In fond memory of a legendary teacher, we wanted to revive some timeless wisdom David Howard shared with us back in 2001.


• Instead of talking to students for 15 minutes, put what you are trying to say in the steps.

• Give students a physical analysis to see the kind of bodies that they are working with. Look at the structure: the size of the head, the neck, the arms, the width of the hands, the length and width of the torso, the size of the hips, the length of the waist, legs and feet. Are they hyperextended or do they have bowed legs or tibial torsion? It is helpful to keep a file on students. What kind of exercises did you give the student? Did they work? What have you changed?

• To keep your teaching fresh, think about the way you put steps together. Teachers fall into familiar patterns in developing combinations and end up using the same kinds of steps in the same kind of order. For instance, if you work with the same group every day, give them a turning class one day. We talk about spotting but how many teachers give spotting exercises?

• Think about the kind of music that you use and try to vary the tempo. When working with CDs, teachers tend to use the same kind of music. Without an accompanist, you might do everything on a 3/4, and the CD isn't going to say, “Hey, this is the eighth 3/4 you've used in a row, why don't you do something on another time signature?"

• Study as much as you can. Learning more about music, anatomy and kinesiology will really open up your mind.

• A lot of what dance teachers say is very negative. Try saying, “I suggest you do this," rather than “Don't do that." If you give the student possibilities, they won't feel like they have failed.

• Watch other people teach.

• Make notes about what you do in class and refer back to them.

•To continue to grow as a teacher, you should go to as many seminars and watch as many videos as you can. There are also a lot of books that you can read and lots of performances you can attend.

• Take time to evaluate what you're saying in class, and whether it's working. Just because it worked for you as a student doesn't mean it's going to work for other people.

• Keep students curious by giving them new ideas all of the time. Rather than just repetition, give them information that they can work with.

• Your eye is your most valuable tool.

• The most important thing is to develop healthy human beings. Realize that not all students want to be professional dancers. Some are just doing it because they enjoy it and want to go on to something else.

• You have to establish emotional boundaries when you teach, just like a parent.

• Training a body in the healthiest, most efficient way should be your aim.

The Conversation
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Just for fun

Here's "The Twelve Days of Christmas" dance teacher style! Try your hand at writing your own lyrics to the song, and share it over on our Facebook page.

You may even want to sing this at your studio's holiday party this year—it's a smash, if we do say so ourselves 💁.

You're welcome!

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Dance Teacher Tips
via Youtube

Finding music is arguably the most challenging aspect of choreography. Songs that speak to you in a deep and genuine way are seriously hard to come by! To help, here are five music artists who provide choreography inspiration magic to all who listen to them. They're all the rage this year, and if you follow their music down the rabbit hole of streaming services long enough, you'll find exactly what you're looking for, for your next group number or solo.

You're welcome!

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Dance News
Photo credits, clockwise from bottom left: Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet; Jayme Thornton; Jochen Viehoff, Courtesy Stephanie Troyak; Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Kim Kenney, Courtesy Atlanta Ballet; Jim Lafferty; Arian Molina Soca, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet; Scott Shaw, Courtesy Shamar Wayne Watt

Every year we love to see Dance Magazine's coveted list of the dancers, choreographers and companies that are on the verge of skyrocketing in the field of dance. This year's picks are nothing short of exceptional.

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Sponsored by TutuTix
Photo by Gez Xavier Mansfield on Unsplash

The start of a new calendar year—smack dab in the middle of the studio year—often brings its own challenges, issues and focuses. Here are two big questions on the minds of studio-business leaders as they head into 2019.

Are we giving our students what they really need? After taking some senior dancers to college dance auditions, Dale Lam noticed how they struggled with the modern portion. "They did fine in ballet," she says, "but then when it came to the modern part, they were fish out of water."
Her approach Lam hired a modern teacher for Horton and Graham techniques at her South Carolina–based studio, Columbia City Jazz Dance School & Company. She could see the difference in her dancers after only a few months. "I feel like I'm actually getting them more of what they're going to need—providing them the education they'll need after competitions."

What to do about the demand for instant gratification? Suzanne Blake Gerety and Kathy Blake have noticed a disturbing trend with parents new to dance at their Amherst, New Hampshire, studio. Gerety calls it push-button mentality: "They think, 'If I can get Amazon to ship my package overnight, why can't I get my kid to take class just once a week and get them on pointe?'"
Their approach "It's communicating to parents how it works at our studio, how you progress here and what the benefits of dance are," she says. They hold informational sessions at parent nights, including details of intensive and competition track options. They also invite alumni to help run recitals and assist with summer intensives as a way to demonstrate what studio graduates look like.

Studio Owners who try TutuTix for their Spring 2019 Recitals can get a $222 Visa Gift Card. Click here to learn more.

Dancer Health
Performing Dance Arts dancers at The Dance Awards in Florida 2018 (via @performingdancearts Instagram)

Needing some inspiration for how to celebrate the holidays with your dancers? We've got you covered. Check out how Performing Dance Arts (The Dance Awards Orlando 2018 Studio of the Year), of Toronto, Canada, brings dancers together and strengthens studio bonds throughout the Christmas season.

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As deeply familiar as dancers are with their bodies, there's one muscle group that can remain mysterious. You can't see it, and it can be tough to access, but the pelvic floor serves a major role in your posture and body function. Dancers and other athletes are more prone than the general population to dysfunction of the pelvic floor, and this can have major ramifications in dance and life.

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The holidays are here, and as everyone knows, the real best way to spread Christmas cheer is serving your community and helping those in need. Luckily for dance teachers, dance studios are the perfect backdrop for the start of some seriously awesome service projects. Your dancers will learn the value of helping others, and you will all feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Check out these three service-project ideas, and try implementing them at your studio this season. Let us know over on our Facebook page, or in the comments below, what other projects you do at your studio that make a difference in your community!

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Dance Teacher Tips
Eva Stone directs The Stone Dance Collective, shown here in Eve, reconsidered. Photo by Rex Tranter, courtesy of The Stone Dance Collective

Unlike the majority of my students and colleagues, my journey in dance has been unorthodox. At age 14, I enrolled in modern dance at my high school, and something about the large open studio with room to move thrilled me (and still does). I immediately set out to impress my dance teacher with my complete repertoire, a solo interpretation of "Bohemian Rhapsody" created in my living room, infused with several badly self-taught ice-skating moves. In that moment, an awareness of the power of movement, music, space and performance aligned, and I instinctively knew I was someplace special.

My high school dance teacher was smart. Knowing that she did not have the time to mold us into technically proficient dancers, she introduced us to the craft and skill of making dances. I spent four years opening the door to my creative voice, becoming a confident choreographer. As a dance major in college, however, I quickly realized I was lacking something very important: actual dance training. So I began an intense regimen of studying, analyzing, copying, stealing and emulating every movement language, quality and nuance with which I could connect. Later, I completed a master's degree in choreography and choreological studies, formed a small dance company and set out to fund my artist's life with teaching.

As a modern dancer, and having come to dance late, communication and imagery were significant in managing the demands of my training. I had to ask a lot of questions, because I had not yet developed a physical vocabulary of answers. I needed a sense of humor, to prevent me from quitting. I had to negotiate, rationalize, moderate and articulate, both verbally and physically, a pathway through much of what I was performing in or choreographing. This allowed me to solve problems more creatively, from a place separate from a perspective of pure technical ability. I now use these same methods for teaching students.

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Sponsored by TutuTix
Photo by Allef Vinicius via Unsplash

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