“We are always a family, whether it is by blood or by heart,” Miss Tania Robins said.
If you are a studio owner or an aspiring one, you will understand the importance of creating a safe space for your students. However, the vision is sometimes far from reality for some dance entrepreneurs. Melbourne studio owner, renowned dance adjudicator and VCE VET Lecturer Tania Robins reveals her knowledge about creating a sanctuary for students to enjoy.
Tania Robins is the principal teacher and owner of Tania Robins Academy of Dance and Drama with a successful pool of 100 savvy students. With fierce competition from other dance studios in her local area of Mordialloc, what makes Tania’s establishment different is her ability to set up a safe haven for her employees and students.
Tania’s educational roots bleed through her studio. She has set up a homework club where students can come straight from school, complete their educational tasks and be ready to dance afterwards. “I started with a family friendly approach—a home away from home where students are encouraged to feel like it is their sanctuary,” Tania said.
Students are also encouraged to take more than one dance style, which is an appeal to her students. “I want them to have all-encompassing skills, not just be a ballerina or a singer. I was never perfect at anything but I was a natural to absorbing everything, which can be a valuable skill.” Tania said she loves getting her hands into many different styles spanning from contemporary to musical theatre. Moreover, Tania hammers the point that is okay to try something that is out of your comfort zone. There is no judgement at TRADD—no failure or mistakes, only adventure, enjoyment and compassion.
Tania’s approach to creating a safe space includes promoting her business as a ‘family’. “We are always a family, whether it is by blood or by heart,” she stated. Any student will be given the same warmth and opportunity as the next in TRADD, which is a promise always delivered as her recommendations state. Some of her junior students are on the way to becoming consolidating teaching assistants and her select senior students are training to become stand-alone teachers at her school. Tania’s reciprocal nature instilled in her school is one of the many reasons her students can feel safe and nurtured.
The family aspect extends to her relationship with other studio owners both locally and state-wide. To help her connections with other studio owners, Tania lecturers at Transit Dance in the Dance Teachers and Management course where prospective young teachers can learn what Tania has discovered during her career. “Sharing our aspirations is one of the great things about connecting with your fellow loop of dance teachers,” she explained.
More than that, students can be assured they are getting the best education possible knowing Tania Robins is a qualified and established adjudicator at many Australian competitions. She believes every teacher should delve into judging at some point in their career because, for Tania, it keeps re-shaping the way she teaches. “I’m exposed to various levels when I’m judging and I think everyone should adjudicate, whether it is a professional paid experience or being a mock adjudicator in your class.”
With Tania’s many success stories over the span in her dance teaching career, one thing can be understood; a safe space is the most important thing to establish as a dance studio owner. A way to do that is by working with the skills you already have. Tania has used her education background to create what she envisions as a safe sanctuary.