Dance Teacher Tips

Q: I'm looking for out-of-the-box teaching tools to use with my students. Do you have any recommendations?

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Josephine Lee on the road. Photo Courtesy Lee


Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop is taking her wares on a tour of the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Lee is visiting dance schools along the way in her mobile pointe shoe van to fit ballet students. Check out her first five vlogs from the road, filled with picturesque scenery, fun facts and fitting tips—and stay tuned for the next round.

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Q: Last year I had recital photos taken, but very few people ordered any. Is it worth it to do it again this year?

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Studio Owners

Q: Every year I struggle to bring in guest faculty for my summer intensive without breaking the bank. Do you have any suggestions?

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Studio Owners
Photo courtesy of Sean Boutilier Academy of Dance

It wasn't the most glamorous vision of a successful business owner's life: For five years, Sean Boutilier lived above a dry cleaner in Toronto, splitting the rent with his girlfriend at the time. He had sold his home and was living minimally to give himself the cushion he needed to move his studio, Sean Boutilier Academy of Dance, from a rental space into a building of his own.

Today, Boutilier owns two Toronto studios with a combined footprint of 23,000 square feet. Not only has he seen a growth in space and enrollment (to nearly 1,900 dancers), he's also seen an increase in revenue—well into seven figures. "We are making millions in revenue. More than one, more than two, more than three…" he says, adding that the value of his business (his net assets) reaches eight figures.

But his stats aren't something he exactly advertises to his customers.

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Studio Owners
Kim DelGrosso, Jana Monson and Sheryl Dowling (Photo by Kim Raff)

Maybe it's the mountain air, the golden sunshine or the alpine elevation. There's just something about Utah that makes it an astonishing source of outstanding dancers, from ballroom and TV stars like Derek and Julianne Hough to ballerina Whitney Jensen.

To uncover the secrets of Utah's success, Dance Teacher turned to three of Utah's most influential studio owners in the Salt Lake City area: Jana Monson of Creative Arts Academy to the north in Bountiful, and, in southerly Orem, Kim DelGrosso of Center Stage Studio and Sheryl Dowling of The Dance Club.

These women have carved out unique niches in the region's incredibly crowded market. ("There is, honestly, I kid you not, a dance studio on every corner of where my studio is," DelGrosso says.) They consistently turn out some of the state's top talent while always focusing on helping kids develop self-esteem and maturity, as well as artistry. Here they share business perspectives, their personal philosophies—and some insight into Utah's dance magic.


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Studio Owners
Who said you can't go home? Certainly none of these dance directors and alumni dancers. Thinkstock

Whether you grew up dancing with the same teacher or you bounced around from class to class until it finally clicked, most dancers can agree that their home studio will always hold a special place in their hearts. Even if you didn't go on to dance professionally, have you ever considered going back?

Here are four ways dancers at any level can give back to their home studio long after they've performed at their final recital.

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Q: I'm observing my teachers this month. Are there specific things I should give feedback on?

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