Running a studio can be a major juggling act. You have to stay on top of the big things, like paying rent on time and chasing after delinquent payments, and track the details, like replacing that blinking lightbulb and sending out a snowstorm alert. No surprise, then, that a few things slip through the cracks—costing you money or students. Here, some savvy studio owners talk about five common but often unnoticed mistakes, and what to do about them. Pay attention to these, and you'll find yourself with more time, clients and revenue on your hands.
Lauren Lovette is having a good year. Maybe too good—after creating her first ballet for New York City Ballet last fall, For Clara, she realized she'd checked one of the last items off her dance bucket list. "Once you choreograph on New York City Ballet, you're like, 'Well, I didn't dream past this,'" says the NYCB principal. "It made me feel a little lost. I thought I was dreaming the highest I could. That's what I'm trying to figure out this year—what else do I want?" For starters, she wants to choreograph more. She'll get that chance this month, when she shares a program with three other female dancemakers at the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado on August 7.
Diane Smagatz-Rawlinson has spent 26 of her 33 years in dance education at Wheeling High School in Illinois. She has mentored a number of dance-certified alumni and, this past spring, she welcomed her seventh student teacher to her classroom. Here's her advice for empowering student teachers:
At Wheeling High School in the Chicago area where I teach, more than 85 percent of the students are taking their first dance class. My advice to any new student teacher is: Avoid assuming that students already know how to count music, travel in lines, recognize terminology or even understand basic classroom etiquette.
Student teachers here lead four or five classes every day in dance and/or physical education for 8 to 15 weeks, depending on university requirements. Here are some of the ways I help prepare them for success.
Finis Jhung's career as a professional dancer began in 1960 in the Broadway and national companies of Flower Drum Song. The Korean-Scottish-English Hawaii native then went on to dance with San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, found his own company, Chamber Ballet USA, and teach his unique classical ballet style to professionals and amateurs all over the world. Now, at age 80, his teaching has gone full circle back to the basics, primarily focusing on what he calls his "adult babies"—absolute and advanced adult beginners—at The Ailey Extension in New York City.
When you think of Nashville, country music and Southern cuisine come to mind. Contemporary dance? Not so much. But if Juilliard-trained dancer and choreographer Banning Bouldin has anything to say, the answer will soon be "Absolutely."
With life in dance hubs like New York becoming increasingly challenging and expensive, successful performers like Bouldin are relocating in search of more space to breathe as artists. Once there, they are finding ways to re-envision the energy and inspiration of the artistic communities they had enjoyed in the cities they left behind.
Since the Nashville native returned home in 2010, she has founded New Dialect, a nonprofit dance organization that provides training in modern and contemporary movement along with a professional performance collective of dancers who work on a 34-week contract.
"Right now, a large part of the population in the U.S. thinks the National Endowment for the Arts isn't necessary," Bouldin says. "That's because art isn't reaching people. We have a responsibility to take art to rural areas and smaller cities. We must dare to blaze a trail."
As a founding member of the 1960s New York City–based dance collective Judson Dance Theater, Yvonne Rainer was one of the 20th century's most innovative choreographers. But did you know that she had an equally remarkable career as a filmmaker from 1972 to 1996?
Today through Thursday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is featuring Talking Pictures: The Cinema of Yvonne Rainer. See Rainer's films at the Francesca Beale Theater alongside those of her contemporaries and a couple of her personal favorites. Check out the lineup.
When Paula Frasz fell from a horse in 2015 and broke her tibia and fibula, she couldn't put any weight on her left leg for three months. She continued to teach with the aid of a scooter, also known as a "knee-walker." (This device allows you to kneel on the scooter and glide, coast, speed up, slow down, stop, turn and back up easily.) Frasz relied on three crucial elements of dance pedagogy—use of vocal description and imagery, student demonstration and mentorship—and made some powerful discoveries in the process. Here's how she did it and what she learned.