You've probably seen articles on how dance prepares you for anything making the rounds in your social-media circles. The discipline, creative thought and communication skills learned in a dance class are coveted in (and often missing from) the broader workforce. And it's a good thing, too, because for even the most talented, it's virtually inevitable that, at some point, dancers will need to support themselves with a side job. So how exactly do the skills acquired in a college dance program transfer to other fields? Four graduates told DT how their degrees prepared them for much more than dancing.


Maggie Bailey, BA, 2014

College of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

Currently: MFA student, film and media production, University of Texas at Austin

"Understanding bodies and movement and energy really helps my filming and editing—knowing when to make cuts and giving actors something to do with their bodies," says Bailey. "I work with composers—I have experience doing that from college, talking about music and how to communicate a feeling." Photo by Alex Masi/Swng Productions, courtesy of Bailey

Dance-degree takeaway "Dance is more than just moving your body around," she says. "You learn social skills and team-building skills, and you can market yourself with those. You can say, 'I know how to take and give correction, how to hold a large group of people's attention.' A lot of people don't leave college with those skills."


Ansley Davis, BFA, 2016

University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Currently: ensemble member and part-time teacher with the Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and working in childcare

"Even if I'm not dancing at that moment, everything I did in college is showing through," she says. Photo by Darian Blake Hill, courtesy of Davis

Dance-degree takeaway Time management and organization, thanks to juggling classes, rehearsals and an active social life on campus. "I learned how to make sure all aspects of my life are in order, even when navigating a new transportation system and a new city," she says. "And when I'm nannying, I'm making sure all aspects of [her charge's] life are on track, in coordination with what her parents want for her."


Jessica Stroh, BFA, 2015

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Currently: dancing part-time in New York City with modern company BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance, plus managing an ever-changing rotation of freelance jobs

"You have to basically be a director," says Stroh of managing a complex NYC dance career. "You have to make choices and find a balance between what works for you creatively and what works for you financially." Photo by Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy of Stroh

Dance-degree takeaway "Keep up relationships with people you knew in college," says Stroh. "Reach out to professors and people who are doing things you might be interested in. You never know what one opportunity may lead to."


Helen Phelan, BFA and BA, 2013

Elon University

Elon, North Carolina

Currently: full-time Pilates instructor in Brooklyn, New York, while planning to earn certification in integrative nutrition later this year, to launch her own wellness company in the future

"One day I realized that it wasn't just a day job—I really enjoy teaching," says Phelan. "I realized I was much more a fitness instructor than a dancer, and I felt OK with that." Photo by Hayley Hill, courtesy of Phelan

Dance-degree takeaway "Every class I took for the dance major has influenced my Pilates teaching," she says. "Even the less obvious things—narrative story lines help you become empathetic; pedagogy teaches you to be patient and compassionate when commanding a room; improv teaches creative problem-solving."

The Conversation
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It's February! The month of love (and by extension, the month of pink) is upon us. We are major fans of a good class theme, and dressing lovey-dovey is one of our very favorites! So this month, to keep you on brand, we have a list of our favorite pink leos on the market right now. They're all kinds of wonderful.

Check them out and let us know your favorite in the comments!

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Just for fun
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It's the day after Valentine's Day, and every single one of us is in a chocolate coma scrolling through endless love posts on social media. It's both the best and the worst day of the year 😂. Obnoxiously mushy Instagram captions aside, whether you have a significant other or not, we all know that your studio co-workers are the actual loves of your life.

Check out our five reasons why, and let us know over in our comments if we got 'em right!

XOXO

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Dance Teacher Tips
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Q: Do you have any advice for dividing students into groups?

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In Antoine Hunter's jazz class, students inevitably pick up sign language just by virtue of being his student. Though he doesn't typically incorporate ASL into his class combos, this dynamic phrase, which is one of his favorites, includes four signs: "heart," " re," "gone" and "deaf."

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The Big Apple Tap Fest, courtesy of Dee

Debbi Dee took her first tap class at age 5 from vaudevillian hoofer and rhythm tapper Curly Fisher, in Rochester, New York. She studied tirelessly with him in the garage he had turned into a small, makeshift dance studio until she was 13 years old, when he claimed he had taken her as far as he could, and she needed to find herself a new teacher. Instead, she jumped feet first into her professional career, tapping with the Lawrence Welk and Count Basie orchestras on the traveling state fair circuit, on the Bob Hope USO shows, and in nightclubs in Vegas and the Catskills.

