April 23, 2019 | Kathy Costa
Dance ED Tips Blog
DET #65: Dance in Our Communities
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...
Poetry and Dance
April 16, 2019 I Michele Stevens
DET #63: The Dancer’s Hip: Top 5 Exercises for a Healthy Hip Joint
April 9, 2018 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?
How to Reignite Your Creative Spirit
March 26, 2019 | Shannon Dooling-Cain
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.
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...
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....
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!
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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....
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!
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...
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...
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.
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..
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!
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...
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:
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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:
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..
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!
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...