Archive | Tips & Advice

Dance Competition & Convention Guide!

Dance Competition & Convention Guide!

Dance competition and convention season is starting! Where will you dance?

Dance Informa has compiled a guide of the hottest dance competitions and conventions this season.
Book your place!

Dance Informa’s Competition and Convention Guide can help you plan your dance season. These competitions, conventions and dance intensives provide great opportunities to learn, compete, grow and connect with industry leaders.

Each event is unique and may be just what you are looking for.
See what events will be in or near your city.

www.danceinforma.us/dance-competition-and-convention-guide

Dance Informa is proud to provide this free service for dance teachers, studio owners and students.

Dance Competition and Convention Guide

Click here to view the Dance Competition and Convention Guide

 

 

Posted in Teacher Tips & Resources, Top Stories0 Comments

6 Tips to Help Your Dancer’s Dreams Come True

6 Tips to Help Your Dancer’s Dreams Come True

By Paul Henderson.

I’ve had a few names in my lifetime.  I was named Paul when I was born.  When I married a dancer 16 years ago who now owns 10 dance studios in California, my name became “Tiffany’s Husband”.

I’ve recently had a new name change.  Husbands of studio owners can probably guess why my new name is “Mr. Tiffany.”  For everyone else, it’s because the children in the studio call my wife “Mrs. Tiffany”, so they assume my name could only be “Mr. Tiffany.”

Hey, it’s better than my previous moniker, “Leotard Man”.  I’ll save that story for another time…

From my nightly perch on the barstool in my kitchen where I sip only organic herbal tea and nibble on cheese and crackers (wink, wink), I’ve listened to hours and hours of Mrs. Tiffany’s thoughts and feelings about the daily happenings of Tiffany’s Dance Academy.  It’s a great perspective.  I am close enough to the action to really understand what’s going on, but not so close as to cause any bodily harm.

I’ve figured something out in the past 16 years of owning the studio with Tiffany.

First of all, Tiffany, and all dance studio owners I know, care deeply and passionately for their students.  It’s all they care about, really.  Tiffany’s goal in life is to create dancers and make their dreams come true.

Dance parents (and by that I mean anyone in charge of paying the tuition and driving their dancer to dance class), here are 6 ways to ensure your dancer achieves his or her dreams:

1. Wait.  That’s it.  Just wait.  I’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter at all how amazing your dancer is at age 5, 10 or 15.  It only matters toward the end of their junior year of high school.   This is when she or he will begin auditioning for dance companies and dance programs in college.  This is also when nearly all of her peers, who may have been “better” dancers, have succumbed to the pressures of high school popularity and switched their focus from technique to high school dance team.  From what I’ve been told, dance team is okay as long as it doesn’t interfere with technique classes, which it almost always does.  Because of attrition, if your dancer is a senior in high school, and still working hard in all of her technique classes at the studio, she or he will be one of the top 3 or 4 dancers at the entire studio.  And, think about this.  It’s the same all over the world!  When your dancer is 8 or 9 there are hundreds and hundreds of amazing little dancers bending, leaping and twirling all over the place.  Take a moment to look at exactly how many seniors in high school are still dancing.  Not very many, right?  Waiting it out while training consistently ALWAYS works.  And when I say “always”, I mean always.

2. Back off.  There is probably a more eloquent way to say that, but in the interest of time, I’ve kept it short.  Once you’ve done your research and made an informed decision about which dance studio to attend and trust, your job is done. Kick back, put your feet up and pat yourself on the back!  You’re literally paying professionals to help your child achieve her dreams.  That’s all that is expected of you and it’s all you’re capable of because a complete education in dance involves post high school training and performance.  Since you probably don’t have your own complete education in dance (which is precisely why you’ve hired professionals to do the job), your opinions in regards to the following are grounded mostly in drama, gossip, rumors, speculation and hypotheses and not rooted in any sort of fact-based foundation.  These ideas; therefore, are not likely to be received fondly by the dance studio faculty.  Avoid chiming in with opinions on:
Choreography
Music
Costumes
Which group you are in (or not in)
Which dancers are in your group (or not in your group)

3. Stay put.  It’s inevitable that at some point in your dancer’s education, a popular teacher will leave the studio.  She may even open her own studio nearby.  In the dance industry (which is a very small and close-knit community of professionals), this is ethically and morally unacceptable.  Following one of these teachers will teach your impressionable, young dancer something very dangerous.  If you teach your dancer that loyalty does not matter, her career in dance will be very short and maybe non-existent.  Remember that the teacher who quits and poaches students from her previous employer is the type of person you and your impressionable dancer should avoid at all costs.  These people are morally bankrupt.  Your dance studio owner will, in all cases, replace this person with someone who is better.  Wait it out and you will see.

4. Perform.  Take every single performance opportunity that you can, but pursue trophies with the right frame of mind. Dance is an art form performed by artistic, emotional and gifted athletes.  Their bodies look the way they do for a reason. I know this because I took a ballet class once.  Once.  It’s incredibly hard work.  That’s why everyone’s always running around the studio yelling “Werk”, or “Werk it”.  “Winning” at “art” is an oxymoron.  A component of your dancer’s score is subjective and since there is no objective way to judge art, the whole premise of a dance competition should be categorized as a great performance opportunity.  Competitions are a venue to gain extremely valuable stage time.  I’ve heard Mrs. Tiffany say a thousand times, “performing on stage is how they get better faster.  It’s so much more intense out there.”  So, for that reason, competitions and conventions are a necessary and very important part of their education.  Winning the Overall High Score doesn’t matter a bit in the long run, though.  In fact, going for the “win” can sometimes actually compromise their overall education.

5.Long-term goals.  Training a complete, versatile and employable dancer requires a very long-range plan.  Understand long-term goals versus short-term achievements.  Your dancer’s education in dance is a LIFE-LONG pursuit.  Mrs. Tiffany still takes class for herself and she’s been dancing for over thirty years!  Your short term goals should be something like this:

  • Take dancer to class, performances, competitions and conventions
  • Pay tuition, fees, etc. on time
  • Don’t gossip with the other parents – I know it’s fun, but it’s poison.  It can and will kill your dancer’s dreams.
  • Encourage your dancer and the other dancers at the studio to always try their hardest.

