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Helping your dancers set their individual goals and revisiting these goals frequently helps students and yourself understand where they are at- physically, mentally and emotionally. It helps to move the goal post, if necessary, in order to continually work towards personal accomplishments. Here is a great starting point to get your dancers thinking and open up the dialogue. Give your dancers this 5 question survey to write out and come back to discuss.

WHO- Who do YOU want to be as a dancer? A student? An artist? A performer? A person?

WHAT- What are your current goals? What are your long term goals? What are you realistically prepared to commit to in order to achieve these goals?  What is, “Your why?” What do you need from me, your dance teacher to help you achieve these goals?

WHERE- Where are you studying outside of the studio and your regular dance classes? Where do you see yourself dancing in the future? College? Professional stage? Etc.

WHEN- When do you hope to attain these goals? When can you devote the time to achieve these goals?

WHY- Why do you want to achieve these goals? Why do you dance? Why is this important to you?

(** bonus-) HOW- How are we going to achieve these goals together, as a team?

Good luck to all.

See you in the dance studio,


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Jessica Rizzo Stafford

Jessica Rizzo Stafford

Jessica Rizzo Stafford is a native New Yorker and graduate of NYU Steinhardt's Dance Education Master’s Program; with a PK-12 New York State Teaching Certification. Her double-concentration Master’s Degree includes PK-12 pedagogy and dance education within the higher-education discipline. She also holds a BFA in dance performance from the UMASS Amherst 5 College Dance Program where she was a Chancellor's Talent Award recipient. Jess now works extensively with children, adolescents and professionals as choreographer and teacher and conducts national and international master-classes specializing in the genres of modern, contemporary, musical theatre and choreography-composition. Jess’ national and international performance career includes works such as: The National Tour of Guys & Dolls, The European Tour of Grease, West Side Story, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, Salute to Dudley Moore at Carnegie Hall, guest-dancer with the World Famous Pontani Sisters and IMPULSE Modern Dance Company. Jess has been a faculty member for the Perichild Program & Peridance Youth Ensemble & taught contemporary and jazz at the historic New Dance Group and 92nd Street Y in NYC. She was Company Director at the historic Steffi Nossen School of Dance/Dance in Education Fund and in 2008 traveled to Uganda where she taught creative-movement to misplaced children. The experience culminated with Jess being selected as a featured instructor at the Queen's Kampala Ballet & Modern Dance School. She has conducted workshops for the cast of LA REVE at the Wynn, Las Vegas and recently taught at the 2011 IDS International Dance Teacher Conference at The Royal Ballet in London, UK. She is also on faculty for the annual Dance Teacher Web Conferences in Las Vegas, NV. Currently, Jess is a faculty member at the D'Valda & Sirico Dance & Music Centre and master teacher & adjudicator for various national and international dance competitions. Recently, she has finished her NYU Master’s thesis research on the choreographic process of technically advanced adolescent dancers and is the creator of “PROJECT C;” a choreography-composition curriculum for the private studio sector. Jess is also faculty member, contributing writer and presenter in the choreography and “how to” teaching segments on the celebrated For more info, visit her website at

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