January

-Have students make two or three resolutions detailing their dance goals, whether it’s perfecting switch leaps or developing the strength to do relevé arabesques on pointe without the barre. Meet with each student to discuss how realistic his or her goals are and how they can be reached in the upcoming year.


-If many of your students need head shots and photographs for auditions, it may be cheaper (and easier) to bring a photographer to your studio for a flat fee. Parents can share the cost, and you can help coach students on technique during the shoot.


-Every little girl wants to be the Sugar Plum Fairy, and now is the chance! For your post-Nutcracker classes, play music from the variation or the pas de deux and let little ones dance their dream role.



February

-For Valentine’s Day, skip the candy hearts and other predictable festivities. Instead, pair students as “valentines” in class and let them choreograph duets using steps they have learned. Limit length to four counts of eight and let each group share their creations at the end of class.


-The Academy Awards will be presented on February 27. Play up the Tinsel Town theme by screening famous movie dance scenes. From the classic West Side Story to the more recent Center Stage, your students will have a blast emulating the moves on the screen. (K-12 teachers can offer extra credit for choreographing a dance “in the style of” a particular movie or for writing a report analyzing the role of choreography in the movie.) For a glamorous touch, serve sparkling white grape juice to stand in for champagne.


March

-Teach an Irish jig for St. Patrick’s Day! If budget permits, hire an Irish dance teacher to guest.


-This is the month when households begin thinking about spring cleaning. Take advantage by holding a studio-sponsored flea market or yard sale in your parking lot for parents to unload their wares. To advertise, put an ad in the local newspaper, if it fits your budget, or just hand out brochures. On the day of the event, distribute flyers about your school’s offerings and upcoming performances.



April

-Don’t let your students get the better of you on April Fool’s. Bring your own mischief to class and teach combinations backward to enhance memory skills. Here is a fun brainteaser for across the floor: Brisé, assemblé, entrechat cinq, assemblé. For an extra challenge, add battu and then reverse.


-Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and meet your students at a local park for “Class on the Grass.” Students will enjoy the feeling of dancing outdoors and you will be able to attract potential customers by taking your class into the community. Be sure to bring studio brochures to hand out to intrigued passersby.


-Don’t miss National Dance Week 2005, which runs from April 22 to May 1. Enlist your older students to create an eye-catching window display with pictures and decorations, or position costumed dancers on the sidewalk to distribute flyers about NDW activities. Visit www.nationaldanceweek.org to see how others are celebrating.


May

-Mother’s Day is a great time to schedule a parent observation week. Teach your students a dance to Cole Porter’s “Unforgettable” in honor of the moms, but keep it a surprise. If your class isn’t too large, give each dancer a couple of counts to make up a Mom-inspired solo.


-Give parents an alternative to static school portraits with Candid Camera Day. Allot 15 minutes at the end of class for parents to come in and snap some shots, but be sure to prepare students not to get distracted. You can even make it into an exercise on the importance of not breaking character onstage, no matter what else is going on in the wings or the audience.


-Planning a party or reception after your annual recital or performance? Bring scrapbooking materials so that dancers can get to work archiving their favorite moments. Grab an extra stack of programs in case someone didn’t get one. (See “Arts and Scraps,” DT May 2004.)


June

-Every parent is familiar with Bring Your Child to Work Day. Now it’s the kids’ chance! Near Father’s Day, schedule Bring Your Dad to Dance Week. Give plenty of notice so that dads can take time off work.


-Bid adieu to students studying at summer programs with a farewell get-together on the last day of classes. For a going-away present, hand out blank notebooks as “dance diaries,” in which students can jot down fun combinations and record memories.


July

-Grab your Sousa and teach your own rendition of Stars and Stripes. If you are feeling ambitious, collaborate with other community organizations (restaurants, other dance studios, the Boys & Girls Club, choirs, churches, theater groups, etc.) to mount a family-oriented Fourth of July fair. You can even work with the local fire department to put on a fireworks show. It will be fun for locals and great publicity for your school.


August

-Promote fall enrollment during the last week of your summer term and schedule an open house for prospective customers to see your facility, meet teachers and observe classes. Offer a one-time tuition discount for those who register on that day. Consider scheduling open houses during other high-enrollment periods as well.


-August is a great month for potlucks, so invite students, families and newcomers for a back-to-school orientation bash in a park or at someone’s home. This is your chance to get to know your customers, build loyalty, share your plans for the school year and get students excited. A fun party game: pin the tutu on the ballerina.


September

-Make a new student feel welcome by pairing him or her up with an older student to be a Big Sister or Big Brother. This one-on-one relationship will help older dancers develop confidence by sharing their wisdom, while younger students will enjoy the security of having a mentor to show them the ropes.


