Guest artist Lauren Adams takes a break with students.

Christy Curtis understands that being part of a competition team requires a big commitment from everyone involved. That’s why, as the owner/director of CC & Co. Dance Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina, she encourages an all-inclusive, family-oriented environment. And when the studio’s dancers take top honors at regional and national events—which they’ve been doing for the past five years—everyone gets in on the celebration.

 

What is your studio’s philosophy? We make sure the younger dancers are simply enjoying dance. As they get older, we give them the tools they need technically and stylistically to be able to go on to a professional dance career, if that’s what they choose to do. I also aim to have my students be the most well-rounded dancers at every competition and convention we attend. There’s not a certain style the dancers always win with. I make sure they excel in every style. That includes tap.

 

What sorts of things do you do to promote a sense of community among your dancers and their parents? We kick the year off with a parent get-together so they can all meet each other, and we invite parents to observe classes at special times throughout the year. We also have a pep rally with the dancers and their families before we send everyone off to competition, and we have sleepovers with the dancers at the studio. Last year, two dancers from the studio were on “So You Think You Can Dance,” so our teachers, students and their families all got together at a local pizza place to watch the show. At the end of the year, we hold a banquet for the team at a local country club. Everyone gets dressed up and we celebrate our season with a slideshow presentation and awards.

 

How do you ease your students back into classes after summer? This year, we held ballet boot camp for the competition kids in August before their regular classes began. It is very technique-based and includes some Pilates. This gets their minds focused on the technical elements of dancing before they start learning their performance routines.

 

How do you decide which events to attend? I’m not a big fan of doing the same thing every year. Change is good. We attend several regional events, and I wait to see what everyone’s individual summer plans are before making Nationals plans. I don’t make Nationals mandatory for anyone and I don’t require that everyone attend one event together. Each dancer should pursue what she feels is in her best interest. One dancer might choose to attend New York City Dance Alliance to go for a title. Someone else might want to go to West Coast Dance Explosion. Some dancers will opt to go to a summer ballet intensive.

 

What is your advice to studio directors who are attending competition for the first time? Remember that your vision is important. Stay true to yourself and don’t give in to what you think you have to do to win. Trends change, people change. If you believe in the quality of your work, the parents and kids at your studio will believe in you. You’re all working together toward the same goal.

 

 

Photo: Guest artist Lauren Adams takes a break with students. (courtesy of CC & Co. Dance Complex)

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Julianna D. Photography, courtesy of Abreu

Although Rudy Abreu is currently JLo's backup dancer and an award-winning choreographer—his piece "Pray" tied for second runner-up at the 2018 Capezio A.C.E. Awards, and a variation of the piece made it to the finals on NBC's "World of Dance"—he still finds time to teach. Especially about how he hears music.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Dance Teacher Web
Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

Dance students aren't the only ones who get to spend their summers learning new skills and refining their dance practice. Studio owners and administrators can also use the summer months to scope out new curriculum ideas, learn the latest business strategies and even earn a certification or two.

At Dance Teacher Web's Conference and Expo, attendees will spend July 29–August 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada learning everything from new teaching methods to studio management software. And as if the dance and business seminars weren't enough, participants can also choose from three certifications to earn during the conference to help expand their expertise, generate new revenue and set their studios apart:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

James Payne, director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, starts class each day by asking students how they feel. "If they're collectively hurting, and I know that the day before they were working hard on something new, I might lessen the intensity of the class," he says. "I won't slow it down, though. Sometimes it's better to move through the aches and get to the other side."

A productive class depends, in part, on how well it is paced. If you move too slow, you risk losing students' interest and creating unwanted heaviness. Move too fast and dancers might not fully benefit from combinations or get sufficiently warm, increasing their risk of injury. But even these guidelines may differ depending on the students' age and level. Good pacing is a delicate balance that can facilitate mental and physical growth, but it requires good planning, close observation and the ability to adapt mid-class.

Keep reading... Show less
David Galindo Photography

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.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: Our dancers' parents want to observe class, but students won't focus if I let them in the room. I've tried having them observe the last 10 minutes of class, but even that can be disruptive and bring the dancers' progress to a halt. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Running your own studio often comes with a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality. After all, you're the one who teaches class, creates choreography, collects tuition, plans a recital, calls parents, answers e-mails, orders costumes—plus a host of other tasks, some of which you probably don't even think about. But what if you had someone to help you, someone who could take certain routine or clerical tasks off your hands, freeing you up to focus on what you love?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Derek and Julianne Hough via @juleshough on Instagram

Here at Dance Teacher, we LOVE a talented dance family. Something about parents and siblings passing their passion for dance down to those who come after them just warms our hearts.

While there are many sets of talented siblings across all genres of dance, ballroom seems to be particularly booming with them.

Don't believe us? Check out these four sets of ballrooms siblings we can't take our eyes off of. Their parents have raised them right!

This is far from a comprehensive list, so feel free to share your favorite sets of dance siblings over in our comments!

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy of Roxey Ballet

This weekend, Roxey Ballet presented a sensory-friendly production of Cinderella at the Kendell Main Stage Theater in Ewing, New Jersey, with sound adjustments, a relaxed house environment and volunteers present to assist audience members with special needs. The production came on the heels of three educational residencies held at New Jersey–based elementary schools in honor of Autism Awareness Month in April.

Keep reading... Show less
To Share With Students
Shared via Dance Teacher Network Facebook

I'm a part of a popular group on Facebook called Dance Teacher Network which consists of dance teachers across the country discussing and sharing information on all things dance. Yesterday morning, I spotted a photo shared in the group of four smiling young boys in a dance studio. And I couldn't help but smile to myself and think, "Wow, I never had that...that's pretty damn amazing."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Marr

When Erica Marr discovered ballroom dancing in her late teens, she instantly fell in love with the Latin beats and strong drum lines that challenged her musicality. After shifting her focus away from contemporary and jazz, she began studying with elite ballroom coaches in New York City and quickly earned a World Championship title in her division.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Thinkstock

Q: I own a studio in a city that has a competitive dance market. I've seen other studios in my community put ads on Instagram and Facebook for open-call auditions in April, long before most studios have finished their competition season and year-end recitals. Is this fair?

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox