Teaching Tips

The Best Use of Your Halloween Candy This Month? Bribery

It's finally fall, people! Halloween is just around the corner, and we could not be more excited. Halloween brings pumpkin spice back into our lives, along with scary movies, fall leaves and surprisingly elaborate costumes. The best part of Halloween, though? Obviously the candy. The best part of the candy? Using it to bribe your students to stay focused until the end of class. 🙏🙏🙏

A convention-circuit favorite, Kim McSwain said in a recent article on dance-teacher.com that you've got to control the room by using positive reinforcement. "I bring a whole bag of goodies with unicorn tails, treats and stickers," she says.

Our favorite form of positive reinforcement just happens to be Halloween candy, and guess what, people? There is PLENTY of it out there. Get a jump on things and get the candy that will help your students stay focused all October long!

Here are some of our favorites for your drool-perusal! XOXO

1. Caramel Apple Pops

2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

(Check for allergies first!)

3. Twix

4. Smarties

5. Starburst

6. Airheads

Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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