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Is dance a sport? Should it be in the Olympics? They're complicated questions that tend to spark heated debate. But many dance fans will be excited to hear that breaking (please don't call it breakdancing) has been provisionally added to the program for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

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To Share With Students
Photo courtesy of NYCDA

In March 2018, Jennifer Knostman got a call from her son, Harrison. When she picked up, all she could hear was sobbing on the other end. After a brief second of anticipation, she finally heard him exclaim "Mom! I got into Juilliard!"

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News

"WOD" is back for Season 3, and once again, the internet is loving it! How much do they love it, you ask? Well they've watched many of the dances millions of times, so it's safe to say—A WHOLE LOT! We did some research and discovered which dances have been watched the most since Season 3's premiere, and the results may surprise you.

Here are the top-four most viewed "WOD" videos of the season so far! Let us know your favorite over on our Facebook page!

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The fun doesn't stop after Showstopper's competition season ends. Join Showstopper this fall and winter for their 2018-19 Dance Conventions. Bring the whole studio or dance solo, but register soon so you do not miss out!

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Looking for your next audition shoe? Shot at and in collaboration with Broadway Dance Center, Só Dança has launched a new collection of shoes working with some pretty famous faces of the musical theater world! Offered in two different styles and either 2.5" or 3" heels, top industry professionals are loving how versatile and supportive these shoes are! Pro tip: The heel is centered under the body so you can feel confident and stable!

Showstopper's National Finals Opening Number Performance

Showstopper has been making its impact on the dance world since 1978. Before then, dancers didn't have a stage to perform on, the opportunity to learn from peers, or a competitive outlet like most sports. Debbie Roberts recognized this missing piece in the dance community and that is how America's first and longest running dance competition, Showstopper, was born. Debbie taught dance for over 26 years and owned and operated her own dance studio for 20 years. She is now the owner and National Director of Showstopper, along side her husband, Dave Roberts. Dancer, teacher, business owner, author, and mother, Debbie has made dance her life's career.

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News
Professional dancer and competition judge Lauren Renck leads a master class. Photo courtesy of Renck

When it comes to the competition circuit, each new year brings a plethora of choreographic, music and fashion trends to the dance floor—from dancing in socks to dancing with props. To cap off a great year of dance, Dance Teacher spoke with competition judge Lauren Renck about four of her favorite trends she saw this year.

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Balagna (in black) teaches her students how to make the most out of the competition experience.

Seen and Heard at the Dance Teacher Summit

Steppin’ Out—The Studio

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

450 students

Phyllis Balagna has been taking her students to conventions and competitions for 25 years, as long as her studio has been open. She has the season down to a science: She and her staff select one or two conventions, three regional competitions and one National to attend each year. Here, she addresses some of the most frequently asked questions she hears about competition.

How do you get your students focused before they compete?

I am a coach at heart, and motivating kids is my forte. I am constantly searching for quotes to inspire the students. One of my favorites is, “The better you get, the nicer you become!” I believe in my program and the work I do with the students. The passion and energy transfers to them, and on “game day,” my dancers are on fire!

Do you allow your students to hear their critiques at competition?

Yes, because I expose my students to competitions that I know and trust. I send all soloists home with their critique sheet or tape, and I ask them to read or listen to it and jot down the comments. At their next private lesson, we sit down, oftentimes with a parent, and discuss what was said. By including the parent just a little, they feel such a part of the process. For small groups, large groups and lines, we’ll sometimes listen as a group, but I confess that because I produce more than 100 routines each year, I do not take the time out of every class to listen to every critique. After a competition, I’m usually ready to get back into the trenches and do what needs to be done to make each dancer and routine more solid.

How do you motivate your students?

By smiling, having fun and pushing them hard in class. I make it my number-one goal to always do things that will motivate each of my dancers to be the best they can be. I have found that the higher I set the bar, the harder they work. Students love to be challenged, so as a teacher I am constantly trying to find ways to shake it up.

How do you motivate yourself as a teacher?

I surround myself with great people. I also guest teach and serve as a competition judge, which are great motivational experiences. I read countless magazines and articles on coaching techniques, and I am constantly thinking up new ways to reinvent myself as a teacher. Each year I try to have a new approach to teaching and coaching.

Photo by John Beaudoin, courtesy of Steppin’ Out—The Studio

 

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