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THE DANCE TEACHER EVALUATION

So another season is just about in the books. We believe this is a good time of year to reflect back over the past twelve months to see what we were able to accomplish not only in our work lives but also personally. I like to look over all my class notes and see if I am on target as far as how much I have been able to teach my students. At the beginning of the school year I make my class plans and set goals for myself with timelines so that I am able to give my students as much information as possible during the year.

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REDISCOVERING YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS

At different points in a choreographer's career, one discovers how they create best; what works for them and what doesn't; in terms of the creative process. When one is just starting out, the ways in which we use trial and error to bring us to the point of consistent choreographic stimulation may change mid- career and even further down the road. Different events in our lives may alter the way in which we work and the things that inspire us or were once catalysts, may no longer stimulate us in the same way they once did...........

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INCREASING THE EFFORT & ENERGY LEVEL IN DANCE CLASS

One of my biggest pet peeves as a dance teacher is when I see students go "half-at" things; particularly dancers with talent and facility. I often sit back and think to myself, did I ever give off this kind of blase attitude when I was training? No. I didn't. 100%, without a doubt, no. I wouldn't have even thought of it. It never even crossed my mind to lean on the barre, not be dressed properly for class, sit down, yawn without covering my mouth, talk or intimate a combination by marking the turns or any other movement for that matter. I also certainly never rolled my eyes or so much as lifted an eyebrow because something being demonstrated was challenging. But, now as a teacher I see it time and again and it makes me wonder, how do we change that energy and teach our dancers that the vibe they give off as a student is a direct correlation to the vibe they give off as a dancer?.......

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TEN "MUST-DO'S" TO GET YOU ORGANIZED & RECITAL READY!

Studio directors, that time of year is quickly approaching and recital season is in the air. Here is my handy checklist and timeline to help you stay organized in the weeks ahead. Stay ahead of the game and on target and you're sure to have a stress-free recital season! Merde to all!.........

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TOOLS FOR TEACHING CHOREOGRAPHY COMPOSITION-PART II

In our previous blog article we looked at some basic concepts towards building a choreography-composition curriculum that supplies students with a strong foundation regarding initial design components. Once they have mastered the concepts including:_ motivations & clarity, musical component, space travel & pathways, weight, energy force & effort qualities, etc.,_ it's time to develop them into form and structure through phrase development and full length works........

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LEARNING TO GIVE MINDFUL CRITIQUE

As dance teachers and artists, we are our own worst critics. We scrutinize every detail and go over things with a fine-tooth comb every day we're in the studio. Why? Dancers aim for perfection. It is a lofty, unobtainable goal, but our art and training has us wired to strive for it. Everything from our physical bodies to our technique to performance, the natural tendency is to identify what's wrong, what needs to be fixed and what could be better. This holds true when we work with our dance students as well. While it is our job to be there to teach, correct and edit these bodies in front of us, it's important to also stop and look at what they are doing right. We might get so caught up in the "assessment measures" that we fail to recognize we are also dealing with children and adolescents. Those same children and adolescents who just might need that bit of recognition and praise every now and then to stay motivated and realize they are on the right path to progress.........

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TEACHING YOUR STUDENTS COMPETITION COURTESY

When we head into competition season we are usually engulfed in setting pieces, rehearsing, ordering costumes and perfecting every last detail so that it is show ready. We spend countless months coming up with concepts for our dances, organizing schedules and ensuring that our dancers not only know their choreography but are performing with their hearts from the inside-out. We take great pleasure in watching them onstage; not so much for the fact of where they place, but to see their progress from where they started to where they are going........

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HOW TO DESIGN AN EFFECTIVE SUMMER INTENSIVE DANCE PROGRAM

Can you believe we're already nearing the end of March? We are quickly moving towards the end of what is hopefully turning out to be your best year yet and it's time to start turning attention to the summer season! Lining up your summer intensive schedule can be as daunting as your yearly schedule as there is a lot to include in a condensed amount of time. With so many things to think about, it's important that you sit down sooner vs. later to really consider what the most important elements are that you wish to include in your program. It's also wise to be ahead of the game so you can lock in those teachers you are really hoping to bring in. Here's a little help when considering the design of your summer program.............

