Germaine Salsberg lives to tap. In addition to being on faculty at Broadway Dance Center for over 20 years and teaching at STEPS on Broadway, she’s worked with Tony Award–winner Danny Daniels on the Broadway and national tours of Tap Dance Kid and has privately coached actors, including Liza Minnelli on the film Steppin’ Out. With a reputation for instilling a strong technical foundation through rhythm elements, it’s no wonder she recently released a CD of music for tap class. Along with pianist Kevin Cole, the two created Tap Tunes: For Tap Class and Practice. “I feel it is my obligation to acquaint students with different styles of tap. Therefore, I utilize different types of music,” says Salsberg. “Music choices need to be interesting enough to dance to, but not overwhelming.”

Artist: Gene Krupa
Song/Album: “Hodge Podge,” V Disk
“This is an oldie but goodie. It’s really a big-band sound, but it’s not so over-arranged that it takes over. It’s not real fast, but it has the Gene Krupa drive. Good for style, time steps and combinations that could incorporate a musical theater or big-band style.”

Artist: Jo Jones
Song/Album:“Jive at Five,” The Everest Years
“I did some work with Sarah Petronio in Paris, who is so swinging. She introduced me to the music of Jo Jones, a jazz drummer from the ’60s and ’70s, and boy does he swing, too! I love other songs on this album as well, so check out the entire album. The music is good for combinations—it really forces the students to listen and syncopate.”

Artist: Kenny Burrell
Song/Album: “Midnight Blue,” Midnight Blue (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition Remastered)
“This is a medium swing that keeps a very even tempo, and it goes on long enough to do long exercises (shuffles, double shuffles and triplets) at a relaxed pace.”

Artist: Jeff Golub
Song/Album: “Cold Duck Time,” Do It Again
“I fell in love with this song and found out it’s actually a jazz standard, but Golub arranged it in a jazz/funk mode. Warning—there is a variation in phrasing where he throws in a 12 measure once in a while, as opposed to the standard 8 measure. Not a fast-paced song, but there’s lots of room for double time and paddle and roll work.”

Artist: Oscar Peterson & Milt Jackson
Song/Album: “Work Song,” Very Tall
“I started using this song many years ago—and I used it and used it and used it! It’s great for warm-ups utilizing articulations and single-sound warm-ups for beginners, and I even choreographed a competition piece to it. It’s strong and driving, easy to hear, with a
certain amount of musical variation (not tempo) that keeps it interesting.”

Artist: Jane Monheit
Song/Album: “Taking A Chance On Love,” Taking A Chance On Love
“I often shy away from using vocals, because it comes across as too many elements with the tap sounds, music and the voice all at the same time. But Monheit is such a great jazz singer, and this song gives such a lift to the students. It really swings, has a great instrumental break and is quite peppy without being overly fast.”

Artist: Natalie Cole
Song/Album: “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” Unforgettable: With Love
“Cole’s voice really adds to the instrumentation. I use this all the time for my basic and beginner combinations. It is slow enough for them but does not drag and isn’t boring. It has a great musical break, and the students really listen—sometimes they even sing along.”

Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Mitchell Button, courtesy of the artist

Dusty Button prefers music with a range. "There needs to be a beginning, a climax and a strong ending. Like a movie," she says. The award-winning dancer, who joined American Ballet Theatre's second company, ABT II, at 18, has always been drawn to lyric-free tracks filled with dynamic phrasing, rhythms and composition. "Whether it's the violin, piano or cello, instrumental music gives me more inspiration. I want the dancers and the audience to feel something new," she adds.

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Studio Success with Just for Kix
Courtesy Just for Kix

As a teacher or studio owner, customer service is a major part of the job. It's easy to dread the difficult sides of it, like being questioned or criticized by an unhappy parent. "In the early years, parent issues could have been the one thing that got me to give up teaching," says Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a teacher and studio owner with over 43 years of experience. "Hang in there—it does get easier."

We asked Clough her top tips for dealing with difficult parents:

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Site Network

When the news broke that Prince George, currently third in line for the British throne, would be continuing ballet classes as part of his school curriculum this year, we were as excited as anyone. (OK, maybe more excited.)

This was not, it seems, a sentiment shared by "Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer.

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Sponsored by Dean College
Amanda Donahue, ATC, working with a student in her clinic in the Palladino School of Dance at Dean College. Courtesy Dean College

The Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College is one of just 10 college programs in the U.S. with a full-time athletic trainer devoted solely to its dancers. But what makes the school even more unique is that certified athletic trainer Amanda Donahue isn't just available to the students for appointments and backstage coverage—she's in the studio with them and collaborating with dance faculty to prevent injuries and build stronger dancers.

"Gone are the days when people would say, 'Don't go to the gym, you'll bulk up,'" says Kristina Berger, who teaches Horton and Hawkins technique as an assistant professor of dance. "We understand now that cross-training is actually vital, and how we've embraced that at Dean is extremely rare. For one thing, we're not sharing an athletic trainer with the football players, who require a totally different skillset." For another, she says, the faculty and Donahue are focused on giving students tools to prolong their careers.

After six years of this approach, here are the benefits they've seen:

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To Share With Students
Photo via Claudia Dean World on YouTube

Most parents start off pretty clueless when it comes to doing their dancer's hair. If you don't want your students coming in with elastic-wrapped bird's nests on their heads, you may want to give them some guidance. But who has time to teach each individual parent how to do their child's hair? Not you! So, we have a solution: YouTube hair tutorials.

These three classical hairdo vids are exactly what your dancers need to look fabulous and ready to work every time they step in your studio.

Enjoy!

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Sponsored by Alternative Balance
Courtesy Alternative Balance

As a dance teacher, you know more than anyone that things can go wrong—students blank on choreography onstage, costumes don't fit and dancers quit the competition team unexpectedly. Why not apply that same mindset to your status as an independent contractor at a studio or as a studio owner?

Insurance is there to give you peace of mind, even when the unexpected happens. (Especially since attorney fees can be expensive, even when you've done nothing wrong as a teacher.) Taking a preemptive approach to your career—insuring yourself—can save you money, time and stress in the long run.

We talked to expert Miriam Ball of Alternative Balance Professional Group about five scenarios in which having insurance would be key.

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Dance Teachers Trending
Roshe (center) teaching at Steps on Broadway in New York City. Photo by Jacob Hiss, courtesy of Roshe

Although Debbie Roshe's class doesn't demand perfect technique or mastering complicated tricks, her intricate musicality is what really challenges students. "Holding weird counts to obscure music is harder," she says of her Fosse-influenced jazz style, "but it's more interesting."

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To Share With Students
Via @madisongoodman_ on Instagram

Nationals season is behind us, but we just aren't quite over it yet. We've been thinking a lot about the freakishly talented winners of these competitions, and want to know a bit more about the people who got them to where they are. So, we asked three current national title holders to tell us the most powerful piece of advice their dance teacher ever gave them. What they have to say will melt your heart.

Way to go, dance teachers! Your'e doing amazing things for the rising generation!

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Sponsored by Turn It Up Dance Challenge
Courtesy Turn It Up

With back-to-back classes, early-morning stage calls and remembering to pack countless costume accessories, competition and convention weekends can feel like a whirlwind for even the most seasoned of studios. Take the advice of Turn It Up Dance Challenge master teachers Alex Wong and Maud Arnold and president Melissa Burns on how to make the experience feel meaningful and successful for your dancers:

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Studio Owners
Getty Images

Enrollment is an issue that plagues brand-new and veteran studio owners alike. Without a steady stream of revenue from new students coming through your doors, your studio won't survive—no matter how crisp your dancers' technique is or how well-produced your recitals are.

Enrollment—in biz speak, customer acquisition and retention—depends on your business' investment in marketing. How effectively you get the word out about your studio will directly influence the number of people who register. Successful businesses typically use certain tried-and-true marketing strategies to recruit and retain clients or customers. These four studio owners' tricks for kicking enrollment into high gear are modeled after classic marketing techniques.

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Sponsored by The Studio Director

As a studio owner, you're probably pretty used to juggling. Running a business is demanding, with new questions and challenges pulling your attention in a million different directions each day.

But there's a solution that could be saving you time and money (and sanity!). Studio management systems are easy-to-use software programs designed for the particular needs of studio owners, offering tools like billing, enrollment, inventory and emails, all in one place. The right studio management system can help you handle the day-to-day tasks that bog you down as a business owner, leaving you more time for the most important work—like connecting with students and planning creative curriculums for them. Plus, these systems can keep you from spending extra money on hiring multiple specialists or using multiple platforms to meet your administrative needs.

So how do you make sure you're choosing a studio management system that offers the same quality that your studio does? We talked to The Studio Director—whose studio management system provides a whole host of streamlined features—about the must-haves for any system, and the bonuses that make an excellent product stand out:

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