Your long-term goals should be something like this:

  • Attend some conventions
  • Attend some summer camps
  • Perform as much as possible
  • Do a solo or two (great one-on-one training/extra performance experience)
  • Stay at your studio until your dancer graduates high school
  • Take a lot of ballet

Don’t skip technique classes

6. Zip it.  If you ever hear yourself starting a sentence with, “I’m not one of those parents”.  Stop.  You are one of those parents, or at least in that very moment you have become “one of those parents”.  As a parent of three, I know it’s very hard to know when you’re about to cross the line, but the sentence above is a good indication.  Also this one, usually tacked onto the end of a complaint, “everyone else feels the same way”, is a sign that you’ve dipped your toe into the Dance Mom category. Take a day or two to think it over before you actually get involved.  Nothing that follows those words is likely to be helpful to your dancer’s long-term education or even his or her short-term goals.  There are obvious exceptions, of course; like a costume has left your child half naked on stage, or a particular piece of music still has some curse words that haven’t been edited out.  But think about it…if a costume were truly exposing your dancer, you wouldn’t need to say “I’m not one of those parents, but my daughter’s costume is so tiny I can’t even see it from 30 feet away.”  No, you would just say, “Dang! That costume’s too small!”  And your studio owner would say, “OMG!  How embarrassing! You’re right! I’m so sorry. I’ll take care of it.”

Every year Tiffany’s Dance Academy graduates only a handful of dancers whose parents have trusted Tiffany and her staff completely.  These are the young men and women who were not always the amazing prodigies at age 10, rather, they are the dancers who loved it enough to keep “werkin’ it” day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.  They are the ones who will perform on Broadway, in theaters, in the movies, on T.V.  They are the future choreographers and master teachers.  They are the ones who will come back to teach at Tiffany’s one day when they are finished dancing for themselves.

They are the dancers whose parents simply let them love to dance.

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson

About Paul Henderson
Paul Henderson is an expert on administrative technologies for the dance industry and has been around the business for almost 30 years. His sisters were elite state champion gymnasts and dancers and his mother owned a dance studio and eventually a dancewear store. He managed the dancewear store for a few years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. He and his wife, Tiffany, currently own and operate Twinkle Star Dance™ – an online choreography and curriculum system for recreational dancers ages 2-11; seven successful dance studios in Northern California (www.tiffanydance.com) and one in Southern California. Tiffany’s Dance Academy’s annual enrollment of over 4,500 students caused Paul to invent ways to automate most of the day-to-day business transactions that take up so much of a studio owner/instructor’s time. Paul’s goal has always been to smooth out the business side of the dance studios so that his wife can spend more time in the studio doing what she loves…teaching. Automating online registration and monthly automatic tuition payments was achieved eight years ago but perhaps the most revolutionary invention is his web-based application – CostumeManager.com.

About CostumeManager.com
For the past six years, Paul Henderson has worked tirelessly with most of the major costume and dancewear manufacturers to consolidate their catalogs into one searchable website. Developing relationships with these companies has been crucial to the success of CostumeManager.com and his efforts have paid off for studios all across the United States and Canada. By creating one searchable website, it is possible for a studio owner to browse all catalogs simultaneously, assign items that they like to a dance class, establish their profit margin, create an online store or print a color worksheet for dancers explaining how they can order their required and or/optional items online or via toll free telephone. Dancers purchase their items securely online and CostumeManager.com orders, receives, sorts and ships the individually packaged items to the studio owner. The studio owner or instructor cashes their “commission” check, hands the bags of goods to the dancer and goes back to teaching. CostumeManager.com eliminates 90% of the work and all the worry associated with distributing costumes and dancewear to dancers while preserving all of the profit margin…if not more.

To connect with Paul Henderson and CostumeManager visit www.CostumeManager.com, www.TwinkleStarDance.com, or www.TiffanyDance.com.

Posted in Tips & Advice2 Comments

Getting the Right Start: Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

Getting the Right Start: Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

Jump start your metabolism with these quick and easy breakfast ideas.

By Emily C. Harrison MS, RD, LD in collaboration with Jessica Cloud MS, and Dannah Burch MPH.
www.dancernutrition.com.

Don’t let busy back to school mornings compromise the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast has been linked to improved academic performance, better mood, improved concentration and behavior1. Smart choices at breakfast, including the ones we suggest here, have been linked with stronger athletic performance and higher rates of body fat oxidation2. Fuel intake after a time of fasting, sends an important message to your body that you want a high metabolism, more energy, and strong muscles3,4. It’s challenging to get a nutritious breakfast when sleep is begging you to stay in bed. Take some time at the beginning of the week to plan ahead and give yourself that extra 5 minutes of sleep. You just might feel better, make better grades, dance better and have a better metabolism. Isn’t that worth getting up for?

Grabbing a low-sugar, pre-made bar or a banana while racing out the door is better than nothing, but you can’t beat good old oatmeal (porridge) with fruit and nuts or seeds, but here are some other quick ideas:

Overnight Oatmeal (porridge)
If you have some time before going to bed, this breakfast will be the perfect grab and go meal you need in the morning. It is filling and nutritious, but also tastes good! Here is what you will need: ¼ cup old fashioned uncooked oats, 1 cup of non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (soy or coconut yogurt are good too), ½ cup of fresh blueberries. Mix ingredients in a jar and seal overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning your oatmeal will be ready to go! You could easily add flax seeds for brain boosting omega 3s.

Total Calories: 296.5 kcal, Total Fat: 1.75 g, Total Carbohydrates: 49 g, Total Protein: 23 g.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Smoothies are a quick and easy breakfast on the go and are endlessly adaptable. All you need is 1 cup of vanilla soy milk, 2 cups of sliced strawberries, 1 very ripe banana and 1 tbs chia seeds. Place ingredients in a blender and combine. Enjoy on the go!

Total Calories: 340 kcal, Total Fat: 5 g, Total Carbohydrates: 57 g, Total Protein: 9 g.

Apple Sandwiches
Spread your favorite nutbutter like peanut, almond or sunbutter over chunks of apple slices and sprinkle with ¼ cup low-fat granola.

Total Calories: 342, Total Fat: 13g, Total Fiber: 7 g, Total Protein: 12g

Trail Mix, homemade
½ cup (handful) mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried apricots, and puffed rice cereal.

Total Calories: 395, Total fat: 19g, Total Protein: 16g

Avocados on toast with ricotta (or goat cheese)
Good source of healthy fats and calcium for strong bones and muscle function.

