Get set for a great new season of dance
If you are a dance teacher gearing up for a new dance season, chances are you might want to implement some new practices in the dance studio. The “fresh start” of back-to-dance season allows us an opportunity to reevaluate our teaching methods, class management strategies, team-building tactics, and personal practices for self-care and creativity. It’s a perfect time to start new habits related to how we teach, choreograph, build relationships with our students, and take care of ourselves. But let’s not lie to ourselves: back to dance season can also be a hectic and even stressful time of the year. While you might feel energized or inspired to take a bunch professional development courses or workshops, its likely you won’t necessarily have the time to do so – and you might find funds to be a little short this time of year as well if you’ve taken the summer off. My solution – digging into an excellent dance book! Expanding your dance library with the books on this back-to-dance reading list can be an easy and affordable way to get your new dance season off to a great.
About the books on this list
In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of books that I think are perfect for back-to-dance season. Some of these books are specific to dance teaching methods, while others offer a more holistic look at our back-to-dance needs, focusing on self-care, relationship building, and creativity. Many of the books are ones I’ve read over and over again, others are on my to-read list. I know or have worked with some of the authors, others are people I admire in the industry. This list is in no way comprehensive, it’s merely a start! There are so many great books that would be ideal for back-to-dance season. Am I missing a must-read? Please add it in the comments! Thank you!
This blog post contains affiliate links for Bookshop.org, where you can purchase each book (if available). Bookshop.org “began as an idea to help support bookstores and their communities at a time when more and more people were buying their books online. We had a better idea — give readers the convenience of online shopping while supporting independent bookstores at the same time.” I am a huge believer in the importance of local shopping, and in particular local bookstores. I invite you to support these shops by making a purchase through the links provided if you are interested in any of the back-to-dance books below. If you prefer to shop Amazon.com, I’ve also included affiliate links to purchase the books through that platform. When you purchase from either site, you’ll help support my blog, newsletter, and social media resources. I receive a small commission from sales through these links, at no extra cost to you, and that support helps make my work possible. Thank you!
Recommended Books for Back to Dance Season
Healthy Relationships = Healthy Team: Ten Keys for Building Positive Dance Team Culture
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Rachel Caldwell, and she is the real deal! If you want to build a positive dance culture on your team or in your classes this year, I highly recommend her work – and this book in particular!
“What will impact your team—and your life—more than anything else? Relationships. When you break down the hardest and best parts of life, it comes down to relationships. Healthy Relationships = Healthy Team focuses on the power of building healthy relationships to promote positive team culture. Covering topics like trust, communication skills, conflict resolution, empathy, and comparison, each of the ten chapters give you strategies to transform your relationships and team dynamic. As an added bonus, every relationship in your life will benefit! With stories and practical examples, Healthy Relationships = Healthy Team is a fun book to read through on your own or with your team! Each chapter includes journal prompts for self-reflection or team discussion.”
The Gifts of Imperfection
By Brené Brown
Where are my other Brené Brown fans?! I honestly recommend all of her work, but I think it’s safe to say that this book changed my life almost 10 years ago. This is my favorite self-care book, and one that I return to when I feel overwhelmed by life’s demands and unfit to meet them.
“Brené writes, ‘This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’ Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.'”
Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans
By Michaeleen Doucleff
OK, you might be wondering what a parenting book is doing on a recommended reading list for dance teachers. I read this book as a mom, but the truth is I think that anyone who works with children or teens can benefit from it. If you want to improve your classroom management and relationships with your students, give this book a read!
“In Hunt, Gather, Parent, Doucleff sets out with her three-year-old daughter in tow to learn and practice parenting strategies from families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania. She sees that these cultures don’t have the same problems with children that Western parents do. Most strikingly, parents build a relationship with young children that is vastly different from the one many Western parents develop—it’s built on cooperation instead of control, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.”
Conditioning for Dance: Training for Whole-Body Coordination and Efficiency
By Eric Franklin
One of my goals for this year is to add more conditioning to my classes – without spending endless amounts of time doing crunches, planks, and less than efficient exercises. Eric Franklin is a master of bodywork and conditioning, and this book is sure to be a go-to for me as I work to help my students improve their coordination and efficiency of movement throughout specialized conditioning exercises.
“An internationally renowned master teacher, Franklin has developed a science-based method of conditioning that is taught and practiced in companies and schools around the world. In this new edition of Conditioning for Dance, he integrates the latest scientific research on strength, flexibility, and conditioning into his dance exercises. Franklin uses experiential anatomy to show and explain how the conditioning principles work to condition your body. As you undertake the exercises, you gain awareness of the body’s function and design and take in the knowledge of the principles through movement. This method, known as the Franklin Method, leads to greater understanding of your body, enhanced performance, and fewer injuries. Franklin developed the training systems within the book as well as a line of equipment, including the Franklin Band and Franklin Balls. Franklin has designed the exercises to transfer directly into dance steps; as such, they are appropriate for incorporating into the preparation time for dance classes.”
Choreography – craft and vision: Developing and Structuring Dance for Solo, Duet and Groups
This is one on my to-read list, but I am intrigued by it! If you have a lot of competition solos and duets to work on, this book might be a good fit for you this year. Note, the book specifies it has a focus on contemporary choreography. Because I have-not yet read it, I can’t vouch for whether the principles can be applied to other dance forms as well.
“This book offers a comprehensive toolbox of approaches to analysing and creating contemporary choreography. Are you ready to deepen your understanding of the world of dance and the creative process of choreography? In this book about choreography you will learn how to develop dance and performance. In order for you to truly enjoy the process of choreography, I will offer you tools to help you
enter into a creative flow. Because ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: getting into a free flowing joyful process with the dancers and having plenty of fun along the way, as you develop a solo, a duet or a group piece for the stage or a film.”
Can’t get enough dance books? Check out my other reading lists:
- Recommended Reading: Books on Jazz Dance
- Recommended Reading: Books on Choreography and Creative Practice
- Recommended Reading: Books on Dance Pedagogy and Teaching Practice
- Recommended Reading: Books for Back-to-Dance Season
More back-to-dance resources
My favorite tips and strategies for getting your year off to a great start can be found in this blog post: 8 Easy Ways to Make the Most of Back-to-Dance Season
For great games to help you get to know your students and create a strong class community, check out these blog posts:
Create great habits for the new year with these blog posts:
- Four Habits for Dance Teachers to Start in the First Six Weeks of Class
- Four Habits for Dance Studio Owners to Start in the First Six Weeks of Class
- Four Habits for Dance Students to Start in the First Six Weeks of Class
Get all the dance teacher resources you need to get to know your dance students and create a strong class community – all at a great price – with the Back-to-Dance Bundle!