Beginner Musical Theater Lesson Plan- Across the Floor
When I am teaching musical theater to beginners, I like to start instilling not only movement quality and technique, but the beginning nuances of style and musicality as well. If we remember, musical theater is a genre which incorporates many parts of the technique, including the above mentioned, in addition to characterization and understanding of how book, score and choreography all seamlessly work together. So, when gibing your young dancers an across the floor technique combo make sure to highlight these important factors where they begin to understand performance is just as important as the movement itself....
DANCE TEACHER TIP: REIGNING IN THE UNRULY DANCE STUDENT!
As 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?Read More
MODERN DANCE TEACHERS: HOW DANCE TEACHER WEB CAN HELP YOU!
As we all know, modern dance is a genre which breaks with traditional ideas, can fuse idioms and at times does not synchronize with the classic ballet foundation we aim to instill within our students. In fact, until recently, modern dance was not a common inclusion within studio training curriculums until the undergraduate years of college dance. Then, students coming from solely traditional training backgrounds would often be overwhelmed and intimidated by this "new" way of moving, exploring space, improvising and creating movement.Read More
DANCE TEACHER WEB HELPING BALLET TEACHERS WORLDWIDE!
For dance teachers who teach Ballet we offer a wide variety of videos and articles from pre-school level to advanced all designed to keep you current with the latest techniques using different styles suitable for all age groups and levels. Looking for some new ideas for your pre-school dancers?Read More
DANCE TEACHER WEB FOR TAP DANCE TEACHERS
For dance teachers who teach Tap Dance we offer a wide variety of videos and articles designed to keep you on the cutting edge. Videos are of all levels and feature Classic, Hoofing and Musical Theater styles of Tap Dance.Read More
Dance Teacher Web for Jazz Dance Teachers
For dance teachers who teach Jazz Dance, Dance Teacher Web offers a wide variety of videos and articles designed to keep you on the cutting edge. Videos are of all levels and feature funk, classic and lyrical styles of jazz dance.Read More
Utilizing Dance to Unify & Heal
In a time when the climate of the world is anything less than calm, each one of us battles divisiveness, negativity and uneasiness to ensure our students that their studio is a place they can always come for inclusiveness and emotional release.
While we are ourselves don't always have the answers to give our dancers as to why circumstances and situations are the way they are, the one thing we can always provide them with is the reminder that dance heals. It is hope. It is an art form where mind, body and soul unite to calm the spirit and clear the mind...
Please Don't Bypass Technique Warm-up, Change it up Instead!
Technique is the most crucial aspect of any dance class, we all know that. It is the fundamental foundation of dance which propels a dancers growth, increases flexibility, enhances strength and teaches them essentially, “how to dance.” If our dancers are with us long enough, they learn our warm-ups and often know them backwards and forwards without us doing it alongside them. This is great because it affords the dance teacher more time observe to give and make tactile corrections, but it can also have the potential for dancers to go on auto-pilot and check out; especially if they are not being mindful of every single plie and tendu they are putting forth....Read More
Redefining the Term, "Effort" 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 blasé 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....Read More
"HOW TO" SHUFFLE FLAP COMBINATION PART I
Exciting "How To" Shuffle Flap Combination By Aaron Turner. Aaron has many great videos in the members area. Check out this FREE sample!Read More
BALLET TEACHING TIPS FOR PIROUETTES
Here is a great ballet video teaching tip presented by Matthew Powell to help your students improve their pirouettes
Getting Dancers to Emote on Stage
As teachers and choreographers of young dancers, we recognize half the battle is getting our dancers to all look synchronized, understand conceptually and physically what we are trying to convey and present clean technique which highlights their strengths. Often times however we get that unavoidable question when the emotional component may not be quite as clear as to, “What should my face be?” ....Read More
The True Meaning of Expecting Excellence
I am a dance teacher who expects excellence. I make no apologies for that. Neither should you. Whether you want to call it an, "old school," way of thinking or just plain" too tough," on today's young dancers, I disagree. The way in which we set our own expectations should be clear and concise so dancers know exactly what is expected of them at all times...........
Competition Do's & Don'ts
As a dancer, performer, choreographer, teacher, competition judge and spectator I decided it’s time to reach the masses with my compiled list of do’s and don’ts before heading into another competition season. Use this as an inside glimpse into what adjudicators are really thinking and hope to see; while giving your students an optimal chance for success and self-confidence! More importantly…an opportunity to have fun, learn from their peers and take away the experience of performing in a new venue...Read More
DANCE STUDIO OWNERS: YOU ARE THE ONE TO CHECK YOURSELF...
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” — BuddhaRead More
The Important Skill of Applying Corrections
Working with young dancers, we are accustomed to giving endless feedback, critique and correction as their young bodies and mind progress and develop. While technical and performance skills are on the forefront of one training agenda, part of their dance education should also reflect alternative skills which go hand in hand with that technique. The importance of instilling application of correction is an important concept which they will take with them in any profession they ascertain. It’s also ironic that it is a skill very difficult for some to grasp....