1 slice of whole grain bread, 1 half small avocado, 2 tbs ricotta (skim).
Total Calories: 245, Total Fat: 12g, Total Protein 8g

Emily Harrison
Emily Cook Harrison MS, RD, LD
Emily is a registered dietitian and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from Georgia State University. Her master’s thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and nutrition and she has experience providing nutrition services for weight management, sports nutrition, disordered eating, disease prevention, and food allergies. Emily was a professional dancer for eleven years with the Atlanta Ballet and several other companies. She is a dance educator and the mother of two young children. She now runs the Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles. She can be reached at emily@dancernutrition.com
www.dancernutrition.com


Sources:
1.
Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Dye L. The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Aug 8;7:425.
2.
Stevenson EJ, Astbury NM, Simpson EJ, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Fat oxidation during exercise and satiety during recovery are increased following a low-glycemic index breakfast in sedentary women.
3.
Coyle E. Fluid and fuel intake during exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2004, 22:39-55.
4.
Benardot D. Timing of energy and fluid intake: New concepts for weight control and hydration. American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal vol 11 no 4.
5.
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

Posted in Dance Health, Tips & Advice0 Comments

Auditioning by Video

Auditioning by Video

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

Some dance opportunities, whether they are full-time company jobs, guest artist gigs or summer programs, are away from home. So when it comes to auditioning, and time and finances are not available to travel, there has to be another way to put yourself out there.

Auditioning by video is cost-efficient and convenient, and it allows you to compile one collection of your work to send and show to multiple directors. While some directors are open to hiring dancers via video, some do have their reservations.

Here, find out some tips, from both the dancer and the director perspective, on how to best audition by video.

ADVANTAGES

A main advantage to submitting a video audition is the financial practicality. Dancers may not have the money or time to travel around on an audition tour. Auditioning via video, then, can be a good alternative.

“Especially now that we live in an era of social and digital globalization, it is much easier to audition in various places that are physically far without having to spend a fortune on all implications involved in traveling to another country,” says Roberto Lara, a ballet dancer and artistic director of Dance@SP, and who got a contract with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo via video audition in 2006. “In general, I believe dance videos break those physical boundaries.”

Barry Kerollis, a freelance guest artist and former dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, agrees. “As a freelance dancer, it is not very practical to fly from company to company and audition for work,” he says. “Most of the time, I only work with a company for a few weeks before performing. If I had to fly and audition for a company, it would not be very cost-effective for me to work as I do. Submitting a video audition doesn’t only save me money, it also allows me to show a company my strengths without any fuss.”

Also, if a live audition causes you much anxiety, then submitting a video audition can relieve the feeling of competitiveness.

Sayaka Ohtaki and Attila Ciski

Northeast Youth Ballet Artistic Director Denise Cecere hired Sayaka Ohtaki, currently a soloist with Ballet West, after a video audition. Ohtaki, here with Guest Artist Attila Ciski, sent her video from Japan. Photo courtesy of Denise Cecere.

As a director, video auditions may have their benefits as well. Denise Cecere, artistic director of Northeast Youth Ballet, says she is sensitive to the financial burden that traveling to auditions costs the dancers and welcomes a video in its place. She has hired many guest artists this way, most of whom were also recommended to her by a colleague.

In addition, video auditions save her time. “There is no scheduling the audition or interview,” Cecere points out.

DISADVANTAGES

Auditioning by video does, however, have its downsides. It is a less personal way to introduce yourself and your dancing, and it doesn’t give you the opportunity to get a feel of the company and/or director.

Also, it is easier (although never recommended!) to manipulate on a video or digital format. Perhaps you chose a dance clip from five years ago, or selected a very one-sided presentation. Directors sometimes fear that what they see on video is not what they’ll eventually see face-to-face in the studio.

“You often see the highlights of a dancer and are sometimes surprised at their lack of ability and consistency in the studio once you start working together,” Cecere says.

Perhaps because of this hesitation, Kerollis says, “Often, I don’t even get responses from companies if I send them a video audition.”

In addition, “the energy, interpretation and artistic qualities are not perceived the same through videos as they are translated live,” Lara says.

VIDEO AUDITION DO’S AND DON’TS

  • Don’t digitally alter or enhance how you look. “Even if you get the contract, [the director] will notice the deception at first sight and lose confidence in you right away,” Lara says. Plus, the dance world is small, and you don’t want to ruin any further opportunities with a bad reputation.
  • Do show your diversity in your movement. Try to include examples of your dancing in classical, contemporary and modern genres. “I have found that showing a variety of styles and clips that include strong acting along with the dancing make for a more interesting product,” Kerollis shares. “You need to have some flash, but then you need to have the depth in technique and character to back it up.”
  • Don’t make your video audition too long. Don’t include a whole ballet or parts of a work in which you’re not present. Cecere suggests a length of three to five minutes. Kerollis adds that if you can’t cut down your footage, put your strongest work first. That way, in case the director is short on time, he/she won’t miss the best part. If an audition ad or website states a specific time for your video, abide by that.
  • Do follow any guidelines the director or choreographer sets out for you. Select dance excerpts that are appropriate for that company. “If a company asks for something specific, follow instructions or they may not look at it,” Kerollis says.
  • Do include important text on your video. “Open your dance reel with your name,” Cecere says. “Include a list of the performances – titles, company, choreographer and music – and, if you’re an amateur, your age. At the end, make sure to put your contact information and web address if you have one.”
  • Don’t include a poor quality video excerpt.
  • Do seek assistance from a professional videographer, or someone who has experience with editing, so you can create a well-done marketing tool.
Dancer Roberto Lara

Dancer Roberto Lara submitted a video audition and received a contract with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo back in 2006. Photo by Ginevra Danielli.

COMPLETE THE PACKAGE

When sending out your video audition, whether via email or postal service, be sure to also include your resume, photo and a letter stating your interest in the company or organization.

“Make it very clear that if there is interest, you will make every attempt to work it into your schedule to meet them in-person, that you look forward to taking an audition class and welcome an interview,” Cecere says.

She adds that she appreciates when a well-done package is mailed. “It gives me the impression that the dancer has taken the time to prepare something for my enjoyment and wants to dance for us,” she says.

FOLLOW-UP

Whether you send your audition via email with a YouTube or Vimeo link or via mail with a DVD, be sure to follow-up with an email or phone call afterward.

“If I don’t hear from the company that they received my materials, I may follow-up with an email to check in and make sure they received it,” Kerollis says.

Cecere agrees. “Follow up with a phone call and introduce yourself,” she says. “You will be working closely with your director and/or choreographer in the studio and should develop a nice rapport in advance.”

 ~ In summary, an audition is a two-sided process. So, even if for the meantime a video audition is the best option, it may be best to eventually arrange for an in-person meeting.

