As you might have seen, I recently made a BIG announcement regarding NEW ownership of the 360 Dance Festival™
Mr. Richard Smith, a good friend of mine in the dance industry, is now officially leading this venture into its next chapter!
Richard’s background as a master teacher, event director, and artistic director makes him THE perfect fit for this unique event. I am so excited to support his vision for the future.
At More Than Just Great Dancing®, we started this dance festival three years ago. We saw the need for an all-inclusive, non-competitive, uplifting event for students around the country. Attendance and feedback at the events we produced affirmed that we were on the right track: dance families were hungry for exciting, relevant dance training in a positive environment.
The awesome growth of the 360 Dance Festival™ meant that new leadership was something I needed to explore. And I found it in Mr. Richard! Not only was he a founding faculty member, but he has worked tirelessly over the past 15 years to bring the principles of technique to every class and dancer he teaches. He truly has a heart for this mission, which I’ve seen personally in his work as a guest teacher with our students at Misty’s Dance Unlimited.
My team and I asked Richard to share with us his ideas for leading 360, and I thought this post would be the perfect way to tell you what he’ll be doing to take the event to the next level …
“Nurturing the whole dancer will continue to be a very important component,” Richard told us, “and I want to make sure that everyone who attends the event—students, parents, teachers, studio owners—leaves with knowledge they can keep using over and over again. We want everyone to leave feeling better than they were before.”
Developing the community of the 360 Dance Festival™ is a focus of Richard’s too. As a faculty member at the event previously, he knows firsthand how special it was for us to begin building the framework of this community. Now he’s ready to expand it.
“That sense of community is something I want to develop on a grander scale,” Richard says. “I want attendance to feel like a ‘homecoming’ in a way, like 360 is a place for camaraderie and coming together on an annual basis; the place you want to go for that face-to-face interaction and learning that only a live event can provide.”
The interaction and learning will come from select teachers on the festival’s faculty. Richard sees them as the backbone of the event; the people who will help carry out his mission.
“One of the things I’m most driven by in leading 360 is seeing American dance take its place in the world of dance,” explains Richard. “This is a platform for the next level of development, a step toward what that bigger picture looks like. We’re going to be creating an outlet for innovative teachers and choreographers to go beyond the technical merit of dance.
I’m looking forward to creating a space for these teachers to do what they love, not just teach class … they’ll be completely accessible to the participants. They will be on the floor, making personal corrections. They’ll be hands-on to instruct and inspire.”
So what does that mean for those who are interested in attending?
Richard tells us it means effective class sizes (convention sized, but not super-sized), teachers who are invested in making a difference, and knowledge takeaways that will continue to motivate dancers long after they arrive home.
I can honestly say that with all Richard has planned, the future of the 360 Dance Festival™ is brighter than I could have imagined! I’m so proud to have had a hand in developing this event. Now I’m even prouder to see where it goes from here.
I hope you’ll join me in extending congratulations to Richard on taking over the event. Stay tuned to the next round of announcements from him about this year’s festival in Chicago!