Tagged Studio

How to be an effective leader in the dance studio

EffectiveLeadership_DanceKellyStyle

As dance teachers, we’re called upon to be the ultimate leaders. Leading students, parents, other teachers and audiences. There are plenty articles written about the skills effective leaders possess. But how can you be an effective leader in the dance studio?

Learn to say, “no.” Then, actually say “no.”
It’s crucial to you and your students that you enforce the “no.” Your time in the studio is valuable. Protect it by setting limits and enforcing them with that all-powerful word. “No” also helps you mange the expectations of parents and employees. It’s only one little word, but it can also be an important tool against lazy dancing, tardiness, absences, missed payments (the list goes on…)

Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.
You don’t have to be the one rhinestone-ing costumes, typing up announcements, picking up the t-shirts, editing everyone else’s music and teaching all your classes. Learn to give parents, employees and office managers some of these tasks. Bonus, by delegating, you’re also teaching others to be leaders.

Adapt.
As a dancer, you know how to adapt — no lights? No problem. Music cuts out? No problem. Now, take that adaptability and apply it to your business. Whether that’s a studio you run or a handful of classes you teach around town. A teacher no-show? Combine classes. Customers paying late? Give them an incentive to pay early. Take a look at the situation and make it work.

Communicate.
Do you ever think your students aren’t listening to you? (Does a cat, meow?) Dance teachers know how to break steps down in a million ways until every student gets it. Do the same with your newsletter for parents, your emails to prospective customers and your employees. Clear communication creates a strong base of trust and an open dialogue between everyone will foster a sense of community in your dance world.

It all comes back to this — you make money when you’re teaching. So say “no”, delegate, adapt and communicate. But above all, get in that studio, teach and make the money.

How to write a student assistant bio

HowTo.001I’m back! After a longer than expected break from this little dance blog, here we are again. Please excuse my absence. While I was away, I noticed that the “how to” write your bio posts were a big hit, so let’s pick up where we left off.

We’ve already covered a great way to start personalizing your dance studio website with updated teacher bios and student teacher bios. Now, let’s round things out with how to write a student assistant bio.

 

Here are a few easy steps to get your student helpers started:

1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF & SAY WHAT YOU DO.

Kelly is a student helper at the Dance Studio.

2. SUMMARIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE.

She has danced with Miss Sharon for 10 years and has studied tap, ballet and jazz. This is her second year as a student helper.

3. NOTE YOUR GRADE LEVEL.

Kelly is in the 8th grade at the Middle School.

4. HIGHLIGHT ANY RELATED INTERESTS.

If she’s not dancing, Kelly is usually reading or painting.

5. ADD ANY KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HONORS OR TITLES.

This was Kelly’s first year on the competition team and she can’t wait to attend more conventions next year.

6. TELL THE WORLD WHY YOU LOVE BEING AN ASSISTANT TEACHER.

She loves being a student helper because it helps her become a better dancer too.

And that’s it! Then just put it all together:

Kelly is a student helper at the Dance Studio. She has danced with Miss Sharon for 10 years and has studied tap, ballet and jazz. This is her second year as a student helper. Kelly is in the 8th grade at the Middle School. If she’s not dancing, Kelly is usually reading or painting. This was Kelly’s first year on the competition team and she can’t wait to attend more conventions next year. She loves being a student helper because it helps her become a better dancer too.

 

Adding assistant teacher and student helpers to your studio website are a great way to showcase your students and your student development methods. How else can you bring a personal touch to your studio website?

 

How to write assistant teacher bios

Yesterday’s post was all about how to write, or revamp, your own teacher bio. But while you’re in the process of sprucing up your website this summer, why not show your assistant teachers some love. The tips are similar, but the example comes out differently. (Bonus points for you because you are totally getting your dancers to do a writing exercise over the summer!)
AsstTeachBioHowTo

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

1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF & SAY WHAT YOU DO.

Kelly is an assistant teacher at the Dance Studio.

2. SUMMARIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE

She has danced with Miss Debbie for 12 years and has studied tap, ballet and jazz.

3. NOTE YOUR GRADE LEVEL.

Kelly is in the 10th grade at the High School.

4. HIGHLIGHT ANY RELATED INTERESTS.

When she’s not at the studio she’s dancing in community theater and studying.

5. ADD ANY KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HONORS OR TITLES.

Last summer Kelly competed at Dance Competition and placed 10th overall in the country for her tap solo.

6. TELL THE WORLD WHY YOU LOVE BEING AN ASSISTANT TEACHER.

She loves helping out with the tiny tot classes and assisting in tap classes the most. Kelly hopes to continue dancing right into college in a few years.

