Dance ED Tips Blog

DET #116: Developing Musicality in Dancers- Part 2

November 10, 2020 | Alexis Robbins

And now for the fun stuff, here are three specific exercises that you can do on your own or with your students to work on musicality. These are derived from my experiences as a tap dancer, student, choreographer, and educator, but they can be applied to all genres of movement and dance...

DET #115: Developing Musicality in Dancers- Part 1

October 27, 2020 | Alexis Robbins

What is musicality? The term itself is pretty broad, it refers to having an innate understanding of music or a sensitivity to or knowledge of music. When we refer to an individual dancer having great musicality, we are generally referring to their ability to keep time while moving, and/or their ability to quickly absorb or perform specific rhythms and display so through movement. Dancers who are great improvisers in any style often, if not always, have wonderful musicality which directly aids in their ability to improvise and captivate audiences. So how do we actually achieve musicality as a skill?

DET #114: 3 Things the DETeam is looking forward to at NDEO 2020

October 20, 2020 - Helen Snelgrove

This year has been exhausting, both mentally and physically. What we need now more than ever is to be able to talk to other folks who can help us find that passion. To share knowledge and resources so that we can continue to build off of each other. Inspiring each other and supporting each other all that we can.

DET #113: Providing Career Advice for Your Dancers

October 06, 2020 - Sarah Horne

The world needs dance artists even when it doesn’t know it or show it. As teachers and studio owners, we know that having a career in dance can be difficult but certainly not impossible. That said, besides developing talent and working on technique, there is a third part to being in the dance industry that we usually dismiss: building sustainable skills.

DET #112: How to Plan Effectively for a Successful Dance Year

September 15, 2020 | Jason Warley

We are very grateful for Jason Warley to be sharing with us his strategies for having an effective and successful year of Dance.  In this video, he shares with us what we should  be focusing on in our teaching and administratively each season.  Click below to see the full video!

DET #111: 4 Creative & Effective Ways to Teach Dance Classes at Home

September 01, 2020 | Tiffany Bellah

In the last few months, the world of dance education has undergone some substantial changes that nobody could have seen coming. As a studio owner or instructor, you’ve likely felt the effects of that firsthand.

In a world that’s plagued by COVID-19 and its resulting social distancing guidelines, dance teachers and students across the globe have turned to virtual dance education to keep their skills sharp and their bodies busy during a difficult time...

DET #110: Best Teaching Practices Inherently Include Decolonization of the Curriculum - Don’t think so? Read on...

August 18, 2020 | Alex Cook

Dance education has drastically shifted in the last few months. We’ve been grappling with what it means to teach within the context of a global pandemic, and we continue to deal with the very real challenges of simply being an educator. As Black Lives Matter demonstrations take place across the world, you may be asking yourself “how can I handle all of this AND be an active anti-racist?” I posit to you that one of the most effective ways to combat racism in your classroom is to decolonize your curriculum...

DET #109: 3 Tips for Early Ed
Dance Teachers
Strategy 3: Keep the Learning Play-Based and Hands On

August 11, 2020 | Jessica Baudin-Griffin

Covid burn out is REAL!! For teachers, for caregivers, for children. Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that. I believe when we are able to name our experience, we can claim it, and when we can feel it, we can heal it.

For children, PLAY is going to be essential to their mental health and healing over the next year...

DET #108: 3 Tips for Early Ed
Dance Teachers
Strategy 2: Caregiver Education

August 4, 2020 | Jessica Baudin-Griffin

The caregivers of your precious little preschool dancers? They are feeling mighty nervous right now.

I always expect the caregivers of my youngest dancers to be nervous at the beginning of a new dance year.

This could be the first time their baby is taking an un-parented class...

Strategy 2: Caregiver Education

DET #107: 3 Tips for Early Ed Dance Teachers
Strategy 1: Visual Schedules

July 28, 2020 | Jessica Baudin-Griffin

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you my top 3 strategies that you can lean into to deliver effective, successful early childhood classes during the pandemic. These strategies will also carry you forward well after Covid-19 is a distant memory. By investing in these strategies now you are investing in your short term and long-term success!

Strategy 1: Visual Schedules

DET #106: A Sneak Peek at DET’s latest Back to School Kits!

July 21, 2020 | Olivia Mode-Cater

I’ve been having lots of conversations with dance teachers the past couple of days and it seems like everyone is starting to reach their breaking point and are burning out… HARD.

We, as a field, have been changing and adapting since March. And, the thought of having to figure out how to teach dance this Fall when we don’t know if we’re going to be in person, online, or some crazy mix of two feels really overwhelming...

DET #105:
How to Maximize Donors Choose:
Supporting the “New Normal”

July 14, 2020 | Elizabeth Rose Zwierzynski

What is Donors Choose?

Need Barres? Mirrors? Costumes? or other necessities that your school can't provide yet. can help you get what you need quickly! Many K-12 dance educators face challenges in securing funding for dance classroom equipment, costumes, field trips, guest artist experiences, and professional development. These needs are oftentimes complicated by restrictive district budgets, vendor and fundraising limitations, and administrative support...

