Just for fun

These 3 Dance Teachers Are All Our Second Mothers

Stacey Tookey and student at Camp Protégé via @sjtookey on Instagram

There are certain dance teachers out there who have a gift for making students feel loved, cared about, capable, encouraged and inspired—all at the same time. They're beautiful sparks of light in the midst of this competitive and at times exhausting industry.

Three of those special souls happen to have a gigantic reach through conventions and television, and have somehow made each and every one of us feel like they're our second moms. Don't believe me? Go take (or observe) class from anyone of them and then try to tell me they don't love you as their own!

Check 'em out below, and then share a time one of them said something that made you feel important and validated!

xoxo


1. Stacey Tookey

When Tookey walks into the room, all the students breathe a sigh of relief. From the warm-up to the cool down, the entire class is about being your best self, expressing genuine emotions in a healthy way and reaching your potential. Three cheers for this beauty! Please adopt us all!


2. Mandy Moore

Have you seen her with those kiddos on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" this season? She brings out the best in them without tearing them down. She's had an unbelievably successful career, yet never behaves like a diva with her students. She teaches because she genuinely cares, and for that we are all thankful. Can we call her Mama Mandy, already?


3. Denise Wall

Wall isn't just a mother to one of the most popular choreographers of our generation (eh hem, Travis Wall), but she's a mother to us all. She takes the time to walk her students through proper alignment and technique practices, because she cares about the health of her dancers just as much as she cares about their talent. If that's not motherly instincts, then I don't know what is.

Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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