[the truth about Sister Studio status]
When I began certifying Sister Studios, I knew that it was time to begin spreading the knowledge necessary to teach ATS® in the broader community. I hosted small groups of dancers for General Skills and met 1:1 with those who wanted Teacher Training. My intention was to only target those dancers who were very serious and committed to ATS®, who had already been studying extensively and who were ready to begin teaching.
I committed to deliver a consistent curriculum to each person who registered. It seemed that overnight; the demand for this training began to increase exponentially. I was amazed and delighted, but completely unprepared for potential problems. Initially, I offered General Skills, only later adding Teacher Training when it was requested. Once it was added, my expectation was that students would attend General Skills and then take at least a year to work on their dance before returning to Teacher Training. Things really changed when people began asking if they could take General Skills and Teacher Training at the same time. This was understandable. For some, I was in their country for the first and maybe only time. As a result, people showed up for Teacher Training missing several years of practical education. Even though I was clear about the level of dance experience needed to enroll, people either misunderstood or misjudged their readiness. Sometimes I would fly to another country just to realize that the people there weren’t ready to take the training.
As the training became more and more popular, I was faced with a dilemma of how to maintain quality control. Because I couldn’t, I entertained the idea that students learn from all sorts of different teachers. Some students want a teacher who is so skilled and amazing that they are never matched (e.g. my teacher Masha, and myself Carolena) but other people resonate with someone who is just like them. I allowed different sorts of teachers into the program so that they would bring ATS® across the world. In hindsight, I may have made a different decision. However, at the time it felt like the only choice.
Consequently, I have heard criticism regarding the meaning or value of Teacher Training and Sister Studio status. The vast majority of dancers who complete Teacher Training have a sincere desire to represent this dance form with integrity and honesty. If you were to ask, I believe that each one of the Sister Studios feels that they have the necessary training and skill to be awarded Sister Studio status.
I am always available for 1:1 Tribal Counsel sessions to help you with technique, to review your teaching or provide you with suggestions for your performance. For those of you interested in furthering your training beyond that, I will be having several training programs in 2015 to help you advance your skill level. More information will be published this summer with specific details. Some of the training programs will be open to all and some will be extremely competitive.