Yes, Ballet Technique is Still Essential
In a time when young dancers are influenced greatly by the dance and dancers which they see on T.V. and at competition, it is only natural that they will want to emulate it and consider it the epitome of excellence. The overload of tricks, overstretching and hyperextension, unattractive foot and leg positions, etc. all have the potential to instill bad habits and poor technique if we as teachers do not hold the standard of proper ballet technique essential to one’s training. So how do you answer the question, “Why is ballet still important?”......Read More
Pathways Creative Movement Lesson Plan
This month we have a wonderful creative movement lesson plan which will begin to get your young dancers going by using basic patterns and the many different ways we can move and travel through space!
The Importance of Consistent Technique Warm-Up
Dancers today are faced with a whole generation of fellow versatile, talented technicians. These peers will be their competition, their colleagues and future artists they’ll collaborate with and cross paths with as their dance career flourishes. As teachers who are in charge of their development at the most crucial time in their training, how you design your class is pivotal.
Occasionally, there seems to be a mindset of breezing over what is really the most crucial element of dance class…..warm-up. While dancers are always wanting to get to the choreography for a piece or center combo, as teacher, you are running the ship and the first stop should always be technique concentration. Now, while this seems obvious on the surface, to avoid injury, get the dancers ready to move, etc., believe it or not that’s not always the case.Read More
Acro vs Gymnastics – Is There a Difference?
This a question we encounter often and the answer is: YES there is a difference, a very BIG difference!Read More
Enhancing Your Jazz 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..Read More
DANCE TEACHERS... HERE'S HOW TO KEEP YOUR CREATIVE FLAME BURNING BRIGHT ALL-YEAR LONG
We know how hard you work! How much time, energy and effort you put into all that you do for your students, parents and staff. Well know it is your turn! Let us give you the VIP treatment by joining us at the ultimate Dance Teacher Summer Event!Read More
Beginner Jazz Technique Lesson Plan
Having a lesson plan for every class you teach will give you a roadmap to make sure you are covering all the technique you want your students to learn. We have found that each class needs to have a natural progression. Each time the students learn one step it should go towards being part of a building block.Read More
Acrobatic Lesson Plan
Dance Teacher Web is proud to partner with Acrobatique to present great content for your acro program. Here is a terrific acrobatic lesson plan for your beginner young students presented by Acrobatique. Each month new content will be presented!Read More
I am a dance teacher who expects excellence. I make no apologies for that. Neither should you. Whether you want to call it an, "old school," way of thinking or just plain" too tough," on today's young dancers, I disagree. The way in which we set our own expectations should be clear and concise so dancers know exactly what is expected of them at all times.
Expecting excellence from your dancers does not mean, perfection. It doesn't mean being the best dancer in class, nor the best technician, nor the best performer. It doesn't mean that if they can't get a triple pirouette by the time they're 12, they've failed. It doesn't mean that if they're extension isn't as high as their peer next to them, they will never have a dance career or are, "less than," said peer. Expecting excellence doesn't mean they're not entitled to have an off-day or frustrations or insecurities but here's what it does mean....
How Costuming Enhances Performance interview with Costume Designer Poochie Malloy
Costuming is an integral part of dance which goes hand in hand with choreography and the overall vision. The “look” of a piece can enhance the movement quality as well; highlighting the dancers and the energy the choreography exudes. In a studio setting, it would be a dream if we had endless resources to costume as we wished. But, while none of us have a limitless budget, the following are ideas and tips from costume mistress Poochie Malloy at the D’valda & Sirico Dance & Music Centre on how to costume on a budget and still set your dancers apart while performing.
STOP SITTING IN YOUR HIP! EXERCISES TO STRETCH & STRENGTHEN CORE & HIP FLEXORS
Having dancers who are “sinking,” or “sitting,” in their hips on their supporting leg is a common problem dance teachers see frequently. Often, improving the position of the pelvis by stretching and strengthening the core muscles and hip abductors will help to improve the issue. As we all know, “the body is a closed system.” The core, ribs and lower vertebrae all play a part as well in helping a dancer achieve correct alignment and maintain proper placement of the pelvis. This, in turn helps a dancer lift out of that “sinking,” motion and hold the position correctly.
Below are exercises which you can give your dancers to help them stretch and strengthen the muscles of the core and hip flexors and help increase self-awareness to recognize when they are in correct placement and when they lapse back into sitting in their hips...
