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TOOLS FOR TEACHING CHOREOGRAPHY COMPOSITION

Choosing to incorporate improvisation and/or choreography composition into your program is undoubtedly a great addition to enhance the dimension of a dancer's educational training. Whether you tack it on at the end of modern class or devote a whole class to the genre itself within your curriculum, getting started on how to introduce the concepts can be overwhelming; since the material is so vast. Keeping in mind that the following ideas can be used as tools and lesson planning prompts for beginner-advanced levels, the more you delve into the lessons, the more you will discover infinite variations in where you can go with them and take your students. Soon enough you will see the amazing creative potential your students possess and a skill-set they have yet to tap into.......

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS & HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM DTW

We here at Dance Teacher Web would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for a wonderful year. It has been an eventful one for us and we're sure it has been for you too. While we acknowledge the current climate and devastating events occurring here in the U.S. and around the world, it's not hard to believe another full year has gone by so quickly. You have all grown with these changes, adapted and persevered. This is the time of year however, when we should remember we are here on this earth for what is a brief moment..........

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DEALING WITH THE OVERLY CONFIDENT DANCE STUDENT

As dance teachers, we all love when our students excel and have a stellar performance year. A year where we see the student blossom and have that "A-HA" moment when everything starts to click for them in class. It's wonderful to see their hard work pay off as well as our own and is the moment every teacher waits for. However, what happens when those students come back to class the following season and are getting, shall we say, a little "overly confident" and a little too big for their britches?..................

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"QUIET ON THE SET"- A CREATIVE MOVEMENT LESSON PLAN!

If you're looking for a fun, creative way to get your little ones understanding the incorporation of action words and emotions within movement, this exercise is for you! I devised this a few years back and have had great success getting younger students to work in pairs and explore the use of action vocabulary words to portray scenes they envisage through dance. Based on your dancers' level and age, the exercise can also be simplified or made more challenging to meet the needs of your dancers. As the teacher, it's also wonderful to sit back and watch the imagination of your students unleashed! Just watch the out of this world, creative things they create!...............

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THANKFUL FOR THESE MOVIE MUSICAL MOMENTS!

_With Thanksgiving this week, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite movie musical moments. These great works always remind me of being a kid on holidays where Grandma and Pop would have the MGM movies playing in the background as we made dinner and then all gathered on the couch after for coffee and dessert. Such a great memory of my childhood to be inspired by the classics they loved. Now, I carry them with me as part of my creative arsenal and am thankful I can share them with you to pass on too! Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving weekend from all of us at DTW! Enjoy!............._

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LIGHTEN THE LOAD: LETTING GO OF NEGATIVITY & EMBRACING POSITIVITY

It may seem like common knowledge and something that is a given; surrounding ourselves only with people who lift us up and want to be see us succeed and fly high. But, that is not always the case and we can at times wind up in a situation where the energy which surrounds us needs to be assessed and shaken up a bit. As studio owners, you deal with all different types of personalities and temperaments; people that want things from you, people that only need you for what do for them, people that question your every move and then the people that you trust and want to see your hard work and dedication pay off. There are all kinds that will enter and exit your life over an extended period of time. It's fluid. The problem starts to come into play when we don't acknowledge the negativity which sometimes can present itself and let it manifest until we second guess who we are and where we are going.............

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TO COMPETE OR NOT TO COMPETE?

To compete or not to compete, this is a posing question for any studio owner in terms of the _"type"_ of studio they are going to market themselves as. Are you a traditional training facility, solely focused on classical training methods; creating technicians and performers who will go onto company work? OR…does your studio's curriculum focus more on being fiercely competitive, where emphasis is also placed on training elements considered to be "current" while stressing endurance in order to prepare students to compete weekend after weekend? OR…. are you a balance of the two; with a strong focus on traditional training methods while providing your students with one or two regional competition opportunities a year in order to expose them to new performance venues and gain objective and constructive feedback from professionals as they would at an audition? All are valid and personal, yet take very different form. Each studio director is responsible for setting the tone as to whether they will be labeled a "competition studio" or not and it's up to you to decide where in the spectrum you care to take to take your students.............

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SIMPLE STRETCHES DANCERS CAN DO AT HOME!