-Height charts are a great memento of childhood. With your incoming class, measure everyone’s relevé at the beginning of the year and once a month thereafter. Parents will love it when you send the charts home at the end of the year. You can keep everyone on a single chart; post it backstage at your spring recital for parent volunteers to appreciate.


October

-Halloween brings out everyone’s flair for the dramatic. Have a dress-up day when every dancer gets to come to class in his or favorite costume. Then, teach the Monster Mash. An alternative to having students bring their own costumes is to let them into your costume closet. Each dancer can pick one to wear for part of class.


-This is National Arts and Humanities Month, so let your future Margot Fonteyns flex their Picasso muscles. Organize students into groups and have them lie down on a large piece of butcher paper. Then, they can trace each other in sous-sus, passé or another fun position. Note: Use a non-permanent marker to avoid staining clothing.


-As your high school seniors hunker down to finish college applications, remind them that you are available to write letters of recommendation. Post a sign-up sheet on your bulletin board that includes a field for when letters are due.


November

-Before the holiday crunch, hold a Relaxation Day, when a few regularly scheduled classes are replaced by yoga or Pilates. Bring in fun tools, such as foot rollers or spiky massage balls, to soothe sore muscles.


-Town parades are a great opportunity to get publicity, not to mention a fun team bonding experience. While your high school students are probably up to the task of constructing a float on their own, consider collaborating with another community organization to share the cost and building time.


December

-Are you daunted by the prospect of dyeing 35 pairs of shoes for Toy Soldiers or hot gluing 24 Waltz of the Flowers headpieces? You need an assembly line! Hold a Craft Day. Set up stations for each project with one parent in charge. As a thank you to volunteers, give out vouchers for free dance classes or Nutcracker tickets.


-Dancing your best means being healthy, but with a dancer’s busy schedule, it’s hard to see a doctor for every little pain. To help your students feel their best, and as a holiday present, organize a Health Day to nip these aches in the bud. Invite a local physical therapist or a trainer to speak with your students and answer their questions. (See “Healthy Partnerships,” DT December 2004 .)




























The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

Whether you're putting on a pair of pointe shoes, buckling your ballroom stilettos or lacing up your favorite high tops, the floor you're on can make or break your dancing. But with issues like sticking or slipping and a variety of frictions suitable to different dance steps and styles, it can be confusing to know which floor will work best for you.

No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're not prepared, studio picture day can be a real headache. But, if done right, it can provide you with gorgeous photos that will make your students and parents happy, while simultaneously providing you with marketing content you will be able to use for years to come.

Here are five tips that will help you pull off the day without a hitch.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via YouTube

In its 14 years of existence, YouTube has been home to a world of competition dance videos that we have all consumed with heedless pleasure. Every battement, pirouette and trendy move has been archived somewhere, and we are all very thankful.

We decided it was time DT did a deep dive through those years of footage to show you the evolution of competition dance since the early days of YouTube.

From 2005 to 2019, styles have shifted a whole lot. Check them out, and let us know over on our Facebook page what you think the biggest differences are!

Enjoy!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
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
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo courtesy of Koelliker

Sick of doing the same old stuff in technique class? Needing some across-the-floor combo inspiration? We caught up with three teachers from different areas of the country to bring you some of their favorite material for their day-to-day classes.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

Q: I have a very flexible spine and torso. My teachers tell me to use this flexibility during cambrés and port de bras, but when I do, I feel pain—mostly in my lower back. What should I change so I don't end up with back problems?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're a studio owner, the thought of raising your rates most likely makes you cringe. Despite ever-increasing overhead expenses you can't avoid—rent, salaries, insurance—you're probably wary of alienating your customers, losing students or inviting confrontation if you increase the price of your tuition or registration and recital fees. DT spoke with three veteran studio owners who suggest it's time to get past that. Here's how to give your business the revenue boost it needs and the value justification it (and you) deserve.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Margie Gillis (left); photo by Kyle Froman

Margie Gillis dances the human experience. Undulating naked in a field of billowing grass in Lessons from Nature 4, or whirling in a sweep of lilac fabric in her signature work Slipstream, her movement is free of flashy technique and tricks, but driven and defined by emotion. "There's a central philosophy in my work about what the experience of being human is," says Gillis, whose movement style is an alchemy of Isadora Duncan's uninhibited self-expression and Paul Taylor's musicality, blended with elements of dance theater into something utterly unique and immediately accessible. "I want an authenticity," she says. "I want to touch my audiences profoundly and deeply."

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox