Should I Teach There?

Oh the wide spectrum of dance eduction: there are establishments staffed with prestigious and wonderful teachers, and then there are those places most nicely described ‘Dolly Dinkle’ studios.

CAPTION THIS! what do you think Jerome Robbins is saying to Peter Martins in this picture? (leave your idea as a comment)

CAPTION THIS! what do you think Mr. Balanchine is saying to Peter Martins in this picture? (leave your idea as a comment)

My guidelines for recognizing a good studio from a place that is (a slap in the face to real dance and the faculty that has worked for years to become knowledgable and skilled) … just B-A-D:

1. Most competition studios set off a red flag- there are, sometimes good teachers but I disagree with the product over process emphasis that I tend to find here. Kids tend to learn A dance, not TO dance. And I’m sorry, but they all make me think of this…

2. Anywhere that combines ballet and tap in an hour lesson

3. Places that describe the practice of dancing on pointe as ‘toe’

4. Studios where students (or their unfortunate and ignorant parents) have to purchase a tacky, shiny, slutty crop top when they are five years old. Just FYI parents, you’re paying for sequins, not education

If you like it then you shoulda put a respectable leotard on it

If you like it then you shoulda put a respectable leotard on it

5. Any place where the word ‘acro’ or ‘poms’ comes up, I personally bourre for the hills

6. Staff bios won’t include a degree in dance from a good university (emphasis here on good because it seems that every po-dunk nobody college now has a dance major), professional experience with a good company, or previous training from a prestigious place of learning- might instead list something like ‘captain of the dance team in high school’ as an actual credential

6. Any place that oh-so-artistically MISSPELLS a word for their home-base of terrible…expressionz. movez. artz...you get the idea.

I am happy to say (in your most snobbish bunhead voice please) that I teach dance and musical theatre for a few of the most credible studios here in St. Louis. I am however, looking for more hours of work and would like to fill them with dance and not swiping up breadcrumbs at the Olive Garden. My main criteria at this point are good hours, a decent pay rate, classes that I actually want to teach, and hopefully enthusiastic students. If a school is nationally recognised, consistently produces professional alumni, or is close to my apartment, even better.

If you also, are considering taking on some new classes or starting at a new school, here are my tips (done map style) for navigating the business world of teaching jobs.

More maps here: Should I dance for Free?

IMG_8889Of course let’s not forget karma and generosity and volunteering time and talents to those in need. All good things. They rack right up there with those sparkly crop tops (I secretly want one too) xo-jess

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4 thoughts on “Should I Teach There?

  1. “If you grab her ribs like that, of course she’ll kick you!”. Or “Dinner was great. The meatballs were THAT big!”

  2. I don’t think teaching at a BAD studio lessens your credentials as a teacher. It’s like teaching English at an inner city school in Phx…good teachers who want a challenge are needed. I say work where they pay the most. T.Hanks for the Tom Hanks video!

    • Yes, good point. The core ingrediant for a worthwhile teaching job is sharing the vision with those in charge. For instance, I value both upholding the tradition and discipline with dance but also value an encouraging healthy environment. I don’t think teaching in a ‘bad’ studio lessens me or my credentials, I think I would just find it personally very frustrating.

  3. Pingback: Gymnastics Vs. Dance | BODIES NEVER LIE

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