable ballet dictionary—but do we know her? by Karen White After Cassandra Macino closed her long-running studio, she decided—as many owners do—to accept a teaching job at another studio. On her first day, she noticed copies of Gail Grant’s Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet on a table around which several…

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Steps Toward Creation

Budding choreographers learn basics in choreography class by Joseph Carman Jessica Totaro had taught for three years at Dance for Joy studio in Brielle, New Jersey, when she decided she wanted to pass on the choreographic skills that she had honed while earning her BFA at Rutgers University. Totaro approached studio owner Kimberly Houli about…

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Spring Cleaning

Suggestions for making your dances sparkle and shine Cleaning dances. It’s a dirty job, but we all have to do it! Whether students will be performing in a recital, spring showcase, or competition, you don’t want them going anywhere near a stage until you’ve wiped away all the sloppy steps, crooked lines, and cringe-worthy counts.…

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Room to Move

Improv study can boost students’ creativity, resourcefulness by Bonner Odell For dance students, the phrase “let’s improv” can evoke a range of emotions: anxiety, excitement, insecurity, curiosity, or all of the above. Educators are responding to the ever-growing influence of improv as a training tool by incorporating it into contemporary, hip-hop, and jazz lessons—or even…

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Great Beginnings

Ease students into class with an opening ritual When you step through the studio door, do you shake off the day and refocus on the lesson to come? It’s not always an easy transition, but educators understand its importance, and most work out their own method for making it happen. But what about students—who, just…

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Summertime Teacher Training

Your 2018 guide to workshops and intensives across the U.S. Programs are listed in alphabetical order by sponsoring or producing organization.   Horton Teacher Workshop Sponsoring or producing organization: The Ailey Extension Dates: Session I, introductory/beginner, July 9–13; Session II, intermediate/advanced, July 16–20 Location: Joan Weill Center for Dance, New York City Fees/cost: Session I…

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Coming on Strong

Smart conditioning can help keep kids injury-free by Jennifer Kaplan Do you think your dancers are getting everything they need in their technique classes to prepare their bodies and minds for dance? Think again, says dance educator and physical therapist Alexis Sams. Through her private practice, ANS Fitness and Physical Therapy, she provides physical therapy,…

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You’re Out!

How to keep your studio running smoothly when you take time off by Jennifer Rienert Opening a dance studio, being your own boss, and creating your own work schedule is a dream come true for so many dance educators. But being the boss can also mean that the business relies on you to an exorbitant…

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Dancing at Disney

What to know before you go by Debbie Werbrouck Your kids are happy with the performing opportunities you provide: an annual recital, maybe a spring show or competition season, appearances at community events. But what if your students could perform in the Happiest Place on Earth? The Disney Performing Arts Program provides in-park educational workshops,…

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A Place in the Sun

Use summer camps to boost studio revenue and enrollment by MaryBeth Kemp Ah, summer! For many people, it’s the season of taking it easy. That’s certainly not the case at dance studios that fill their summer schedules with dynamic and creative camp programs. Traditionally, studios mimicked the public school year: open September to June, closed…

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Geography of Ballet

A historical overview of ballet’s beginnings by Joseph Carman Who can take credit for ballet? Many people believe ballet to be a French invention, but the history of this art form is actually much more interesting and complicated than that. Ballet’s hub shifted from one century to the next, and European schools profoundly influenced one…

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