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4 Life Changing Days of High Octane Education and Inspiration Las Vegas Summer of 2023 HERE!



Studio Owner Article


Dance Studio Owners

As in our personal lives, the hustle and bustle of everyday studio life can involve the typical time-consuming tasks, deadlines, multi-tasking, projects, etc. that can take up more hours than there are in a day. We can  get side-tracked and often times pulled in a million directions while adding another thing to that “to-do list” that gets longer and longer as the season rolls along.  We prioritize and try to keep the business and students as focused as we can. We try to ensure our students’ year is successful and our faculty creates works they are not only proud of but also gives the dancers a sense of challenge and fulfillment; all while ensuring that students are enjoying their dance experience.

We aim to be on the same page; all with a common goal and mission for the current year. We each look at individual goals and well as business and group goals and meld that into a cohesive mindset of working together and making it all flow so that by June, everyone is proud of the year’s accomplishments, both professionally and personally. As studio owners, you are the fearless leader, the one who everyone from faculty right down to the youngest 3 year old student looks at to guide the way for them; to make the calls. To decide if everyone will go left or right and set the rhythm and the pulse of the studio. More times than not we are all guilty at one time or another of getting wrapped up in what is going on right under our nose. I do think however, in recent years, we have all definitely come much more aware of paying it forward as a dance family. We think about our, “dance studio-karma.” When we are in the midst of the holidays, it’s easy to pause, reflect and give thanks for what we have. So why not make this a conscious, constant behavior and get ourselves and our students practicing all year round? There’s no better time than now to share kindness and spread love. So, how do you make this part of the studio mission, mantra and culture? You, once again being the fearless leader are there to set that example as well. How do you and faculty light that catalyst to make your studio not only one that excels in dance training and professionalism, but also believes in philanthropic efforts in the hopes to raise awareness and turn out some amazing humanitarians as well?

Getting your students involved in community projects and giving back does not have to be complicated and you’re already a step ahead of the game! The arts (and particularly dance) are a wonderful vehicle to raise awareness and funds, donate and be part of causes that are near and dear to your heart and studio family. It doesn’t have to be time consuming and it can raise studio camaraderie, collaboration and spirit amongst your students. Get your studio name out there as one that not only creates exceptional dancers but dancers with hearts full of giving and paying it forward. It will change all of your lives within the studio community and add an element that can enhance the meaning of what dance can do for others less fortunate. It is powerful and wonderful and your business has the opportunity to be a voice within the community that is comprised not only of talented artists but compassionate individuals as well.

Below are some ideas to get you started on engaging your studio-karma!

10 Community Outreach Ideas

1.      Collect can goods during holiday season.

2.      Collect gently used coats and jackets during winter season.

3.      Donate gently used costumes to fellow dance studios that may be in need.

4.      Let dancers wear a certain color to class during a corresponding month for raising awareness by donating $1 (example: every time dancers donate a dollar, they can wear pink as often as they like to class during the month of October to raise breast cancer awareness.)

5.      Use your dress rehearsal as an opportunity to give free performances at children’s hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

6.      Have a silent auction of dancers artwork, photography, etc. on a given dance concept and donate the funds to the organization of your choice. (Enhance this idea by creating an in-studio Gallery Night and donate ticket money for the event as well.)

7.      Let students organize bake sales, car washes, etc. on the weekends and donate the money to scholarships funds.

8.      Have a crafting day at the studio where dancers make friendship bracelets and write letters to fellow children in 3rd world countries.

9.      Open your studio doors for a free day of dance. Welcome children and adults from all over the community to participate in various classes, activities, workshops and performances.

10.  Organize a “Good Deed of the Day” event where dancers are encouraged to do one small, anonymous good deed for someone every day of the week, month, etc.



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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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