It is always good for teachers to keep on top of all the latest dances and teaching methods. One great way to do have continuing education is to attend a dance convention, conference or workshop. These provide many benefits, including networking with other teachers, dancers and choreographers.
Tips for attending
- Be open and positive: Remember you are there to learn. You also want to show others how talented you are as well. Put your best foot forward.
- Be respectful: Others are there to show their talent and learn. Be respectful of their time and space.
- Dress appropriately: You are there as a teacher first an foremost. Some conventions have a dress code and showing a lot of skin doesn’t always come across in the best light. Wear comfortable, form-fitting attire and remember to dress in layers because some rooms may be air-conditioned.
- Find a good spot: When you’re in a class, position yourself in the room so you can see the instructor and he or she can see you.
- Ask questions: Convention classes often go very quickly. You may not pick up on everything the first time through. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or find more information on the convention website.
Where to go
This is a four-day workshop held at SUNY Purchase College. Learn different choreography for a variety of age groups and observe teachers instructing the Summer School of Excellence program. Organizers state many teachers return to their own studios “with renewed vigor and confidence – encouraged by the insights, understanding and techniques” they gain during the seminar. Faculty is subject to change year to year. Past instructors included Karin Averty, winner of the Grand Prix at Varna and Principal Dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet; Iain Macdonald, Principal Dancer with PACT Ballet and McCree O’Kelley who toured internationally in the Broadway production of Cats.
Teachers seeking a conference where you can learn a lot of different dances will find great variety here. Contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap and funk classes are all on the program as well as special men’s classes. The faculty is said to be “talented, energetic, down-to-earth and supportive in every way.” Instructors include Dana Foglia who worked as an assistant choreographer and personal trainer for Beyoncé on her “I Am..2009 Tour;” Travis Wall, a choreographer for the television show, So You Think You Can Dance; and Will Loftis, assistant choreographer for Miley Cyrus’ “Gypsy Heart Tour” as well as numerous other shows.
This two-day convention is open to dancers from ages 6 to adult. Group discounts are available if you decide to attend with others. It is instructional as well as challenging for different levels of dancers. If you like an instructor, they welcome invitations to teach master classes back at your studio. The world-renowned faculty has worked with some of the biggest stars, including Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Mariah Cary and Jennifer Hudson, just to name a few.
You will not only have dance classes at this three-day conference, but business and marketing seminars, a fashion show, and access to the industry’s leading dance vendors. Organizers say the summit is unique in that it “strives to bridge the gap between the expertise of legendary master teachers with the cutting edge styles of today’s most influential choreographers.” Instructors include Mark Meismer, a Los Angeles dancer who has worked with Madonna, Ricky Martin and Britney Spears as well as choreographing TV shows such as Dancing With The Stars; Misha Gabriel who danced on tour with Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson; and Stacey Tookey, a Canadian choreographer and dancer, known for her frequent appearances as a resident choreographer and guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance.
Considered a “must attend” event for beginner to seasoned instructors, this includes business tips, teaching workshops, curriculum planning and choreography. Workshops promise practical material that can be put to use in your own studio. Fresh and unique ideas about driving retention and building revenue are also part of the program. Networking opportunities include a cocktail reception, fashion show and daily themed events. Faculty includes Aja DePaolo, currently dancing in the Britney Spears “Piece of Me” Las Vegas Residency; Dolly Kelepecz, affiliate assistant professor of ballet at UNLV; and Merle Sepel, one of only 180 examiners worldwide for the Royal Academy of Dance and judge for the American Academy of Ballet’s Performance Awards.
Author Caitlyn Beall is President and dance insurance expert at DanceStudioInsurance.com.