Editor's Note

When I first became an editor, there was quite a debate about whether or not to use the word “winning” when it came to dance, so I learned to write about competition using phrases like “she was awarded a trophy,” or “she placed first.” Though I understand the perspective held by many in our field—to focus too much on the win can undermine the artistry of dance—I’ve since come to terms with the word. Who, after all, doesn’t want to be a winner?

 

But along with the trophies, let’s not forget the quiet wins that occur in daily class or rehearsal—the aha moments when it’s just you and the mirror, and something you’ve been struggling with suddenly clicks. As choreographers, business owners, educators and competition judges, we all appreciate accolades for work well done. Our wins are worth celebrating.

 

We are pleased this month to celebrate Westchester Dance Academy. Dancers from the studio are consistent finalists at competitions, so when we planned a piece about directors who choreograph their own competition numbers, Kelly Burke was at the top of our list. It was a treat to spend time with Burke and meet her mother and business partner, Sallie, and some of her star students—the tremendously poised young women aged 14 and 16 who are pictured in this issue's “Final Pose.”  Click here to hear more from Burke in an exclusive video interview.

 

In “Bringing Home the Trophy," Burke and other studio choreographers share their strategies for creating award-winning work. Plus we’ve added some tips from “So You Think You Can Dance” celebrities Mandy Moore and Joey Dowling. Be sure to consult the “Competition Guide” as you plan your season. With celebrity teachers, influential judges and a growing emphasis on education, there’s a lot more to consider than geographic proximity when selecting an event to attend.

 

Speaking of winning moments, we had an incredible time this summer with the more than 1,600 teachers who attended the Dance Teacher Summit. The lively conversations and sense of community were very much on our minds as we put this issue together. Want to continue the discussion? LIKE US! on Facebook and join the conversation as we share best practices and debate hot issues on the Dance Teacher discussion board.

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Music
Getty Images

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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