Intermediate Modern Lesson Plan
Enjoy this month's featured article as Jessica Rizzo-Stafford offers an approachable intermediate modern lesson plan for all. Read ahead for more!Read More
Intermediate Musical Theater Lesson Plan
THis month I'm sharing a version of my intermediate musical theatre warmup. It’s always important to remember to include a solid technical warmup which progresses form your beginning level fundamentals. It is also important to include stylistic, cardiovascular and performance elements into your class. This will continue to build a dancer’s technique and theatre jazz vernacular and while building strength, flexibility and performance chops!......Read More
DTW LIVE 2017 RECAP & REFLECTION
Well.... It’s a wrap! We can’t believe DTW Live Conference & Expo 2017 has come and gone already but what an incredible few days it’s been. So much to reflect on. We must start with saying how this, being our biggest year yet was due to not only a record breaking number of attendees but the energy they brought with them. From Day #1, everyone was ready to share and learn and get everything they could out of the event and that was our hope and wish for everyone who attended. The attendees to faculty to our wonderful staff was buzzing with enthusiasm, positivity and readiness! It's really been so exciting for us to come in and share with everyone.... and it keeps getting better year after year! You all are our inspiration......Read More
Building Our Dancers Up for Ultimate Success
There are times when we are in the studio teaching and progress seems to be at a halt, our dancers’ focus is lacking, the passion and spirit we want to see is dwindling and the frustration of it all can start to take a toll. What we sometimes forget when in the midst of all this, is that while it sometimes becomes habit to critique and make corrections because it’s part of our job, pausing to remind students what they are doing right vs. what they are doing not so right can go a long way.
We are not only dance teachers but mentors who are there to inspire and motivate. But, we are also human and when we are faced with lack of commitment or progress or desire day after day, it’s easy to get off track. Now, while we are not there to be miracle workers, the notion to pause and recognize a dancer for something they did really well in class can go further than you think. Sometimes it takes that one comment to ignite their own self-motivation and confidence.....Read More
CHECK OUT THIS TERRIFIC INTERVIEW WITH 3 TIME TONY AWARD WINNER KATHLEEN MARSHALL
Kathleen Marshall has Directed and Choreographed 13 Broadway Shows and has won 3 Tony Awards and 2 Drama Desk Awards. Listen to her great insights on teaching, training and preparing your students. Don't forget to check out her terrific class in the "Master Class Video Series" inside members area.Read More
THE POWER OF 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.....Read More
Beginner Modern Lesson Plan
You’ve asked and we’re here to help! This month I’m sharing a sampling of my beginner modern lesson plan for those of you that are interested in adding modern technique to your curriculum. Remember, this is a template to get your started where you can add progressions, make edits and infuse the lesson plan with your own ideas and creative inspirations. Check back as I will also be adding intermediate and advanced lesson plans as well in the upcoming months. Good luck!.....Read More
Beginner Musical Theatre Lesson Plan
Here is a beginner 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!Read More
EASY PEASY TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE COMPETITON CLEANING!
We’re at that time of year when we are setting numbers for competition and need to give thought about the ones that are just about finished. While coming up with clever concepts and original choreography is a given, sometimes once all the “genius” is out there, the upkeep and “polishing” goes a bit overlooked. Other times, as much as we feel we are cleaning numbers, it’s never looks exactly the way we hope it will once it hits the stage.
So, how do we get our pieces performance and competition ready? Here are five tips to think about which will help you and your students take your numbers from a “nice” piece to “extraordinary” and will take that amazing choreography you set for them to a whole new level....Read More
TIPS FOR DEALING WITH ABSENCE & INJURY OVERLOAD
Teachers, you may have noticed an over-abundance of ailments, injuries, illnesses, etc. from your students lately. Sometimes I walk into the studio and feel like I’m taking the first five minutes of class to greet my receiving line of students waiting to tell me what is wrong with them that day.
Now, let me preface this discussion with in no way should we as teachers, especially of dance be dismissive of injury or illness for that matter. However, there is a fine line of which injuries are ones dancers are able to work through and which are not. But, the more I see “selective injuries” come my way, I’m determined to address it and manage it before it really gets out of hand......Read More
DANCE PHOTOS TO INSPIRE AND IGNITE YOUR CREATIVITY
Here are some Great Picture By Jaqi Medlock one of the Hottest New Dance Photographers in the USA. These Photos Are Sure To Inspire!Read More
THE VERSATILITY OF BEING VERSATILE
When we enter a new year, we often reflect on our own past, accomplishments, set-backs, careers, where we were and where we are headed. As we look forward, we can certainly see where dance is headed and has been headed for quite some time. Long are the days when one labels themselves (or should label themselves) as solely a “jazz dancer,” or solely a “ballet dancer.” This pigeon-hole’ing is now a detriment to one’s career span and the scope of what they are capable of and how useful they are to choreographers....Read More
Choreographing for Students With Limited Technique
It’s always inspirational as choreographers to walk into rehearsal and feel confident you have dancers who are both technically and artistically mature enough to handle the material you are about to give them. What excites us more is having those able bodies execute our vision as we see it and are limitless to the complexity of the movement we can give them.
On the flip side, as teachers and choreographers, we are also presented with dancers at times who are not as technically advanced, who are beginners or are at the studio for recreational purposes only. Yet, each dancer still deserves the same experience of having a dance set on them they feel good about performing and look forward to........Read More
IMPROVE RELEVE WITH THIS ONE EXERCISE!
