New Year, New Goals

While some of us are once again resolving to lose a few pounds or live within a budget, our cover subjects this month inspire us to think bigger for the new year. Yvette L. Campbell, John-Mario Sevilla and Seán Curran (shown at right with writer Rachel Berman) represent the breadth of dance in New York City, from teaching artists to schoolchildren to performers and choreographers. Their comments about the state of arts education are both broad and personal. And their insight is particularly apt, considering that each has made a career on the professional concert stage. In “Making It in New York,” the three share their new year’s resolutions and more.

Former Paul Taylor dancer, Rachel Berman, interviewed Campbell, Sevilla and Curran.

If your goals for 2014 include continuing education, you’ll be interested in the Summer Study Guide. There are plenty of programs for teachers, as well as some great recommendations for your students. Dancers can often benefit from the change in perspective that an outside summer intensive delivers. Instead of seeing their departure as a loss in your studio revenue, you can add value to your business by helping them get accepted into a program that will serve them well. One way to do this is to arrange a summer study audition video session. See “10 Minutes to Impress” for tips on making an effective video.

DT editors join Jacqulyn Buglisi at the photo shoot for “How I Teach Graham”: (From left) Rachel Rizzuto, Courtney Celeste Spears, Buglisi, Andrea Marks and Kristin Schwab.

Nominations are now open for the 2014 Dance Teacher Awards. We’re accepting recommendations for outstanding educators in three categories: Studios and Conservatories, K–12 and Higher Ed. Look for details on dance-teacher.com, and e-mail your nominations to amarks@dancemedia.com by March 1. Then be sure to join us at the Dance Teacher Summit in New York City, August 1–3, for the awards presentation.

Wishing you success in 2014,

Karen Hildebrand

editor in chief

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

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@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

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