DET #104:
Dance Teacher Summer Reading List Part 3

July 07, 2020 | Olivia Mode-Cater

I think it’s safe to say.. a lot has happened so far this year. This summer is an opportunity for us reflect on our teaching and see where we can improve.

I’ve put together a summer reading list with some suggestions that can help you feel prepared and culturally responsive in your teaching.

DET #103:
Behind the Scenes of Success: 5 Important Takeaways from a Dance Podcaster

June 23, 2020 | Lauren Ritchie

I sat at my parent’s dinner table, listening to tWitch, Megan Lawson, Matt Cady and Faye Rauw share their audition war stories and dance industry battle wounds. It was the summer of 2010 and we had just spent a full day together teaching young dancers at a summer camp. Over the week we challenged their bodies, encouraged their artistry, and built up their confidence, only to then share stories about how the industry can quickly tear it all down.

It struck my heart because that was my experience...

DET #102:
Touch and Consent when Teaching Dance

June 16, 2020 | Paula J Peters and Catherine Cabeen

The tradition of hands-on corrections has been a central part of training methods for hundreds of years. While touch is an incredibly powerful tool to awaken somatic sensation, it can be harmful to the well-being of students, particularly those with a history of trauma. Although many dance instructors have moved towards more holistic ways of using touch when giving corrections, we believe more can be done to incorporate asking for student consent. By doing so, we work towards ensuring each student has agency over their own body in the dance classroom.

DET #101:
We DANCE for ART Challenge

May 26, 2020 | Helen Snelgrove

As you know, we have been collaborating with The Streamlined Studio and Artist Relief Tree Fund to produce We DANCE, a benefit concert for artists who have been impacted by COVID-19 and we have 15 amazing performances for you!

But we want to feature YOU as well! How can you be featured in the We DANCE benefit concert though? Well, you can participate in our We DANCE for ART Challenge and be featured in our intermission video!!

DET #100:
How Can We Maintain Social and Emotional Development Through Virtual Dance Education?

May 12, 2020 | Lindsey Della Serra

I do not know about you, but before remote learning began my dance classroom was a social mecca! Everyone somehow made an appearance or stayed in the dance studio longer than they should. The music, the open studio space, the energy all attracted dance students, non-dance students, and adults. As dance educators, we all know dance is a social artform and we thrive on relationships and collaboration. Many colleagues have told me that the physical energy of training, creating and even performing in a studio/theater cannot be replicated virtually.

DET #99: Dance Teachers Guide to Zoom

May 5, 2020 I Micaela Royer

During COVID-19, dance teachers are having to quickly adapt to continuing their instruction online. For many dance teachers, this means experimenting with tools they have little experience with. The Streamlined Studio team uses Zoom nearly every day to communicate with each other and our clients so it’s safe to say that this isn’t new technology to us. We love Zoom because it makes us feel like we’re in the same room together without leaving the comfort of our own home!

DET #98:
DET's Online Dance Games

April 28, 2020 I Olivia Mode-Cater

For this week’s blog post, I want to give you a behind the scenes look at our Online Dance Games for Zoom!

I created these games because my student's engagement on Zoom has been.... questionable. And, the novelty of teaching dance online has unfortunately worn off.

DET #97:
Top 3 Stretching Myths

April 21, 2020 I Jenna Calo

Myth #1: Stretching must hurt to be effective.

Flexibility is one component of fitness that is needed to support the aesthetic demands of dance. When dancers come in for Physical Therapy or for their annual dancer screen, they often times express that they’d like to gain greater flexibility. The question comes up about whether or not stretching should feel painful. Stretching should not hurt...

DET #96: How to Build a Resilient Dancer: Practical Teaching Tips for Resilience Training

April 14, 2020 - Chelsea Pierotti

Whether you are auditioning, performing, or competing, dancers always want to be at their best when it counts. In an ideal world, each performance would be better than the last. The first competition would go well, you get good feedback, make improvements, and get even better the next time. But realistically, that’s not how it works.

DET #95: Rethinking Jazz Pedagogy: Roots and Responsibility

April 7, 2020 - Lindsay Guarino

Dancers often think of leaps, turns and leg extensions as synonymous with jazz technique, along with isolations and sharp, angular lines. Classes are typically prepared with the goal of developing the strength, flexibility and control required to execute these jazz ballet-derived steps. Students are taught that “ballet is the foundation,” and skill-based exercises are prioritized in the classroom.

DET #94:
Steps for Dance Teachers to Take in the Face of Financial Uncertainty

March 17, 2020 I Sumaya Mulla-Carrillo

This past week, coronavirus has shook dance teachers across the country, if not across the world. Everyone is concerned about COVID-19, the pandemic, and what that means for people's health and their livelihood. I know dance teachers and studio owners are all asking themselves, "How am I going to pay my bills?" ...

DET #93: How Dance Teachers Can Reduce The Risk Of Injury
During Competition Season

March 10, 2020 | Doctors for Dancers

Dance is a beautiful and elegant art but our sport requires so much strength and endurance for dancers to make it look so effortless. Dancers train hard numerous days of the week to master their craft and sometimes over 40 hours a week during competition season. As soon as competition season rolls around the corner, dance studios begin the non-stop rehearsals and extra weekend practices. You sometimes are literally dancing for 7 days a week with no break in sight.

DET #92: Moving Towards Change: Intersections of Dance & Social Justice Education in the High School Dance Class

March 3, 2020 | Zakiya Atkinson

One of the most significant aspects of my high school dance curriculum has been the use of socially charged themes and events as stimuli for creative process and performance. My classes have explored occurrences of genocide, civil rights protests, immigration and hate crimes. While the topics may seem daunting for a dance class, social justice education should be an integral part of all disciplines and can be included in diverse and creative ways...

DET #91: Tutu Do’s and Tutu Don’ts of Social Media for Dance Studios

February 18, 2020 I Jennifer Randall

Social Media… you either love it or hate it. I get it! It can be a huge time sucker for most owners. You know you need to have it but no one opened a studio to sit behind a computer or on their phone posting to social media all day. So here are my “Tutu Do’s” and “Tutu Don’ts” when it comes to posting…

DET #90: Preparing, Sharing & Caring –
A Dance Psychologist’s Advice on Supporting Students for Auditions

February 11, 2020 | Lucie Clements

Auditions – do your dance students love them or loathe them? Many dancers will be auditioning in the coming months, and as a teacher you play a pivotal role in the lead up to the big day. The way that you approach auditions with your students can give them a confident edge, or can create fear. Here are my top tips for empowering your students to step into an audition and flourish.

DET #89: Meet Lynn Simonson

January 28, 2020 | Teresa Perez Ceccon


“I learned that the injuries are there to tell you something.”


Lynn Simonson, the creator of the Simonson Technique, an approach that promotes longevity for dancers, hardly could have foreseen the longevity and reach of her in- innovative thinking. At the age of 75, she tells her story.

DET #88:
4 Recommended Websites & Apps for
Dance Teachers 2020

January 14, 2020 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Last semester I taught a course at Hofstra University called “Educational Technology in Dance Education.”   At the beginning of the semester, I had the students reflect on their experiences with Technology in the dance classroom. Victoria Speicher, junior dance education major at Hofstra, shared that “Personally, teachers have only used a phone or tablet to record dances and that is the extent of technology in classrooms that I have been in...

DET #87: Dance ED Tips is hiring a Video Editing intern!

January 07, 2020 | Olivia Mode-Cater

What we are looking for:

Dance ED Tips is seeking a video editor for Spring 2020 to edit and produce social media videos, product videos, product demonstrations, and videos for our online courses. As a member of our team, you will have an immediate impact on our business. You will see your ideas comes to life and your contributions put to immediate use. This position reports directly to the Founder. This is an unpaid internship with the potential to become a stipend position. We offer college credit, professional references, and the freedom to work remotely.

DET #86: How To Structure a Choreography Class in a Studio Setting

November 26, 2019 | Jessica Totaro

What if, as dance educators, we started to change the standard requirements of our dancers inside of the studio?

As an alumni from the Rutgers Mason Gross Dance department, I had my "ah-ha" moment within my Choreography classes. It was the place I felt the most challenged, the most free and the most insightful...

DET #85:
Love the Skin You’re (Melan) In

November 19, 2019 I Tylan Porterfield

I didn’t always worry about the darkness of my skin color. I loved the mocha richness of my skin at the peak of summer and was sad when my tan faded with summer’s end. I remember when I was about 9 years old spending hours in the blazing sun, without sunblock, until I turned almost dark purple...

DET #84: How to Get the Most out of Anne Green Gilbert's
Brain Dance

November 5, 2019 | Jessica Baudin-Griffin

What is BrainDance?

Developed by dance educator, Anne Green Gilbert (M. ED), the BrainDance is based on eight developmental movement patterns human beings will move through in the first year of life via infant reflexes and floor play. These movement patterns...

DET #83: Questions Parents Should Ask When Looking for a Ballet Teacher

October 29, 2019 | Cory-Jeanne Murakam

Ballet is my passion. I was that little girl who twirled madly around and wanted to be a ballerina. I wanted that tutu! Fast forward many years later… I fulfilled my dream. Ballet has been my lifelong pursuit both as an artist and in dance education. Now, I try and pass the legacy of this beautiful and magical art form on to my students and inform and encourage the parents to...

DET #82:
5 Ways to Meet DET at NDEO

October 23, 2019 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

1. Come to our presentation on Friday

2. Visit Tyner and Madelyn at our table.  Spin the wheel of discounts to get free products and up to $25 off...

DET #81:
Katherine Dunham: A Trailblazer for Using Dance for Social Justice

October 15, 2019 | Susannah Keita

In 1970, Katherine Dunham wrote about the “fragmentary” societies of today, where “art becomes more important than ever to answer man’s need to participate, to experience total involvement, to restore psychic balance, to compensate for the spiritual inadequacies of the present. In one way or another, the philosophers of the human experience all agree that art brings the generative idea, the revelation, the vision awaited by man to set him free and at the same time provide a mechanism for that most important of all drives, creative participation.” (Dunham, 2005)...

