Our Second-Day Summit Dispatch

Our Dance Teacher Summit's second day is in the books! As we gear up for day three, let's reflect back on some of Saturday's most memorable moments, from helpful seminars to the Capezio A.C.E. Awards and the presentation of our 2016 Dance Teacher Awards.

In her talk on a dance coach's most effective qualities, Cindy Clough mentioned that she has spies in her own dressing room--not because she's contemplating a career in the CIA, but because she wants to know what her parents are saying about her, so she can nip any issues in the bud.


At Summit ambassador Bonnie Schuetz’s seminar, owners and teachers offered up great ways to keep nine-, ten-, eleven- and twelve-year-olds invested at your studio. One innovative idea? Create a “Banana Split Club”: Students who achieve all three of their splits get a gift certificate to Dairy Queen and their name and the date on a studio bulletin board.

The competition panel offered a great way for studio owners to dialogue with directors of several competitions, like Headliners and NUVO. Danie Beck, the fearless moderator of this panel, joked about the recent trend of platinum, diamond and titanium award levels. “I don't even think bronze is produced anymore,” says Beck. “I think the ore has run out.”

We were so excited to honor Joanne Chapman, Pamela VanGilder, Claudio Muñoz, Kathleen Isaac and our Lifetime Achievement awardee, Robert Battle.


We were equally excited to see who would be named A.C.E. Award champion (with $15,000 toward the production of his or her full-length show!) and runner-ups. Congratulations to:

2nd runner ups: Tawnya Kuzia, for her innovative use of what looked like handheld stick-and-click lights in A Quiet Darkness and Mark Osborn and Justin Myles' stunning tap number, Long Train Running

1st runner up: Kate Harpootlian's humorous and, dare we say, perfectly polished ode to being a butler, Dignity

And the winner, Martha Nichols, for her fiercely fabulous, neon-clad, effortlessly-in-charge Tilted

Martha Nichols and her cast

Stay tuned for more photos soon!

We can't say enough how proud we are of our partnership with Gil Stroming and Break the Floor. His organization produces a truly amazing event to bring Dance Teacher magazine to life!

Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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