“If you don’t have a chance to audition in-person, you also don’t get a chance to audition the company and see if you are comfortable with their conditions and process,” Kerollis adds. “If you don’t get to meet with a director or company before getting hired, be sure to ask questions and have a clearly written contract before arriving.”

Since video auditions are sometimes not the most preferred method of auditioning, don’t be devastated if you don’t get hired.

“The audition process, whether in the studio or through video, is often frustrating and disappointing,” Cecere concludes. “Keep motivated and try not to let rejection discourage you from your dreams. Don’t be complacent. Re-audition! It is true that hard work, perseverance and passion equal success!” 

Photo (top): Barry Kerollis, a freelance dancer, here in Romeo and Juliet with Fort Wayne Ballet, one of the companies with which he has successfully worked after submitting a video audition. Photo by Jeffrey Crane.

Posted in Tips & Advice0 Comments

TutuTix is Too, Too, Awesome!

TutuTix is Too, Too, Awesome!

By Chasta Hamilton Calhoun, The Dance Exec.

Dance studios have long explored the best way to offer recital ticket sales—whether it is in studio (lines, lotteries, etc.), via box offices, or with mail requests. Eric Housh was standing in his daughter’s studio’s recital ticket line when he realized that his company, Ticket Biscuit, could potentially offer a niche market for dance studios to assist with this process, and, thus, in October 2010, TutuTix was born.

Utilizing a unique software program coupled with award-winning customer service, TutuTix offers a platform designed to meet a dance studio’s unique needs by allowing users to create custom promotional codes, separate selling options, and accommodating high demand capabilities. Over 600 studios throughout the United States have embraced this evolution and movement.

Print-at-home dance recital tickets.

Print-at-home dance recital tickets.

Prior to TutuTix, many studios had to facilitate ticket sales and distribution, including the elements of seating, ticket orders, and ticket exchange. This process is time consuming, frustrating, and burdensome. It can also be challenging to implement a fair and convenient process.

With TutuTix, a seating chart is submitted to TutuTix (based on your recital venue), and an online page is created for your studio’s ticket sales. Beyond that, your studio receives a custom ticket sales app for your studio’s Facebook page and a specific toll-free call center for your studio’s use. With your direction, your clients go online and or call to purchase their recital tickets. TutuTix can accommodate reserved seating, general admission, or hybrid requests (half reserved/half general admission). Attendees receive an e-ticket via their email, or for a nominal, additional charge,  a souvenir ticket custom designed with their child’s name.

For pricing, studios set their own ticketing price point(s). TutuTix receives a $1 per ticket commission and charges a  5% credit card processing fee, which is typically passed along to the patron at no cost to the studio owner. Ticket sales begin and end at your direction, and you have the ability to sell remaining tickets at the door. TutuTix pays out ticket proceeds weekly via direct deposit.

TutuTixTutuTix’s passion for the success of dance schools is evident, as they happily spent this summer traveling to varying teacher conferences so that they could continue meeting the specific needs of dance studios. In fact, a few years ago, Pamela Scheuerman, of the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance in Roswell, Georgia, met TutuTix at Dance Teacher Summit. Scheuerman’s studio converted to the TutuTix system, and the school’s management and client base have been beyond satisfied with the complete ease and convenience of the process. Other clients agree, as evidenced by overwhelmingly positive reviews.

At TutuTix, each and every order is handled with an incomparable level of customer service, professionalism, and attention to detail. The company truly understands the critical nature of the success of your recital, which includes the procedural element of ticket sales. Ultimately, TutuTix is committed to easing the ticket sales process and supporting the success of your studio, one ticket a time.

Right now, TutuTix is offering a special to Dance Informa readers. If you go online to www.tututix.com/getcrackin before September 30, 2014 and enter the promo code “INFORMA2014”, you can get a free seating chart set up, free overnight shipping of door tickets, and 100 free door tickets!


TutuTix dance recital ticketing

 

Posted in Teacher Tips & Resources, Tips & Advice0 Comments

So You’re Married to a Dance Studio Owner

So You’re Married to a Dance Studio Owner

By Paul Henderson.

If you find yourself in this situation, there are some things you need to know.  There are things you need to accept.

Owning a dance studio is like being on a roller coaster in the middle of a tornado.  Right about now (September) your spouse is worked up about a “lack of good music” and she or he is probably talking a lot about a teacher who suddenly quit out of the blue.  She’ll say there are no good teachers anywhere and she has to start choreographing new routines.  She’s out of ideas and has no music and no teacher for the Saturday line-up.  This is the uphill, tornado part of the roller coaster.  She’s starting a new season all over again and that feels daunting.  She’s climbing.  It’s hard work.  It’s exhausting and it’s only the very beginning of a new season.  She’s looking at 10 more months of this.  Problems are swirling all around her at 200 miles an hour.  She’s got some staffing issues and probably also some student and parent drama issues.  This is the time of year that she finds out some of her dancers are not returning to her studio and it makes her feel sad.  And to top it off, he or she’s probably getting her own children ready for their own school and trying to be a good mom or dad.

Here are my top 13 ways to live a wonderful life while married to a dance studio owner:

1.     Embrace the Chaos.   Before you can embrace “the chaos”, you need to know what it is.  It is anything that causes trouble in the form of an irritated spouse.  The longer you own a dance studio the potential for irritation increases.  By learning to embrace the chaos; however, you will find that fewer things are irritating; resulting in the inverse revelation that if you embrace the chaos, nothing is chaotic.

2.     Understand that your spouse is a dance teacher first and foremost.  This means that she’s a giver.  Students “take” a class and teachers “give” a class.  Giving all the time is hard in September when you’re in the uphill tornado section of the roller coaster ride.  Understand that when she is complaining about “teaching”, she really means that it’s hard to “give” when so many things are distracting her from her teaching.

3.     Your wife/husband is a mini-celebrity in his/her community.  People will place her on a pedestal and then proceed to do everything in their power to knock her off.  She can’t go to the store without bumping into a student and her mother.  You probably won’t be able to go into a restaurant or movie together without her seeing, and probably chatting, with a client.   This is all fine and good in the first year or two of the studio’s existence when everyone’s happy and everything is new and exciting.  After the honeymoon period, it becomes more challenging.  The uncomfortable run-ins in the grocery store may now be with a disgruntled parent who recruited seven of your wife’s best dancers to quit and go to another studio on the other side of town.  This is only chaotic if it’s unexpected.  Expect it.  It happens.

