Students in class at Mark Morris Dance Center. Prince Lang, Courtesy Mark Morris Dance Group.

Recently, I asked fellow dancers on Facebook for a one-word self-assessment of the first class they ever taught. "Chaotic," "humbling" and "copycat" were just some of their responses. I was not surprised.

For my first-ever class, intermediate ballet for my fellow college students in 2011, I was armed with little more than my own experiences as a student. I certainly wasn't prepared for all the needs competing for my attention, nor equipped with strategies to differentiate my teaching approach for each student's learning style. I must have missed that day in technique class.

There is a pervasive idea that if you are a great dancer, you are automatically qualified to teach, whether you have training or experience in education practices or not. There is also an assumption that training to be a dance educator is only valuable if you're working with children—that you don't need it when teaching anyone over the age of 16.

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Photo by Rachel Papo

As every educator knows, it's just as important to keep up with your teaching craft as it is for your students to keep up with their dancing. The best way to do that? Teacher-training workshops. Get away for a couple of days to interact with your peers in the industry. You'll not only learn new ideas for teaching technique and movement, but you'll discover new communication strategies, business ideas and ways to manage changes in the industry. You'll return to your studio with a wealth of knowledge to share with your students.

We've compiled a list of three teacher-training opportunities happening later this year that you should have on your radar.

You're welcome!

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1. SUMMIT VIRTUAL PASS - After the event, each attendee will be able to view dance classes, seminars and events held at the Summit online!

2. A BONDING EXPERIENCE - There's no better way to strengthen your relationships and get renewed for the new year!

3. ADD VALUE TO YOUR COMPANY - For studio owners, a trip to Dance Teacher Summit is a great way to recognize the staff that work to keep your company operating successfully. Register three teachers together and a fourth teacher comes free!

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Ballet Academy East in New York City has announced the addition of a Dance for PD class on Friday mornings at 11. Classes are offered at no charge and open to people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as their family, friends and caregivers.

Students will learn movement from modern, ballet, tap, folk and social dancing, plus some Mark Morris repertory. The experience encourages artistic expression and is designed to get Parkinson’s sufferers moving like dancers to live music, instead of thinking of themselves as patients in therapy.

Dance for PD was developed in 2001 by Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Since then, the program has grown to reach over 30 states and 12 countries.

The program holds regular teacher training workshops around the world. Take a look at the upcoming sessions, and visit danceforparkinsons.org for more information or to apply.

Melbourne, Victoria (Australia): September 14–15, 2014

Brooklyn, NY: October 29–30, 2014

Nashville, TN: March 13–14, 2015

Phoenix, AZ: March 20–21, 2015

Photo: Instructor Krissy Richmond leads a Dance for PD class at Houston Ballet; by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy of Houston Ballet

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