TRUSTING YOUR DANCE TEACHER ABILITIES

We train our dancers to take everything with a grain of salt; to take the compliments and the criticisms, to not get too high or too low about accomplishments and failures. We prepare them for the harshness of the outside world, to tackle rejection with grace, to understand things will not always go in their favor and to reconcile that people can be unkind. We motivate them to develop self-worth that will keep their heads high and their confidence unwavering and we aim to instill an inner voice which reminds them they are meant for great things and that their talents are unique to the world. We send them out into the world hopefully ready to take it on, not let anyone stand in there way and believe, with hard work, they can do anything they set their minds to....

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BUDGET FRIENDLY IDEAS FOR CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS AT YOUR STUDIO

With the holidays upon us, this is a great time for studio owners to tap into the joyous spirit that is radiating inside your doors and bond with students and faculty; building on the feeling of camaraderie, team work and the unified studio family you all are lucky to have. During the year, everyone gets so wrapped up on deadlines and choreography that we sometimes forget to stop and be grateful for each other, the gift of dance we receive every day and the second home we are all able to come to on a daily basis!.......

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IMPROVE SPOTTING WITH TWO EASY EXERCISES & PROGESSIONS

Spotting is perhaps one of the most challenging concepts for young dancers to grasp and often to teach as well. Without it we are at a standstill in terms of improving and progressing turning ability so taking the time to really focus on this skill with your students in crucial during training. Below are my favorite exercises to help dancers really hone in on the skill and improve quickly and efficiently.

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KINDNESS & COURTESY COUNT... AT COMPETITION

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 currently are....

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CELEBRATING GRATITUDE

As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach us, it is a great time to sit and reflect on all the things in life that matter most. In a world of uncertainty, getting up everyday to breathe the air we breathe and do what we love day in and day out, surrounded by our loved ones, is certainly cause to celebrate. It's also a great time to pause and give thanks for all the abundance that we are granted.....
 

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FOUR ESSENTIALS TO EVERY JAZZ CLASS CURRICULUM

When lesson planning for any class, there are infinite avenues a teacher can take to teach the genre effectively. Jazz itself, in nature, is one of those idioms where teaching the technique correctly should also be compounded with other important ‘lessons within those lessons’ to create a well-rounded dancer and performer. With influences from many other dance areas, there are endless things to teach your students when building vernacular and jazz movement profile..........

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LESSON PLANNING FOR YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS DANCERS

 Dance Teachers, at some point in your teaching career you will come across dancers with special needs; whether it is associated with Autism, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, social-behavioral or emotional issues, physical limitations, etc. These children are coming to dance class for the same reason any other child comes to dance…to have fun, to learn and to be around other students participating in an activity that facilitates both physicality and thinking.  It is surprising how many dance teachers are uninformed and unsure of what activities might be appropriate.

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HOW DO YOU LET GO OF NEGATIVE DANCE STUDENTS?

What do you do when you have a student who’s extremely talented, naturally gifted and a brilliant performer but their attitude outshines the aforementioned? How do you handle the lack of respect, the inappropriate comments to peers, the insults to your studio and the all-around negativity? While it may seem tempting to bite your lip because these type of talented dancers make your studio “look good,” the long term ramifications can affect your business, the precedent you’re setting and the example you’re setting for the other students......

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BASIC EXERCISES FOR BEGINNER MUSICAL THEATER CENTER WARMUP

Below is a sampling of my beginner, center musical theatre warmup. It’s always important to remember to include a solid technical warmup as well as stylistic, cardiovascular and performance elements into your class. This will create a well-rounded foundation and get your students introduced to the basic elements of theatre jazz while building strength, flexibility and technique!....

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MORE CORE PLEASE!

Teachers, we all recognize that core strength is essential to any strong, technically sound dancer. While we aim to teach our students to always move from the inside out vs. from the extremities (i.e. arms, legs, etc.,) getting started to build towards a sound center takes work and committed practice...

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NEW DANCE YEAR-NEW THEME IDEAS

It’s that time again, signing up new dancers, thinking of the incredible year to come and now… what are we going to do!? What performances will the troupe do?! What themes or shows will the company dance to this year? AHHHIt’s that time again, signing up new dancers, thinking of the incredible year to come and now… what are we going to do!? What performances will the troupe do?! What themes or shows will the company dance to this year? AHHHH! Decisions, decisions!! H! Decisions, decisions!!

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WHY YOUR DANCERS SHOULD NEVER BE MARKING

I’m not sure when or how marking in class became a thing. During my generation, this was an act one never contemplated, whether in class or rehearsals. Everything was expected to be done full out, with feeling. Every. Single. Time. In fact, it was interpreted as an act of disrespect or laziness to dare to water down and mark through the gift of the movement your teacher and choreographer were bestowing upon you. Somewhere down the line this has somehow waned and dancers today are somewhat prone to marking through the steps or attempting them on autopilot.....

 

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GOING BACK TO BASICS TO SEEK INSPIRATION

As teachers and choreographers, our students look to us as the beacon of creativity. Particularly at the start of a new year, dancers await the delivery of new pieces, concepts, movement and music. It is a very exciting time of the year for them when they anticipate where they will stand in formation, whether they will have a featured part, how the choreography will look and feel on their body, whether they will be chosen to partner and how the overall vision will take shape.......

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CREATING A STUDIO CULTURE OF GOOD HABITS

Dance studios and teachers all across the world are sometimes in a position of facing challenging student behavior and disposition. This often occurs around the pre-adolescent or adolescent age when personalities are strongly taking shape and perhaps other interests begin to take over their passion for dance. I often get questions about what to do with young dancers who, “don’t want to put the work in,” “have lackluster attitudes and lazy energy in class,” “expect instant gratification and advancement without the commitment of putting paying their dues” and “show little respect in the studio space.” My answer is always the same. It’s less about implementing rules and procedure but flipping that thought process on its head to create a consistent expectation of good habit and studio culture...

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TIPS FOR TEACHER CONDUCT & GIVING TACTILE CORRECTION

When I was training, any correction was a gift. I had teachers who’d take hold of me and fix me, turn me out, poke me, stretch me, mold me, move me and use tactile correction in whichever way necessary to get their point across. They’d “teach” me by showing me how it felt on my body to have something done correctly. My generation loved that kind of correction, that attention. It was never questioned. You’re a dancer, that’s what dance teachers do. Sometimes you can say something to a student a million different ways and it won’t register, but if you physically show them on their body, it clicks! And once it clicks, it’s there forever. It may take quite a few times for it to become muscle-memory, but the notion to self-correct becomes greater and engrained in one’s own body over time....

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