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.

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