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Measuring Success.

KEEPING UP with the responsibilities and accepting new ones can take a toll on a dance teacher's private life. Here are suggestions on finding a balance between your personal and professional life as you measure your success.

Dance educators have an ever-growing accumulation of responsibilities. A large studio often has a huge rent or mortgage. Property and personal taxes require prompt payment. Studio upkeep is a continuing cost. Car payments and multiple credit cards add to our financial load. Coping with traffic jams and long commutes provides daily stress. And then there are those necessary but time-consuming organizational meetings, and sessions with attorneys, accountants, and insurance agencies.

Frustration at the studio includes adjusting to late costume deliveries; dealing with repair people who show up late for appointments -- if at all; and contractors we wish would never show up, who unexpectedly appear. Not all expensive equipment works properly. Telephone solicitors have no sense of privacy nor know when to call. Employees sometimes become difficult. Silent partners don't always remain silent. Neighbors complain about loud class music.

Winning at a competition becomes a challenge to continue winning. There are grudge-holding competitors. Not winning fosters the fear of losing students. Those from other schools create turmoil in yours, become a problem for diplomacy. Parents question the placement level of their children and dispute the teacher's decision. Enrollment may be lost because of these differences. And, unfortunately, students who are less disciplined must be placed, by necessity, in the same class with those who are dedicated.

The pace of life gets faster and faster. There seems to be less and less time to spend with our own children while we spend more and more time with the children of others. Relatives ask us when we are going to get a "real" job. Our workweek stretches to seventy-five hours of increased speed. Often there is a need to take a second job to keep the studio going. There is less or no time to spend with oneself.

We may have what others would consider the ultimate success -- an exciting career, a nice home and car, a good family, and more. But in the middle of these advantages, it sometimes becomes hard to realize or appreciate our success. As we try to achieve an even bigger success, we enter upon a path of burnout. Enjoying our professional life diminishes, the family takes a backseat to our new responsibilities, and we forget about personal enjoyment.

Success in the dance world often means that bigger is better. When you hear that the studio up the street has one thousand students and a huge facility, do you automatically assume that the person running that business is happy? Should we make it our goal to accomplish the same? Perhaps that studio owner has more pressure than you could withstand. Should we measure our success by what others have accomplished?

If you have just one hundred students and love what you are doing, you are a success. The ideal is finding a balance between doing what made you originally want to be a dance educator and organizing your business in such a way as to enable to you to enjoy both.


If you have not succeeded in enjoying your success, get out of the rush. Take time out for yourself. Begin a journal of lists. Start with your goals and dreams -- this first step will put you in touch with yourself and what will make you happy. Your goals may require that you create a better educational process for your students, make changes in your facility, become more creative, or begin a marketing strategy. The most important value of making lists is that it provides a personal and tangible guide to enable you to reach your goals and dreams.

Identifying and setting short-and long-term goals will also help in relieving stress and depression. You will have a clearer understanding of what you need to be happy and find direction to help you put yourself in charge of your future.

As some of those goals are realized, you may find that it is not always a pleasant experience. The journey to accomplish your objective, with all its setbacks as well as victories, is part of life's education. Don't deny yourself the right to grow.


Although much of the responsibility for a successful studio depends upon the owner/director, a strong team of faculty and office workers plays an important role. Assemble a staff that is energetic and has a genuine love for the art and young students. Make sure your office staff bubbles with personality and that they always describe the studio in positive terms. Building a solid foundation such as this will give you the confidence to take time out when you feel the need, whatever the size of your studio.

Teams have another function. Through good communication, they can bring a wide range of ideas towards solving problems and make well thought out decisions after hearing several viewpoints. A good team can outperform one individual's efforts. Be sure all faculty and staff members are informed of changes in policy.

Remember not to measure your success by the accomplishment or opinions of others. Go back in time to childhood and relive how you felt when you first discovered you wanted to dance or to teach. Remember those feelings as you decide what you want in your future. Include them in your measurement of success. The decisions are yours, no one else's. It's your life.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:success as dance teacher
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Next Article:Boston Drives Dancers to Do It All.

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