Why can’t our dancers hold their relevé? This is an ongoing question we often ask ourselves and an aspect of training that we continually try to improve upon with our dancers. It is also one of the most important and crucial elements necessary to progress. Whether we are dealing with lack of core strength, placement issues, sitting in one’s hip, weak ankles, not pulling up or a whole host of other possibilities, below is a sure fire, challenging exercise to help young dancers find their balance in relevé. Plus, it’s fun!.....Read More
INTERMEDIATE HOP HOP ROUTINE BY TISLARM BOUIE
Here is another video in our series of special sneak previews. Check out this fun and styllized Hip Hop Combination by one of New York's hottest new choreographers Tislarm Bouie. Dance Teacher Web has over 700 videos, 100's of articles, lesson plans and business building tools for the busy dance studio owner. Not yet a member? Start your FREE 14-day full access trial today!Read More
TIPS FOR IMPROVING SPOTTING TECHNIQUE
Spotting is perhaps one of the most challenging concepts for young dancers to grasp and often to teach as well. Without it, however, 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 exercise to help dancers really hone in on the skill and improve quickly and efficiently......
ADVANCED TAP COMBINATION BY AARON TURNER
Here is a special sneak preview at one of the terrific videos presented by Aaron Turner from the members area. Dance Teacher Web has over 700 videos, 100's of articles, lesson plans and business building tools for the busy dance studio owner. Not yet a member? Start your FREE 14-day full access trial today!Read More
QUICK TIPS FOR ENERGIZING YOUR DANCE CLASSES
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.Read More
THE LEDGENDARY CHARLES KELLEY "HOW TO" TAP VIDEO MILITARY TIME STEP
Dance Teacher Web is proud to present the master "Teacher of Teachers" Mr Charles Kelly teaching tips for Military Time Step. On January 3rd Mr Kelley passed away in New York City. We know he is teaching dance in heaven right now! RIPRead More
SPECIAL DANCE TEACHER WEB EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH AARON TURNER
**Dance Teacher Web Founder Steve Sirico presents a special interview with Aaron Turner. Discover how Aaron learned his love of dance and what motivates him. This video is a must watch for your male dancers!**Read More
DANCE TEACHERS: IT’S YOUR ATTITUDE THAT DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE!
Every time you enter your classroom you need to have energy and an uplifting aura about you. It amazes me when I see teachers walk into a room in an obvious bad mood and with their head down and then wonder why students that day were not receptive to being taught. If your class is not behaving well, I recommend that the first place you have to look is at yourself.Read More
NATURALLY GIFTED VS. PASSIONATE DANCER
There is nothing more frustrating than having a dancer in class possessing the raw ability, natural facility and talent a dancer dreams of but somehow lacks the motivation and enthusiasm as some of our less talented students.
I'm sure you've all experienced it. The dancer in class with extension for days, effortless turning ability, ridiculous flexibility and feet that are unmatched. Their attitude however is 'ho-hum' at best. Everything looks like marking and the self-motivation to push themselves beyond anything out of their comfort zone is lacking. As a teacher, it can be infuriating to watch and the lack of enthusiasm often makes you stop and wonder whether they enjoy dance at all....
TEACHING HABITS...WHEN TO LET DANCERS FIGURE IT OUT FOR THEMSELVESVery often as teachers, we get to a point in our educating that we are so subconsciously determined to ensure a dancer's comprehension that we ourselves forget it is up to them to do the learning. There have been times in my own teaching where I notice my habits creeping in that make me stop and wonder; "Is this approach to teaching really helping my students or am I inadvertently spoon-feeding and giving them all the answers?"............. Read More
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...........Read More
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........Read More
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.........Read More
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!...........Read More
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...............Read More
INTRODUCING IMPROVISATION TO JUNIORS & TWEENS
Improvisation is still one of those areas of dance which mystifies some studio dance teachers and terrifies dance students (mainly older students.) Most of the time you'll get an, "I love improv" or an "I hate improv" from the crowd as there is generally no ambivalent feelings on the subject. Usually, the younger we are the more uninhibited we are and the earlier we introduce improvisation as more than just "freeze dance," the tendency will be more of a joy to freely move vs. being self-conscious as to what to do next. It will also inadvertently start to build a sophisticated movement profile and palette for little ones as they develop into more mature dancers down the road. For youngsters, it's easier to just move and not think but the older we get the more our brains get in the way. Sometimes as a dance teacher I have to tell my older students, "stop thinking, just do it and move" and that goes with executing choreography too, so you can imagine the terror that comes with not having the steps laid out for them...........Read More
TIPS FOR CHOREOGRAPHING FOR STUDENTS WITH LIMITED TECHNIQUE
It's always inspirational as choreographers to walk into rehearsal and feel confident you have dancers who are both technically and artistically mature enough to handle the material you are about to give them. What excites us more is having those able bodies execute our vision as we see it and are limitless to the complexity of the movement we can give them. On the flip side, as teachers and choreographers, we are also presented with dancers at times who are not as technically advanced, who are beginners or are at the studio for recreational purposes only. Yet, each dancer still deserves the same experience of having a dance set on them they feel good about performing and look forward to..........Read More
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GIVING & TEACHING CLASS
In recent years, the term "master teacher" has taken on an identity of itself. This self-dubbed label by many dance teachers has surfaced in a way where it seems everyone is a master of their craft; some without the goods to back it up. I have taken and observed countless classes in all kinds of settings; pre- professional & professional studios, university, conventions, conferences, company classes, etc. and what I have seen makes me pause as to whether we truly get the meaning of "giving class" vs. "teaching class." There is a noticeable difference. The scope of a dance teacher's range in the way they impart knowledge is key in determining how much of themselves they will give to their students, the experience they create for them and what that dancer retains and takes away........Read More
SURE-FIRE EXERCISES TO BUILDING CORE STRENGTH
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. Below you'll find three of my favorite exercises to get your dancers going; both in the studio and on their own at home. Each can be executed daily with multiple repetitions and modified based on level and physical capability. Remember, without a strong core we don't have the potential to master turns, balances, extensions, jumps and a whole catalogue of movement necessary to develop one's technique safely and properly................Read More
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.......Read More
"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!...............Read More
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.......Read More
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...........Read More
WHEN STUDENTS AREN'T FEELING YOUR CHOREOGRAPHY!
