Prior to working in the dance industry, I spent over twenty years in a male dominated environment working with CEO's and directors of medium and large sized organsations. My co-workers were mostly male with a computing or business background. I have never been as inspired by colleagues as I am now working within the dance world.
Dance School Executives 😉
It continually impresses me speaking to women who have built large enterprises - running dance schools (often at multiple locations) with up to 1,000 dancers, managing finances, large teams of employees, parents, overseas dance tours, concerts, competition teams, exam sessions... How do you do it? Their dedication and passion to dancing, their dancers and staff, together with their obvious business acumen is amazing!!
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Then there are the young dancers or those just starting a dance school, with a couple of classes, whilst working another job. They don't see themselves as "entrepreneurs", there is no grandstanding, they are not sitting around searching for the best elevator pitch or trying to find angel investors. These women have their nose to the grindstone, often working 7 days a week, wanting to run more classes, find extra venues and attract more dancers. Their commitment is absolutely commendable!
Urban or Regional Teachers
Whether in regional or semi-regional Australia, or in the main cities – there is no distinction. The professionalism, competence and skills are impressive. It is an industry where one must always be learning and listening, trends are important. Many of these teachers are members of different dance organisations – national and international, requiring ongoing accreditation and a financial and educational commitment.
Teaching dance is a 7 day a week job with most working after hours and weekends. It’s not unusual to receive emails or dance costume orders at 11pm or later. Emails come in all day Sunday. When you teach all week, the only time for back office work is late at night or Sundays. Most people (even the parents of dancers) don't appreciate the amount of work required for a dance concert - the hours of agonising and then the actual time working on the theme, music, choreography, costumes and back-drops, not counting the additional teaching required.
Love you Mums!
It would be hard to talk about the dance teachers – without mentioning how often I am in contact with their mothers. It never ceases to make me smile when the mum explains she's the bookkeeper or manages the dance costume orders and payments. Who could you trust more than your mum!? After all, the phenomenal work ethic came from somewhere.
And just one more thing…
I so admire your patience! How do you deal with class after class of hormonal, teenage girls? And often worse, the small percentage of dance mums, the ones with stars in their eyes! "Why isn't my daughter at the front", "Why didn't you select my daughter for the junior competition Jazz group?", "I know we committed to being in the senior ballet eisteddfod group and this is the first competition, but we wanted to go to the beach this weekend?".
Smart, passionate, hardworking, committed, principled – you are fantastic mentors to our daughters (and sons). Happy International Women’s Day – you are truly awesome!!
Written by Ann Cohen (CEO of Curtain Call Costumes Australia) catalogue.curtaincallcostumes.com.au