How to Write Your Teacher Bio

Let’s talk about something every teacher needs to do at some point: write your teacher bio. It’s probably going on your studio’s website, but it also might need to end up in program booklets, on brochures or even on your own website. Here’s a look at what to do in six simple steps.TeacherBioHowTo

Easy enough, right? Let’s try it together. Here’s each step with some examples.

1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF & SAY WHAT YOU DO.

Kelly is the owner and director of The Dance Studio.
Kelly is a tap and jazz instructor.
Kelly is artistic director of The Dance Company.

2. SUMMARIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE

For 14 years, she has trained dancers of all levels in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and more.
For 14 years, she has taught all ages and levels at various studios.
For 14 years, she has managed the creative vision of the group.

3. MENTION YOUR EDUCATION. BOTH FORMAL AND DANCE TRAINING.

Kelly received a BA from Oklahoma City University and a MS from Boston University. Her dance training began at a young age and over the past years she has studied from such notable dancers as Mallory Graham, Kit Andreé, Scott Benson, Frank Hatchett and more.

4. HIGHLIGHT ANY MEMBERSHIPS YOU HOLD.

Kelly is a member of DEA and DMA as well as the local BBB.

5. ADD ANY KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HONORS OR TITLES.

Additionally, her choreography has won accolades throughout the tri-state area. Kelly also sits on the local arts council and participates in the annual town parade.

6. SUMMARIZE YOUR DANCE AND/OR TEACHING PHILOSOPHY.

Above all, Kelly believes that dance should be fun for and accessible to all. 

Then just put it all together and that’s it. Feel free to embellish, leave anything out that’s not applicable or change the order to better fit your position. Want more examples? Here’s my latest bio for the Colleges of The Fenway Dance Project.

 

Judges’ Table with Taryn

Name: Taryn Molnar LancasterTaryn Molnar 1

Time Judging: Five Years

Competitions: Bravo!, Starquest, Access Broadway

What’s the best/most memorable number you’ve seen at competition? A tap solo to spoken word (written by the dancer). I cried!

What’s your biggest performance pet peeve? Over-the-top, inauthentic faces. Choreography/costumes that are not age appropriate. Unnecessary use of props/sets.

What are you looking for when judging? Story-telling, energy, and of course, stretched feet!

Any advice for dancers? If you love what you are doing, we will love watching you.

Any advice for teachers/choreographers? Talk with you dancers about the “purpose” of the choreography — What does the song mean? Who are you when you dance to it? what do you want the audience to feel watching you?

I would much rather see something different than something “popluar”. Think outside the box!


Taryn, thank you so much for taking time to give us more insight to what the judges are looking for. Do you have a question for the judges? Do you want to sound off about your judging experience? Get in touch.

How to Dance in Sync for Teachers


So, this video has been making it’s way through social media and I wanted to share it with you, in case you hadn’t seen it yet. It comes from Vibe Dance competition. And if you haven’t looked at the title yet, it’s the second place winner. Yes. Second.

So, how do you get your dancers to be this together? Well, there’s a lot to take into consideration, like the dancers’ ages, years danced together and the style of dance. But one thing is for sure. Your dancers cannot be this in sync if they are not practicing together and with you, their choreographer, teacher or leader.

I can’t say with certainty how this group came together so well, but I can share some of my tips for making your dancers dance as one.

Teach your choreography to counts.
I know that it’s not everyone’s style to choreograph to counts—some like words, others beats—but it can help dancers hit movements at the same time. Even if you don’t choreograph to counts, it can be helpful for you to go back and count out the choreography. Then, when teaching, be sure to use those counts to accent your movements.

Break it down, then speed it up. (“The Game”)
I play “the game” with students of all ages. It goes like this. Teach a step slowly, to counts (see above), then repeat, this time counting slightly faster. Continue this process gradually until the dancers are performing the step full speed.