As dance teachers we spend countless hours researching music, coming up with creative concepts, figuring out movement, formations and transitions and get excited to set new pieces with our dancers. So what happens when your enthusiasm for a new piece doesn't inspire your dancers the way it does you? How do you handle dancers who just "aren't feeling it?" ......................Read More
PERFORMING AT YOUR BEST! TIPS FOR GIVING A GREAT TEACHING INTERVIEW!
Teachers, that time of year is quickly approaching when studio schedules are being finalized and directors are rounding out their faculty for the new season. If you are lining up some interviews yourself for some new teaching gigs, I'd like to share some helpful hints and thoughts to better help you secure that position! I have been on both sides of the table, interviewing and auditing potential candidates myself and I can tell you even the littlest thing that may slip by you can be the biggest detail between looking professional and landing the job vs. being seen as green and unprepared.....Read More
FIVE PLYOMETRIC EXERCISES TO CONDITION YOUR DANCERS!
Conditioning programs for dancers should be an essential part of any training program. Along with regular technique classes, "cross training" efforts will help provide increased cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and endurance benefits. It will also increase core strength and muscle tone and encourage healthy exercise practice. Below are 5 of my favorite Plyometric (jump training) exercises you can implement at the beginning or end of any class or rehearsal which will get dancers started in the right direction and can be modified for any level of dancer..............Read More
THE GREAT DEBATE OVER ASSESSMENT IN DANCE EDUCATION
Having just returned from this year's 2015 Dance Teacher Web Live Conference and successful class session on "Lesson Planning for _Dance in the K-12_," I'd like to contribute some more information regarding many of the attendees' passionate questions on _assessment in dance education; _which can also be adapted for use in the studio setting..............Read More
GETTING REAL WITH DANCE STUDENTS PLAYING THE BLAME GAME
Have you ever wanted to just get _"really real"_ with your students? I mean **_"really real?"_** Not in a way that's going to ruin their self-esteem or deter them from their accomplishments or anything, but tell them what's up in an up- front way so that they do succeed and learn to take responsibility for things they can correct and improve upon. One of the greatest disservices we can do for our students is to not be straight with them; albeit with tact and sensitivity, but sometimes you have to have the nerve to just say it how it is and trust they know it's said with love and coming from the best place possible......Read More
IS THE MIRROR TRULY A DANCER'S BEST FRIEND?
As a dance teacher, think about the aforementioned quote this week for a second. Think about all your years of training and the "norm" which makes up a technique class. Think about the format, the environment, the habits in which we learn dance and teach dance. Think about your dancers and the way they absorb information or learn new material, rely on or compare themselves to other dancers day in and day out. Think about how they watch you and what their vantage point is as a student. Think about where they habitually stand during warm-up......Read More
FLOOR BARRE EXERCISES TO INCREASE TURNOUT
As dance teachers, we are always trying to safely increase turnout while balancing strength & flexibility within our dancers. This is not something that develops overnight and is usually host to a whole list of variables including how much time and effort the dancer puts in, anatomical facility and good technical training. Now that we're in the summer months, here is a great time for your dancers to practice these quick floor barre exercises that will keep them on track of their progress and allow for real increase of range of motion among their legs and hips.Read More
THREE SIMPLE EXCERCISES TO INCREASE DEMI PLIÉ
Teachers, if you have been trying to increase your dancers' range of motion in terms of building demi plie, here are 3 quick, easy exercises you can show them. Sometimes a muscular or skeletal issue, the culprit though also can be the result of tight plantar flexors; inhibiting a limited a range of motion they can execute. Over time, with consistency and repetition, you will see a dramatic improvement and it only takes minutes a day.....Read More
MOVING ON: WAYS TO AMICABLY SEPARATE FROM YOUR DANCE STUDIO
Teachers, we have all been in the position where we have taught for dance studios that started off as a wonderful experience; where we have invested a number of years only to discover that at a certain point, it's time to move on. If you are lucky enough to find that dance studio where your teaching philosophy, creative ideas and overall mindset gel with the owner's and grow together for years on end, then that is ideal. However, dance teachers are evolving artists and human beings where your professional and personal needs change as well. Sometimes you either feel like you've done everything you can do there or are in need of a new challenge, environment and goals in which to reinvent yourself and progress as a teacher.........Read More
THE DANCE TEACHER SELF EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRE
At the end of the year or semester it is typical that we assess our student's progress , we look at how much they have learnt over the past year and we see if they are ready to move on to the next level. It is also a great time to assess our own progress and really take a good look at ourselves and what we have been able to accomplish with our students. Every year has a different set of challenges and it is always interesting to look back and see what really worked well and what needs some tweaking as far as our teaching skills go.Read More
ENGAGING SPINE, PELVIS & CORE AWARENESS IN YOUR DANCERS!
