Classroom Wisdom

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…

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…

It Started with Breath

It Started with Breath

by Bill Evans Our modern-dance ancestors started with breath. For Martha Graham, it was called “contraction and release”; for Doris Humphrey, “fall and recovery”; for Rudolf Laban, “growing and shrinking.” As you enter the studio, notice your own breath to help you become centered. Draw your students’ attention to their breath to help them become…

Leaps and Bounds Above

Leaps and Bounds Above the Other 4-Year-Olds

by Rhee Gold Hi Rhee, I am a dance teacher/studio owner, and I have come across the most persistent parents I have ever met in all my years of teaching dance (20-plus)—or school, for that matter. (I taught kindergarten for 12 years.) These parents have a daughter who turned 4 last spring. They are angry…

Teacher Talk Parent Teacher Conferences

Teacher Talk: Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences Q: I’ve always been very open and available to discuss a student’s progress when parents have concerns, and during optional end-of-year conversations. But I have some mothers who request parent conferences every couple of months. I have to spend time not only holding these conferences, but collecting pertinent info from multiple teachers. Should…

Barre Boredom

Barre Boredom

by Casey Davenport Are your ballet babes bored with barre? One typical Friday afternoon I watched as the 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old petit rats in my Ballet 1 class spent their precious barre time focusing on all the fundamentals that will serve their future dance goals—fidgeting, lip-synching the latest pop tune, and posing for imaginary…

Gregg Russell Teaching Tips

Gregg Russell Teaching Tips: Slides & Warm-Up

Teaching tap slides can be trickier than you think. Most students like to lift their heels off the ground and straighten their legs when they slide; however, doing this makes it harder to control the slide and maximize its length. Three rules to guide them: feet flat (helps maintain balance); plié (makes sliding on a challenging surface like marley easier); and weight evenly distributed (helps with connecting the slide to the next step).

The Case of the Disappearing Students

The Case of the Disappearing Students

Through my research with dance school owners, I’ve discovered that it is not uncommon for their businesses to have up to a 30 percent turnover of students from year to year. Looking deeper, I discovered that a large number of that 30 percent are recreational and preschool-age students—which means that not only are school owners losing students; they’re losing the very children who are the financial lifeblood of the school. When those numbers dwindle, the future looks a bit gloomy.

What We Gain by Losing

What We Gain By Losing

Although I discourage using the word “lose,” it’s the best way to make my point. Some of the smartest and brightest people got that way from losing many of their battles. We learn from the losing process or by not getting what we want. It’s how we improve ourselves.

Look for the Little You

Look For The Little You

When I do my seminars, I always ask, “How many of you were the best dancer in your class?” In groups as large as 500, only one or two people raise their hands, and sometimes no one does.

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