Costume Countdown

The scoop on ordering costumes

A Wish Come True: "Surprise Party," style H333

With summer break winding down, it’s not too early to think about costuming your upcoming performances. But first, take note of these tips from three manufacturers:

• Order on the company’s website to ensure easier and faster processing, recommends Art Stone, founder of Art Stone/The Competitor. That will also allow you to double check your order before submitting. And always check your invoice as soon as the shipment arrives. If there is an error, the manufacturer can correct it. If you wait, it may be too late.

• Refer to the size chart for each company and order accordingly, advises Renée Stojek of A Wish Come True. Don’t use just one general size chart when placing orders from multiple companies. Every company uses its own measurements, and they don’t conform to street sizes.

• Check with your bank before using your credit card for online or phone orders, especially when making a large purchase, says Amy Imhoff, Curtain Call Costumes customer service manager. Banks often flag such activity and may decline your card to protect you from fraudulent use. Pay in full if eligible for additional discounts, and don’t remove tags or write students’ names inside costumes until each piece is tried on and inspected.

• Order early. You’ll want costumes well in advance of picture days, shows and competitions, and if you wait until the week when discounts expire—the busiest time—processing could be delayed. —DT

Photo courtesy of manufacturer

Music
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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 onstageblog.com, 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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