Author: Cricket

 

After high school? Teach? Own? Opt out?

 

If you are going to college, you may find that you really don’t have time for anything just yet. That’s okay.  – been there -done that. It’s all cool!

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”.

Momma Drama II

I guess if they hate me, they are leaving someone else alone. Ever been there? Ha ha.. I have, many times. Guess I have this problem with the “truth”. People on the other end of the “truth” have a hard time hearing it.

You have to love those mommies that linger in the practice gyms and yell out over the top of the directors and the instructors. What I’ve learned about those lingering mommies through the years is that:

– lingering mommies better be front and center when the real deal “the dance” is being performed. Chances are the student no longer can hear the director or instructor because Momma has to be sought out.

-Watch their little faces as they look around on the floor for a focus point. Where is momma? Not where is coach or teacher, but rather “where is momma”.

Drama mamma re-visited.

It’s not that mom’s deliberately want to take over, they just haven’t burned out yet. They haven’t gotten to the point that they ALLOW the directors and instructors to take charge. They some how think that by injecting their ideas at a competition, that – that will somehow make it all smoother. NOT!

Words of advice for moms. You need to be the best cheerleader for your young dancer that you can be. But unfortunately you have to do that on the side lines. Just like football, you can’t be on the field. You can’t be there to hold their hands. They have to experience it to learn. It’s hard
for moms to learn.

I burned out early. Somewhere in the 4th grade. But back then the coach really knew what she was doing. She had a lot invested in the studio where my child was. She was a wonderful lady, and a hell of a good coach. Not only would she yell at all those precious darlings, she did it with bull horn. You know those big horns like the cheerleaders use to get their message heard. Had a whistle one year.

Here is quick example of when you may have pushed to far.

You paint your fence white, and you leave one section to be done later. You have plenty of time to finish it before the sun sets, so you take a tea break.

Well, you come home from your break to find that your neighbor has painted the remaining fence green, because it matches their landscape. They just simple thought you had forgotten that section. Besides “isn’t green pretty”?

Things like this happen in dance too. It deals with creative rights. I can see solo’s being redone here and there. I can see team dances getting adjusted to the team level. What is hard for people who actually are at the ground level, studying and designing the works to deal with, is “the green fence drama”.

Yes the truth hurts. But….if you are a director or instructor of a young team, you have to have someone say the “truth” eventually. The earlier you tell the truth – the quicker you can deal with any momma posse. Not saying you will have one – but…… yeah……

The upturn on this re-visting of momma drama is just to make sure that you young directors and instructors stay on your toes. You have the right to control your team. If you let the parents take over they will. They will run you into the ground, and then blame you. You have to stand up and defend your position. There will be parent who try to control other parents as well – beware the momma posse. On a whole most parents are reasonable and use commen sense. But…in a competition setting that can change.

You shouldn’t have to walk on pens and needles around your parents. That is something “the first something” that you will need to nail in the bud. You are in charge! You will have to tell the “truth ladies”, and it will hurt. Sometimes it’s you who hurts.

Trust is earned, so be strong and don’t back down. Your little girls need you. Go be with them as they dance.

I was a dang good drama momma in my days. So when I tell someone the “truth” You know it’s gonna hurt. Who knows, 10 or 15 years from now – you might have to tell some young mom the “truth” too.

Lock and load ladies.

Dancer Highlights – Bailey Hansen “Bay”

Dance and Leadership.

Bailey was always fun to watch in dance class.  She had to perfect everything she did and still does.  If she didn’t feel she had a move down, she would go home and practice until it was “done”!   Were talking areal’s too!  I watched her grow from a young dancer who was very much into hip-hop, into a polish and refined contemporary jazz dancers.  She could rock it on the dance floor then, and she does.

A very charming and kind dancer, when she would lead the class for me, the students were attentive and enjoyed her good nature.  The number of students who followed her, and sought out her style of dance was insane.  She was able to create a number of her dancers and help with class routines and soloists.

Workings with Bailey was a joy.  A comedian in her spare time.  If someone was down, she was always there to help cheer them up.

 

Bailey is inspiring still.  Dancing at the state level with a team that equals her passions and deliverance on the floor.  Pushing her to new heights and new explorations.

College-bound she will undoubtedly be as technically detailed in her studies as she is on the dance floor. When she brings it – she brings it all.