High Five with Kristy Ulmer

Dance Teacher asked Kristy Ulmer of KJ Dance Designs in Plano, Texas, to share her business and personal New Year’s resolutions.

 

In the Studio

 

1 Continue to offer continuing education to my staff. It’s important to motivate my instructors with a unified plan of progress.

 

2 Arrange more time for staff meetings with an emphasis on communication. As our studio has grown, it is essential that we stay on the same page with teaching styles and methods.

 

3 Expand our current off-campus physical education program. We have 75 students in our dance company, and many get a PE credit for dance. I think it would be ideal to utilize our studio space from 12 to 3 pm with more of our off-campus students if possible.

 

4 Find a great ballroom teacher and begin offering ballroom classes.

 

5 Last year we had all the studio teachers write cumulative notes for each student throughout the year. The parents loved the feedback, but I would really like to improve this system by presenting the feedback quarterly.

 

At Home

 

1 Get to know myself better outside the studio.

 

2 Reserve an hour a day for my personal development as a leader in my business.

 

3 Actually make it to yoga five days a week.

 

4 Travel at least once a year for pleasure—not for something work-related!

 

5 Keep a daily journal to document the small and large moments in the studio that make me feel so abundantly blessed.

 

Photo: Kristy Ulmer (right) and dancers (courtesy of KJ Dance)

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.