Dance Life Magazine Online
A collection of articles, thought-provoking commentary, classroom tips and strategies, smart business concepts, advice, and more. As always, Rhee Gold and his team will offer content to challenge the dance education field to hold each other and every student in high regard.
by Natalie Harber I was teaching a musical-theater camp over the summer and one day I took two of the younger students to the bathroom. Both girls are 4 years old, and they left their stall doors open in order to engage me in conversation. One of the girls decided that she needed to educate me about the differences between boys and girls, so she told me all about how her daddy and brother have “wieners” and how they have to go to the bathroom standing up, but that girls have to sit down. She then told me how her…
by Rhee Gold Lately I have been heard a lot of discussion about what’s wrong with dance education, especially in regard to appropriate choreography, costume, music and the sexualization of dance. And I too see a problem . . . BUT, I want to share with you the good that is happening. There are schools, teachers and dancers who are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for kids with cancer. There are teachers who are creating choreography with a message to help to make the world a better place, while they educate their dancers on acceptance. Teachers are continuing their…
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.
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
Most studio owners are passionate about dance and teaching, not accounting or financial planning. “The dance side” of the studio, as we are wont to say, is what we love, and live for. “The business side,” however, is what we grudgingly plod through because it allows us to do what we love. From daily accounts receivable and accounts payable, to monthly account reconciliations, to marketing, to data entry, to preparing annual tax returns—the business side requires diligent attention if we want our studios to succeed.
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).
TEACHERS: Great choreography isn’t about emulating the latest trend or the award you may win. Greatness is present in the choreographer who has the ability to make every dancer look good (and feel confident) regardless of the skill level of the students. You accomplish this by creating works in which the audience can’t tell the difference between the strongest and the “not as strong” students because of your genius choreography. Have a great day–Rhee
by Rhee Gold It is important to realize that students’ lack of interest might have nothing to do with the teacher or the material. They could be dealing with life issues such as divorce, conflicts in the home, problems with friends, or abusive situations. Whatever the circumstance, dance can allow students to forget their personal problems while they are at the studio. Self-expression through the art of dance and the release of tension through physical activity can help students cope with problems and build self-esteem.
by April Mosher Once a year my 6- to 10-year-old ballet students play a game I call “Ballet Challenge.” For a week or two before the challenge, we review proper terminology and correct execution of steps. During warm-ups we go over terms like chassé, bourrée, etc. On game day, I come prepared with flash cards. The students take turns picking a card. I read the ballet term written on the card each dancer chooses, and she attempts to show the step. If she does it correctly, she earns a point. If she is not successful, the students lined up behind her…