Your Friday Dispatch From #DTSummit16

Our Dance Teacher Summit (#DTSummit16) is in full swing in New York City! We wanted to share some highlights from what’s been going on so far for those of you who couldn’t make it—or those of you who are still on your way. Hundreds of dance teachers have gathered here at the midtown Hilton for some serious inspiration and innovation.

Yesterday afternoon, studio owners convened for a special session to discuss studio-owner-only issues in the field of teaching dance. The Summit ambassadors—those fiercely fabulous ladies with the red jackets who are here to answer your every question—introduced themselves, and attendees shared great ideas, like holding birthday parties to boost revenue, offering different tuition scales and why you absolutely need to up your costume fees.

This morning, the Summit classes kicked off, and so many of the faculty and seminar leaders look familiar—because they’ve graced the pages of DT, of course! Laurie De Vito led a Simonson Technique workshop, and her ever-present drum and stick were of course nearby:

Mia Michaels taught a technique class and offered up just as much food-for-thought inspiration as she did choreographic. The iconic ballet and Broadway choreographer Jerome Robbins is one of her favorites. Why? “Because he didn’t just give you a chasse,” says Michaels. “He gave you a friggin’ chasse. And every single person in here has a unique voice—every single one of you can be Jerome Robbins.” (#TellItLikeItIs, Mia.)

Kathy Blake was all about #TFW one of your faculty members oversteps her boundaries and veers swiftly into unprofessionalism—and how scary it can be to let someone go. In one of her anecdotes, Blake shared that one particular former teacher—despite her inappropriate studio behavior—was a truly talented choreographer, which made Blake’s decision difficult. “She was a choreographic extraordinaire—AKA a studio terrorist,” says Blake. (We all know the one.) “And an owner’s real professionalism is in the relationship between fear and courage.”

Anthony Morigerato led a rousing tap class, and his students were more than ready to pick up whatever he was laying down:

Mandy Moore, a Summit favorite, emphasized how important it is to teach your kids how to count. “The art of counting has gone away, and that makes me sad,” she says. Moore shared a story of choreographing an upcoming feature, La La Land, with Ryan Gosling, who isn’t a dancer. Moore used eight-counts but would often count only every other, or every third number, aloud. “Finally Ryan asked me, ‘Why do you skip counts? And why do you only count to 8?’” she remembers. “I realized that counts are the only way we can communicate with our dancers: 'What does your body do on count 5?'”

Stay tuned for more updates! And don’t forget to use the #DTSummit16 hashtag in your posts.

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.