Not everyone wants to go back into the dance world right out of high school. The load of college is sometimes too much. You might be noticing that a lot of people you went to school with are settling down and having kids already. But not all. A lot are opting to get an established career going after college.
Some are trying their hand at teaching dance. Not as easy as you think. Family commitment, college, and job responsibilities make that living hard, if it isn’t your full time occupation. Trying to arrange to travel to competitions is also “out of pocket”. A few are even trying the studio route. Again, not as easy as you think.
Good studios aren’t running off debt, and renting space will quickly drain your wallet due to all the over head costs. If you are challenged to open your own studio, a little word of caution may be in order – take up bookkeeping first.
Another precaution, is when you decide to partner with a friend to open a studio. That can also be a sure way to end a friendship. It might be something to consider before you put your name on the dotted line. It costs you nothing to sit down and visit with the Small Business Development (SBD) professional and talk about setting up your own business. You need a good business plan.
What are the responsibilities in a partnership, and who has the final say? Deciding not to partner with a friend in a business venture can have a number of different outcomes. But even if they open a studio of their own without you – big deal. Open your own. May the best technical teacher “bookkeeper” win… It’s called Capitalism.
Then there are those who aren’t likely to ever give up dance. It will be with them until the end. These are generally your lifers. They radiate dance. They still enjoy the art of dance, but don’t want to be saddled with the debt, management, and administrative aspects. They prefer the creative end of things. Being able to continue to train and learn is what its all about. They don’t have the desire to take over. They are your consultants, professionals outside of the internal organization that you can draw advice and help from.
Making up your mind to continue in dance is something only you can do. Deciding who, what, when, and how, is also your choice. If you really love dance you will find a way to be involved at some level.
It really is up to all of us to train the next generation of dancers. The real talent in young dancers is discovered between the ages of K through 5th grade. This is when they start to solidify their technique – in these early years. If they are strong and study hard past this time, then hopefully they won’t look gangly and thin in their teen years. 7th through 9th grade is a very difficult time for dancers body wise, and unfortunately social wise.
Sure it is nice to work with older dancers – but if they don’t have a strong dance foundation to back them up – you might as well be teaching the lower levels. Because that is what you will be doing. Having and owning all the videos and professional dance choreography in the world won’t help you if you don’t have solid technical dancers to work with.
In this same line of thinking, not everyone who teaches should teach, and that is a sad fact that many learn too late. Don’t go into something that you really don’t have a desire to stay in.
It’s important to understand where everyone is coming from, and where they are going, in a dance family. Not everyone wants the hassle of owning a studio. Not everyone wants to teach either. You have to find that balance between all the members of your dance family and use their skills to build upon each and every successful venture.
After high school – then what?
“In fashions swim with the current, in principles stand like a rock”.
Crickets dance is owned and operated by a mother daughter team, Cricket and Jan Radcliff. The mission of Crickets dance is to offer dance consulting, and provide informative views, opinions, and instruction, regarding competitive and technical dance training and drill team.
Crickets Dance serves a diverse clientele of dancers ages K-12 (and adult). Our clients are often self-referred, and seek out our services for technical training in ballet, contemporary, and jazz performance dance. Our client relationships are generally long term, and involve face-to-face instruction in a studio type environment. Our clients are looking for that edge in technical abilities that will help them or a team better prepare and perform at state and national dance competitions.
Our secondary clients include local dance studios who hire Crickets Dance to work with their students in a studio setting to instruct them in ballet and other forms of dance technique, and with instructional choreography.
Who we are
C r i c k e t R a d c l i f f , O w n e r
Cricket Radcliff received her formal education from Utah State University. She holds two degrees including a degree in business from the Huntsman’s School of Business.
Cricket began retraining to become an instructor for beginner ballet classes, under the tutelage of Belinda Hurst, who studied at the University of Utah Department of Ballet (Ballet West). She assisted in ballet, pre-pointe and pointe classes. She studied under Belinda Hurst since age 3 ½, for a total of nearly 15 years, and went en pointe at age 9, and began assistant teaching at age 15.
In high school she studied summer intensives under Kelly Hudgins, former professional ballerina for the Texas Ballet.
The portion Crickets team preparatory-instruction in jazz, was through Becky Ripper at the Red Rock Stars Dance Studio. Lyrical instruction was through Belinda Hurst. She also took individual instruction one-on-one with top solo instructors from the Moab area for over 10 years.
Cricket was responsible for training and testing students on the dance challenge routines from beginner through advanced. Students leveled up by passing off all the technical skills on each level including combination skills in ballet, jazz, and tumbling. There are eight technical levels to advanced. She is well versed in classroom training, and has worked many years as a smalls team instructor/choreographer. She has worked with and instructed classes as large as 45 students, learning entire camp routines and teaching them to students and other instructors. She also has assisted in both team and production/novelty choreography for both regional and national dance competitions.
