We tend to think of December as being filled with holiday festivities, The Nutcracker and year-end recitals. But it’s also a great time to reflect. What were your successes this year, and what do you want to create for the future? As we began to plan the 2014 Dance Teacher editorial calendar, I asked the editors which 2013 covers were their favorites.

My vote goes to the June Studio Business issue with Jennifer Owens and Julie Jarnot of Artistic Fusion. I have deep admiration for artists who also develop sound business aptitude. Jen and Julie talked about how their strengths and interests complement each other—division of labor is so important in a partnership. Plus they’re located in my home state of Colorado!

I love that Bethany Marc-Aurele is a young entrepreneur who has a great business model and offers amazing training. (The same goes for all the sources in the story.) And she looks gorgeous! She has such clear goals and mission for her studio, and her commitment to continuing her training as a teacher is certainly a plus for her students as well as her faculty. She’s a strong role model for studio owners and she’s definitely inspired me. —Jenny Dalzell, Contributing Editor

TaraMarie Perri’s dancer-turned-yoga-instructor story was inspiring. She has such a complete knowledge of anatomy, and I love that she’s made it her life’s work to help dancers use their bodies in a healthy way. I was also really into her funky jewelry and urban yogi style! —Andrea Marks, Assistant Editor

I really loved our September cover story on Judy Rice. I enjoyed her frankness about how inept she felt, starting out as a ballet teacher. And her willingness to start from scratch in the field, coupled with her work ethic, has brought her full circle—now she’s a beloved faculty member and in-demand on the competition scene. Meeting her at our DT Summit was icing on the cake! She was just as bubbly, witty and knowledgeable in person as she was on the page. ­—Rachel Rizzuto, Assistant Editor

The Jodi Maxfield cover story was one of my favorites this year. Growing up as a bunhead, I’ll admit that I used to turn up my nose at the idea of dance team as a respected form. Jodi’s story really validates that there is some great dance line training out there. And she is giving college dancers a serious alternative to majoring in dance. Plus, Utah was a beautiful place to shoot a cover! —Kristin Schwab, Associate Editor

“Twin City Titans”—TU Dance on the May Cover. Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands combine modern, ballet and West African in their training, and they bring diversity to the Twin Cities dance offerings. They’re also a great husband-and-wife team, and they give back to the community, training kids from underserved areas free of charge. —Joe Sullivan, Managing Editor

And we couldn’t be more pleased to round out the year with the amazing Suzi Taylor on the cover this month. As a founding faculty member touring with New York City Dance Alliance and longtime teacher at Steps on Broadway, she has nurtured the talent of several generations of dancers. We love how grounded in technique her classes are. While choreographers featured on “So You Think You Can Dance” are all the rage these days on the convention floor, it’s traditionalists like Taylor who make sure the dancers have the technical chops necessary to perform the movement they admire.

Happy holidays from all of us at Dance Teacher,

Karen Hildebrand

editor in chief

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

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Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

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Lani Corson. Photo by Royce Burgess, courtesy of Corson

Aerial work is growing in popularity in the dance world these days. Don't believe us? Check out this Dance Magazine article! If you're a studio owner who didn't grow up with aerial training (let's face it, how many of us really did?), then you may be feeling a little apprehensive about what to look for when bringing on a new aerialist faculty member. You know exactly what you want from your ballet teachers, your jazz teachers, your tap teachers, heck—even your tumbling teachers! Aerial, however, is a whole other ballgame.

To help you feel confident you're bringing in a teacher who is safe for your dancers, we sat down with Lani Corson, NYC aerialist, circus performer, adjunct professor at Pace University and teacher at Aerial Arts NYC, to get the inside scoop on exactly what you should be looking for.

Enjoy!

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As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

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Dance teachers have a lot of strengths (communicating corrections, choreographing gorgeous movement, planning excellent recitals, cleaning technique—just to name a few) but when it comes to interior design—talent isn't exactly a given. So when studio owners remodel or build, worrying about the decor can feel a little overwhelming (you've got just a few too many other things to worry about, don't you?).

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You're welcome!

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Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

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Is dance a sport? Should it be in the Olympics? They're complicated questions that tend to spark heated debate. But many dance fans will be excited to hear that breaking (please don't call it breakdancing) has been provisionally added to the program for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

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New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

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Vanessa Zahorian. Photo by Erik Larson, courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet Academy

At the LINES Ballet Dance Center in San Francisco, faculty member Erik Wagner leads his class through an adagio combination in center. He encourages dancers to root their standing legs, using imagery of a seed germinating, so that they feel more grounded. "Our studios are on the fifth floor, so I'll often tell them to push down to Market Street," says Wagner. "They know that they should push their energy down to the street level." By using this oppositional force, he says, dancers can lengthen their bodies to create any desired shape.

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After years of throwing summer parties at your studio, you're likely fatigued by coming up with themes and event details. You want your students to have a good time, but you're also up to your eyeballs in choreography and costume decisions.

Never fear! We've come up with party themes and activities to do during the event. Delegate tasks to your teachers and office managers, and voilà! You have a stress-free party ready to go.

Have a blast, people!

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Q: I recently returned to a modern dance class after a long absence. While I didn't feel any acute pain at the end of class, the next morning I could barely walk from the soreness in both my Achilles. What can I do to fix this?

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Q: I'm trying to think of ways to maximize studio space and revenue during the summer. What has worked for you?

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