As dance teachers, we are always trying to get dancers to understand the importance of the core, spine and pelvis. Without proper fundamental association of anatomy, dancers at some point will become limited in terms of their progression and visceral body connection and awareness. The earlier we can engage dancers in recognizing the importance of anatomy in relation to how their bodies move, the better equipped they will be in terms of being kinesthetically and internally aware. Below are some wonderful introductory exercises you can incorporate within your warm-ups to get your dancers on the path to discovering core strength and spine-pelvis alignment............Read More
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?Read More
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.Read More
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?...."Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
DANCE TEACHERS: GIVING DANCE CORRECTIONS IN 2015!
We can all agree, giving corrections and assessment to your students can be a delicate thing. Long gone are the days when dance teachers used to just call you out by your name and tell you bluntly what you were doing wrong in the middle of class. Funny, how my generation loved that kind of attention. Any attention from the teacher was good attention whether it was the rare compliment or a tactile correction. It meant and was understood that the teacher noticed you and was taking an interest in you, your talent and your progress.Read More
RECYCLE, RE-DO, RE-SET & REVAMP: GIVING OLD DANCE WORKS A MAKE-OVER.
Have you been toying around with the idea of taking one of your choreographic masterpieces out of the vault? All of us have at one time or another created a piece that we actually really love and stands the test of time, so why not make it a part of your repertoire? It's not unheard of, even in the biggest of dance companies with new works being commissioned all the time. Remember, many of them have built their legacy on those famous dances which made them synonymous with the dance world. There is a lot to consider when thinking about resetting a work in order to make it successful. It's important to recognize the difference of just not being lazy or inspired to set forth a new work vs. recognizing that you have a group of dancers which inspire you to recycle it. When done right and for the right reasons, the end result can have a wonderful way of bringing old choreography to life again in a refreshing and exciting new way. When that occurs, it then feels like it's being set for the very first time.Read More
QUICK TIPS TO END THE YEAR RIGHT!
It is amazing, but here we are at the end of another year and as we come to the close of 2014 and look forward to 2015 it is a good moment 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.Read More
DANCE TEACHERS, WHAT IS YOUR IN-STUDIO MANAGEMENT STYLE?
As dance teachers, we are often thinking about our choreography, our warm-ups and our across the floor and center combos before the day's classes commence. Over the course of a season we exhaust ourselves trying to be creative and think of the best possible lesson plans for individual classes and how we will implement those lessons. We become consumed with watching our students' progress, how to get pieces set and how to organize rehearsals so that the end product is "ready" for audience viewing. While all of these elements are essential to a successful class structure, often we miss the boat on what is the #1, most important lesson of all. The lesson that must be the prerequisite to everything else we teach in the studio; the lesson that supersedes all of the above so that the studio learning environment is viable and lends itself to learning, comprehension and application. That lesson….classroom management..........by Jessica Rizzo- StaffordRead More
MANAGING CHOREOGRAPHY BLOCK
We've all been there….the dreaded time of year when the ideas just aren't flowing and we are facing a deadline of ten+ numbers to be choreographed in a matter of weeks...We sit and barrel though ITUNES trying to find music which inspires us to conjure up any kind of inspiration in the worst way; forcing ideas we know are mediocre just so we have a jumping off point to get something down on paper for class or rehearsal that night. But, as we all know the more we try and force something, the more resistance we create for ourselves! So, what do we do when that deadline is creeping closer and closer and staring at us in the face (along with the dancers who are waiting for our creative genius to be cast upon them?)Read More
THE TASK OF CHOOSING MUSIC FOR CHOREOGRAPHY!