Cricket has worked with dozens of soloists and a numerous duet groups. Her studies in this area were a reflection of teachings from former top instructors, Stephanie Davis, and Charlotte Walden. She specializes in individual training.
Cricket began tumbling at age 6 with American gymnast instructors. She later was instructed by Belinda Hurst at the Red Rock Stars Studio. She works with students who can show a level of skill and confidence necessary for solo competition.
Cricket has recently taught at the Moab Academy of Dance as a team and solo instructor. She also continues to work independently providing summer intensive camps, and individual technical and solo training.
J a n R a d c l i f f , D i r e c t o r
Jan Radcliff received her undergraduate degree in Business Management from the Huntsman’s School of Business. She also holds an advanced master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences from Utah State University. Her expertise is in “learning how people learn”, and then developing training platforms for them to learn from. Her abilities to communicate and collaborate effectively both in person and at a distance are some of her leading strong points. She has experience building productive and positive relationships with diverse dance partners. Jan’s understanding of dance is admirable, and she truly enjoys co-assisting with choreography. She thrives in a dance setting, and works efficiently for Crickets Dance as a dance consultant and web developer. As Jan would say “I love to color – digitally”.
- The Cecchetti method is a ballet training method devised by the Italian ballet master Enrico Cecchetti (1850-1928). The method is a strict training system with special concern for anatomy within the confines of classical ballet technique, and seeks to develop the essential characteristics of dance in its students through a rigid training regime. The goal is for the student to learn to dance by studying and internalizing the basic principles, in an effort to become self-reliant rather than imitating the movements executed by their teacher.
Students who work with technical instructors fair better than with the non-technical. The problem comes when the student has to work with too many non-technical trainers. That is when you start to see your student falling behind. When the non-technical teachings override the technical, you are setting your student up for failure. The effects are almost immediate.
The trade off for glittery glamour and fancy costumes are no substitute for technique. I find this hits home a lot in the ballet and technique courses taught at some studios.
A good rule of the thumb is that everyone should teach the same form of technique. You must be consistent. However, if you allow someone who has no formal background in ballet technique to be your lead, you do your students a disservice. You are in a business, and you are supposed to hire the best, and to offer the best product you can. Emotions and feelings will not build your studio. True talent will.
Take a good look at your studios top dancers. Did you really train them or did someone else? Have you taken the credit for someone else’s work? What would happen if you lost that instruction? I can tell you that your level of technically trained dancers will decrease. If you aren’t teaching proper technique, you may have a nice sparkly show, but it won’t pay off in the end at competition. As a competition judge – I’ll bust you on the technique score sheet. Because I can, and because I should. Dance is a discipline after all – and you are there to compete and be judge. If it weren’t for judging you wouldn’t show up. Think about it.
I’ve watched this technique formula unravel recently as a newer off shoot studio had its dancers level up, and in many ways is beginning to pass the older studio. It’s about being willing to WORK! If it were a popularity contest there would be a lot more people beating down the doors to work for you. At some point studio owners have to face the hard cold facts. What is technique, and how does it effect my bottom line in the long term investment of my business? What a concept “long term investment”.
Studio’s need to hire the best. But if the best is only versed in one style of dance, and has little or no formal back ground in ballet, you only have short term profits to look forward too. Dance styles change constantly, technique is here to stay however. Your long term investment is in investing in someone who will discipline your students to be consistent and hit those movements every time. That investment should include training the trainers as well. If your instructors are not on the same page from preschool to 3rd grade levels, your top levels will be weak and sporadic to say the least. Those per former years are mandatory for so many reasons. From 3rd grade through 9th grade, you will have growth issues to content with. You must have instructors who understand those growth spurts and can help student to re-learn technique. Their young bodies are developing, and muscle and bone growth is tremendous. Example: The bones in the foot of a point ballerina.
Chances are, if you have neglected technical training for your dancers, your top dancers are getting training from someone else outside your organization. So, back to the questions “Take a good look at your studios top dancers. Did you really train them or did someone else. Have you taken the credit for someone else’s work?” Are you giving a non-technical short term instructor credit for years of someone else’s instruction. Possibly destroying hard learned technical disciplines to boot.
Look at your business as “a business”. New and shiny is always enticing, but the true and proven, hard core disciple of dance is rough, and controlled, and has long term payouts.
Turns and Leaps! Dance on !
It was fun to see everyone today. Had a lot of fun! Tomorrow is hip hop – yea!!! Thanks to Malina (Grand County High School Devilette) for helping out! It is fun to get together on the off season and work together.
Learning the dance to Bombay was a good experience. I was proud to see everyone remembered most of the dance at the review at the end. You guys looked awesome. Can’t wait to see what you do with the Hip Hop tomorrow.