Career Focus

Time certainly does fly. One day you decide to start a school, the next, it's been 25 years. When we reached out to Patricia Reedy and Nancy Ng about being on our cover and learned this is Luna Dance Institute's silver anniversary, it was a wonderful moment of serendipity. I think you'll be inspired by this passionate duo as seen through the eyes of writer Claudia Bauer in “Finding Their Own Way." Teacher training is an important part of their mission, and you'll find details about the Luna Dance Summer Institute among the 54 programs listed in our annual guide to continuing ed programs.

In compiling the Teacher Training Guide, I was struck by the diversity of offerings. From acro to somatics, from French to Russian styles, from jazz to Laban/Bartenieff, there's something to suit every dance educator. There's even a special interest group for men this summer. Regardless of which program you attend, we know how energizing it can be to simply change the scenery and do something nice for yourself. To that end, I asked several educators to write about their 2016 study experiences in “Field Report." Just as I was finalizing Thom Cobb's contribution, the news of his passing came (see DT Notes). It makes me treasure his report all the more. We will certainly miss him at our Dance Teacher Summit this year.

It's a little like preaching to the choir to mention here that one needs a lot more than a background in dance in order to teach—particularly when facing a room full of kids who don't necessarily want to dance. Nevertheless, in “4 Essential Skills for Teaching Artists," we asked our good friends at National Dance Institute, Dancing Classrooms and Island Moving Company how they do exactly that. Don't miss their best advice about what dancers must know to be successful in the classroom.

Speaking of time flying... February is still early enough to set your studio business vision for the year. Editor Rachel Rizzuto asked seven studio owners: “What's Up for You in 2017?" Some of their answers may surprise you.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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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, 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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