Dance Life online magazine

Improv Freeze Dance

Improv Freeze Dance

by Holly Derville-Teer One day I had 15 minutes to spare at the end of a beginner jazz class for 7- to 11-year-olds. “What am I going to do for 15 minutes?” I thought. Then I remembered my days teaching 5- to 6-year-olds and it hit me: freeze dance! I needed to create an older version of this kindergarten hit, on the spot. I recalled the improvisation class I’d taken from Derrick Yanford at the 2011 DanceLife Teacher Conference, and it came to me: improvisation freeze dance. “OK,” I said, “I am going to play the music and you can…

Dancewear Store

Dancewear Store?

Dear Rhee, I have owned a school with more than 400 students for 21 years. Until last summer there was a dancewear store about 10 miles away, where my students and those from many area schools purchased their dancewear. For the last few months I have been ordering my students’ shoes and dancewear from various wholesalers, and I have been making a nice profit from these sales. Last week the space next door to my school became available for rent and the landlord offered me a very reasonable rate. The location would be perfect for a dancewear store. I figure…

Making Peace with the Mirror

Making Peace With the Mirror

by Sandi Duncan It’s a new day of classes and you’re ready to share what you know and love. You’ve chosen your music, created your combos, and put on your workout attire. You enter the empty dance space, set up your music, and glance in the mirror. “Whoa! Wait, is that me?” you wonder. “Have I really aged so much overnight? Where did those extra pounds come from?” Dejectedly you push aside the memory of feeling pretty good when you left the house at 8 a.m. No matter how you shift your bangs to cover new wrinkles or tug on…

I Made a Huge Mistake

I Made a Huge Mistake

Hi Rhee, I made a huge mistake and I’m not sure how to get myself out of it. Two years ago I lost the studio manager who had been with me from the time I started my school, 13 years ago. She was a delight to work with and I considered her my partner in crime because she had been through all the ups and downs with me. She was always loyal, and to this day she is one of my best friends. In my search for a new manager, I asked a mother of one of my students to…

Fun Facts American Ballet Theatre

Fun Fact: American Ballet Theatre

Dance knowledge for teachers & students The world of professional ballet is often stressful. Which stress-busting items are American Ballet Theatre dancers allowed to bring with them to the studio every day? a. Adult coloring booksb. A personal masseusec. Pillows and blankets for mid-afternoon napsd. Their dogs

Dealing with Doubt

Dealing With Doubt

by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT Make a positive impression by nurturing a strong self-image Successful teaching demands that the instructor take command of her material and her classroom with authority. This can be tough, especially when you’re just launching a teaching career. Think about when you first started teaching. Did you come roaring out of the gate, full of confidence, or do you still sometimes struggle with doubts about your qualifications, teaching abilities, or leadership qualities? My first experience teaching ballet was as a dance major, in the children’s division. Was I prepared? No. It was trial by fire, with…

Rhee Responds to a Parent Question

Dear Rhee, Recently I saw that you answer readers’ questions. I’m hoping that you’ll have an answer for me. I have a 7-year-old daughter who has developed tap-dancing skills way beyond what her classmates can do. The other kids in her class have to keep repeating what they learned in previous classes, and my daughter is always ready to move on. When I approached the teacher about my concerns, she told me that my daughter was in the right class and suggested that if she really wants to be a dancer she should start taking ballet and jazz classes. I’m…

Games for Preschool Classes IG

Games for Preschool Classes

by Karen White When it comes to teaching preschoolers, you can never have too many tricks up your sleeve. Here are three games to help refocus little ones’ attention. 1. The Fairies and the Sleeping Dolls Split the class in two. Give half the students “magic” wands (you can use substitutes like pencils)—these are the fairies. Place the other half randomly around the room, standing in first position with arms in first, head tilted and eyes closed. These are the sleeping dolls. To the sounds of a lullaby or gentle ballet music, have the fairies tiptoe randomly from one doll…

Mental Rehearsals IG

Mental Rehearsals

by Debra Danese After teaching my students new choreography, I end the class or rehearsal by saying, “Don’t forget to review before we meet again.” However, in the next class I often need to reteach the movement rather than reviewing and adding on. To the students’ explanation that they don’t have time to practice because of school and other activities, I respond, “Practice in your mind,” because we all have time for that. To help them learn to do this effectively, I incorporate creative visualization into class time, a process that is often referred to by sports psychologists as “mental…

Fun Facts Hip Hop Styles

Fun Fact: Hip-Hop Style

Fun facts for teachers and students

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