DET #80: Cuban Hip Motion: A Ballroom and Jazz Essential

October 01, 2019 | Amy VanKirk

The Cuban hip motion, celebrated in jazz dance and integral in Latin ballroom dance, presents a seamless bridge between the two styles. Both share roots in Afro-Cuban social dances, and this crossover provides an excellent opportunity to discuss this shared lineage in class. The popularity of ballroom dance has seen a great resurgence in the past decade, becoming increasingly visible on reality-competition television series, music videos, commercials, and films. Ballroom styles are now making their way into Broadway shows, commer...

DET #79:
3 Key Ways Dance Teachers Can Support Injured Dancers

September 24, 2019 I Chrissy Papetti

Are you ready to hear something that’s equal parts alarming and devastating? You may want to take a seat. Approximately 8 in 10 dancers have some type of injury every year. A shocking 80% of dancers. The prevalence of injury continues to rise each year, with dancers beginning training at a younger age and intensity of training rising with an increase in talent level. It’s a quiet, underlying epidemic in the dance world, and yet there is so much variation in how dance teachers, families, and peers are prepared to support the injured dancer throughout the recovery proc...

DET #78: Literature in Dance

September 17, 2019 | Christine Reed

As you embark on your summer curriculum planning in preparation for next school year and dance season (or take some well deserved time to yourself), I want to share with you some literary resources to bring into your dance class. Maybe you’ll find one you love, or want to introduce to your students, and you can sit back and enjoy a good book while you lesson plan!

All of life can be told through a story. And I find when those stories are brought into the dance studio, it helps students bring stories to life on stage. Literature, in any class, brings multiple benefits. Not only does literature engage learners, but it also makes class content relevant, helps learning stick and become memorable, and connects our work to the rest of the world.


DET #77: 3 Ways to Stay True to Hip Hops Roots in a Dance Studio

September 03, 2019 | John Barrella

1.   Know Your Roots!

Learn your history and gain an understanding of the environment it was developed in. Not only is this a no brainer when it comes to all genres...but learning the roots of street dance will help you differentiate between the stuff we do in the studio that's actually coming from hip hop vs somewhere else. The relationship between hip hop and the social atmosphere can be misleading. Although hip hop did develop through the social environment...

DET #76:
#BoysDanceToo- Creating a More Inclusive Environment for Male Dancers at a Studio

August 27, 2019 I   Michael Lupacchino

Recently, Good Morning America co-anchor Lara Spencer received widespread criticism after making some insensitive and uninformed comments regarding Prince George taking ballet as part of his educational studies. This sparked a nationwide conversation about men in dance and created the #boysdancetoo movement, derived from a trending Twitter hashtag. As an emerging dance professional whose research area/interest (including my MFA thesis) is in men in dance, I was asked to provide some tips for dance educators and studio owners on creating a more inclusive environment for their male dance students...

DET #75: Ways Dance Teachers Can Make Their Classroom More Inclusive

August 06, 2019 | Tiffany Geigel

A child with a disability more than likely will not notice they are different. It is not until the bullying starts or the “why do you look like that” questions start to arise, do we notice ahhh something is wrong with me. Society and people are the ones to tell us “something is wrong with you, you’re different, you can’t do things like us." Then when we go out into the world we are set aside from everyone else and told that we can't be par...

DET #74: 10 Ways to End Choreographer’s Block and Get Inspired for this Dance Season

July 23, 2019 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I don’t know about you, but a few months ago my brain was FRIED. I truly couldn’t have come up with another dance or concept if I tried. I was too exhausted and saturated from another successful, but busy year of dance. Now that a month has gone by and I’ve had time to decompress, I’m ready to start planning dances for the 2019-2020 season. If you’re in the same boat, I’ve come up with a list of ways to end choreographer’s block and get inspired for this coming year...

DET #73: 5 Reasons to Get Your Dancers out of the Mirror

July 16, 2019 | Olivia Mode-Cater

The mirror is a staple in a dance classroom. If you were to look at all the dance spaces around the world, the mirror is probably their most common feature. On many occasions, the mirror can be a helpful tool that assists students in finding alignment and learning choreography quickly; however, dancers can often become too reliant on the mirror and it becomes a hindrance instead of a tool...

DET #72: 3 Easy Steps to Getting Out of Your Dance Teaching Rut

July 2, 2019 I Kelsey Nelson

When I was asked about writing a blog for DanceEdTips, the topic of ‘changing up your training’ was something that I felt I could speak on. I started by creating new methods of class design and writing out plans for approaching summer training differently. Soon after i started writing, it was boring and somewhat uninspired. What I concluded is...

DET #71: Teachers Work Over the Summer?

June 25, 2019 | Cate Sommerhalter

It is almost the end of the school year, and like clockwork, we all start hearing the same statements and questions. These come in many forms, but the bottomline is that I hate them all. Which ones do you recognize? “Oh, do you work in the summer?” “I wish I had three months off.” “I should have been a teacher, they hardly ever wor...

DET #70: Dance Teacher Summer Reading List Part 2

June 18, 2019 | Olivia Mode-Cater

Yay!! Summer is almost here! Soon you’ll be able to kickback by the pool with a good book and glass of rosé in hand. I’ve put together my Dance Teacher Reading List for Summer 2019! These books are the ones that I’ve frequently turned to for content and guidance throughout this academic year.   I’m confident you’ll get a lot out of them too!

