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Personal Best

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…

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…

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…

Ready for Change

Ready for Change

I’ve figured out that the business side of my dance school is more than I can take. When I read your magazine, I learn about teachers who are in the same place I am, but their issues seem to be different. It’s not listening to crabby parents that bothers me; I do well with them. And it doesn’t have to do with not making a living, because I have done very well. The hard part for me is having to deal with my employees.

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.

Stick to it ness

Stick-To-It-Ness

I’ve discovered a trend. It’s a growing disconnect between what’s said and what’s done. The frustration that arises among teachers and school owners stems from students and parents who feel that they don’t have to abide by the policies or rules set forth by their dance school, that they, or their situations, are exceptions to the rules

Imagine the Collective Success

Imagine the Collective Success

As a teenager, I remember overhearing a group of dance teachers at a dance convention get all fired up about the recent rumor they had heard about another dance teacher (who was not there, of course).

Dance Teachers Are Special People

Dance Teachers Are Special People

How long has it been since you caught your reflection in the mirror and thought about how happy you are just to be you?

Who is Fierce

Who is Fierce?

They don’t perform grand leaps, not one fouetté turn nor a single pirouette, and there’s no flash at all. Yet you watch them with your mouth open, while that head-to-toe body chill takes over your full being for a few moments as you settle into the greatness before your eyes.

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