4.     Do you remember how in high school there were groups of people who always talked about and criticized other groups of people?  Do you remember thinking in high school, “Geez, I can’t wait to get away from all this drama”?  Well, it doesn’t ever end.  The reason high school is dramatic is not because it is high school.  It is because it is life.

5.     Always remember, your job, as a spouse is to support your husband or wife no matter what.  You vowed to love, honor and cherish your wife in good times and in bad.  So, when you’re watching a “very important” game on TV and she comes home at 9pm from teaching, and likely dealing with unbelievably ridiculous drama at the studio, she’s going to need to vent.  Your duty is to listen to her venting until she’s finished.  As she’s venting, you will want to only support and agree and encourage her…or him.  If you try to fix anything…you’re a dead man.  Hint:  if you turn off the TV immediately and give her 100% of your attention, she will get what she needs from you much faster than if you stare at the TV and mutter a distracted “uh-huh” every few minutes.  This is why the DVR was invented.

6.     You are cheap/free labor, so help her out with the business.  To master the dance studio business, start by understanding that it is indeed a business and then concentrate heavily on cash flow.  Once you understand that her cash flow is going to turn into one of those dried up Arizona desert riverbeds every July and August you’ll figure out ways to boost the studio’s revenue.  Help her with marketing to help increase her enrollment, but also focus on ways to earn extra revenue from her existing clients.  There is a reason that a restaurant sells not only an entrée but also, cocktails, appetizers, wine, desserts and after dinner liqueurs.

7.     Become a therapist.  The not so fun part of having a spouse that owns a studio is the psychological toll it will take on her.  Remember, she’s a mini-celebrity now and what happens to celebrities?  People gossip about them and hurt them for their own entertainment. You are her therapist now.  Therapists do very little talking and a whole lot of listening.  If you do have to say something, it better be profound or funny or both.  At some point, your wife will have a conflict with some of her clients and/or her staff.  Shocking, I know.  These conflicts, and it doesn’t matter what they’re about, are going to cause her some serious anxiety.  She won’t understand what she did to deserve it.  She will be hurt and angry.  She will be so frustrated that she will cry.  Nothing you say will make her feel better and it might actually make things worse.  There’s no magic to ease her pain, but I will tell you that just listening and validating her feelings is all she really needs from you.

8.     When a customer complains about something ridiculous…like her daughter is in the back row or she didn’t know about a rehearsal when everyone else in the class was present, try saying something like this.  “That lady is probably mad, not at you, but at someone else in her life…like her husband or in-laws and she’s misdirecting her anger on you.  I’m sorry, that’s really terrible.  Here, have a glass of Chardonnay* and tell me more about it.”

9.     When the rude parent of a 4 year old cusses her out because he was late for class and can’t get a refund and threatens to go on Yelp, the BBB, Facebook etc…try:  “I’m really sorry that you have to deal with this kind of stuff.  I know this won’t help much, but despite this incident with one or two idiots, you still have a lot of happy students who did not complain today…so that’s good, right?  Here, have another glass of Chardonnay and tell me more about it.”

10. When a teacher quits unexpectedly you say, “That’s awful!  I’m so sorry.  What-the-what?”  “What-the-what”, said in a shocked and exasperated tone, is a way to indicate to your spouse that you are so flabbergasted by this horrendous news that you can’t form a coherent sentence.  It might actually work to distract her, if only for one brief glorious second.  Consider offering a cocktail containing Vodka.

11. When a parent actually trashes her on social media you say, “This is horrible!  I’m so sorry.  Here, have a glass of Chardonnay.”  Seriously, there’s not much you can do here.  This is serious.  She has been violated personally and this is dangerous territory.  Being gossiped about behind your back (ironically in the openness of social media) is truly horrifying for most people.  Whatever you do, don’t minimize her feelings. This is called a “disrespectful judgment”, and if you do it, she will take her frustration out on you.  Listen to her carefully and intently and validate her feelings as much as humanly possible.  When the time is right, nudge her ever so gently towards deactivating the compromised social media account temporarily.

12. When she can’t find music for choreography you say, “Tell you what…I’ll choreograph a routine for you.  I know you’ve got your hands full.  Don’t worry, I can do this because I’ve watched you do it for years and you make it look so easy.  How hard could it possibly be?”  She will understand you’re full of it, but she’ll appreciate the effort.  You’ll get bonus points if you throw in some dance terminology like “Tour jeté”.  You’ll get triple bonus points if you actually do a tour jete right there in the living room.  We taught my non-dancer son how to do one the night before his wedding…just in case.  Watch it here.

13. When she comes home one night dejected, defeated and complaining that her best student just quit without so much as a “goodbye” or “thank you”, you say,  “Here, have some Chardonnay”.  When she takes the glass, raise your glass.  Look her in the eyes, shake your head slowly and knowingly and say, “To the chaos!”  Clink.

*Dance Informa does not recommend excessive drinking, but we do recommend excessive support of your spouse. Running a dance studio is hard work! A long bath, massage, date night or even just going on a walk together can help relax and refresh your spouse.

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson

About Paul Henderson
Paul Henderson is an expert on administrative technologies for the dance industry and has been around the business for almost 30 years. His sisters were elite state champion gymnasts and dancers and his mother owned a dance studio and eventually a dancewear store. He managed the dancewear store for a few years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. He and his wife, Tiffany, currently own and operate Twinkle Star Dance™ – an online choreography and curriculum system for recreational dancers ages 2-11; seven successful dance studios in Northern California (www.tiffanydance.com) and one in Southern California. Tiffany’s Dance Academy’s annual enrollment of over 4,500 students caused Paul to invent ways to automate most of the day-to-day business transactions that take up so much of a studio owner/instructor’s time. Paul’s goal has always been to smooth out the business side of the dance studios so that his wife can spend more time in the studio doing what she loves…teaching. Automating online registration and monthly automatic tuition payments was achieved eight years ago but perhaps the most revolutionary invention is his web-based application – CostumeManager.com.

About CostumeManager.com
For the past six years, Paul Henderson has worked tirelessly with most of the major costume and dancewear manufacturers to consolidate their catalogs into one searchable website. Developing relationships with these companies has been crucial to the success of CostumeManager.com and his efforts have paid off for studios all across the United States and Canada. By creating one searchable website, it is possible for a studio owner to browse all catalogs simultaneously, assign items that they like to a dance class, establish their profit margin, create an online store or print a color worksheet for dancers explaining how they can order their required and or/optional items online or via toll free telephone. Dancers purchase their items securely online and CostumeManager.com orders, receives, sorts and ships the individually packaged items to the studio owner. The studio owner or instructor cashes their “commission” check, hands the bags of goods to the dancer and goes back to teaching. CostumeManager.com eliminates 90% of the work and all the worry associated with distributing costumes and dancewear to dancers while preserving all of the profit margin…if not more.