DET #69: How to Make Your Dance Studio More Inclusive for LGBTQ+ Dancers

June 4, 2019 | Olivia Mode-Cater

In honor of Pride Month, we want to share with you important and valuable resources so that you can make your classroom the most welcoming and safe space for LGBTQ+ dancers. These resources will guide you on what type of language to use, how to reflect and identify your biases, what to do if a student comes out to you, and much more...

DET #68: One-Day FUNday Camps

May 28, 2019 | Andrea Trench

Bring excitement and additional revenue to your studio with one-day camps!

These events can be sprinkled throughout your season, during holiday breaks, or over the summer months. Offering a one-day camp allows new students the opportunity to learn more about the overall experience they can expect if they decide to further their dance education at your studio. For current students, these camps are bonus events to add to their regular dance schedule and the perfect occasion to invite non-dance friends. Students also have the opportunity to explore a new dance style they may not experience weekly...

DET #67: 3 Ways You’re Making Lesson Planning Harder for Yourself

May 21, 2019 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

One of the most common things I hear dance teachers say is: “I hate lesson planning.” I get it. Lesson planning is tedious. It takes a lot of your time. It feels unnecessary sometimes and it’s boring. I know that I would much rather be moving and dancing with my students than sitting at my desk trying to plan out my dance classes. HOWEVER, if you truly want your student to make progress and succeed, you need to properly lesson plan. Lesson planning is how you get students to layer concepts, dig deep into technique and concepts of dance, and help them retain content and skills. Here are 3 things that you are doing with lesson planning that is making your life harder and more stressful than it needs to be...

DET #66: 3 Activities to Help Your Dancers Perform!

May 14, 2019 | Jasmine Beaulieu

Performance is the ultimate difference between a good dancer and a great dancer!  Dance is intended to be an artistic expression, but the more you teach dance the more you realize it’s extremely hard get your students to point their feet, especially while keeping a smile on their face. Every great story needs a great storyteller to bring it to life and the more a dancer recognizes that as their role, the more dynamic their performances will be. I always classify performing as an exchange of energy between the performer and the audience, but the performer has to initiate that exchange with their inner spark.  Here are 3 fun activities to incorporate in the classroom to aid your dancers in being that spark!

DET #65: Dance in Our Communities

April 23, 2019 | Kathy Costa

This blog post brings me such great joy and excitement as I sit in my office about to share the importance of communal support and engagement thru the art of dance. I am Kathy Costa McKeown the owner and artistic director of DanceWorks Studios in Montclair, NJ currently in our 21st Season of Dance. When I embarked upon my journey to open my dance studio I vowed that EVERY child should have the opportunity to dance regardless of shape, size, color, economic statue, gender, or any other difference we may have...

DET #64:
Poetry and Dance

April 16, 2019 I   Michele Stevens

Incorporating poetry into your dance class is a wonderful opportunity for interdisciplinary work. I highly recommend the poetry of Shel Silverstein for your classroom. Many of his poems invite movement, creativity, and most of all kids just adore them!

DET #63: The Dancer’s Hip: Top 5 Exercises for a Healthy Hip Joint

April 9, 2019 I Jenna Calo

As a Physical Therapist, hip pain in dancers is one of the top complaints that I see. When we examine common movements in dance, we can see that the hip joint has high demands placed on it regardless of the genre. Turnout and height of leg as well as the power required for jumps all put variable loads on the dancer’s hip. Hip pain can present itself in a few different areas...

DET # 62:
Building Better Dancers Through Mind To Muscle Connection

April 2, 2019 | Danielle Weitman


Articulate movements, control, flexibility, strength and artistry all encompass the beauty of dance. Behind each carefully crafted movement lies a series of muscles working vigorously to support the dancer performing them. Just like any athlete, a dancer’s muscles serve purpose to stabilize, stretch and jump, but are instructors properly training their students to understand the working muscles within this art form?

DET #61:
How to Reignite Your Creative Spirit

March 26, 2019 | Shannon Dooling-Cain

I have a confession to make: I didn’t start out my career wanting to be a dance educator. Choreography was my passion, and I dreamed of becoming the next Paul Taylor or Pina Bausch. I started teaching because it paid the bills, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that education was what truly made my heart sing.
I still find myself wanting to indulge my choreographic impulses beyond the typical class combination or recital piece...

DET # 59:
5 ways to stay true to jazz dance's roots

March 5, 2019   I   Camille Moten

With these thoughts in mind, I began to do research to create a more historically informed learning environment for my jazz classes. Like many jazz teachers, I still begin class with a set warm-up that organizes and prepares the body for movement, then move to the across the floor and centre combinations. However, I scaffold my class under the framework of passing on the communal spirit and social practice of jazz dance.

DET #58:
5 ways to catch up an absent student

February 26, 2019   I   Sherry Fass

Catching up an absent student is one of the most frustrating parts of being a dance teacher! You're annoyed because the dancer wasn't here and you're mad because now you have to take time out of class to catch them up. These were all my sentiments on this topic until I watched Sherry Fass teach a high school dance class. I came to observe Sherry and this exact situation happened. She had a lesson plan, but a st...

