United Dance Merchants of America (UDMA) has been connecting dance teachers and studio owners with dance vendors through its annual Dance Resource and Costume Shows for years, assisting professionals in the field in creating lifelong relationships that further advance the industry.
As America’s largest gathering of dance vendors and industry leaders, UDMA Dance Resource and Costume Shows are invaluable – offering inspiration, motivation and community for all who attend. Dance teachers and studio owners can browse brilliant accessories and stunning dance costumes, and learn more about the newest teaching tools that will energize their business. All of the freshest looks and hottest trends are showcased in more than 10,000 costumes under one roof. Plus, admission is free, and there are even chances to win prizes!
This year, UDMA Dance Resource and Costume Shows are returning to Georgia, New Jersey and Illinois, and are coming to a brand new location in Massachusetts! First up is Worchester, MA (one hour west of Boston), on October 1 and 2. Then the tour heads to Duluth, GA (45 minutes north of Atlanta), on October 8 and 9; Edison, NJ (50 minutes south of New York City), on October 22 and 23; and Schaumburg, IL (50 minutes northwest of Chicago), on October 29 and 30.
Dance Informa, which attends each event, has gathered our top three recommendations for enjoying UDMA to its fullest.
#1. Grab your favorite dance comrades (if you’re a studio owner, your top teachers), your best rolling suitcase/backpack and a bottle of water when heading to the event. Each show has so much to see, and the more eyes there to help you take it in, the better. Nearly every vendor will have something to give you – costume catalogs, pamphlets, flyers or promotional items. (In the past, these have included anything from chapstick to pens to water bottles to notebooks.) So you will want an easy, comfortable way to carry these around with you – hence the beauty of the rolling suitcase or backpack. These will make everything so much more convenient and won’t leave you with a heavy purse pulling down on your shoulder at the end of the day or a pile of stray papers fighting to fall out of your arms. Lastly, the water will help keep you hydrated as you walk around to the different booths or sit for a minute to peruse the materials you’ve received.
#2. Plan on taking advantage of UDMA’s brand new seminar being offered at every show location. Every seminar is open to any dance teachers, studio owners or managers. It’s titled “Teaching Dance for Students with Disabilities: Strategies for Success” and will be led by one of two master instructors, Theresa Purcell Cone (at the MA, NJ and IL locations) or Merry Lynn Morris (at the GA location). Pre-registration is only $25, and attendees will learn about teaching strategies for a self-contained or inclusion dance class. All attendees will feel better inspired and equipped to offer inclusive dance classes at their studios.
#3. Make a weekend out of it! For those who can, book a hotel room or rental nearby and plan on using the weekend for either reflecting and planning, training, or a fun mini vacay! If you’re a studio owner bringing teachers, maybe plan on doing some reflecting and vision-casting meetings around the event. Perhaps for the last few years, your studio has presented a winter concert and a spring recital, but now you want to talk about the possibility of doing a summer show fundraiser or fall studio showcase. Use this weekend as an opportunity to not only talk about your current 2016-2017 school calendar but also what next year’s could be. Ask your teachers what ideas they would love to see come to fruition.
On the other hand, you could bypass all this and use the time to treat them to a relaxing getaway with a nice dinner and hotel stay. Or as a staff bonding opportunity that includes seeing a professional dance show or musical theatre concert in a city nearby. Each of the locations are within driving distance of a major city centre with fabulous performing arts centres. Check professional dance companies’ schedules nearby and see if any performances are the same weekend. Research performing arts venues and see what programs are being presented. In addition to being inspired by the industry’s top vendors at UDMA, you and your fellow dance comrades could also be inspired with actual dance performances.
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.
Photo by Artistic Hands Productions, Inc.