September 2016 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

Twenty years ago I thought it would be cool to bring dance teachers and school owners together for a business and motivational seminar that I called Project Motivate. Instinct told me that dance teachers needed to share their lives in dance education, their business strategies, and a pervasive bond—a passion for the art of dance.

Photo by Mim Adkins

Photo by Mim Adkins

Some of my dear (dance) friends thought I was nuts—or at least unrealistic. At that time, teachers didn’t share much information because they were afraid of being judged for their educational background or opinions. And why would school owners share with other owners the business ideas and practices that made them successful? I have to admit that I experienced some sleepless nights wondering if my friends were right.

 After a slow start, Project Motivate morphed into the DanceLife Teacher Conference, which in 2015 attracted more than 800 teachers and school owners from around the world. Not only did the conference’s concept work, but it launched a new business industry within the dance education field. With more to offer and more to learn, professionals now know that sharing methods and insights is a positive development for everyone.

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.

I’m taking my years of experience and knowledge (including what I’ve learned from thousands of generous teachers and school owners) to create a new organization that is relevant to dance education in the 21st century. It’s the natural next step in the choreography of success. Please check out the website at or call us at 508.285.6650 for more information. Let’s enjoy the dance journey together.

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.