DET #57:
Celebrating black history in dance

January 29, 2019 I   Susan Daddy Pope

When I was a young dancer, I remember boasting to my Aunt Ruth about my dancing. I showed her some of my tap and jazz routines I learned at my local dance school and said I wanted to be like Shirley Temple. My Aunt Ruth said to me, “that’s nice but do you know who Bill Bojangles Robinson, Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus are?” I was embarrassed to admit, I had never heard of these dancers she spoke of. My aunt said to me lovi...

DET # 56:
3 recommended websites for dance teachers

February 12, 2019   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

A few weeks ago, I shared with you three apps that my Hofstra dance education majors recommended for dance teachers. If you haven’t read that blogpost yet, click here. This week I am featuring the 3 websites that my Hofstra University students recommend for dance teachers....

DET #55:
How to improve your saut de chat

February 5, 2019   I   Lisa Rumbauskas

Saut de Chat is certainly one of the most iconic steps in ballet. We’ve all seen pictures of that gorgeous long line soaring through the air! So how does one get their split off the floor and flying through space? Here are just a few exercises to help get your dancers’ to perfect their saut de chat!

DET #54:
Mindfulness: How do we use it in the dance classroom?

January 29, 2019 I   Maddie Warriner

Mindfulness is any thinking, moving, breathing activity where metacognition, or thinking about thinking (and feeling) is brought in. It is actively observing and participating in mental and physical processes. We have all experienced dance as a mindful event.

DET # 53:
3 recommended apps for dance teachers

January 22, 2019   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Last semester I taught a course at Hofstra University called “Educational Technology in Dance Education.”   For the students’ final project, I had them research and do a presentation on an app or website designed to help dance educators.   On the day of the final I was impressed with the students’ findings and today I am going to share some of them with you. So, if you’re looking to make your life easier check out Hofstra’s d...

DET #52:
3 tips to creating amazing recital pieces

January 15, 2019   I   Allison Spadaro

Now that we are halfway into the studio year, most teachers are choreographing a piece to show off all the new skills that the students learned in dance class. Choreographing recital dances isn’t just about crafting excellent work. You also have consider how to make the dancers happy, the families astounded, and the studio owner proud. Here are three tips that I keep in mind when beginning to choreograph recital pieces. By ke...

DET #51:
How dance teachers can negotiate their pay

January 8, 2019 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had several people reach out to me asking how much they should charge for their teaching. Money is an uncomfortable topic in dance, especially when it is common for dancers to be expected to perform in exchange for exposure. This part of dance culture drastically needs to change. Teaching dance is our livelihood and we deserve to be fairly compensated for our skills and expertise. Here...

DET # 50:
5 things dance teachers should do while on break

December 19, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Winter break is almost here! Huzzah! We have made it through 4 long months of teaching, choreographing, coaching, mentoring, performing, and dancing. It is now time to celebrate the holidays and spend time family. I also see winter break as an opportunity to do all the things that I don’t make time for during my normal schedule. This includes doing things for myself, my body, and my teaching practice. Here are 5 recommenda...

DET #49:
Chronicles of new elementary school dance teacher

November 27, 2018   I   Melissa Denholtz

Today I want to feature another incredible dance educator in her first year of teaching at a public school: Melissa Denholtz! I chose to feature Melissa and Veronica (from Dance Ed Tip #48 Chronicles of a New High School Dance Teacher), because your first year of teaching in a public school is life changing. It is the year where you try to implement your teaching vision for the first time. It is the year that you discover t...

DET #48:
Chronicles of new high school dance teacher

November 13, 2018 I   Veronica Cheeseboro

Today I’m excited to share with you a guest blog post by Veronica Cheeseboro! Veronica was one of my graduate students at Rutgers University and has incredible passion, charisma, and creativity in the classroom. When she got a job running a high school dance program I knew that I wanted her to share her experiences and Dance Ed Tips with all of you! Without further ado, here is Veronica’s blog post on her first few months as...

DET # 47:
5 reasons why you should collaborate with other teachers

October 30, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I know that collaborating with other teachers can feel impractical. There is so much that we need to get done in our own classroom, that sometimes it is easier to put our heads down and just do our own thing. In theory, it would be wonderful to have ample time to work with coworkers and develop astounding cross-curricular units, but most of the time collaborating can feel like another stressful thing we have to try to fit int...

DET #46:
Help! My dancers won't stop talking

October 23, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

A few weeks ago, a really awesome dance teacher named Jamie reached out to me asking for advice: Hi! I find your page and your posts a big source of helpful resources when it comes to dance education. I'm curious if you have any thoughts on the middle-school aged dancer, especially since you have taught in a studio and teach in a school setting....

DET #45:
Dance ED Tips is hiring an intern!

October 9, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Join the Dance ED Tips family! Dance ED Tips is growing and we need to add someone fabulous to our team! This is an unpaid, part-time internship with the possibility of becoming a paid position in the future.   The workload will be 5-10 hours per week and can be done remotely. You do NOT need to live in NJ/NY to apply.

DET # 44:
NDEO 2018 Instagram Takeover

October 2, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

As the 2018 National Dance Education Organization Conference approaches, I am getting more and more envious of all the dance teachers going this year! Even though I am not attending, (I am in a wedding! J) I felt that it was important for the Dance ED Tips followers to get an inside look of the conference. That is why I am excited to share with you that Elizabeth Zwierzynski is doing an Instagram takeover during her time at NDEO!

