6 Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

In our August issue, we asked seven longtime owners—with more than 200 years’ experience among them—for their single most important piece of advice for new owners. As it turned out, the information they offer is valuable for any stage of a studio business career. Carole Royal, one of our Dance Teacher Summit ambassadors attending the Long Beach Summit this weekend, has excellent advice about dealing with parents:

Carole Royal

Royal Dance Works

Phoenix, Arizona

400 students

37 years in business

Be available to talk to parents and resolve issues. “But not too available,” says Royal. “Have parents set up a meeting, versus ambushing you in the hallway between classes.” She’s trained her parents and staff to go through the proper channels: “At my studio, parents know to call and say, ‘I’m really upset about this, I need to talk to Carol,’ and my front desk knows to set up a meeting.

“Sometimes, if I know it’s a sensitive topic, I’ll go into the meeting with my assistant. I never want to be surprised. Don’t be meek, or you’ll get easily run over by parents.”

Want to hear more studio owners' advice? Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

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Getty Images

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"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

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Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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