Q: In August I hired a new hip-hop teacher. We were really excited, because he seemed to be very professional and a great dancer. However, parents have expressed concerns over his choreography, and now his classes have dropped from 15-plus to 4 or 5. Should I keep him until May or let him go now? Will this affect my school’s reputation?

 

A: Good reputations are built on business management, artistic direction, capable faculty and staff, and commitment to customer service and successful students. It is clear you must take action as soon as possible when a situation like this occurs. The red flag is the sharp drop in enrollment and, as the studio owner/director, it’s imperative to meet with the teacher to address the concerns that parents have expressed over the choreography. Did it cause safety issues? If so, there is a legal liability. Was it not age-appropriate? It would be helpful to assess through a meeting or an exit survey with dissatisfied parents/students exactly what they dislike about this teacher and his style.

 

If the teacher is open to suggestions, willing to be coached and interested in aligning with your school’s culture, this may be an opportunity for a second chance. In that case, create a plan, make adjustments and communicate immediately with all current and dropped students to let them know of the positive changes you have made. Mentoring and shadowing from you or your director are helpful in making sure the standards are upheld. 

 

Though if you’ve determined that this teacher is not a good fit for your studio, the sooner you replace him the better. Your students and parents will respect your ability to maintain a quality program that meets their expectations. You may immediately want to reach out by phone if you think that is best, or distribute a letter just to the students past and present in his classes. It can be handled with a simple statement: “We have chosen to replace Brian with Chris beginning on [date]. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause, but we feel Chris is a better fit for our studio and our students’ needs.” This statement maintains professionalism and respect for everyone involved and minimizes rumors and gossip.


 

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.

Thinkstock

With Thanksgiving approaching, we're all ruminating on the things we are most thankful for in the world. Of course, as dance teachers, our students are always at the top of our list. They make us laugh, they make us cry and sometimes they make us want to pull our hair out, but at the end of the day, they are the reason for everything we do in the studio each day. To get you thinking about how much you love your dancers, here are five videos of kids dancing that are sure to make your heart happy! We want to see the dancers you're thankful for this season, too, so share your favorite videos on social media, tag us and include #gratitudedance in the caption. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

No matter how hard I work to change it, I'm often told that I have a shallow plié. Is there any hope for improving the depth of my plié through special stretches to make it juicier? I'm doing a lot of exercises, but I don't seem to getting any results. Looking forward to reading your advice. Thanks!

Keep reading... Show less
Videos

When New York City–based dancer Dan Lai began choreographing Figure 8, he had a specific vision in mind. Inspired by a song by FKA Twigs, he wanted the movement to represent the music's "dark and twisted vibe." "My thought process was to make shapes and phrases that were abstract and unique that complimented the intricate beats of the music," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz
Thinkstock

Science has proven again, again that dancing is just, well, good for you. And not even in moderation. Like drinking water or laughing, there's no such thing as too much dancing. So, let's rejoice for this new dance perk to add to the list.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for Hairspray Live. Courtesy of Erdmann

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

Keep reading... Show less
How-To
Photo by Nancy Adler, courtesy of Maria Hanley

When a principal, teacher, or parent walks into a room and sees 20 children rolling around on the floor and then leaping for the sky (learning about level changes), or jumping about like frogs (in a role-playing improvisation activity), they might not always understand what's going on. That's why Deborah Damast, clinical assistant professor and artistic advisor of the dance education program at NYU Steinhardt, offered up several responses as to why this type of movement—often a precursor to formal ballet/tap/jazz classes—is so very important.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored