Last month I attended the 10th Anniversary NDEO Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, for several inspiring days of lectures, presentations and performances in the company of all those who strive to provide excellence in dance education. Although at first I felt like “the new kid,” by the end of the conference, I was at ease and even ran into one of my former dance teachers, Michelle Perosi, who was being awarded for her work in the K–12 setting at Ocean County Vocational Technical School in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The event’s theme, “Contact Politics: The Dance of Personal and Public Change,” was a very timely one indeed. As dancers, we’re always changing and continually trying to better ourselves by perfecting our technique. Meanwhile, our country is preparing for a period of transformation, as we get ready to elect a new president this year. Hopefully, the elected administration will be one that supports arts education.

While all of the sessions I attended were interesting, one that particularly resonated with me was a panel of staff members from Washington, DC’s THEARC (The Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus) (www.thearcdc.org), which included Katrina Toews, director of The Washington Ballet at THEARC. THEARC is home to 10 cultural and social service agencies that work together with the common goal of helping underserved children and adults reach their full potential. Amongst its amenities is a 365-seat theater that was built to the exact specs of The Kennedy Center to allow WB to perform in an area once defined by guns and violence. THEARC’s model for supporting the arts is one that many underserved areas of our country could learn from and their work within a severely disadvantaged section of our nation’s capital is a fine example of change and transformation.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s conference, start planning now for next year, when the NDEO will storm Manhattan June 23–29, 2009. Hope to see you there!

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."

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Burklyn Ballet, Courtesy Harlequin

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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:

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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!

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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."

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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."

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Teaching arabesque can be a challenge for educators and students alike. Differences in body types, flexibility and strength can leave dancers feeling dejected about the possibility of improving this essential position.

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Just for fun
Via Instagram

Happy Father's Day to all of the dance dads in the world! Whether you're professional dancers, dance teachers, dance directors or simply just dance supporters, you are a key ingredient to what makes the dance world such a happy, thriving place, and we love you!

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Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Jennifer Kleinman, courtesy of Danell Hathaway

It's high school dance concert season, which means a lot of you K–12 teachers are likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. The long nights of editing music, rounding up costumes and printing programs are upon you, and we salute you. You do great work, and if you just hang on a little while longer, you'll be able to bathe in the applause that comes after the final Saturday night curtain.

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