Use the mirrors.
This seems like an obvious one, but use the mirrors you (or your studio owner) have invested so much in. Break down combinations piece by piece, having dancers check their arm placement and head movements in the mirror. 

Use your hands.
If a dancer isn’t getting their arm or head or body placement just right, physically (gently) put them in the correct position so they can feel what the correct position is. Some students learn by doing and won’t get there until they can feel it.

Turn it over to the dancers.
This works best with older dancers. Pull dancers out one or two at a time and have them watch the group perform the combination or routine. If they can see the mistakes others are making as well as watch others do steps they may be doing incorrectly, they can then self-correct.

Tell me, how do you get your dancers to get together? Any crucial tips I’ve left out? Let me know in the comments.

And, in case you’re wondering who won first at Vibe Dance Competition, here’s the winners. Warning, the music has some questionable language in it.

So You Think You Can Dance is Back

via facebook 

It must be summertime because So You Think You Can Dance is back for another season. And season 11 at that. Can you believe it? Season 11. I mean, I remember they did those two back-to-back seasons one year, but I still cannot believe it’s season 11. (Confession, it makes me feel old.)

But let’s talk about the show. First, what do you think of the new opening sequence? I think it’s sharp, maybe a little overworked, but sharp. It’s definitely less cheesy from where it’s been in the past.


all photos via fox.com

OK. The other big change, we’ve got crews now?! Will SYTYCD try to fill part of the void left behind by Mario Lopez and ABDC? Maybe, but doesn’t seem likely. Especially considering the first group out of the gate was on ABDC… aren’t there new crews to highlight? I gotta admit, I was voting up a storm for Chloe’s Syncopated Ladies.

Auditions went from New Orleans to Chicago last night. I always love when they have Wayne Brady as a guest, but I didn’t know that you can say a$$ & b*tch on TV, Wayne! Killer zumba moves though, right?

Now on to the dancers. I gotta say, I really enjoyed watching brothers Skip & Shane in New Orleans. Their style is unique and it caught my attention. And then, Trevor Bryce. Talk about an entertainer. He may not be the greatest technician but who cares? When you can own a stage like he did, that’s what people care about. (Something I try to reinforce to my students all the time.)

In Chicago, the brothers impressed again. I expected Miami siblings Nick and Ruby to perform the same style, but I was pleasantly surprised at watching each show off his own strengths. On the flip side, let’s talk about Caleb who first showed up this season in New Orleans and then in Chicago. Dancing aside, I want to admire his spirit to try again. But, what are the judges teaching him about the industry by putting him through on his second chance. You only get one shot to impress in this business. I guess the moral of the story here is TV is not the real world, folks.

PS. You can find a playlist of all the music featured on last night’s episode on Fox.com.

Spotlight on: Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project

I know I’ve been a little off the grid these past few weeks, but as all dance teachers know, spring is a busy time of year. And even with only two classes, I still found myself busier than ever the past few weeks. Costumes, rehearsals, lighting, etc. And here’s the end result. My level 1/2 jazz group opened our spring show and my level 1/2 tap closed the show. (It gets a little blurry in jazz for a minute but it comes back, wait for it!)

I couldn’t be prouder. Thanks to all the students who gave it their all this semester.

And, for any prospective college students in the Boston area, if you want to find out more about the Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project, get in touch or check out the details.

Spring Break in New York City

nyforplay2What do dance teachers do for Spring Break? They don’t go to the beach. They head to New York City, of course. And that’s just what I, and my dancin’ mom, did a few weeks ago. We saw Newsies. We saw Kinky Boots. We shopping at Capezio. We danced down sidewalks. And while I could only make a weekend of it, she stayed a little longer for classes and more shopping for dance shoes. Here’s a few more snaps from our weekend.

