When out-of-town visitors attend Kat Wildish’s class at The Ailey Studios, she likes to suggest they have their photo taken in the corner window. From six floors up, the view of New York City is iconic. Yes, for a serious recreational adult dancer, dropping in on Wildish’s class is as much a part of a visit to The Big Apple as the Statue of Liberty for a tourist of another ilk. In fact, when we attended the adult beginning ballet class for the DT cover shoot, Wildish told me that one woman is even planning to take a sabbatical from her job to study for 12 weeks in NYC, leading up to one of Wildish’s popular Performing in NY Showcases. “It’s a dream to perform in New York,” says Wildish, who produces the Showcase three times a year, including an excerpt of a classical work for her ballet students, plus a roster of guest choreographers and companies. The Showcase is part of her unique brand as a freelance teacher. In “The Freelance Zone,” you’ll hear from her and eight others on how they manage their careers.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the committed studio owners who manage businesses in addition to teaching dance. They invest in location, staff and progressive curriculum for their students. They manage relationships with costume vendors, competition companies and parents. We hear all too frequently that these dance teachers turned businesspeople struggle with guilt about running a profitable business. In “Quit Apologizing for Making Money,” Carole Royal of Royal Dance Works talks about her own personal struggle and how she resolved it. She’s an inspiration!
February is the month when we focus on career advice in Dance Teacher. Whether you’re a business owner or independent instructor, or work in K–12 or the university setting, you’ll find something in this issue for you.
- In “The Social Divide,” K–12 dance teachers run International Dance Clubs to help build community among diverse student populations.
- In “Private Lessons,” Julie Diana shares tips about making your time count in this growing component of a dance teacher’s portfolio.
- College dancers and choreographers begin gathering this month at regional conferences for the American College Dance Festival Association. In “Face to Face,” Gerri Houlihan relates her experiences on the adjudication panel.
Don’t forget to nominate your colleagues and mentors for the annual Dance Teacher Awards before March 1. We will honor four educators at the 2014 Dance Teacher Summit in NYC. For more information, see dance-teacher.com (DT Awards/Nominate).