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Dance Teacher Tips
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We've all had times when we've failed miserably while trying our best to communicate important concepts and ideas to our students. We are all well-meaning with hopes that our dancers will achieve their dreams and become kind humans along the way. Unfortunately, our delivery may need some honing in order to help them without causing some damage,

Here are four common phrases dance teachers often say, and four ways we can adjust them to make them constructive and productive.

Let us know over on our Facebook page what phrases you try to avoid as a dance teacher!

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Just like your car, your studio needs periodic tune-ups to keep it humming along smoothly. If you take the time to address a few small fixes, your business will stand out. And you don't have to break the bank, either—you might be surprised how low-cost, DIY improvements can make a surprising difference.

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Running a studio can be a major juggling act. It's no surprise, then, that a few things slip through the cracks—costing you money or students. Watch out for two common but often unnoticed mistakes, and you'll find yourself with more time, clients and revenue on your hands.

1. Using online registration as a crutch

If you offer registration via your studio website, make sure you aren't losing clients by neglecting in-person registration. One day Kathy Morrow, director of Dance Du Coeur in Sugar Land,Texas, overheard a front desk staffer directing a new client to the studio's website to register, rather than offering to do it over the phone. "I thought, You had a fish on the hook—why didn't you walk them through it?" she says. "When you register, there are a lot of boxes to check off. Some people want to pay with a check, some to link to a credit card. We can make it easier by answering any questions directly."

2. Not delegating

Have you heard yourself say, once too often, "If I want it done right, I have to do it myself"? Overextending yourself because of perfectionism or a misguided need to control can be counterproductive. By creating choreography, teaching, bookkeeping, cleaning, making phone calls, typesetting, doing payroll, mailings and ordering, you could be leaving no time for the very things that will create your best business. Misty Lown decided to delegate all the teaching at her Onalaska, Wisconsin-based studio, Misty's Dance Unlimited. "Giving up teaching was super-hard," she says, "but it's the best decision I ever made. Whenever I was teaching, it meant I never saw the other five classrooms that were operating during that time. Now I can rotate my time checking on classrooms and interacting with students."

Dance Teacher Tips
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Working with a 9-year-old student, Alexandra Koltun asks the young girl to face the barre. She reviews fifth position, demi-pointe with the front foot and coupé devant. "I separate all the positions, so the student understands each one," says Koltun, founder and artistic director of Koltun Ballet Boston. She reaches down to shape the girl's foot into sur le cou-de-pied, leaving the heel in front and gently squeezing the toes around the ankle. "This position will equip the foot with more strength," she says.

Depending on a ballet teacher's preference and style of training, sur le cou-de-pied (meaning "on the neck of the foot") may be incorporated into class at different times and in various ways. From steps like pas de cheval to frappé and développé, the wrapped position can be fundamental to a student's technical development. Or it can be used less often and as a supplement to cou-de-pied front and back. Either way, the value of the position remains constant as a tool to mold and strengthen dancers' feet.

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Just for fun

Show your significant other how much you love them through dance! Send them one of your favorite romantic dance videos that best describes your feelings, and they're sure to swoon!

Here are four of our favorites that depict a range of emotions along the spectrum of true love. Let us know over on our Facebook page which one best represents your relationship!

You're welcome in advance!

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Just for fun

The best way to celebrate a holiday in the dance teacher world is to create a class combo that fits the theme! It's a sure-fire way to get you and your kiddos into the spirit of the day! So, Valentine's Day, we recommend some mushy, cheesy, oh-so-wonderful love songs!

Check out these six songs for potential class combo ideas. They're sure to be a hit.

You're welcome!

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When it comes to running a thriving dance studio, Cindy Clough knows what she's talking about. As executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner for more than four decades, she's all too aware of the unique challenges the job presents, from teaching to scheduling to managing employees and clients.

Here, Clough shares her best advice for new studio owners, and the answers to some common questions that come up when you're getting started.

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