It starts at the top

A studio’s vibe, culture and environment is crucial to its success. There are endless articles and studies on this, but we don’t need to go down the rabbit hole that is Google to discover what we already know.

It starts at the top. The responsibility sits on the shoulders of the studio director to continuously ensure that he/she is setting the tone. Expectations of how students show up to class and act in class is set by the top. It doesn’t matter how adept the faculty is.

Interpersonal skills are key. The message we think we send may not be the message that’s being received. Keeping our finger on the pulse helps to know and understand if something isn’t right and needs to be addressed.

It’s a two way street. Dancers and families need to respect the precedent that is set. Show up on time, read the notices and ask questions. Avoid placing blame and understand what’s expected.

Mantras like “We are a family” and team-building retreats with trust falls feel good in the moment, but in the end don’t work. It’s up to the leaders to lead by example.

By Denise Caston-Clark

Hi! I'm Denise Caston-Clark, a professional dancer, choreographer and dance educator. I am a former Radio City Rockette and currently direct Tap Dance Detroit and the annual Motor City Tap Fest.

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