Dance Teacher Tips

Ask the Experts: How Do I Handle Parents Who Complain About Their Child's Placement in Choreography?

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Q: What do you do with parents who constantly complain about where their daughter is placed in choreography?


A: I think most dance teachers can relate to this question. A few years ago, I had a mom who counted how many times her child was in the front row compared to everyone else. I held a meeting with both mom and daughter, which included an honest discussion about everyone's expectations, that helped defuse the situation.

I understand that every parent wants the best for their child, but how an outside choreographer uses dancers in a piece is subjective. When it comes to in-house teachers and choreographers, we always try to create pieces that highlight all of our dancers in the best way possible. We find this is particularly important in group routines, since they are meant to represent a combination of all the dancers and what they each bring to the group.

Everyone is important; what row they are in and how many times they are featured is not. What each dancer brings to the piece, how invested they are and how much they grow from the experience is what matters. When parents choose to judge their child's value as a dancer on how many times they're in the front, it's unfair to you as a teacher, but more importantly, it's unfair to their child. Some dancers are stronger performers than others, and they will be featured more often. That is just a fact. A team is made up of many individuals who should be focused on using their abilities to make the team great.

The Conversation
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Photo by spinkickpictures.com, courtesy of Mitchell

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As dance teachers, we're always looking for new treats to hand out to our littles at the end of class. Rewards for good behavior can be a lifesaver when dealing with rambunctious up-and-coming dancers, but if they get too predictable, the candies can lose their persuasive effect. Thank goodness for seasonal trends in treats—they give us just the shakeup we need!

Since Easter is coming up fast, we thought we would share with you five different candy ideas to hand out this month. They're the break from lollipops that you've been looking for!

You're welcome!

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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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Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, more than 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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Q: A student of mine recently got a bad sprained ankle, and it's been weak ever since she returned to class. Are there any exercises you suggest to strengthen it?

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"WOD" is back for Season 3, and once again, the internet is loving it! How much do they love it, you ask? Well they've watched many of the dances millions of times, so it's safe to say—A WHOLE LOT! We did some research and discovered which dances have been watched the most since Season 3's premiere, and the results may surprise you.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Photos by Kyle Froman

A few years ago, Mary Ann Lamb got a phone call from Ann Reinking, who was choreographing a production of The Visit starring Chita Rivera. Lamb was thrilled when Reinking offered her the role of Young Claire without even asking for an audition. "And then she said, 'In the first act, you're going to play Chita Rivera when she's a 17-year-old virgin,'" Lamb says, "and I'm like, 'What am I gonna do? I'm like 50 years old!' I started panicking. My dream was to be in the room with Ann Reinking and Chita Rivera, but I was scared to death I was going to make a fool of myself."

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Q: As a dance teacher, which products do you prefer, Apple or Google?

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Just for fun
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The one thing that can unite all of us on April 15 is the fact that everyone hates doing their taxes. Though they are necessary, they are exhausting and time-consuming, and just plain no fun for anyone!

To help you cope, we've captured what doing taxes feels like through a series of dancer memes.

YOU'RE WELCOME!

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Bartlett, front and center, leading a class. Photo by Arthur Fink, courtesy of Bartlett

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It's a question that often pops up online in dance teacher forums where studio owners look for creative ways to save money. It may sound tempting to try shower pan lining as vinyl flooring—it's PVC, just like marley, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple—PVC products are not all created equal.

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