To connect with Paul Henderson and CostumeManager visit www.CostumeManager.com, www.TwinkleStarDance.com, or www.TiffanyDance.com.

Posted in Tips & Advice5 Comments

It’s Back to School! Are you ready?

It’s Back to School! Are you ready?

How to start the new season looking and feeling your very best.

By Christine Dion of Mode Dion.

Back to school means more demands on your time. Planning a busy schedule and finding time to keep your looks up can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the busy season ahead.

Get organized: As seasons change so do your clothing choices. Put away clothes you’re not planning to wear for the next few months. Have front and center clothing combinations so it’s easy to look your best. Now is the time to mend, wash and repair clothing and shoes so they are ready to go!

Mode DionTime to toss: Go through your makeup and throw out anything that doesn’t look good on you. Why hold onto colors that don’t help you look your best and that you risk applying when in a hurry?  Throw out old products that are starting to get old, smell funny or separate.  It’s not always easy to know when the time has come, so here is a time line of expiration dates on your favorite basic cosmetic must haves:

Foundation and Moisturizers:  Up to 2 years, but most last only about a year. Increase the last by dipping a Q-tip into the bottle instead of fingers that can easily introduce bacteria and cause spoiling. When products start to separate, change consistency or smell funny, then it’s time to toss them.

Concealer/Cover up:  Up to 2-5 years, until product smells or separates.

Face Powder:  Loose powder can last up to 3 years or more if it doesn’t begin to smell bad.  Compact powder can harden and change color from your skin oils getting onto the surface.  Bacteria can build up easily on these as well.  Refresh compact powder, reduce bacteria and increase the last, by scratching off the surface layer with a clean toothbrush. Replace compact puff regularly and wash compact sponges weekly to increase last.

Cheek Color: Like a compact powder, bacteria can build up and powder can harden.  Treat with the toothbrush technique and keep for 2-3 years.

Eye Shadows: Keep top layer clean and these should last up to 3-4 years.  Look for color changes, bad smells, and itchy eyes to point the way to the trash.

Eye liners and Lip liners:  These can last a long time if you keep them well sharpened.  For lip and eye pencils, look for moldy build up and a change in texture as a signal they’ve gone bad.  Liquid liners last about 1 year because of a higher risk of bacteria build up.  To keep fresh longer, use a separate clean brush to apply instead of the one that goes back into the container.

Mascara: 4 months after it has been opened, mascara begins to harbor bacteria build up that can cause infection and eye irritation.  Pumping mascara will push air into the chamber causing a faster dry out time.  Instead, stir the wand in the chamber before applying.

Lipstick: After 2-3 years, color and texture change and bacteria starts to build up. Wipe lipsticks clean regularly to keep fresh.

Face Masks (creamy): 6 months to 1 year.

Nail Polish:  2 years, give or take.

Fragrance: Keep your fragrance out of sunlight in a dry cool place.  Most people keep their fragrance in the bathroom, which is the worst place of all. Fragrance should last from 3-6 years if cared for correctly.

How to care for your products, keep them fresh and help them last.

  • Store products in a cool dark place like the fridge (cold is a bacteria inhibitor) or a box.  Keep out of sunlight and warm humid places such as the bathroom.
  • Shake up liquids every once in a while.  If pigments separate and don’t shake back together, toss the product.
  • Avoid touching products with your fingers (bacteria).  Use sponges, brushes and Q-tips whenever you can.
  • Keep lids closed tightly.
  • Never share products.

Keep makeup brushes clean! These tools not only need to be washed once a week to  control bacteria and prevent breakouts but also to keep the makeup products you use them on clean for a longer last.  Here’s the best way to wash your make-up brushes:

1. Fill bowl with warm water.

2. Add one squirt of dish washing liquid or baby shampoo.

3. Swish brushes into water and gently work soap through hairs.

4. Empty water and fill bowl again with fresh warm water.

5. Repeat until water is clear and brushes have no trace of soap.

6. Pat on to dry towel and lay flat on dry towel until dry.

Tip: Never soak brushes, as the wood will expand and the hairs will fall out. Never dry brushes standing up as moisture can pool at the base where the hairs are glued, start to cause rotting and the hairs will fall out.  Good makeup brushes can bring you many years of wonderful use with proper care.

Be prepared: Pack a tote bag with extra’s you might need through your busy day. Be sure to have healthy snacks like raw nuts or seeds for protein and energy, quality meal replacement bars so you can avoid junk food temptations, fruits and other healthy choices to keep you on track. Have water always available to remind you to drink fluids. Include band-aids, safety pins, feminine products, aspirin, Tums, breath mints, deodorant, extra pair of tights, paper and pen, scotch tape, socks, nail clipper/file, little scissors and tweezers. Round up your small travel bottles, clean them out and create a skin care set (wash, toner, moisturizer, body lotion) for on the go.  Always rehearse in clean skin. Be sure to have a plastic sandwich bag filled with cotton squares and Q-tips for quick clean up from school to the studio. A hair brush, hair spray, hair tie/band/clips are a must to keep your hair away from facial skin to prevent forehead and back breakouts.

Be rested: Make sure to sleep in a cool room, on clean linens and with a good pillow. It can help to bathe at night before bed as the cooling down affect on your body can increase relaxation. Try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night so you can better handle stress and fatigue. Eating a banana before bed can help you sleep, Melatonin in a dropper is helpful with mint tea as well as sniffing the scent of Lavender.  Make sleep a priority as this is a valuable time for your body to repair and restore for the next day.  Tip: If you have long hair be sure to sleep with your hair up in a soft cotton tie to avoid back and shoulder acne. Hair oils cause break outs and irritation on these two acne prone places while you sleep. Not rinsing hair conditioner off completely from your back can be a culprit too.

Face the day: Put your best face forward every day. Just because you only have a few minutes to look your best doesn’t mean you throw out your beauty regime. Properly cleanse and moisturize so your skin is protected and can stay healthy. A little foundation to even out skin tone in problem areas, concealer under the eyes, light powder to set (and add color), mascara to enhance lashes, a little cheek color and lip gloss can go a long way to look polished and fresh. Be sure to define eye brows if needed too.

