News

A Letter From Dance Teacher's New Editor in Chief

Getty Images

I've introduced myself to many dance teachers over my years as a student—usually still sweaty and elated from class.

But I never thought I'd be introducing myself to thousands of teachers, all at once. I'm the new editor in chief of Dance Teacher magazine, and I'm delighted to meet you.


For the past five years, I've been an editor at Dance Magazine, leading on training and career-related stories and writing about everything from social justice to music. I've chaired the Dance/NYC Junior Committee, a group of young dance professionals advocating for equity in our field, and presented my research at the Women in Dance Leadership conference. Dance teachers have shaped my path every step of the way—from the small studio I attended in coastal North Carolina to my years at Barnard College to taking class as an adult at Steps on Broadway and Mark Morris Dance Center.

I realize that as I step into this new role, many of you are stepping into new roles, too. Dance teachers are now Zoom experts and tech support for their students and parents. Studio owners are now their own brand strategists, figuring out overnight how to completely shift their business models. Those of you who were used to only teaching other people's kids may be finding that now you have to homeschool your own, too. And while teachers have always been mentors and support systems for their students, the current moment may be demanding even more of you as your students have their lives upended. As writer Kathleen McGuire puts it in an upcoming story on how teachers can help their students navigate grief: "Leading your students through a global pandemic was not on the dance pedagogy syllabus." (You can find this story in our September/October print issue, and online shortly.)

Wingenroth, wearing a blue and red striped shirt, smiles at the camera

Jayme Thornton

It can be scary to take on these new challenges. But know that everything you're doing is inspiring me, and all of us at Dance Teacher. We're inspired to create new spaces where our community can grow. We're inspired to reimagine what dance education can look like moving forward, as many of you already are. We're inspired to celebrate you and your accomplishments, big and small. We're inspired to keep educating the next generation about the storied history of our artform and the lineages that continue to shape our field. We're inspired to look to the future to see what we can do better.

Speaking of lineages, I want to recognize my predecessor, Karen Hildebrand, who has been at the helm of Dance Teacher for the past 10 years. As I've started in this role, Karen has been a teacher to me. I'm grateful for her generosity, as I know many of you are, too. I know she will be missed deeply by this community, and I hope to continue her legacy of advocating for dance teachers and their needs.

I'm excited to get to work: In the next few months I'll be shaping our last print issues of the year, giving our social-media pages a revamp and introducing some exciting new virtual offerings. I'll also be bringing you up-to-the-minute small-business tips and stories with Dance Business Weekly, which I'll also be heading as editor in chief.

But what I'm most looking forward to? Getting to know all of you. Shoot me a note at lwingenroth@dancemedia.com—my inbox is always open, and I'd love to hear your ideas, your stories and your concerns.

Let's get to know each other.

With excitement and gratitude,
Lauren Wingenroth

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.