Dance Teacher’s Top 10 Stories of 2022
December 29, 2022

Which story did you enjoy reading most on Dance Teacher this year?

Judging by our top-rated articles and most-liked social posts, dance teachers were excited about a wide range of the topics we tackled, including tattoos, teaching deeper, more dynamic pliés, and discovering the nitty-gritty of cleaning choreography. 

Here are the top 10 stories of 2022, and why our readers loved them:

No. 10: “Want to Create a Strong, Self-Sustaining Dance Program for Adults? Follow These 6 Steps,by Jules Szabo

Let’s face it: Adult students can be a challenging demographic for dance teachers and studio owners. Writer Jules Szabo, founder of The Dancer’s Workout, an adult dance-fitness program for ballet, jazz and contemporary dancers, generously shared the six key elements that have led to her classes being consistently full (and often waitlisted!).

Photo by Sally Hanchett.

Readers enjoyed learning about the ways they can transform their own dance-studio programs for adults into a strong, self-sustaining business.

No. 9: “Princess Lockerooo’s Lesson Plan on Waacking,” by Kathryn Holmes

“The way I describe waacking,” says performer, teacher and activist Princess Lockerooo, “is that it’s a physical personification of your absolute truth, in perfect synchronicity with the music. It’s a dance of self-discovery, self-acceptance and self-love.” For her DanceTeacher+ Lesson Plan, she offered this posing drill which resonated with readers who teach a wide range of dance styles.

Photo by LIZ SCHNEIDER-COHEN.

Whether you use these poses in your choreography or have students create their own, Princess Lockerooo advises asking your dancers to come up with words or sounds to match each pose. “Verbalizing the intention of the pose transforms what they’re doing,” she says. “They go from looking like students in a class to coming alive.”

No. 8: “Why Kathryn Morgan Thinks Musicality Is the Mark of a Professional,” by Amanda Sherwin

The reason Kathryn Morgan is so adamant about musicality is simply because, to her, it’s the sole component that distinguishes dance as an artform. “I don’t really care how many turns a dancer can do if there’s no musicality or artistry involved. If the movement isn’t in conjunction with the music, especially if it’s live music, it’s all just tricks,” she says. “But when I see a dancer literally speaking with their feet, listening and embodying what they hear, it’s truly incredible.” We couldn’t agree more!

Photo by Katie Ging Photography.

Our readers also enjoyed using Morgan’s specially curated Spotify playlist of songs performed by her favorite music artists and composers in their dance classes. Give it a listen and share it with your students today!

No. 7: “Is Work–Life Balance Possible for Dance Educators in Leadership Positions?,” by Barry Kerollis

Many of us find the constant pursuit of excellence in our teaching careers and in our personal lives exhausting in today’s fast-paced society. But for those working in leadership positions in dance schools, the 40-hour work week isn’t enough as an endless line of students, parents and staff are constantly looking for guidance. So is it possible for the head honcho to find a reasonable work–life balance?

Clockwise From Left: Racheal Nye, Catherine Lewellen, Alex Pandiscio, Peter Stark, Endalyn Taylor.

Readers loved the insights shared by the five dance school directors interviewed here and learning about how they’re managing the weight of running big dance-education organizations while attempting to maintain some personal time for themselves and their families.

No. 6: “How to Navigate Tattoos in Dance and Set Your Students Up for Success,” by Avichai Scher

Even though tattoos are becoming socially accepted in more spaces, there is still some stigma to contend with, as well as practical considerations for dancers and their teachers.

Clockwise From Top Middle: Dancers From The Washington Ballet, Photo By Spencer Bentley; Dancer Stephen Nakagawa, Photo By Gilles Delellio; Dancer Javier Morera, Photo By Gian Carlo Perez; Tattoos On Dancer Jessy Dick, Photo By Gilles Delellio.

The professional advice on how to tackle the tattoo topic with students was incredibly popular with our readers, and they especially liked uncovering tips on how to cover them up when needed.

No. 5: “How to Teach Deeper, More Dynamic Pliés,” by Lauren Wingenroth

There’s a reason why readers came back to this Technique & Artistry piece time and time again. Pliés are the foundation for nearly everything else dancers will do—from jumps to turns to balances—and without a solid one, it’s nearly impossible to advance to more difficult steps. In this helpful how-to, Greater Washington Dance Center director Gretchen Vogelzang shared how she helps students achieve a deep, dynamic plié that’s as useful as it is beautiful.

Gretchen Vogelzang teaches plié; photo by Alan Price, courtesy Vogelzang.

Whether you use this piece to work on your own pliés or help your students activate theirs, you’ll always find this resource helpful to your teaching practice.

No. 4: “How Some Corrections Can Do Unintentional Harm—and What to Say Instead,” by Lauren Wingenroth

The power words have to impact students and their dancing can be a positive thing when those words are used carefully and intentionally. But too often we still hear language in the dance studio that is harmful—whether because it isn’t anatomically accurate, it contains implicit or explicit body-shaming, or it’s just plain mean.

Photo by Nan Melville, courtesy Charla Genn.

We’re so happy our readers found this topic valuable in their own teaching practice. Use the expert tips in this article and watch this bonus DanceTeacher+ Teacher Talk video with master teacher Charla Genn to reflect on your own use of corrections and making your studio a safer, more learning-conducive environment for your dancers.

No. 3: “How to Talk to Your Male Students About Dance Belts,” by Avichai Scher

“Many teachers, especially women, may not feel comfortable or equipped to have a conversation about dance belts with male students and their parents,” Avichai Scher wrote this spring. “But not only is it important to make sure male students have the proper attire for their safety, it is also vital that they look and feel put-together, professional, modest and not ‘on display.’ ”

Photo by LK Studio, Courtesy Ryan Andrews.

Readers were eager to share their experiences and discuss this sensitive topic on social media, and we at Dance Teacher felt pleased to hear of your efforts in making sure every dancer feels safe, secure and confident!

No. 2: “Enrico Cecchetti: Creator of The Cecchetti Method, a Revolutionary Ballet Technique,” by Rachel Rizzuto

We love that readers wanted to brush up on their dance history this year! This piece on Enrico Cecchetti and his namesake technique was especially popular.

Cecchetti with two of his La Scala Ballet School students in 1927. Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

“The Cecchetti technique, still widely used today, was known for two revolutionary ideas,” wrote Rachel Rizzuto. “First, that a dancer’s degree of turnout should be based on his or her normal rotation from the hips; second, that technique should be free of stylistic flourishes and instead focus on pure, strong movement.”

No. 1: “The Nitty-Gritty of Cleaning Choreography for Recitals, Competitions and Collegiate Dance Numbers,” by Haley Hilton

Our most popular piece this year—hands down!

Cleaning choreo may seem intuitive, but it can prove to be elusive and frustrating in reality. Writer Haley Hilton spoke with three experts representing different age and ability demographics to create the ultimate resource on how to bring ultra-satisfying precision to the stage.

Joanne Chapman's students performing at Terpsichore Dance Celebration. Courtesy Chapman.

Our readers appreciated the helpful tips on cleaning choreography not just for recitals, but for competition and collegiate dance numbers, as well.

Thank you for relying on Dance Teacher andDanceTeacher+to bring you advice and inspiration to nurture the next generation. If you’d like to see more exciting stories like these on Dance Teacher in 2023, please send your ideas to [email protected]

We wish you a very prosperous and successful New Year 2023!

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