And that’s about it! Then just put it all together:

Kelly is an assistant teacher at the Dance Studio. She has danced with Miss Debbie for 12 years and has studied tap, ballet and jazz. Kelly is in the 10th grade at the High School. When she’s not at the studio she’s dancing in community theater and studying. Last summer Kelly competed at Dance Competition and placed 10th overall in the country for her tap solo. She loves helping out with the tiny tot classes and assisting in tap classes the most. Kelly hopes to continue dancing right into college in a few years.

How else are you updating your studio website this summer?

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.

 

Teachers Sound Off: Dealing with Excessive Absences

TeacherSoundOff

We all get sick. We all miss a day here or there. But what does our teacher panel say about those students missing rehearsal after rehearsal. This week, we wanted to know,

How do you deal with excessive absences when prepping for a performance?

My rule is, if they’re not there, they’re not in the choreography they miss.
Miss Kathy 

If it’s due to an injury, obviously we want to be as smart and cautious as possible so they can get back. However if it’s just not being present for rehearsals before a show that’s a different situation. I think the key is having a clear attendance policy and sticking to it. None of my students can participate in the performance if they haven’t been to the dress/tech rehearsals. If it’s a dance company situation with excessive absences, that student may either be pulled from that number or excused entirely. We try to always drive home to our students that you are part of a team and one person missing affects the entire group. It’s no different than missing practice and expecting to play in the game. The place for it to be all about you is in a solo, not when you’re in a group.
Jake P. 

They could be removed from the number.
Miss Sharon 

It depends on the student. I try my best to stay flexible with my recreational dancers. Honestly you have to in order to keep a full studio. The competitive students are different though, they know that their attendance will directly affect their placements for next year.
Eva M. 

So cut and dry. If you aren’t in class or rehearsal I cut you from the number  There is a commitment that you have made to your team and to me. If I am only in town setting a piece for three days, I expect the dancers to be there. In my professional life I would be fired for excessive absences. If you aren’t there, I choreograph you out of that section. It doesn’t help me to save a spot for someone who doesn’t care enough to show up. I would rather reward another dancer for showing up and working hard. I couldn’t care less if they were more or less talented than the absent dancer and it is teaching them a lesson about this industry. You get hired by being present, putting in good work, and being first in the heads of any given casting director or choreographer.
Chip A.

I have a very strict policy for absences. I primarily work with the more serious company kids, so attendance is so important. Of course there are always extenuating circumstances, but I reiterate constantly that a dancer’s absence only hurts the dancer’s ability to advance and holds back the group.
Mr. Brian
 

It depends on if it is a recreational or a competitive class. Company members are only allowed so many absences until they are taken out of the dance. I stress the importance of attendance with recreational students, but if they don’t know the dance as well as the other kids it’s on them. I don’t expect recreational dances to be perfect, rather to show what the students have been learning over the year.
Elise H. 

Teachers, share how you deal with excessive absences. Dancers, do you think the teachers are fair?Time for you to sound off, in the comments!

** 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. **

Teachers Sound Off: When it’s just not Clicking

TeacherSoundOff
We’ve all been there. In the studio, at convention, or in our living rooms. Where you just feel like you cannot make your body perform the step that is in your brain. And if we as teachers have been there, then we know our students share the same frustrations. So this week we asked our panel how they deal with “stuck students.”

What do you do when your students aren’t “getting it?”
When it’s just not clicking?

I will sometimes take a video of them so I can show them where the problem is. If it still isn’t clicking after weeks of attempts I will make the necessary changes to choreography and put whatever it was on the list for next time.
Elise H. 

Move on for now or move those students to back to pose for that piece of the choreography.
Miss Kathy 

I try to remember that ultimately it falls on me as their teacher to help guide them to “getting it”. Every student is different and each of their journeys is unique, so it’s important to keep that in mind when faced with the frustration of them not getting something. I am always reminded of something one of my teachers/mentors told me when I started teaching: “The best teachers are the ones who find the same thing to say a million different ways.”
Jake P. 

Try a different approach or explanation. Or slow it down.
Miss Sharon 

I sometimes teach entire hours with no music. We’ll slow down and try different things like really focusing into the mirror on what we’re doing, using partners to critique one another, or I often pull out a student who is “getting it” to show off for the class. It’s like magic, all of the sudden a lot of kids will step up to make sure they’re even with their classmate.
Eva M. 

This usually means some sort of communication error or boundary on my behalf. I rework the approach in as many ways possible. Some people are visual learners, some need counts, some need rhythm, and some need the physics behind the step. Finding a way to break down a step from a different angle will almost always work.
Chip A.

I believe in order to be a successful teacher, you must have at least 3 different approaches to teaching something. I have to constantly remind myself that each dancer is different, and paying attention to how each dancer learns the best is key.
Mr. Brian 

Surprised? Not surprised? Do you have a different pet peeve? Time for you to sound off, in the comments!

** 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. **