By Rick Weinberg, Editor, California Business Journal.
WHEN DON AND MAXINE FISHER were searching for a dance teacher for their daughters Lindsay and Andrea, they had multiple options. But they weren’t looking for just any dance educator.They wanted one with the highest credentials. They found it by choosing a teacher certified by Dance Masters of America.
“When I went to recitals that several dance studios offered, there was no question which one was superior,” Don Fisher says. “Frankly, I was astonished how unprepared students were from other studios. It was quite embarrassing.”
So naturally the Fishers chose a dance instructor certified by Dance Masters of America, and they couldn’t be more elated that they did. For DMA’s certified member teachers not only offer preparation for students seeking professional dance careers through the highest quality, cutting edge dance technique, they also educate students in other areas of life.
“A Dance Masters teacher gave them so much confidence and a presence that you just can’t learn in books,” Don Fisher says. “They became so comfortable and poised when they spoke in front of audiences. I attribute that to Dance Master’s method of education.”
Those are just some of the reasons DMA is the nation’s premier dance organization and why parents should look for a teacher certified by DMA for their children. With 32 chapters across the U.S., and over 2,000 certified teachers, DMA has a 119-year history of dance and educational excellence, guaranteeing the highest quality and most innovative technique.
“We set the standards for dance education,” former DMA President Lee Garrard says. “We’re the organization that took it upon ourselves to certify our teachers when no other organization had. There is no national certification for dance teachers, but DMA felt it was important enough that there should be. So every one of our teachers is tested—and the exams are rigid.”
Since there isn’t a national governing body for dance, anyone can hang up a sign and say they’re a dance teacher. That’s what makes DMA that much more impressive. That’s what illustrates its integrity to do what’s right for its students. That’s what separates it from all other organizations.
“Our insignia is like the good housekeeping seal of approval,” Garrard says. “It represents the quality of a good dance education. We’re not just another dance organization. We’re a professional dance organization. We’re serious dance educators and what we offer is of value to our students.”
Other dance organizations admit the caliber of DMA’s teachers is superior. Many dance instructors, in fact, are apprehensive to join DMA because “they’re afraid to take our examinations,” says Robert Mann, DMA’s former National Executive Secretary.
Parents who have enrolled their children with a DMA certified teacher simply rave about the organization’s excellence. Many students strive for a wholesome life as a result of their DMA experience. Lindsay Fisher, for instance, received her Bachelor’s Degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts and is a professional dancer today in New York City with the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.
Meanwhile, her sister Andrea just received her Masters in Occupational Therapy. Approximately 90 percent of DMA title contestants go on to become professional dancers, according to Mann.
“You can’t pick up a program from a ballet company or a Broadway show where there isn’t dancer from our organization performing there,” he says.
Parents who view dance as an after-school, two-hour baby-sitting activity are making a huge mistake; their children can get so much more out of a dance education, especially through DMA’s programs, according to both parents and educators.
“Parents just aren’t educated enough about what we offer to students,” Garrard says. “We teach manners, discipline, how to get along with people, movement direction, as well as the core subjects of ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrics, modern acrobatic dancing and gymnastics.”
The list goes on and on. DMA also offers instruction in nutrition, creative movement, music theory, choreography, anatomy, injury prevention, kinesiology, and all issues that affect the dance industry.
“Our philosophy,” Mann says, “is that a dance teacher should be chosen with the same care as someone picking a doctor, nutritionist or home care provider.”
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Rick Weinberg is Editor-in-Chief at California Business Journal. He is a well-known journalist, writer, reporter and on-air talent who has worked for the New York Times, FOX and ESPN. He launched CalBizJournal.com to focus on California businesses and business professionals as well as California business news and information.