Dance Teacher Summit
Photo by Rachel Papo

Joanne Chapman gave an entertaining rendition of what not to say during a parent/studio director conversation at the New York City Dance Teacher Summit. This panel was created by our team of studio-owner ambassadors, including Chapman and Dani Rosenberg, Becca Moore, Carole Royal, Sue Sampson-Dalena and Jody Phillips. While we enjoyed laughing at the absurd situation, it felt all too familiar to most in the room. The goal of the panel was to model constructive and proactive responses that will support a strong and successful studio business.

Mark Your Calendar

Join us in Long Beach, CA, July 26–28, or in NYC, August 1–3, for our 2019 Dance Teacher Summit.

Studio Owners

Q: I have had a few students leave my studio for a larger one that participates in conventions and hires several guest teachers to do choreography every year (at a high price). What happened to training our own students and doing our own choreography? I'm worried that if I don't jump on the bandwagon, I'll lose more students. What should I do?

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Dance Teacher editors stand with the 2016 Dance Teacher Award winners at the Capezio A.C.E. Awards. From left to right: Rachel Caldwell, Rachel Rizzuto, Helen Rolfe, Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Robert Battle, Karen Hildebrand, Kathleen Isaac and Pamela VanGilder

What a whirlwind weekend! It was my first-ever Dance Teacher Summit, and it was awesome! Throughout the weekend’s classes, seminars, workshops, Capezio A.C.E. Awards and the Closing Summit panel discussion, teachers from far and wide shared their wisdom and passion for teaching dance. Here are five things I learned at the Summit:

1.     Studio owners are superheroes. At the studio owners' session on Thursday, studio owners from across the country discussed the challenges they face. My takeaway? These women and men are amazing. Not only do they run a business, teach class, choreograph and manage staff, they deal with problematic parents, fundraising, the repercussions of a constantly changing economy, being a mentor to students and adapting their businesses to the digital age. And that’s not even half of it! I tip my hat to you, studio owners. You are superheroes.

2.     Dance really is for every child. Since seeing the documentary P.S. Dance! last year, I have thought a lot about its prevailing message, “Dance for every child.” I felt that concept very deeply when I attended a workshop titled “Special Needs Students,” led by Rhythm Works Integrative Dance teacher Tricia Gomez. She gave a rundown of sensory issues experienced by students with special needs and showed how different types of cuing (visual, auditory and tactile) can help those students dance. It was fascinating and inspiring!

Talent and innovation were abundant at the Capezio A.C.E. Awards! Among the winners were 2nd runner ups Mark Osborn and Justin Myles for their tap number, Long Train Running.

3.     The competition scene is immense (and intense!). At both the competition/convention panel discussion and Joanne Chapman and Nancy Giles’ seminar, “Competition Teams: Keeping it Smooth,” I was blown away by just how much the comp scene has expanded since I was a studio dancer. Representatives from 15 dance competitions were present at the Summit to field questions. Meanwhile Chapman and Giles shared how they run their award-winning comp teams. One key to their success? Hold every dancer on the team to the same high standards.

4.     Stay positive and good things will come your way. At Kim Delgrosso’s seminar, “Fill Your Cup,” she shared how maintaining a positive attitude and being grateful can impact your life. It’s worked well for her—the mother of 8 and grandmother of 22 has run a successful studio in Orem, Utah, for more than 30 years. From taking the time to connect with the people around you to participating in nondance activities, she had great suggestions for staying grounded and humble in this often chaotic industry.

5.     The future of dance education looks bright. The Closing Summit panel discussion last night was truly uplifting. Summit ambassadors Denise Wall, Joanne Chapman, Kim Delgrosso, Sue Sampson-Dalena, Dance Teacher editor-in-chief Karen Hildebrand and faculty member Deborah Wingert talked with teachers about the future of dance education. More job opportunities for dancers, an increased emphasis on health and self-care and more innovation in the choreographic realm than we know what to do with are all indicators of a bright future for today’s young dancers.

From left to right: Denise Wall, Kim Delgrosso, Sue Sampson-Dalena, Joanne Chapman, Karen Hildebrand and Deborah Wingert

Photos (from top): by Rachel Papo (2); by Helen Rolfe

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Joanne Chapman cultivates excellence and a familial atmosphere at her Canadian studio. Photo by Don Boskovic/Exposé Studios, courtesy of Chapman

Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.

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Congratulations to JCSOD from Bolton, Ontario, which was crowned 2013 Studio of the Year at the third annual Dance Awards gala!

Friday’s event concluded a week of competition and master classes with the industry’s most in-demand choreographers: Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Stacey Tookey, Sonya Tayeh, Mike Minery and many more. The gala featured performances by faculty and the week’s top dancers including those from JCSOD and 2013 DT Award winner Dawn Rappitt’s Elite Danceworx, who picked up awards for group jazz and contemporary performances, among others.

Watch 2012 Studio of the Year recipient Kim DelGrosso present JCSOD's award, and the ensuing celebration:

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