High Five on Professional Development
Studio directors discuss professional development.
“I love taking classes and exposing myself to different styles of dance. I am also a judge for several dance competitions. By traveling around the country during the season I am able to see incredible talent, and bring that knowledge back to my students.
To better myself and continue my education not only centers me, it also snowballs to the students. I educate myself to give my dancers the most well-rounded dance program that I can offer.” —Lauren Mangano, Elite Academy of Dance, Shrewsbury, MA
“There are great teacher training programs out there, like Dance Educators of America and Dance Masters of America. But another really great way to better your own skills is by assisting other teachers at your own studio—especially with the beginner classes. Teaching beginners really teaches you how to teach.
I continue to take classes—if I’m going to teach my kids, I need to know the latest and greatest—and one thing I think about is, ‘What makes this class so fun? Why are there so many people taking this particular class?’ Then I try to emulate what I liked so much about that teacher.”
—Valerie Harman, Art of Dance, Chester, NJ
“I reevaluate my studio policies every year and ask myself: ‘What do we need to do to offer the best dance education possible so our students can rise to their potential?’ I have found that bringing in guest choreographers and teachers, traveling to workshops or conventions and taking advantage of classes taught at the other dance studios in our area are some great ways for everyone to grow.” —Terri Howell, All American Dance Factory, Tampa, FL
“Attending conventions is that extra bit of sunshine I need to stay in a positive frame of mind. We attend six to eight conventions each year where we’re able to grow and learn from the methods of professional instructors. I observe how they handle younger children and teenagers and work with multiple levels at a time. I also like to hear from other studio owners and learn about how they handle their day-to-day business. I always enjoy listening to instructors who go through the same challenges I do.” —Beth Fagan, Main Street Dance, Hammond, LA
“I enjoy learning about support activities for dance like stretching, strengthening and Pilates. A couple years ago I became Zumba-certified just to try something different. Nutrition is another area I like to research—it’s important to keep in touch with the latest trends and assess what is best for dancers.”
—Janalyn Memmott, The Waterford School, Sandy, UT
Photo of Elite Academy of Dance company members, courtesy Elite Academy of Dance.