#FromTheSQJudgesChair – Gearing Up for the New Season

August 30th, 2019 by Elizabeth Radabaugh

The New Season

The New SeasonOne of the greatest takeaways from your competition season are the critiques and feedback given to you from the Judges. Do you ever find yourself wondering what our Judges think from behind the desk? Introducing our #FromTheSQJudgesChair Blog, where our Judges share their thoughts on the industry with you. To start us off, Marissa Staniec shares her thoughts on preparing for the new dance season.


Gearing Up for the Year Ahead

We can easily get overwhelmed with teaching, choreography, competitions and recitals. How often do you press the reset button? Taking the time to gather your thoughts and reorganize your year ahead is crucial to your success as a studio owner and choreographer. The ‘off-season’ is your time to set goals, get inspired and reset for the year ahead. Here are some tips on how to gear up for the year.


Goal Setting

dance seasonIt’s important as a studio owner and/or choreographer to set goals. What are you trying to achieve? Sit down and ask yourself, honestly, how can I do better? Think about your artistic goals. Perhaps you are striving for an abstract approach to your choreography. On the flipside, you could take more of a traditional and classical path.  Take this time to challenge yourself to think outside-of-the-box. Imagine ways you could grow your business financially. Are there new ways you could sell your brand? Brainstorm new ways you could better utilize the clients you already have. Think about the abundant ways you could make your studio more convenient to your clients (ie merchandise, costumes, payment options).

Lastly, set personal goals for yourself. With everything you deal with, make sure you take care of you. Are there better ways to handle stress and confrontation? Perhaps, you see yourself teaching more or less than you do right now. Or find ways to delegate better so that you can be the best artist you can be. You are the heart of your art. Make it beat better.


Get Inspired

InspirationFinding inspiration is one of the best ways to set yourself up for the year ahead. Drawing upon the same songs, movement or formulas becomes stagnant and in turn isn’t going to be beneficial to your students in the long run. One of the best ways to get inspired is to go see a show. Use that rainy-day fund to get to the city and see the latest show in town. Go to that new art exhibit or museum and transfer that art into your choreography. Perhaps going to see that new concert awakened a love for a song you haven’t heard in a long time.

Another one of the best ways to find inspiration is to take class. Taking class revitalizes our technique, quick-study and passion for dance. Have you been to the Dance Teacher Summit? Attending our own conventions and classes is a great way to recharge those creative juices. Furthermore, there are plenty of teacher certifications out there. Again, think out of the box. What are your students in need of? Perhaps there is an acrobatic, yoga, or ballet certification that could not only enrich your knowledge of dance but inspire new ideas, techniques and choreography.



ResetGoals and inspiration are important, but you also need to hit the reset button. Sit down and evaluate how your year went. What are the things that worked? What are the things you could improve on? Set time aside now to plan and organize the year ahead. Set yourself up for success and make a plan. Is there a new computer system you have been wanted to try? Are you able to hire new staff to help delegate tasks to? Set deadlines for yourself. Stick to them. Staying organized and cool as a cucumber sets, not only you up for success, but also your parents and students. Finally, step away from it all. Unplug and get off social media. Do something that is completely unrelated to dance. Enjoy what little summer you have left and step away from the studio before you start another fabulously wonderful year!


Marissa Staniec is a performer, choreographer, teacher and adjudicator for StarQuest with over 20 years of experience in the dance industry. She also hosts, writes and produces her own podcast on iTunes called “Beyond the Mirror: A Dancer’s Podcast”.


Are you interested in becoming a StarQuest judge?

If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please email judge@starquestdance.comfor access to our audition website.