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INTRO TO PATHWAYS DANCE ACTIVITY

Teachers! Progressing your young dancers from stationary to transitory movement can be a process which takes some time. Getting dancers to understand spatial awareness and how to navigate different pathways and formation changes will be integral as they progress and get older! Here is a wonderful introductory dance activity you can use in class with your own little dancers! I have found that this movement lesson I have created is educational, fun and gets dancers to understand their own personal space and the space around them! So, get them moving and build upon the fundamentals as and when you see fit! Good luck! * *

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TIDYING UP DANCE CLASS APPEARANCE

OK…call me old-school but in recent years I have seen a trend developing that has me wondering what has happened to "professional appearance" being one of the important lessons we are taught in a dance class. Isn't presentation still something to aspire to? It seems everywhere I go, the "dress code" for dance class has gotten more and more lax and it's really disheartening. Now just because I came from the perfectly neat, slicked back bun, no pins showing or fly-away's anywhere school of thought doesn't mean I'm not up with the times. But, I am still a firm believer that how you look in dance class and present yourself is a direct reflection on how you are going to dance in that class. All I see lately are messy top-knots, belly's exposed, sports bras, sweatpants ten-times too big, bare legs, booty shorts, oversized sweatshirts and paws worn in every class.

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DEALING WITH EXCESSIVE ABSENCES IN DANCE CLASS

OK teachers, it's that time of year when we're in the post-holiday, dead of winter stretch where our students are beginning to drop like flies. While it's an inevitable ritual we have all become accustomed to, what do we do when we're on a deadline to finish choreography, clean for competitions and rehearse for spring performances? Let's admit how frustrating it is to try and set numbers with absentees (and abundant lateness) every week where we can never get a clear visual of our work because the class is never at fully capacity?! While it is the time for colds and sickness we are also dealing with bad weather and traffic (which is unavoidable,) kids having a million other activities they are involved with, family trips, school tests, school plays, etc. So, what is your protocol to making up those absences so that, #1 dancers don't get too far behind and #2 you don't have to keep going back every week to catch them up and fall behind on your own choreography setting?

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QUICK TIPS TO ENHANCING THE DANCE CLASS LEARNING CURVE

Ever think of what you can do to enhance the learning curve in your dance class? While dancers are often taught "how" sometimes we forget the "why's," "when's," and "where's" things came from and happened…. In a time of abundant amounts of homework and test-taking, it sometimes can be a challenge to give little mini-projects to your dance students when no grade is pending, but if you make it fun and quick, I guarantee your students will enjoy learning more about dance, and not just from a movement standpoint.

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LETS DANCE! ENJOY THIS FUN DANCE COMMERCIAL FOR SLEEP INNOVATIONS

Check Out This Fun Commercial For The Mattress Company Sleep Innovations Choreographed By Dance Teacher Web Founders Steve Sirico and Angela D'Valda Sirico. A Big thank you to all of the terrific dancers Mark Stuart, Michelle Camaya, CJ Tyson, Mindy Wallace, Jon Drake and April Berry. This video features partner work, lifts and a funky fun swing style. This commercial was created by Impulse Concept Group who have produced commercials for companies all over the world!

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GIVING THOUGHT TO SET WARM-UPS

The addition of a set-warm-up to your curriculum for pre-professional dancers has its advantages and disadvantages. This week I wanted to give teachers something to think about in terms of what might work best for you and your students. A set warm-up can be a wonderful way to begin your classes for many reasons. Dancers are taught each exercise slowly and specifically over the scope of however many months; where the teacher should be taking time to make sure the deconstruction of the exercise is clear and the dancer feels confident with the movement, patterns, coordination, timing, etc. Building up to a full warm-up should be explored in the first half-of the year; where one or two exercises per week let's say, is broken down and the dancers can then follow you for the remaining warm-up until the following week's addition. While some of you may be saying, "Well, why can't you just break everything down in one week?...."

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BUILDING EFFECTIVE EVALUATION FORMS FOR DANCER PROGRESS

Studio owners, how much thought have you given to measuring yearly progress amongst your dancers? Sure, the _"eyeball it"_ method works when your teachers are in the studio with them, day in and day out, but sitting down and actually deconstructing their progress in many different areas will give both your students and their parents an individualized and tangible look at the scope of where they were, where they are going and where they would like to be going forward. The effects of student evaluations are also the most diplomatic ways in which to go about them for your business' clientele. They get everyone on the same page and quickly clears up any raised questions as to why a dancer is or isn't moving on to another level, receiving feature parts, solos, etc.