The task of music selection year after year can be a daunting one, especially for those of us teaching multiple classes. We aim to be creative, fresh, innovative and contemporary, but the truth is, many struggle to deliver original and age appropriate content that is both family friendly and not overdone. So, how do we attempt to include all of the above and still find something that inspires us as artists as well? The trick is to do your research ahead of time. Heading to ITunes at the last minute right before you need to set a piece rarely works well, but actually listening to music you enjoy regularly and giving yourself time will allow you the opportunity to create a library of songs you can keep in storage for the perfect group as an when the need arises! Having an arsenal of ideas will always put you ahead of the game and make for infinite options vs. settling on something your creative spirit is not really in tune with.Read More
IS IT THE STUDENT OR THE PARENT? PROBLEM SOLVING FOR DANCE TEACHERS
I have written many articles for Dance Teachers about issues with unruly students and how to get them over the hump and in line with the class structure. Students who are problems from a behavioral point can disrupt your entire class, ruin your flow and destroy your class karma. The key is to find out what's causing the situation and then deal directly with the problem at hand... By Steve SiricoRead More
DANCE STUDIO OWNERS: GIVE INSPIRATION AND WATCH YOUR STUDIO SOAR!
Dance Studio Owners have a tough job because not only do we have to motivate ourselves but we also have to motivate our staff, faculty, students and even parents to help everyone stay on the same page and to ultimately make our lives run smoother! It does take extra effort but definitely will pay off if you can find ways to keep everyone happy. Check out this great post on how to make today and everyday GREAT! By Angela D'Valda SiricoRead More
DANCE ASSESSMENT READING REFERENCE LIST
The inclusion of dance education in the public school has stimulated lengthy debate over how to: evaluate the arts; define and justify dance's existence within an education system, and create meaningful experiences for students. With the 1997 inclusion of the arts as part of the _National Assessment of Educational Progress _(NAEP), or _The Nation's Educational Report Card_, major steps have been taken to formalize arts assessment and overcome traditional standardized testing protocol. Educators have had the difficult task of capturing, what is in essence, an intangible area of study; moving product, gone as quickly as it was created.Read More
ORGANIZING YOUR DANCE LESSON PLANS IN THE NEW SEASON!
Preparation and organization are perhaps THE most important factors to determining a successful year of teaching. Even before we get to classes and setting choreography, the way in which we enter into a new year will directly correspond to the success of the content one is trying to teach. Dance teachers have a difficult job because we are not only relaying information to our students which we hope they mentally absorb, but there is also an expectation regarding the physical execution as well. Always trying to develop, _"thinking dancers,"_ the synthesis of both the intellectual and verbal content alongside the kinesthetic is a feat in itself.Read More
PRETEEN MUSICAL THEATRE TECHNIQUE & CENTRE WARMUP
As we start the new dance season, it's a great time for musical theatre teachers to start adding to their curriculum and look at the many components that are embedded in the musical theatre genre. First off, while it is always a good idea to find music and content which is age appropriate and will get the students engaged, establishing a solid technical foundation is also vital as with any other genre. Jazz and ballet technique will always be a necessary extension of performance technique, so below is a breakdown of my own center warm-up which progresses into across the floor and center combinations!Read More
“DANCE IMPROVISATION 101: AN INTRODUCTORY READING LIST
Dance teachers, does the thought of incorporating improvisation into your classes intimidate you? While some have called it "free dance," "free movement," etc., the actual development and structure of an improvisation lesson is a lot more than turning on the music and have the kids dance around the room. While that is wonderful and fun in its own right from time to time, this week we're giving you our own introduction and overview to an art form in itself with a rich dance history and niche of its own.Read More
THE BENEFITS OF LIVE MUSICAL ACCOMPANISTS IN DANCE CLASS.
The incorporation of a live accompanist, whether it be the classical pianist in ballet class or the sound of live drummers in modern or African class can change the dynamics of your studio curriculum. There is nothing more enlivening than to hear live music start a class and can change the interaction your dancers have with you and the musician while sharpening their focus on the movement you are giving as well as their sense of musicality. In addition, the embedded lesson of dancers learning how to work with a musician and see how dance teachers and musicians speak to each other is a wonderful way for dancers to learn about this very important and essential communicative skill with fellow artists. Obviously, an extra expense which not every studio can afford on a weekly basis for all classes, there are ways you can give your students the experience of a live accompanist without breaking the studio's budget.Read More
DANCE TEACHERS: THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS IS IN YOUR HANDS!
Teaching over the long haul can be a drain, especially if you are teaching a lot of classes and are pushed to create. One of the toughest things teachers face throughout the season is to stay motivated and energized. You are constantly giving and if you are not careful you can drain your battery and teaching can become a struggle. Don't wait until you get to that tipping point! .Read More
DEMYSTIFYING MODERN DANCE IN THE STUDIO SETTING
As we all know, modern dance is a genre which breaks traditional ideas, and at times does not synchronize with the traditional ballet foundation we are primarily aiming to instill within our students. In fact, until recently, modern dance was not a common inclusion within studio training curriculums until the undergraduate years of college dance programs. Then, students coming from solely traditional training backgrounds would often be overwhelmed and intimidated by this "new" way of moving, exploring space, improvising and creating movement.Read More
DANCE TEACHERS...THE TIME TO START PLANNING FOR NEXT SEASON IS NOW!