Getting students, particularly young students to warm-up or want to warm-up is a difficult feat in the studio itself. Dancers come in and often ask the question, _"Do we have to warm-up?"_ in the hopes you will say, _"No we don't have to today,"_ and will jump straight to leaps across the floor or the cool combo that's awaiting them..............

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COMPETING MULTIPLE SOLOS: GOOD IDEA OR COMPLETE OVERKILL?

As a long time competition adjudicator and teacher who has set endless solos for dancers, the debate over competing multiple solos often comes up every year. With students and parents alike, sometimes the notion is to showcase their talents in every genre and take center stage as much as possible. While it's commendable for a dancer to possess the confidence and commitment to take on all that choreography, it can become overkill and work against the dancer competing.......

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IMPLEMENTING MUSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOPS INTO STUDIO CURRICULUM

It's always a great feeling to recognize and reflect when a new program or added class has been successful. For me, this was the inception of our Musical Theatre Workshop Program. A few years back I was asked by the artistic directors of the studio, to start this class; not really knowing what to expect or how I would structure the class. Many, many shows later and we have a real winner on our hands!.......

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EASY IDEAS TO BRING THE HALLOWEEN "SPIRIT" TO YOUR STUDIO!

BOO! Happy early Hallow's Eve Everyone! As this is my absolute favorite time of year, I thought we could all get into the spirit of sharing some fun and festive Halloween ideas to celebrate in your dance studio! Halloween is definitely a holiday with the flair for the dramatic, so this is the perfect occasion for dance studios to create an amazing environment to let imaginations run wild! Here are a few of my thoughts!.........

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DANCE TEACHERS: HOW OFTEN DO YOU TAKE CHANCES?

Do you ever dare to step out of the box and try something new and exciting with your students; perhaps veer off the beaten path? As teachers who teach multiple classes year in and year out, we too can carry on with the, _"It ain't broke, so don't fix it"_ mentality. It's human nature. We see progress, so why test the waters? Why head into unchartered territory when the same choreography and same music choices seem to work? Why use different dancers when the ones you always use get the job done? Why change up the warm-up and make it more challenging for your students so it's just beyond their reach? Why try improvisation or meditation or choreography-comp class with your dancers when giving them the steps is easier? Why change up your curriculum when the one you have is fine? Why change the audition process for your company classes when they know what to expect already? Why bring in that unconventional master class teacher instead of the mainstream favorite? Why take a chance on a hardworking kid who never has had a feature role when you know who the most talented dancers are? Well…..if you have the answer to these questions, then this is precisely the time to do some self-analysis and ponder the notion of taking chances to progress ourselves as artists and inspire our students...........

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IDENTIFYING YOUR DANCE STUDIO'S CORE VALUES

Every business, company and thriving organization has built their success on the fundamental core values which they believe supports the essence of who they are and what their service represents. For dance studios, this is no different. Or, at least it shouldn't be. In the midst of infinite dance studios around the world, a studio's core values are what separates each of them and makes them unique....

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FALL FOR DANCE!

Most New York based dancers, teachers and choreographers know, "Fall for Dance" is an annual ten-day long dance festival presented by New York's City Center; celebrating the joy of dance with the hopes of exposing new audiences to our beloved art form. Inspired by the Delacorte Festival in Central Park during the 1960's & 1970's, "FFD" was established in 2004 and has grown in popularity every consecutive year since then. The most diverse, prestigious dance companies from around the world perform multiple programs over the course of the festival; offering a broad taste of assorted dance styles to satisfy a wide variety of aesthetic palettes. Built into the event are also free dance classes and public panel discussions. These "talks" create for intimate encounters in which to participate in a wide range of dance related topics; with highly regarded artists within the field.

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RECITAL THEMES.....CREATIVE TOOL OR STIFLING BOUNDARY?!

Directors, what is your take on building an end of the year show which encompasses all your dancers' and faculty's hard work while demonstrating continuity and a pleasurable viewing experience? Any memorable performance that we attend usually has rhyme or reason to it, right? A theme or a choreographic sensibility should reflect cohesiveness throughout the performance. Often times, dance concerts which are disjointed and lacking in direction leave the audience feeling the same way and the same will hold true for your own audiences. This is glaringly obvious when it is, shall we say, an _"extended"_ performance without intent, but we need to keep the audience on the edge of their chairs, engaged and awake from beginning to end! So how do we do all this and keep them coming back for more?

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