Here are a few ideas to help you achieve a natural fresh look for your day:

Back to school is a time of year filled with exciting new opportunities and experiences. Embrace it looking and feeling your very best!

Christine Dion is an international Makeup Artist,  Speaker, Columnist and Author well known in the dance industry. Her cosmetics collection, Mode Dion Cosmetics, have been custom designed for the special needs of performers both on stage and on camera.  Her products are featured on all of her models/starlets in her publications, workshops, monthly newsletter, youtube channel, in her book “High Performance Beauty and her numerous beauty columns.

Check out modedion.com to see all of the professional product collection, training videos, articles, how to tips and more. Mention Dance Informa at checkout when shopping and get 20% off your next Mode Dion Cosmetics order! (retail products only)  Be sure to LIKE Mode Dion Cosmetics & Training on Facebook for more helpful tips and specials.

Posted in Dance Health, Tips & Advice0 Comments

Dance Audition Don’ts!

Dance Audition Don’ts!

By Rebecca Martin of Dance Informa.

You’ve landed your dream audition for a company, school or production and you’re all prepared for the big day. Or are you?

Hopefully you know what you should do, such as arrive on time, wear appropriate attire, pay attention, be respectful of others, etc. – but do you know what irritates potential employers or teachers?

There are a number of cardinal sins that dancers make when attending auditions and Dance Informa has compiled a list of things you absolutely shouldn’t do. Ignore our advice at your own risk…

DON’T be unprepared

This means many things. Have the right shoes and have spare shoes just in case. Pack a needle and thread, band aids, resin, hair pins, knee pads, Advil, anti-inflammatories, a change of clothes, music, sheet music, a copy of your CV, head shot, completed application form, water and snacks.

You don’t know what might be needed of you on the day of, so you must be ready for anything. If you are going to a theater or studio you’ve never been to before, the floor could be sticky or slippery so bring different shoes and wear what works best.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically as well. Get plenty of rest the night before the audition, eat an energy filled breakfast, and warm-up your body before the audition. 

Do your research on the school or company so that you are able to answer questions when asked. By saying you don’t know the answer to something, you’re really saying that you don’t care enough to learn.

DON’T be late

No one wants to hear about the traffic on the freeway, your train delay or whether your bus broke down. Leave home early and account for any possible mishaps on the way in to the audition. If you want the job or the place, then you need to prove it. Things may go wrong but you need to show that you can still be relied upon. If you’re late to an audition, it’s safe to say you will be late to rehearsal, class, photo shoots and possibly even performances. Being late is disrespectful to the other auditionees, not to mention the people holding the audition.

DON’T be insulted

Often the criteria for a place or role is very specific and you may not be the right height, build or sex. Try not to become disheartened or insulted if you don’t get the role.  Definitely don’t be rude to the auditioners or complain to other dancers about the school or company. The dance world is tiny and you are likely to run into these people again so you don’t want to burn any bridges. For all you know, you may attend another audition down the track and be exactly what they are looking for.

Not every dancer is right for every position and the constant rejection can be hard. The best you can do is just keep working hard and stay positive. 

DON’T hide in the back

If you’re going to do this, you may as well stay home because you want to be seen.  You also want to show that you’ve got initiative, confidence and drive. Naturally, you shouldn’t be pushy or show off, but you need to present yourself. Be polite, attentive and give your all.

DON’T do your own thing

Sure, you may be able to do seven pirouettes or hitch your leg up around your ear, but if you have been asked to do a double pirouette and keep your legs low in a combination then that’s what you must do. Never change the combinations you are shown. You are being assessed on how well you pick up choreography, pay attention to detail, listen to and apply corrections, and adapt to different styles of dance. It’s okay if you make a mistake in a combination, so long as you aren’t consistently stuffing up throughout the audition. We all know nerves can get in the way of an audition, but you will also get nerves on stage and before assessments, so you need to show that you can work under pressure. If you make a mistake, move on and show that you aren’t fazed by it.

DON’T forget to let your personality shine

All the technique in the world can only get you so far. Be engaged at the audition, smile if something is funny, show emotion in your dancing where appropriate and be yourself in spoken interviews. Your personality will ultimately set you apart from the other dancers in the room.

Make sure to check out Dance Informa’s Audition directory for auditions and casting calls around the country and internationally.

Photo (top): © Diego Vito Cervo | Dreamstime.com

Posted in Feature Articles, Tips & Advice0 Comments

Tackling Common Dancer Questions and Myths

Tackling Common Dancer Questions and Myths

By Emily C. Harrison MS, RD, LD
of The Centre for Dance Nutrition.
www.dancernutrition.com

As a dietitian for dancers and a former professional dancer myself, I get lots of emails. Many of these questions are about some common dancer myths that I remember from when I was in the school and the company. Here we take a deeper look at some of these and try to separate fact from fiction.    

Dear Dietitian: “I am a 17-year-old female ballet dancer (5’4″) and I have struggled within the last year in knowing what a healthy weight is for my body. I read online that ballet dancers should be 10 lbs. lighter than a healthy BMI for normal people, despite the fact that their muscle weighs more than fat. Is a BMI of 20.4 (over 120 lbs.) overweight if I wanted to get into a company?”

The term “BMI” refers to a calculation of someone’s height to their weight. I haven’t heard that ballet dancers have to be 10 lbs. lighter than a healthy BMI. This is one of those dancer myths. Healthy BMI is a big range and beautiful, successful, professional dancers come in all shapes and sizes. There is not a correct weight or BMI that dancers have to fit, and BMI doesn’t take into account muscle mass.

Successful ballet dancers are lean and muscular because they regularly make smart, healthy choices, not because they starve themselves to fit some arbitrary calculation or number on a scale. They know that they can’t eat junk, fast food or drink soda. Real professional dancers know that if they want to look good in tights, they have to fuel the body well with healthy food. It’s possible to eat well and still have a great career. Dancers shouldn’t define their potential for success by a number on a scale, but instead focus on hard work in the studio and smart food and beverage choices outside the studio.

Dear Dietitian: “I am 23 years old and I just got a company contract, but this past season my energy levels have been terrible and I am having trouble feeling strong at the end of class. I have tried eating more protein and less carbs, but it’s not working. Should I increase my protein before class?”

