September 2015 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

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.

Photo by Mim Adkins

Photo by Mim Adkins

I always hope to produce a conference that will give attendees ideas and methods for the business of dance education, along with new perspectives and technique classes that challenge and inspire. Because of the faculty members who are eager to join us, delivering all that is pretty much guaranteed. What’s not guaranteed is what I saw, over and over again, in the classrooms, hallways, and ballrooms we occupied at The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What I saw was this: teachers coming together and supporting one another by sharing stories over breakfast or lunch, offering ideas and advice during discussions, and contributing to an overall atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect. This kind of generosity—which comes from a shared goal of offering the best dance training experience possible to all students, everywhere—is critical to the success of dance education. Yes, school owners on the opposite side of the street from each other might compete for students; after all, they’re both running businesses. But both also want the best for their students.

Those of you who were there with us in Scottsdale this summer know what I’m talking about. You’re living proof that when dance teachers come together, not only in classrooms and seminars, but in spirit, great things can happen. And I believe those of you who weren’t there with us know this too.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that the dance world is a community and that it produces its best work when we all pull together. I saw that demonstrated in a powerful way at this year’s conference, and I hope that in reading this, you’ll be reminded that you too are part of that community. It’s one I’m proud to be part of.

Thanks to each one of you for giving of yourself to the children you teach, the teachers you employ, and the studio owners you support and respect.

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.