Letter From the Editor: Putting a Spring in Your Step
April 3, 2023

Dear DT+ Community,

Being a dance teacher, coach or studio owner is no easy feat—especially during the spring months with competitions underway, recitals right around the corner and summer intensives not too far away.

But whether you’re frantically gluing rhinestones on costumes or calmly prepping your students for what’s to come, it’s important that you welcome every opportunity for professional growth and development this time of year with a spring in your step.

For starters, I invite you to attend our upcoming DT+ Teacher Talk on Wednesday, April 12 at 12pm EDT to explore the nitty gritty of creating and cleaning choreography. In this live hour-long Zoom discussion, our editor Amy Brandt joins Peter Stark, president and director, and Justin Allen, resident choreographer and assistant director of the professional division at The Rock School for Dance Education, to discuss tips and tactics that’ll help your students shine onstage at competitions, recitals, end of year performances, and more. Look out for an email from us with the registration link to sign up—we can’t wait to see you there!

On another happy note, I’m delighted to introduce you to my colleague Chava Lansky who will be stepping in for me while I’m away on maternity leave from early April to mid-July. Chava is excited to share more great content with you on DanceTeacher+ and I bet she can’t wait to hear what you think about our upcoming stories this month:

Teaching Tips

How to Build Students’ Stamina in the Studio and Beyond: No matter how many times your students have rehearsed a dance, when they get onstage it can feel like the air has suddenly become thinner. Between the adrenaline and nerves likely boosting their heart rate and the size of the stage demanding they travel further than they’re used to, it’s normal to find that they’re huffing and puffing by the time the curtain closes. But things need not be this way—with the right breathing techniques and anaerobic training, it is possible to help your students build stamina to dance stronger and for much longer. Find out more in this month’s Technique & Artistry column.

How to gain students’ respect as a young teacher or sub: Whether you’re taking on a few teaching gigs in addition to your performing job or embarking on a teaching career post-graduation, you’ll need to learn some sure-fire ways to earn your students’ respect and build rapport with them right from the get-go. In this article, we’ll be sharing some tried-and-true strategies from early-career and highly experienced teachers.

How to help your students deal with the emotional toll of summer intensive acceptances and rejections: Emotions will be running high as students will soon hear back on their summer intensive applications. For some, the experience is met with joy and celebration, but for others, rejections can be painful. So how can dance educators celebrate their students’ success but equally support those that didn’t get into their program of choice? And how do they guide them appropriately?

Anthony Morigerato Teaches a Traveling Time Step: For his DT+ lesson plan, tap extraordinaire Morigerato teaches a traveling time step (which follows a traditional three-and-a-break structure), providing both a beginner and an advanced version. “I like this step because the dancer moves in space while maintaining groove and time,” he says. “To me, tap dance is the marriage of music and motion. This step addresses both equally.”

Early Childhood Dance Education

Teaching dance class etiquette to young children: When it comes to dealing with preschooler meltdowns and unruly students, dance teachers often find themselves more reactive vs proactive to the situation. How can educators establish protocols and boundaries that are respected by young children from the get-go. What are some ways to be in complete control of the situation? And do you ensure that such crises don’t become a regular occurrence in class?

Office Hours with Hetty King: Hetty King brings a seriousness of inquiry that you might not associate with early-childhood dance education. While other teaching artists sometimes consider the creative-dance set as an easy age group to plan for and teach, King sees a precious opportunity with high stakes: to mold future artist-citizens throughout their first encounter with dance. That gravity of purpose all makes perfect sense when you consider that King is a registered somatic dance educator, a respected authority on Nancy Topf’s Topf Technique, and a doctoral candidate in the dance-education program at Columbia University, Teachers College. King recently took a moment from planning her classes at NYC’s PS 145K to talk with Dance Teacher about how dance instills what she calls “personal literacy.”

Studio Owners

Accomodating different families and parental preferences: Oftentimes, dance studio owners have to manage a balancing act when parents and students seek accommodations for their religious and personal beliefs. In this article, we share the experiences of dance teachers and studio owners who have adjusted their teaching styles and studio protocols to welcome and accommodate these families. Find out how they did it, their do’s and don’ts, and get tips on how you and your own studio can navigate these real-world scenarios.

How to navigate conversations with parents about costume pricing: With competitions around the corner and recitals ramping up, there’s much talk not only about the quality, quantity, and variety of costumes but also the cost of renting, buying, and commissioning them. How are studio owners dealing with considerations like charging vs not charging parents? How is the budget for costumes usually handled during this time of year? Are studios reusing costumes from storage or purchasing them off a catalog? And what’s the best way to make this time of year budget-friendly and non-stressful for all?

Celebrating Dance Luminaries

Vaslav Nijinsky: Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Nijinsky helped usher in a new era of ballet. As a leading dancer for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, he redefined the male presence in classical ballet, bringing athleticism and range to what had previously been a supporting role. His controversial choreographic works are now considered some of the first contemporary ballets.

Khori Michelle Petinaud: in this month’s Dancer Diary column, Petinaud, who is bringing her smooth magnetism to Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, shares her enthusiasm for the show, the career feedback that’s made all the difference and her advice for educators in 2023.

Molly Long: Hear from Molly Long, founder of Project 21, about her favorite teaching attire, how she keeps her energy up on long days, the Instagram account she’s loving lately and more, in this month’s Teacher Tools column.

Mario Labrador: Colorado Ballet Mario Labrador pays tribute to his mentor Ronn Guidi who helped him discover his love, passion and natural coordination for ballet from the time he was a young student at Oakland Ballet Academy.

I hope you enjoy reading all these stories, and I wish you all the very best with whatever endeavors you’re undertaking with your students this month.

Best wishes,
Reanne Rodrigues
[email protected]

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