July 2016 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

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.

Photo by Mim Adkins

Photo by Mim Adkins

As for me, when I was a kid I wanted to be a writer, but the dance career won out. Later, in my 30s, I got fired up about some dance education issues and started writing commentary for my newsletter, Goldrush. On a whim, I sent one of these articles to Dance Magazine, and they published it! After that, I sent them everything that I wrote. The readers liked my articles, and the magazine hired me as an education columnist. Cheryl was assigned to edit my columns—and we’ve worked together ever since.

Cheryl has edited almost everything I’ve written, from my book, The Complete Guide to Teaching Dance, to all of the Rhee Gold Company’s Dance School Management Series handbooks and my contributions to Dance Studio Life. Even when I send her badly written content, she knows what I’m trying to say and works her magic to help me make the best impression.

Cheryl’s leadership helped propel the well-intentioned 48-page Goldrush into the Dance Studio Life you’re reading now: one of the largest and most respected publications in the dance education field. Her expertise; her commitment to high artistic and production values and to a standard of excellence in writing, editing, and fact checking; and her focus on practical content have had a major impact on the magazine—and on me. In the early days the staff was very small, but to take the magazine forward, Cheryl assembled an exceptional team of editors and production staff supported by professional ad sales and office staff, and we’re still growing. Cheryl’s influence has ensured that we will continue to serve our readers with the best content.

To that end, I’m excited that Thom Watson, formerly the magazine’s managing editor, is the new editor in chief. Thom came to us two years ago with a background in information technology management, new media, education, and advocacy, and he has been an integral part of our current success.

While it’s not always easy for me to accept that Cheryl’s role has changed, at the same time it seems a natural evolution that someone she brought on board, mentored, and helped prepare for new responsibilities takes up the reins to continue to implement our shared vision.

The future of Dance Studio Life looks bright, then, as we move forward with fresh leadership rooted in a solid foundation. Thanks to Cheryl and Thom, and the dedicated and hard-working team that supports them, I am a lucky publisher!


DSL publisher Rhee Gold has owned a dance competition, presided over national dance teaching organizations, and founded Project Motivate. His book, The Complete Guide to Teaching Dance, is in its second printing.