How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life

by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston

Crown Business

In a nutshell: Five necessary elements for creating balance.

 

This book tells the stories of women at the top, like Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon, and Gerry Laybourne, founder and former CEO of Oxygen Networks, and how they juggle a leadership role with their “second shift” as wife and mother. Authors Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston spent several years conducting interviews, and through their research, they found that these successful women shared five things: meaning (having a sense of purpose), framing (being an optimist), connecting (building relationships), engaging (taking action) and energizing (managing your energy flow). This uplifting read is packed with positive reinforcement and ideas on how to integrate these five elements into your life.

 

How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader


by John G. Gabriel


Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development


In a nutshell: A practical guide that will take you from teacher to leader.

 

In response to a lack of material he found on the topic, John G. Gabriel penned a preparation manual for teachers moving into leadership positions, a challenge he himself faced when transitioning from high school English teacher to department chair. Teachers are natural catalysts for positive change, he says, and in this book he details strategies on how you can become a stronger voice within your academic system by embracing six elements of leadership: organizational, strategic, interpersonal, adaptive, motivational and instructional. He offers some basic career-counseling advice, and he emphasizes that part of becoming a good leader is creating a supportive team and helping those around you grow. The text is full of firsthand knowledge and examples, including a 54-page resource section with sample letters and e-mails, evaluation surveys, memos, interview questions and checklists to help put his suggestions into practice.

 

Other Duties as Assigned: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Expert Teacher Leadership


by Jan Burgess with Donna Bates


Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development


In a nutshell: Simple strategies for becoming an effective leader.

 

Author Jan Burgess mined her 30 years of experience in public education to create a teacher-friendly reference manual on leadership. In six parts, she addresses strategies for success, including how to build your team, adapt to changes in personnel and policy, encourage collective team brainstorming and gauge your progress. Using real-life scenarios, Burgess provides solutions for some common dilemmas teacher leaders face. At the end of each chapter, teacher-leader mentor Donna Bates (“Dear Donna”) responds to questions from teachers about specific leadership challenges. Also helpful are the list of resources for further research, small sidebars with thought-provoking questions and “A Teacher Leader’s Toolkit,” which includes checklists and templates for planning guides, meeting agendas and feedback surveys.


Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

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Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

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Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

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Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

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Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

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Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

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How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

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