Chasta is the artistic director and owner of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the founder of The Dance Exec, a website and organization that provided resources and training for dance studio owners. The resources from The Dance Exec have a new home on the TutuTix blog, giving dance studio owners an even more in-depth library of free tools and information with which to grow their business. Chasta contributes to the TutuTix blog from time to time, offering her perspective as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!).
Since our industry is in the midst of its show and performance season, it seems like a good time to reiterate the importance of requiring every students to have their costume and any apparel-based item, and try it on prior to leaving the studio.
The benefits include:
(1) It allows an opportunity for you to recognize/address any problems prior to the costume leaving your facility.
(2) It prepares you for questions/concerns a parent may have about a particular costume.
(3) It allows you to be proactive, informed, and knowledgeable.
Many times, a parent will present a question/concern without realizing the costume was tried on in class.
And, while many apparel issues can be resolved with a yank/tug and/or safety pins, it also presents the opportunity for you to intercept any major problems.
Keep in mind that many parents are not familiar with the fit and look of many dance costumes. Be the professional and guide them through the process. They will appreciate it, and you will feel confident in your dancers’ onstage look and appearance!
It is the season of stoning- rhinestones! Use the following tips to expedite the application process for adding rhinestones to dance costumes.
Use a tool to pick up your stones! There are some commercially available devices for picking up rhinestones, but parrafin wax is effective…and inexpensive. Canning wax is available at most grocery stores. Cut a block of the wax and use a knife to carve down one side. The end result should look something like a short pencil with a flat tip. The flat tip is what you will use to retrieve the rhinestones. It is the perfect amount of stickiness for picking up your stones.
Use E-6000 glue for the application process. This glue is available at any crafting store.
To keep the process organized, place some glue on a piece of paper and use a bent paperclip or needle to apply the glue. Dab the stone right on top of the glue using the paraffin applicator.
By applying these tips, you will be faster and more productive in adding rhinestones, making your dance costumes glitzy and glam in no time!
This year, what’s a new skill you’d like to learn or acquire that will improve your teaching or business? There are an abundance of tutorials and opportunities available to learn something new via the internet.
Maybe you would like to revitalize your website, social media, or logo?
Would you like to improve your video or music editing capabilities?
Maybe you would like to have new teaching tips for acro or ballet or tap?
Or maybe a few DIY repairs will polish and freshen up your facility?
Are you interested in tweaking your staff and studio culture for the year ahead?
Research- discover the material that is available to you.
It is easy to become complacent in comfort- challenge yourself! Once you are open to learning more, the sky is the limit.
A popular excuse for not learning new things is lack of time- take the time. Make the time. It will be worth it!
Unsure about where to start? Check out the following sites:
Today, we begin the first of seven spring recitals that will span through June 7th!
For me, spring recitals are the most exciting time of the year – teachers and students have worked hard to present a product that will showcase their work. We begin planning spring recitals immediately after each year’s event, so we have 11 solid months of planning. Once the immediate recital season arrives, most of the work is finished!
For some, I know it can be a stressful period. And, even if the midst of joy and celebration, stressful moments occur- like the time our balloon drop pull wasn’t pulled out at intermission or an upset child that will not calm or a parent that feels exceptionally frazzled. Know that the stressful moments happen, but, more often than that, use the following tips to create a happy, exciting, and positive event!
1. Set the tone: Your mood and leadership will set the tone for the event- keep it positive and fun!
2. Be prepared and organized: Allow yourself plenty of time to be as organized and prepared as possible.
3. Delegate: Manage and assign tasks to every piece of the puzzle. This will result in a smooth operation.
4. Communicate: Let people know every detail of what to expect, multiple times. This includes students, parents, staff, and backstage volunteers.
5. Have support: Rely on your immediate support team for ideas and strategies.
6. Do not procrastinate: Recital is the not the time to procrastinate – finish everything with plenty of time to spare.
7. Be flexible: When everything does not go as planned, be flexible.
8. Be calm: Even when dealing with difficult situations and problems, remain calm and diplomatic. Isolate and address the problem and move on.
9. Take care of yourself: Don’t forget to include some rest and relaxation (when you can)!
10. Have fun: Think of the children you are inspiring and the memories they are making. Produce an amazing event that will continue cultivating their love of dance for years to come!
At the studio, the dance experience can be enriched when parents bring the experience full circle with a post-class conversation. The conversation can be based around one or multiple questions listed below. Asking dance questions will enhance the familial experience, and dancers will undoubtedly appreciate their parents’ interest and involvement in their activity and extracurricular.
Tell me about a move you learned today.
Do you think you could teach it to me?
Did you learn a new vocabulary word in class today?
Did you make a new friend in class today?
Were you kind to someone at dance today?
Do you think we could stretch together tonight?
What is some of your favorite music you hear in dance class?
Did you do something particularly well today?
Did you struggle with a skill today?
Did you have fun?
Of course, children also love invitations to show their moves, create choreography, and produce mini shows.
Encourage these opportunities, and involve yourself with your dancers’ love for their art!
In the midst of competition and performance season, you may notice parts of your choreography that might look better with this adjustment or that adjustment.
Generally, is it a good idea to implement last minute choreography changes prior to a performance?
No, probably not.
(Especially if you are working with younger or less experienced dancers.)
The dancers learned the routine a certain way and committed it to muscle memory. Changes will make them second guess themselves onstage, which will not encourage a confident performance. Granted, being adaptable and able to make quick changes is a required skill set for professional dancers, but when working in an educational environment, be sensitive to and considerate of your dancers’ age, skill set, and needs.
(The only changes I have found to be effective and beneficial are simplification of arms and/or skill replacement (e.g. a walkover instead of an aerial).)
When it comes to choreography, make sure all of your studio affiliated Instructors, Owners and Artistic Directors are on the same page about all the choreographic expectations. At the end of the day we want to make sure we set our students up for success, so that we can watch them shine on stage!