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TEACHING MUSICAL THEATRE & THEATRE JAZZ EFFECTIVELY

Teaching Musical Theatre and Theatre Jazz is an animal in itself and there are many components to teaching it effectively; technically, stylistically, historically and conceptually. This genre is a real love of mine and where my heart is at, so I take great passion in providing my students with complete knowledge in the truest sense. The difference between a good musical theatre curriculum and a great one, is providing your dancers not only with the understanding of extracted musical numbers from shows or movies, but having them understand the whole show; music, book and lyrics from beginning to end!

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MINI-BALLET BARRE ACTIVITIES ON THE GO!

Ballet Teachers, sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day right? We become so consumed with teaching classes, meetings, rehearsals, returning phone calls, choreographing and family life that we forget our own daily exercise regime or how good it feels to just dance for ourselves. While we can't always get into the studio for a little slice of movement heaven, here are some quick exercises you can do in between meetings, feeding the kids and teaching class, that require nothing more than a little bit of space, a chair and a Theraband! Simple, easy, effective and can be done in your home or office!

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HANDLING THE DELICATE SITUATION OF ADOLESCENT DANCER HYGIENE!

OK, I'm just going to talk about it. We all know it's a topic we need to address and are sometimes to afraid to because it could be infringing on what is politically correct or appropriate to discuss with our students. Nobody wants to overstep or upset parents, BUT the studio is an environment where it should be safe to have candid and frank discussions about body hygiene, etiquette and respecting the fellow dancers we share the space with. Boys, girls, it really makes no difference. We are all faced with dancers at that tender age where body chemistry and hormones start to change and getting into good hygiene practices are necessary with this sudden shift in maturity. Not to mention for us the teachers who have to be exposed to it as well! So how do we go about it? I interviewed Simone Depaolo, Artistic Director and teacher at the D'Valda & Sirico Dance & Music Centre on the topic and she provided some really enlightening and non- threatening ways to go about….the talk….;)

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TEACHING DANCE: AN HONORABLE PROFESSION!

How easy it is for dance teachers to undervalue themselves and we probably all do it at one time or another. When the daily grind of teaching starts to wear us down and the students just don't seem to be co-operating or improving it can be disheartening and downright depressing. It seems that we are always trying to prepare our students for something, a performance, a competition, an examination or just trying to teach them how to stand up straight and look like a dancer!

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FINDING INSPIRATION FOR DANCE STUDIO OWNERS

It is amazing to see the positive results when we are able to inspire the people who surround us on a daily basis. Being able to bring out the best in our staff, faculty, students and their parents is certainly worth the effort. People say that it is an art and in a way it is but like any artistic venture it can improve and flourish given the right amount of study and experience.

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DANCE TEACHERS: WHAT ARE YOUR IN-STUDIO RULES & PROCEDURES?

Teachers, have you ever sat down and thought about the importance of rules & procedure in the studio? It seems like a given, common sense, but often times, when we are not transparent about the expectations of our dancers in terms of etiquette and studio behavior, we open the door to distraction, lack of focus, chaos and minimal progress. Remembering that classroom or studio management should always be Lesson #1, will allow your dance classes to run efficiently, creatively and cohesively. Without the boundaries, you will wind up spending more time fielding questions about things that should be common knowledge and dealing with behavior which may detract you from your actual lessons!

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DANCE TEACHERS: ARE YOU TAKING TIME FOR YOU?

In a crazy, crazy world, especially at this time of year, as teachers, we often put ourselves and our needs last; trying to make sure work is completed, students' needs are being addressed, creativity is flowing, deadlines are met, rehearsals are running smoothly, etc. There is also something to do every minute of the day if we allow it to consume us. Sometimes the hardest thing is to allow ourselves to STOP MOVING. It's in our nature to do the complete opposite. But burn-out is prevalent when we don't acknowledge that we are not invincible or we can keep going and keep going with no end in sight. Disaster is bound to happen and we really are serving no benefit to our students or ourselves this way.

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TALKING DANCE: THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF PEER FEEDBACK!

Part of being a well-rounded dancer is to have the ability to articulate observations and speak about dance just as much as executing steps properly. A rich, thorough dance curriculum includes one in which "dance literacy" is acknowledged; where dancers are given the opportunity to view dance, edit dance and learn to give thoughtful opinions and constructive feedback to others while keeping it in a positive and supportive light.

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BALLET TEACHERS: START CLASS WITH A FUN BALLET “DO-NOW!”

**Teachers, with young or beginner ballet students, the use of proper vocabulary is a must right from the start. Why not reinforce the lessons with a fun "Do-Now" or "Take-Home" task?!**

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DANCE TEACHERS: THE TIME IS NOW TO TAKE ACTION!

**_"Why stop dreaming when you wake up?"_ Walt Disney** What a terrific question by the man that turned his dreams constantly into reality. I am sure he had many moment of doubt. But he never let that stop him for a minute. He knew if he had a dream and then worked out a plan and then had the courage to take action, he could do it! I recently watched a television show on the life of Walt Disney and I was just so inspired with his life work. I remember growing up and watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. I can remember the excitement when my parents took my sister, my brother and me to Disneyland in California and then to Disney World in Florida. All the movies, television shows and theme parks were the dreams of this one man. A man who developed a plan and then put it into **ACTION!**

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FOR DANCE STUDIO OWNERS: TIME TO RE-ENERGIZE YOUR CUSTOMERS

For many of us studio owners this is the time of year when we need to be planning ahead to our next year by finding ways to not only retain and re- energize the customers that we currently have but also to re-activate the ones that have left us. Each year there are some students that decide to move on, usually it is for a variety of reasons. They may be going through that period where they feel they are missing out on something because of their time at your studio.

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DANCE TEACHER INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW DONNELL

Catch our new video exclusive with DTW faulty member and ballet teacher extraordinaire Matthew Donnell on his teaching philosophy and important advice for you and your students!

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“WALK THE WALK, DANCE THE DANCE….”

As dance teachers who spend countless hours with our students in the studio week after week and year after year, it's sometimes easy for the lines of the relationship to blur in terms of dance teacher to student vs. friend to friend. In a sense you do become part of a second "studio-family" and role model whom they look up to. While building a relationship with students who feel comfortable enough to trust you, communicate and share with you is wonderful, remembering who the mentor is, who's in charge and setting good examples all around should be your main priority.

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QUICK TIPS ON CLEANING YOUR YEAR END CHOREOGRAPHY

This time of year cleaning your choreography becomes a very important aspect of your classes. Major time will be spent on the cleaning process. With recitals, showcases, demonstrations and national competitions just around the corner, cleaning will be a critical element to the success of the pieces you are presenting. Now the key question is how do you keep these rehearsals fresh, fun and productive?

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KEEPING IT CLASSIC: TEACHING YOUR DANCERS ABOUT STAGE MAKEUP

Teachers, we all know the most exciting part of dance for our students is the opportunity to perform. Dancers prepare all year for that stage time when all of their hard work and commitment has paid off and brought them (and you!) to this point. The music is chosen, the choreography is rehearsed, the costumes are fitted….but what about the hair and makeup? The design of hair and makeup can make or break the entire look of your recital and either make it look professional and appropriate or amateur, without focus or thought. So how do we keep to the basics but give our dancers the guidelines to a clean, fresh and theatrical presentation that will be cohesive across the board?

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