Being a dance teacher can be difficult. To be the best teacher for your students, it’s important to maintain the best version of yourself. From workout regiments to favorite snacks and books, three teachers reveal what motivates them to be on top of their game.
Istvan Cserven, Director of Dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts
Photo courtesy of Fred Astaire Dance Studio
FAVORITE FOOTWEAR: For teaching: Supadance Black Patent shoes; for competitions: Dance Naturals for Latin and rhythm dances.
TRAINING TOOLS: Thera-Band for experiencing resistance, sticks to practice the dance hold and hardcover books on top of the head for practicing posture and alignment.
POWER BREAKFAST: “I have a green drink every morning, which includes celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, collard greens and avocado blended together.”
RECOMMENDED READING: The Revised Technique of Ballroom Dancing, by Alex Moore, and its later revisions by ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing). “This is the dance bible for competitive ballroom dancing.”
WATCH THIS: Anne Gleave’s Portrait of the Lady Dancer instructional DVD.
Talya Dozois, competition artistic director at Platinum Dance Center in Edina, Minnesota
Photo courtesy of Platinum Dance Center
MUST-HAVE FITNESS SUPPLIES: A tennis ball to roll out her arches, a foam roller for sore or tight muscles and light weights for building arm strength.
TRAINING TOOL: A BOSU Balance Trainer. “It’s amazing to see that even dancers who have strong centers often need extra help once they’re on it.”
TO CROSS-TRAIN: Pilates and spin classes
RECOMMENDED READING: Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. “I have found it helpful in both my work and personal life. It’s a good reminder that creating something takes constant work.”
WATCH THIS: The KBMTalent YouTube channel. “The videos break down new tricks to introduce to dancers.”
Susan Russo, The Theresa Academy of Performing Arts in Long Beach, New York
Russo leads a class through Anne Green Gilbert’s BrainDance. Photo by Diane Modico, courtesy of the Theresa Academy
TO WARM UP: “I warm up with Anne Green Gilbert’s BrainDance. I find that it is just as suitable for my 63-year-old body as it is for the bodies and brains of my young, pliable students.”
MUST-HAVE FITNESS SUPPLIES: A Pilates toning ring and a deep-tissue massage roller. “I use these items to keep my alignment where it should be, stretch my hamstrings and roll out kinks in my back and hips.”
IN-CLASS PROPS: “Many of our students have tactile/sensory issues, so we use many props to aid in addressing those issues.” Space spots, scarves of all sizes and colors, elastic bands, ribbons, drums, maracas, bells, hula hoops, balls, cones and parachutes.
FAVORITE NONDANCE ACTIVITY: “To me, quilting is choreographing with fabric. I really enjoy working with beautiful fabrics.”
INSPIRATIONAL READING: Creative Dance for All Ages, by Anne Green Gilbert; Doris Humphrey’s The Art of Making Dances; and A Life for Dance, by Rudolf von Laban.