Energy levels depend on many factors. First, don’t go for more than three hours without eating. Never dance on an empty stomach. Second and most important, carbohydrate or “carbs” are the preferred source of energy for any athletic activity. The body likes to save protein for rebuilding muscle after exercise, maintaining fluid balance and many other biological processes. Eating protein and no carbs before dance is a great way to feel exhausted. Eat complex carbs like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try a bowl of oatmeal/porridge before class.

Energy levels can also be affected by hydration. Are you getting approximately 2800 ml (10-12 cups) of water per day? If not, make sure your water bottle goes everywhere with you and refill often.

Nutrition status can affect energy levels. Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? B-vitamins and Iron are just two examples of nutrients that contribute to energy levels. If low energy persists, let your doctor know so he/she can rule out anything medical or food allergy related. Now get some good sleep and keep dancing. 

Dear Dietitian: “I am 15 years old and am in school during the day and dance in the evenings for 3-6 hours each day. It’s late by the time I finally get home after dance and I have lots of homework so I don’t eat much. I heard other dancers say that you shouldn’t eat after 8 p.m. anyway. Is that true?”

It is a myth that you shouldn’t eat past a certain time at night. Those calories don’t “turn into fat” just because you are going to bed soon. This is a critical time for muscle building, so eat something even if it’s small and quick. The body doesn’t shut down at night. You need nutrients even when sleeping. You have been dancing hard in class and rehearsal so you need to provide the building blocks for repair and strengthening if you want to improve.

An example post-dance meal might be some bean and veggie soup and a whole grain roll or quinoa. Rice, veggies and soy are easy, or you could have a sandwich and/or a salad with garbanzo beans with a glass of soy, flax or almond milk. Avoid the temptation to stop by fast food on the way home and get a calorie bomb meal. Instead make smart choices. You will gain strength faster if you provide nutrients post-exercise. 

For more letters to the dietitian related to these topics, see www.dancernutrition.com/ask-the-dietitian.html and feel free to send your own questions to the dietitian.

Emily Harrison
Dance nutritionistEmily Cook Harrison MS, RD, LD
Emily is a registered dietitian and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from Georgia State University. Her master’s thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and nutrition and she has experience providing nutrition services for weight management, sports nutrition, disordered eating, disease prevention, and food allergies. Emily was a professional dancer for eleven years with the Atlanta Ballet and several other companies. She is a dance educator and the mother of two young children. She now runs the Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles. She can be reached at emily@dancernutrition.com www.dancernutrition.com

Photo (top): © Photographerlondon | Dreamstime.com

Posted in Dance Health0 Comments

What You Need to Know as a Freshman Dance Major

What You Need to Know as a Freshman Dance Major

By Katherine Moore of Dance Informa.

Here you are! After years and years of dance study you’re finally enrolled in a college dance program and are on your way to becoming a professional. You’ve made it…sort of. Here are some tips and guidelines for getting the most out of your college experience as a dance major.

1. Keep an open mind

For dancers who have been training for most of their lives, the tendency to feel like you already know it all can be strong. After all, you haven’t been training several nights a week and spending your summers inside at dance intensives for nothing, right? While all of those years of training and experiences are certainly a worthwhile part of your dance education, college study can be a totally different ballgame.

Your teachers will come with years of higher education teaching experience in addition to their work as dancers and choreographers, and they will use those skills to challenge you! Don’t be surprised if they ask you to think about your body, technique, or even what dance is in a totally different way.   If you’re attending a conservatory-type program, you will probably be pushed in ways you couldn’t have imagined as a dancer, performer, and possibly choreographer. If you’re attending a program at a liberal arts or research institution, you will probably be encouraged to look at dance within a variety of artistic, scientific, social, and cultural perspectives.

Instead of fighting against your teachers with what you “think” you already know about dance, embrace a beginner’s mindset and see what happens! This will give you a much fuller and more expansive dance experience over the next three to four years.

2. Take care of your body

Ever hear of the freshman 15? Yes, this can apply to dancers, too. In your late teens and early twenties, your body can go through big metabolic and hormonal changes that may affect your general health. Combined with the late night pizza parties, drinking, and lack of sleep that often characterize the first few years of a college experience, it can be a challenge to keep your body healthy.

It goes without saying that dancers should be particularly mindful of maintaining a healthy diet, but this can be hard to do. If you’re using food services on campus, try to choose nutritious options whenever possible. If you find those hard to find, college is the perfect time to teach yourself how to cook! Depending on your previous training, this may be the most dancing you’ve ever had to do in your life, so now is not the time to deprive your body of the nutrition and fuel it needs to perform at a high level.

Sleep is perhaps the most underrated tool you have to stay healthy in college. Yes, between dance classes, rehearsals, academic classes, and maybe even a job, you’ll have a lot going on. Lack of sleep can lead to injury, make you more susceptible to contagious illnesses, and lead to mental stress and anxiety. Seek out counseling services on campus if you find that you’re struggling to keep everything in balance. Being a dance major will also mean that you will face critique about your performance from your teachers, so find healthy ways to deal with corrections and advice about your dance training.

As a young adult you might also be making choices about drinking, drugs, and your sexual activity. Just remember that whatever you do with or put into your body will affect your dance performance and ability to get the most out of your program, so be safe and make informed, legal decisions. Think about your future, not just about having fun in the moment.

3. Explore all avenues

While at this moment you might be 100% certain that the only thing you ever want to do is dance, life has a funny way of opening different doors. A dance career requires years of hard work and your college experience may confirm your commitment to dance, or it may transform your dream in other ways. You might find an interest in directing or choreography, stage production, writing, or even physical therapy and dance medicine.

Your college years are a unique time when you get to explore lots of interests, so if something piques your attention, go for it!  If time and money permit, maybe you can even study abroad and explore dance in a foreign country. Be open to learning how dance can impact other areas of your life, and remember that your grades in academic classes do count!

4. Plan for the future

Once you’re in the college bubble, it can be easy to forget that there is an outside world you’ll have to re-enter after you graduate. Your teachers can be some your greatest assets when planning for life after graduation. Even as early as your freshman year, sit down with mentors and advisers to discuss what you want out of your program and where you hope to be at the end of it. They may recommend summer programs or internships to help you meet your goals, and they might be able to connect you with professionals in the field.

If your school has visiting guest artists who have their own dance companies, be sure to audition for their performances and sign up for their classes. They could be your future employer! Take advantage of career and counseling services, workshops, and opportunities to build relationships with peers and teachers. The dance world is actually quite small, and you never know who might want to hire you someday down the road.

Photo (top): © Antoniodiaz | Dreamstime.com

Posted in Tips & Advice1 Comment