DET #43:
Tips on how to save your voice while teaching

September 18, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I don’t know about you, but it’s week 3 and my throat is killing me! Saving my voice is a constant issue in my teaching practice. I always get caught up in the moment and end up shouting over music or projecting loudly, even when I don’t need to. I’ve gotten into the habit of clapping students in for 5, 6, 7, 8 instead of saying it. It helps, but it hasn’t fixed my problem. That is why I turned to all of you to help me figure out better solutions...

DET #42:
It's week 2! Are you still enforcing your routines & procedures?

September 11, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

It’s early in the school year and we have now seen our students a couple of times. They are starting to understand who we are as teachers and what our expectations are in class. The next 2 months of the year are very crucial, because your students are going to test your consistency. They are going to test to see where your boundaries really are and if you are going to actually enforce your rules and procedures.

DET # 41: Studio Teacher’s Guide to Organizing their Classes

September 4, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

About 2 years ago, I was only teaching at dance studios. I was averaging between 22-24 different dance classes per week! It was a lot, but I know for studio teachers this kind of load is quite common. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to rely on my memory or my dancers to remember everything we had done the week before, so I had to figure out a system that worked to help me keep track of all my classes. Therefore, I created my...

DET #40:
Olivia's must-haves for this dance season

August 28, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I don’t know about you, but right now I’m in full crazy mode. I’m writing curriculum, designing lesson plans, sending emails, decorating classrooms, choreograping dances and trying to keep my sanity. During this busy time, it’s easy for some things to fall through the cracks. Here is my list of 5 things you must plan or prepare for before going into the dance year.

DET #39:
Free Composition Lesson Plan

August 21, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

As the school year approaches, it is common for teachers to discuss the students that they will have in this year’s classes. Teachers will inform their colleagues about the upcoming talent and will also warn them about the challenging students that they will face for this season. Although we do this with good intensions, I think when we do this we are taking away one of our students’ most important rights: the right to a clean...

DET # 38:
A sporty way to start the year with non-dancers!

August 7, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I think the hardest group of students to teach are novices who don’t identify as dancers. The students who don’t select dance as part of their schedule usually have the least motivation and enthusiasm for dance. This can make deciding what to teach them at the beginning of the year a big challenge, because the dance teacher needs to start the year with an exciting unit to get them on board. For this particular demographic o..

DET #37:
Olivia's must-haves for this dance season

July 31, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

August is the time of year when teachers do most of their back to school shopping! This can be fun, but overwhelming! There’s so much stuff out there and it can be hard to decipher what will really be useful in your classroom and what will be a waste of money. To make things easier for you I’ve created my list of must-haves for this year!

DET #36:
Free Composition
Lesson Plan

July 24, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Teaching choreography is challenging because you need to give your students the right balance of freedom and structure. If you give too much freedom, your dancers won’t know how to start and will be at a loss of ideas, or they will default into the typical movement that they know and do regularly. If you give too much structure, your dancers will feel confined and uninspired. I think this lesson is a good balance of the two...

DET # 35:
Why we need to go back to teaching technique

July 19, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Dance magazine recently published an article by Theresa Ruth Howard called “Is Instagram Changing The Dance World’s Value System?” In her article, Howard discusses how social media has led the dance community (especially the younger generation of movers) to become fixated on the extremes of dance: hyper-flexibility, endless turns, and gravity-defying balances. One of the consequences she describes in her article is the impac...

DET #34:
8 things to include in a college audition solo

July 3, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Part of the audition process for many universities is to perform 1:30-2 minute solo. Here are the 8 things that I recommend including in a solo for a college audition:

DET #33:
2018 dance teacher summer reading list

June 19, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

It is summer! School is out and dance classes are over! It is finally time to rest, recover, and begin planning for next year. The summer is a wonderful opportunity to read and be inspired for 2018-2019 dance season. Here is my list of recommended summer reading:

DET # 32:
3 things to ask dancers on
the last day

June 12, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

In addition to doing something exciting on the last day of dance, I think it is also important to give dancers an opportunity to reflect. Although it can be hard to receive constructive criticism from our students, it is important that we listen to them. They often can provide insights about our class and good suggestions on how to make our classrooms better. Every year I genuinely implement many of the ideas my dancers giv...

DET #31:

May 29, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Reflection is always the key to development and improvement. After performances are over, I definitely recommend dance teachers taking some time to recognize the things that went well and the things that could’ve gone better. Click the link for my two main takeaways for this past show.

DET #30:
7 classes to teach once the performance is over

May 15, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

The good news is that the show is over! The bad news is that you still have to get through several more weeks of teaching before the school year ends. Doing normal classes can be hard during this time of the year because your dancers’ bodies and minds are tired and there is no impending performance to motivate them. Here are 7 different types of classes that I have done to keep students engaged and learning through the end o..