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The dancing in Newsies was to die for. Unbelievable. Talk about needing a foam roller at the end of the night. Those guys were jumping everywhere. And Kinky Boots delivered in its own right, of course. The vocals in this Tony-winner knocked us off our feet boots. Seats were at a premium, so some of the visual effects of the choreography were lost on us as we were in the balcony. But the singing. The singing, you guys.
nyforplay3nyforplay1We went to Ellen’s Stardust Diner after seeing Kinky Boots. If you’ve never been, this is the diner to go to for a unique NY experience. One where the waiters and waitresses are up singing the whole night. And, it’s open 24 hours, so it’s ever too busy for you, just come back in the morning.
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And, though we didn’t have it, it’s worth noting that you can get a bowl of Gene Kelly’s Beef Stew. It’s no family recipe or anything, but always fun to see little tributes pop up in the least likely places.

Dance Links for Your Weekend

I know, I know. It’s been forever and a day since I saw you last. I’ve been busy, you know, dancing. Getting ready for a couple recitals and taking a quick trip to New York to take in a couple of shows (thoughts to come.) But for now, some links.

• An nice post that asks, are dance reality shows helping dance?

• Because even dancers snack, popcorn with a twist.

• And, proof that even the pros (yes, the Rockettes) don’t always get it right by showtime. 

Now Dancing to: Bang Bang by will.i.am

In honor of the Oscars this weekend, I thought I’d share a track from one of last year’s top movies, The Great Gatsby. If you haven’t checked out the soundtrack yet, do. It’s loaded with some great upbeat pieces that are perfect for class or performance. The soundtrack was nominated for a few Grammys last year, so you can’t go wrong, right?

This piece from will.i.am is perfect for a jazz dance with a little attitude, a little 20s throwback and a lot of spunk. I’m thinking some Charlestons, kicks and a lot of fierce poses. It might even make a great production number as it could work for a variety of ages.

Take a listen and let me know I’m not alone. What do you envision? I’m seeing fringe. And sequins. Duh, of course sequins. Check out “Bang Bang” on your music service of choice:

iTunes | Amazon | GooglePlay

Teachers Sound Off: The Homework Dancers Should Do

TeacherSoundOffDancers, you know at the end of class when your teacher puts one final step on your plate, another move, another eight counts of choreography? Yeah you know. And then, they tell you to “work on that.” And, of course, you totally practice all week, right?

Well, whether you realize it or not, your teachers can tell if you’ve been diligently mastering last week’s challenges. To see what they want you spending your time on, we asked them:

What’s the homework you wish your students would do?

Knowing their dance history. As educators, we work hard to expose them to different aspects of the art of dance and urge them to explore and learn about the wonderful artists and history that came before them.  However, it’s always nice when you have that one student who takes it upon themselves to do some extra homework.
Jake P.

Besides stretching, I wish they would practice their dances—I provide them with a CD of class music.
Miss Sharon 

Stretching; Lines are everything. You don’t have to be the most flexible kid in the world, but you do need to be able to create a clean line.
Eva M. 

Be in the know and expose yourself to as many styles as possible. I taught a master class recently and not a single dancer in the room knew who Cyd Charisse was! It’s not only important that we honor the dancers who came before us, but by watching them we can gain a lot of insight on where to place our bodies and how to create a style that works time and time again. Today’s dancers seem to dance alike. This wasn’t the case 60 years ago. Find a unique voice by exploring the history of dance and creating a movement quality that is a melting pot of the greats.
Chip A.

I strongly encourage every student to go home and review every correction that has been given, not only to that particular dancer, but corrections that have been given to all dancers.
Mr. Brian 

Practicing (of course)…but more specifically, reviewing corrections so that they are not lost the next time we are in the studio.
Elise H. 

Remembering where they stand in a dance from week to week.
Miss Kathy 

Alright class, looks like our teachers want us to remember our dances, stretch and bone up on our dance history. Sounds easy enough, don’t you think? Teachers, what else did we leave off this list? What homework do we still need to check off our lists?

** Each week our panel of teachers will answer a different question. Got a question? Get in touch. Know someone who should be featured on our panel? Nominate them. **