A: Extending a reduced tuition rate for the children of teachers is often an appreciated benefit, but make sure a written agreement is set in advance with clear expectations. We offer our full-time instructors a 50 percent tuition discount on top of any reductions they would be entitled to as regular families, like sibling discounts or multiple class discounts, for example. Their child’s dance supplies and costume costs are also reduced by 20 percent. We have evolved these percentages over the years; a studio owner must take into account what she can afford and what she feels is fair. Some studios offer a sliding-scale discount program, dependent on the hours worked or classes taught per week.
Treat your teachers’ accounts in the same fashion as you do all registered families and require them to keep payments up-to-date. Some teachers might argue, “I’m teaching my own child, why should I have to pay?” But there is a cost to take a class—utilities, insurance and studio operations. We revisit the discounts annually during faculty reviews, and we are clear that they are a benefit of employment—not a guarantee. And remember: If you encounter any behavior issues or perceived favoritism for a teacher’s child or any other student, it is important to take action and address the situation immediately.
Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.
Photo by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety
Welcome to the new dance-teacher.com. Now you can enjoy all the news and inspiration you've come to expect from Dance Teacher magazine in a captivating daily format—from your desktop, your phone and your tablet. Personal perspectives, exclusive photos, how-to technique videos, lesson plans and much more.
Dance-teacher.com is where the best in our field share their passion for dance education. Get the latest teaching advice, recommended methods and tools, career options and business solutions. For teachers and studio owners alike, whether your setting is a private studio, conservatory, the convention floor, college dance or the k-12 classroom. This is your community.
Dig in, we hope you like it! Produced by Dance Teacher magazine. Powered by RebelMouse.
You can take the dancer out of Balanchine, but you can't take the Balanchine out of the dancer—or at least, that's Darla Hoover's experience. As artistic director of Ballet Academy East's pre-professional division, following an 11-year career with New York City Ballet, she readily recognizes that aspects of her class—the speed, clarity, musicality and energy—are inarguably Balanchinian. But she was surprised to find she also takes after the late, great choreographer when it comes to classroom demeanor: "Just like Mr. Balanchine would say, I'll tell my students, 'Great! That was so much better.' They'll think, 'Oh, thank goodness,'" she says. "And then I'll turn around and say, 'More. Do it bigger.' That was always him—it was never enough." That constant quest for perfection will be on display this month, when the BAE students perform Balanchine's Donizetti Variations, a cheery but technically challenging 26-minute ballet, in their spring recital, May 19–21 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College in NYC.
Should your music go out or skip—and it will, every director attests—make sure you have backups ready, whether digital or on a separate device. Always give your dancers the chance at a do-over, too, says Carole Royal. "We'll either replay the music right then—have them leave the stage and come on and do it again from the beginning—or we'll wait two numbers while we get it set up and then have them come back and do it again," she says.
Tony Waag knows from experience that your audience will be relieved by a fresh start. While on tour singing with a big band for a Hoagy Carmichael music show, Waag started singing and realized that his mic wasn't on. "I raised my hands and got the whole orchestra to stop playing. I said, 'We're going to try this again,'" he says. "It was such a relief—people get really uncomfortable if you pretend that nothing is going on."
Carole Royal, owner, Royal Dance Works, Phoenix, Arizona
Tony Waag, American Tap Dance Foundation, New York, New York
This Sunday, master ballet teacher Finis Jhung turns 80. After a career as a soloist for both San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey and a principal for Harkness Ballet, Jhung carved out a unique place for himself as a ballet teacher in New York City. He's coached the boys of Billy Elliot: The Musical, developed a popular video and DVD how-to series and STILL teaches seven classes a week at the Ailey Extension. He's graced the pages of this magazine to offer his time-honored wisdom again and again, and he's currently working on a memoir. (We can't wait to read it.) Happy birthday, Finis!
Since 1989, tap dancers have been celebrating National Tap Dance Day (NTDD) on and around May 25, the birthday of tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. This year, prime events are happening in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago.