Great news! It's National Book Lover's Day, and Dance Teacher is here to recommend some seriously fabulous books to you. Since it's the 9th of the month, we thought we would curate a list of some of our 9 favorite dancey books. They're just what you need to celebrate the holiday in the most dance-centric way possible!!

Enjoy!


1. Ballet for Life: A Pictorial Memoir

By Finis Jhung

2018; Ballet Dynamics, Inc.; $24.75

Ballet legend Finis Jhung takes readers from his childhood in World Ward II Honolulu, to his professional career on Broadway and with the Joffrey Ballet and Harkness Ballet companies, to his enduring role as educator and mentor. He even includes his recent recovery from hip surgery at age 80. The book is like flipping through pages of Jhung's personal scrapbook and journal. "Through this collection of photos and the memories they recall, I realize how fortunate I am to be who I am," Jhung writes.


2. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

By Brené Brown

2012; Avery; $13.59

Brené Brown's TED Talk "The Power of Vulnerability" has been viewed more than 30 million times. "Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable," writes the University of Houston research professor in her best-selling book Daring Greatly, a must-read for dance artists and studio owners looking to take their careers to the next level. "Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes, we're taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But there's no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness."


3. A Unicorn in a World of Donkeys: A Guide to Life for All the Exceptional, Excellent Misfits Out There

By Mia Michaels

2018; Seal Press; $27

"Every time I was knocked down, I got back up and found my unicorn horn—the mark of being different, magical, unmatched—got a little longer and thicker," writes Mia Michaels in her new book. "Many times in the last 30 years of my professional life, I've wondered, 'What the hell have I gotten myself into?' But in my heart, I always knew that the unconventional life was my only option, however terrifying it can be." Michaels' candor and unique path motivate you to embrace your own inner misfit.


4. Dance and Gender: An Evidence-Based Approach

By Wendy Oliver and Doug Risner

2017; University Press of Florida; $24.95

As teachers, we have firsthand experience of dance's gender dynamics. Dance and Gender takes this perspective a step further by academically analyzing the gendered origins of issues like funding inequalities, typecasting, body-image insecurities and stereotypes found in the dance world.


5. Big Deal: Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical (Broadway Legacies)

By Kevin Winkler

2018; Oxford University Press; $29.95

Take a walk down memory lane with Big Deal, a biography/history of the late dancer, choreographer, director and screenwriter Bob Fosse. In this book, we get the evolution of one of the most innovative choreographers of all time from the perspective of critics, audiences and historians. The author paints a picture of the things that impacted both Fosse's career and dance aesthetic, including his early dance years with mentors Jerome Robbins and George Abbot, as well as his time spent with important women in his adult life, like Gwen Verdon and Ann Reinking.


6. Dancing into My Bolshoi Dream: A Vision that Turns into Reality

By Anna Duvall

2017; independently published; $11

The notoriously demanding dance training found in Russian ballet schools has been a topic of fascination for dance teachers, dancers and dance lovers alike. To feed our obsession is Anna Duvall's new memoir about becoming one of the first Americans to ever study at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. She candidly describes her experience as a 15-year-old who discovers what it takes to train at one of the most celebrated ballet academies in the world.


7. Celestial Bodies: How to Look at Ballet

By Laura Jacobs

2018; Basic Books; $27

Whether a longtime dance enthusiast or a new superfan, you'll enjoy reading Laura Jacobs' perspective on classical dance. Contributing editor at Vanity Fair and dance critic for The New Criterion, she's seen countless performances over her career. Celestial Bodies: How to Look at Ballet combines technical definitions with descriptions of performances as an engaging introduction to the mystery of ballet. Jacobs shares her enthusiasm for the art and her expert point of view in this informative and entertaining book.


8. And Then We Danced: A Voyage into the Groove

By Henry Alford 2018; Simon & Schuster; $26

Enjoy a charming look into the world of dance through the eyes of Henry Alford, a dance newcomer turned superfan. After taking his first Zumba class while on assignment as a contributor to The New York Times, Alford fell in love with dance and dove headfirst into studying a wide range of styles, from ballet to swing. Through personal experience and cultural dance history, Alford shares a witty perspective on movement and how it expresses the human experience.


9. Ballet for Life: Exercises and Inspiration from the World of Ballet Beautiful

By Mary Helen Bowers 2017; Rizzoli; $27.16

Former New York City Ballet dancer Mary Helen Bowers used her experience as a dancer to create Ballet Beautiful, a fitness program inspired by ballet. In this book, she describes her program and how to incorporate length, good posture and grace into a fitness routine in order to achieve a ballerina's body. In addition to proper technique for exercises, she offers wellness tips, fashion and beauty advice.

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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Courtesy Harlequin Floors

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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