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STUDIO LOYALTY: WHEN STUDENTS DANCE FOR MULTIPLE STUDIOS

As a studio owner, there are challenges in and of itself when dealing with other dance studios who are in close proximity to yours. There is constant competition in gaining business, losing business, staying relevant, keeping on the pulse of current trend and offering top-notch training. These are all issues one faces on a daily basis when opening a dance studio. A further stress comes into play when we are faced with dance students who suddenly feel the desire to dance at multiple studios. To make the situation even trickier, there are students who often dance AND compete at those other studios in a close mile radius..........

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IMPLEMENTING APPROACHABLE TEACHER EVALUATIONS

Assessment is always a hot-button issue regarding education. It's particularly a tender subject when dealing with paying customers, but what happens should you choose to administer teacher evaluations amongst your faculty as well? This can also create a bit of angst for everyone involved. However, should you choose to implement this, it is essential to keep in mind the most diplomatic ways of going about it. Remind teachers it's less about assessing their skills and more about ensuring you are all on the same page in terms of the training you are providing your students......

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LESSON IDEAS FOR PRETEEN MUSICAL THEATRE ACROSS THE FLOOR & CENTER WORK!

.Welcome back! In our last blog article on the topic, we began to look at the breakdown of a great center-warm up for your preteen musical theatre dancers which will start to prepare them for across the floor, center combinations and full-length performance pieces! With enough thoughtful repetition and explanation, dancers will also start to inhabit the stylistic nuances of the works you are choreographing and help them develop the understanding and body placement to achieve the details and initiation of movement! In this article we will be looking at the progression of across the floor exercises and how to take those movements to create in-studio combinations which are fun and full of the drama the musical theatre genre is best known for!...........

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ORGANIZING THE PRODUCTIVE FACULTY MEETING

Studio owners, how often do you and your staff/faculty partake in weekly, bi- monthly or monthly staff meetings? Do you have a regimented protocol to keep abreast of the things currently going on at the studio and projections as such? If not, there are a million reasons to add these studio "touch-bases" to your agenda..........

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BEING MINDFUL ABOUT MUSIC SELECTION!

Studio Directors, is faculty selection of music a constant stress? Do you have to approve all music choices because teachers choose the same music or inappropriate content, music that does not match your recital theme, dated and overdone songs, etc.? How do you diplomatically suggest to faculty that you'd prefer them to think of another idea? Being able to balance artistic directorship without stifling teachers creativity is a fine line. Sometimes though, for the sake of the business and developing memorable works that showcase professionalism, variety and artistry is necessary.....

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BRINGING IN MASTER TEACHERS & GUEST ARTISTS

Studio owners, if you've given thought to bringing in master classes, workshops or guest choreographers for your students, this can be a wonderful experience for a number of reasons. While the faculty you hand select should be a group of teachers who consistently challenge your students, raise the bar and have high artistic merit while evolving year after year, sometimes new blood in the studio is a way to shake things up and expose your dancers to a whole new experience. Giving your dancers an opportunity to learn from different teachers with many different styles and aesthetics is an invaluable opportunity that will only enhance their vernacular and artistic palette.........

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ACKNOWLEDGING DANCE TEACHER BURNOUT & REIGNITING MOTIVATION

Teachers are human. We are indeed the ones our dancers look to for training, motivation, discipline, artistic inspiration and guidance, but indeed at the end of the day we are human. We are not immune to creative blocks, bad days, lack of patience and finding our own selves on autopilot from time to time. While we all strive to be this beacon of light that waltzes into the studio with an infinite stream of ideas readily on tap, the fact is, the day after day and year after year grind can burn out the best and most brilliant teacher...............

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