For many of us this is the time of year when are season is winding down and we are either immersed in the end of year performances or trying to recover from the pressures of producing choreography that makes our students shine. Now is the time to take a deep breath and reflect on the season. Looking back always helps us to move forward in a more positive way. How did you feel that your year went? Did you accomplish all the things that you set out to do at the beginning of the year and were you happy with the results?Read More
THE DANCE TEACHER'S SUMMER GUIDE TO REINVENTION!
With the summer season quickly approaching, a lot of dance teachers and studio owners will be able to engage in a bit of down-time as recital and competition season comes to a close and before summer sessions commence. Before you know it, September will be upon us and it will be a brand new year to get working on new projects and curriculum building! While students receive a well- deserved break during the summer months, dance educators often forget that we too need to pause; in order to refuel our own creative juices and let ourselves become re-inspired. As with any artist, a little respite is a great time to self-reflect on the teaching year; choreography we were proud of, things that did or didn't work in our curriculum, changes we'd like to make for the following season and what new information we can use to reinvigorate ourselves and consequently our students.Read More
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!Read More
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….;)Read More
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!Read More
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!Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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!**Read More
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!Read More
“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.Read More
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?Read More
THE DANCE TEACHER GUIDE TO GET THE MOST OUT THEIR STUDENTS
In today's world it is acceptable to think negative. I have had students tell me that some of the most popular kids are the ones who dislike everything and are negative about their peers who have success. What message is this sending to the youth of today? The good news is, we know better! And dance training will teach these children that a 'can do' attitude will take them so much further than any negative thought ever willRead More
IMPROVISATION LESSON: “EMOTION SHADOW”
Teachers, if you have young, beginner, shy or special needs dancers, this is a wonderful introductory improvisation lesson plan I developed to introduce your students to that is non-threatening, engages the senses and build trust among the dancers in your classroom!Read More
MAXIMIZING & MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR REHEARSAL TIME!
As choreographers and dance teachers, we all have had those scheduled time frames where we need to set a piece in the course of one or two rehearsals on a Sunday when the studio is closed or over a vacation break. I have found that having a clear game-plan going into these types of choreography-settings can make the experience way less stressful and a wonderfully creative, productive and fun experience for you as well as your dancers! Here are some of my tips for the ONE DAY REHEARSAL MARATHON!Read More
POINTE SHOE CARE: PROTECTION TIPS & GUIDELINES
In our last interview with Angela D'Valda Sirico we discussed the proper protocol for putting dancers on pointe. We examined the readiness in terms of physicality and commitment and also spoke with Angela about the importance of making this decision for your dancers so that they are set up for a healthy and positive dance experience. So what happens now, when a dancer is ready for their first pointe class? What should you as their teacher be doing to maximize their success to ensure they have a complete understanding of protecting and taking care of those precious feet!Read More
Inspiring the Uninspired
As 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. What happens though when this role model of inspiration is uninspired? What do we do when the ideas are not flowing, the choreography is stuck and there is no end in sight?Read More
Putting Dancers on Pointe: The Real Truth
Determining when a dancer is ready to go on pointe is an extremely important decision in terms of a dancer's advancement. While many ballet dancers will be eager to get their first pair of pointe shoes, many don't realize until they are up on pointe, how much dedication is involved, how much work and discomfort actually coincide with it and how strong the body and mind need to be to move onto this level.Read More
I am a Dance Mut...and I'm Okay With That
During my professional training and performance career, I was lucky enough to have an eclectic and vast range of the genres I was exposed to. I started off with strict ballet training in my youth and throughout my teenage years, fell in love with modern in college, focused on jazz and musical theater in my early twenties, etc. Because of this, I was a desirable hire at auditions; well-rounded and I could do almost anything because I was well versed (except tap, I was never a tapper!)Read More
Preparing Your Dancers For The Real World
I just happened to be on FB this morning reading the posts of my many talented friends in the business; many that have had long, long careers doing what they love to do and making a good living at it. Today, in particular however, I stumbled across a post of a friend who is between shows. This is someone who has pretty much worked consistently in the Broadway community for the past 25 years. This one line resonated with me so much it made me stop and think whether we truly prepare our students enough for what is ahead of them. The post read, "Isn't this biz amazing how you can live your lifelong dream dancing with Chita Rivera one week and then back to the audition grind the next?"Read More
Teacher Conduct & Tactile Correction
When I was training, 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 ingrained in one's own body over time.Read More
Be Specific!It seems nowadays especially, so many things get generalized, glossed over, breezed by and given half-hearted attention to. We glimpse, we glance, we mark, we coast and this effect trickles down to others. What happened to attention to detail? What happened to specificity? Clarity? Intricacy? Painstaking accuracy? These values are slipping away faster than we realize and what was maybe just an oversight is now becoming trend. Read More
Success Basics Everyone Needs to Know - Part 3: Enthusiasm
What is enthusiasm? For the most part it is one of those things you know when you see it, and other people know when you have it. In other words, it is what people see, and react to about you. Enthusiasm is contagious. Here is a working definition to get you started.Read More