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Jayme Thornton

In this global economic crisis, it sometimes feels like the plight of dancers has been largely ignored. So Debbie Allen is on a mission to change that. "They don't list dance and the arts as essential," she says, "but we are! We give people more joy and hope than almost anything."

To spread that joy and hope—and raise some sorely needed funds—Allen is putting on a 12-hour digital dance-a-thon on Saturday, June 13, called Dance To The Music. Along with her co-host, choreographer JaQuel Knight, Allen will be livestreaming from 12 pm to 12 am Pacific, sharing impromptu performances from top dancers, inspirational conversations with celebrities, dance classes with major choreographers, spotlights on studios around the country, and DJ sets that will get us all moving together.

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We’re counting down to January 1st with great ideas for your studio and teaching practice in the new year. Check back each day for a new tip!

Fundraising for your studio—whether it’s to raise money for your competition team dancers, fund a much-needed renovation or offer a family in need a scholarship—can feel like pulling teeth. You’ve done the bake sales, the car washes, the candy bars. Why not try something new?

Hailey Doyle

Elevate Dance Center

Vacaville, California

110 students

Taking advantage of a recent trend, Hailey Doyle organized a Paint Nite last fall for adults. She contacted a local organizer in Sacramento, and the company set up everything day-of—she only needed to provide tables and chairs. She sold tickets that could be used to purchase beer and wine, plus desserts (provided by her comp team parents) and held a raffle for gift baskets she and parents put together. Local businesses donated items for the baskets—a kitchen-themed basket included a crockpot, cookbooks and cooking utensils. She assembled a studio basket, with an Elevate Dance Center T-shirt and tank top and two tickets to an upcoming show.

The paint night company required a minimum of 35 attendees, so promotion was key. She posted on the studio’s Facebook page and handed out flyers for her students to take home. The evening was so successful and easy to pull off that she’s planning to do another one this fall.

Costs and materials $30 per person to professional organizer; beer and wine; gift baskets to raffle off; tables and chairs

Fees $45 per ticket; $1 per raffle ticket or six tickets for $5

Net proceeds $1,280 in one night/$43 for each dancer

Word to the wise “I was nervous about selling alcohol, so I talked to some business owners who I knew did a wine-and-yoga night once a month,” says Doyle. “As long as it’s something you’re doing in your venue, you’re not advertising that there will be wine and beer, and your guests are 21—we advertised that the event was 21-and-over—it’s fine.”

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Photo courtesy of Doyle

It’s that time of year again—time to thank a special dance teacher in your life. Tomorrow, the National Dance Education Organization is hosting its third annual #NDEOThankADanceTeacherDay, a social-media fundraising campaign for professional development scholarships.

Students shared their appreciation for their dance teachers during last year's #NDEOThankADanceTeacherDay.

Here’s how it works:

Donate $10 or more to NDEO’s Thank A Dance Teacher Fund, in honor of a dance teacher who has made an impact in your life.

Thank your teacher by sharing your story on social media tomorrow using the hashtag #NDEOThankADanceTeacherDay. Link to:

Donations will be accepted through the end of 2016. All funds go toward NDEO’s professional development scholarships. Dance teachers working in studios, K–12, higher education and performing arts organizations are eligible and encouraged to apply. For more info, visit:

Photos courtesy of NDEO

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

On Valentine’s Day, the lobby of Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City is covered in paper hearts. Each represents a dollar (or more) raised by a dance student for the hospital, which provides medical services free of charge to children. And now those dancers have raised more money than ever before.

A few years ago, DT published “Feel-Good Fundraising” about innovative and inspiring ways dancers have found to give back to their communities. One of the events we covered was Art with Heart, a yearly event organized by three studios working together to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Proceeds come from donations, ticket sales for the annual performance and selling paper hearts. When we spoke to the owners for the 2012 article, the Utah studios had raised more than $250,000 after the event’s 10-year anniversary.

We’ve recently received an update that, following last year’s fundraiser in November, those studios—Dance Impressions, The Dance Club and The Winner School—have now raised a total of nearly $450,000. The 2014 annual performance also brought in Art with Heart’s largest numbers so far, at more than $45,000. We’re so happy to see this generous idea growing, and to see dancers working together to spread the love!


Photos courtesy of Kelly Wanlass

Collage dance Collective from Memphis, Tennessee, used a crowdfunding campaign with this video to raise $14,028 for new mirrors, barres, a front desk and other necessities of a growing dance studio. Read "Kickstarting Your Dream" for more on this latest method of online fundraising for the digital age.

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