DET # 29:
Why you should offer a daddy-daughter dance class

May 7, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Yesterday, I had the privilege of observing my dear friend Lindsey DellaSerra teach a daddy-daughter ballet class at Moving Youth Dance Company in Cranford, NJ. Lindsey has an incredible way of making all the adults (dads, brothers, grandpas, and uncles!) feel comfortable and she ensures that everyone has lots of fun! It was such a joy to see all of the dancers share this special moment with their loved ones and there were s...

DET #28:
3 ways to prep dancers for a great performance!

April 30, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Let me tell you something you already know: it’s performance season! From the months of April to June, it feels like concerts, recitals, competitions, and shows take over our lives. I have already gotten one group through two performances and I have another that I am preparing now. Getting students to feel confident and prepared to hit the stage is some of the most tedious and tiring work that we do. Here are 3 things I do...

DET #27:
3 ways PD for dance teachers needs to improve

April 24, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Like many of you, I have gone to my fair share of professional development sessions. As a K-12 teacher, I have gone to many general education workshops where the content didn’t feel very relevant to what I do in the classroom and, on my own, I had to try to make connections to the methods and strategies being presented. As a dance teacher, I have also attended quite a few dance-specific professional development workshops. F..

DET # 26:
Dance teachers' tips on how to overcome a bad class

April 16, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

On Friday I posted a videoabout how horribly I bombed a dance class with my kindergarten and first graders. Even though I have taught this age group for a long time, on that day nothing came together. They were hyper, inattentive, and distracted. I tried lots of ways that have worked in the past of reeling them into the content, but on that day, everything failed. My followers wrote the nicest comments that really helped m...

DET #25:
How to pass edTPA for dance

March 26, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

What is the edTPA you may ask? The edTPA is a performance-based assessment that is used to measure readiness of candidates in teacher preparation programs. What does this mean for future dance educators? It means that if you are looking to teach dance in public schools in the future, there is a large chance you are going to have to pass this test. The Performing Arts edTPA has several steps you must complete:

DET #24:
What is your classroom management style?

March 13, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

In order for learning to occur, dance teachers need to have strong classroom management. Without appropriate procedures, rules, and expectations in place, the dance studio can be a chaotic and unproductive place. There are 4 main types of classroom management styles and they are broken down by how demanding and warm you are with your dancers. Take a look at the four styles and honestly reflect on which one is happening in y...

DET # 23:
4 new ways to give dancers feedback

March 6, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Verbal feedback is the predominate way that dance teachers help their students and, in many cases, can be effective in getting the results we want; however, not every student responds well to this kind of correction. Here are 4 other types of feedback you should also use in your class..

DET #22:
How to spice up freeze dance with moon dust

February 12, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Dance games at the end of class can be great motivators for students and freeze dance is usually a dance teacher’s go-to game. It’s quick and easy and can be a great reward for hardworking dancers. I have created a new twist to freeze dance called Moon Dust. It is a hit with every group I teach!

DET #21:
What to do when a dancer is sitting out with an injury

February 5, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Dancers sitting out with injuries is a challenge for teachers in all settings: studios, K-12 schools, and higher education. You want the student to come to class because you know they can benefit from being an observer; however, it is hard to keep them involved and engaged in the material...

DET # 20:
How to decide between artistic vision & your students' enthusiasm

January 29, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I have a wonderful problem on my hands: they LOVE the dance and they want to be in all the sections! I had originally intended for a smaller group of dancers to be in the opening section and to have the rest enter 30 seconds later; however, they all love the beginning of the dance and have respectfully vocalized wanting to be in it.

DET #19:
Alternative to giving stickers and stamps

January 22, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Stickers and stamps are rewards that are often given out at the end of classes to increase compliance and motivation for younger dancers. I have even seen teachers even give out toys, sunglasses, flip flops, and stuffed animals to students at the end of class! I understand that particular students need this type of motivation due to developmental, social, and learning needs; however, there is much research that shows how giv...

DET #18:
How to motivate students who don't want to dance

January 15, 2018 I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I was digging through some old emails this week and I had found an email exchange between a colleague and I. At the time, I was working in a charter high school where I had to teach all the students in the school. This meant that all 250 students had to take dance with me every year. This was a great challenge in many ways, but the main difficulty was motivating students who didn’t have a prior interest in dance. This crea..

DET # 17:
How to quickly transition across the floor

January 8, 2018   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

Transitions as a dancer are one of the most challenging aspects of technique. To dance in between the steps and connect all the dots takes deliberate application and practice. The same is true for dance teachers: transitioning between exercises in class are some of the most difficult moments. It’s during this time when students can easily lose focus, start talking, or get spatially disorganized. Therefore, I recommend buildi...

DET #16:
Create movement cards!

December 27, 2017   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

My movement flash cards are one of the tools I use the most in my classroom! I use these in studios, K-12 schools, and higher ed. The uses for them are endless and the more you use them the more ideas will come to you. Plus, they are really easy to make!

I use my movement cards for teaching improvisation, choreography, Laban, locomotor vs. nonlocomotor movements, and many other things, but below I'm going to dive into my...

DET #15:
Let college students know where they stand

October 20, 2017   I   Olivia Mode-Cater

I've found that in technique classes midterm juries are routine; however, for dance theory classrooms this isn't always the convention. This is something I’ve decided to add to my own higher education teaching practice and have found really builds a sense of trust and accountability in the classroom...