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KEEPING THE PASSION & MAGIC ALIVE WITHIN YOURSELVES.

With Valentine's Day having just past, emotions regarding, love, passion and joy were at the forefront. As teachers, we give our hearts and soul on a daily basis to our "Little Valentines" and expend a lot of energy regarding the progress and journey of our students. Where they are going, who they will audition and ultimately dance for and where life will take them becomes as much as an invested interest in their accomplishments as our own. We get those butterflies of nerves and excitement for them as they wait in the wings to step out stage, anticipate the arrival of college acceptance letters and patiently await to hear news from professional callbacks. We do so because they are more than our students, but our "kids," who we worked with for so many years with to get them to this point. We also get those butterflies because we know what it is like; we've been there and experienced these life and professional events. Whether a teacher's own professional dance career was short or long lived, we still live vicariously through them, remembering the nerves, the adrenaline and the exhilaration of life as a dancer at that moment.

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THE BENEFITS OF QUALITY MUSIC EDITS

The difference between a professional, well rounded dance work being presented and a less professional one is usually a culmination of factors; from concept, choreography, costumes, appropriateness and often forgotten about.....music editing. The cuts and edits you make on a piece of music for your dancers is crucial in terms of looking and 'sounding' like a professional studio. Not always easy to achieve on your own and sometimes not in the budget to hire out, we spoke with Jason Marquette, owner and director of Marquette Productions on the tips and tricks to both handling the task on your own and/or considering the benefits on hiring someone to help you out!

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DANCE TEACHERS: THE KEY TO YOUR STUDENTS SUCCESS... POSITIVE THINKING!

As dance teachers we are faced each day with not only nurturing our students from a technical aspect but more importantly from a psychological one too. The majority of dance teachers do not hold degrees in psychology and yet we need to help our students, especially the teenage ones with this incredibly important side of their dance training.

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DANCE STUDIO OWNERS: TAKE ACTION NOW AND WATCH YOUR BUSINESS SOAR!

**A Dream turn into Goals with a Non Stop Action Plan becomes REALITY! ** Now read that a few times and really let it sink in! Here are two ideas on how you could develop your action plan. We have used this formula and have found that it works for both our business and on a personal level. Since our business is an extension of us we need to align both of these or your ying and yang will be out of whack! I just love the saying " If you wait for all the lights to turn green you will never leave your driveway!" So here is your plan to get moving NOW!

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DANCE EDUCATION & DANCE TRAINING

Often times, the terms "dance education" and "dance training" are used interchangeably. Though there are a multitude of similarities and crossovers, there are however distinct differences between both which you can learn to identify and incorporate into your studio's curriculum to cultivate a cohesive program. So what is the difference?.................

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MAINTAINING INTEGRITY WHILE EARNING INCOME FOR YOUR DANCE STUDIO

Let's be honest. Running a dance studio in 2015 is challenging for a myriad of reasons; particularly if someone is just starting out or competing with multiple businesses of the same kind. This is where the marketing of the studio becomes essential as to whether it will be a success or failure. Standing out and making a name for yourself when there are 5 other dance studios in a 3 mile radius can be a daunting reality. How will you bring in clientele year after year? How will you acquire new business? How will your "product" differ and reign supreme over other dance-studio businesses? What is it that you have to offer that nobody else does and will? These are all essential thoughts and strategies that must be looked at over the trajectory of your marketing plan. The idea of establishing a "brand" that works for you and serves as the foundation of the business is key; while counterbalancing that with new, fresh and creative ideas that will liven things up and bring vivacity to the business is crucial as well.

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COSTUME GALLERY'S SCHOLARSHIP FUND

The founders of Costume Gallery, Beverly Miller and her husband Norman, served the dance community for over 50 years. Beverly loved Costume Gallery, was inspired by the wonderful dancers and teachers she met and knew firsthand the personal and social values gained by participating in dance programs. In honor of her memory and dedication to young dancers in the community, Costume Gallery established the Beverly Miller Scholarship Fund to help young people pursue their dance education

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GOING BACK TO BASICS & MOVING FORWARD!

As dance teachers, our goal is to move our students forward; to help them progress so that they can continually build upon the knowledge we give them. We do that specifically in their technique classes where we aim to start with a strong, fundamental base to ensure their bodies are strong, their minds are present, their habits are good and their muscle-memory is intact. While it is common-sense to all of us that you can't jump ten steps ahead until these necessary pre-requisites occur, sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and begin to fast-track our students prematurely.

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