Passion for Dance Podcast - Ep. 104 - Team Culture
Team culture

Ep. 104 – Team Culture

Episode 104: How to Build Positive Team Culture in Your Studio


Building team culture takes hard work. The question is, what must we do in order to actually build a positive team or studio culture with our dancers or how do we turn a negative team culture around?

In today’s episode, I’ll be interviewing Jennifer Koonce who has been coaching for over 25 years, is a sought-after judge and choreographer, and currently owns a very successful all-star studio in Virginia. In our conversation, Jen shares her perspective on setting boundaries and creating a positive culture in the studio, plus some great ideas about empowering her coaches and how they end practices with The Finisher to boost team morale. Jen also has some great advice on how her coaches and dancers discuss wins and losses in a way that the athletes stay humble but motivated, and stick around for the end for a great idea to incorporate into your end-of-year banquet. If you’re looking to learn more about how to build positive team culture, how to turn a negative team into a positive team, and hear a few positive team culture examples, tune into this episode with Jen!

“I’ve had so many times where a coach has been upset thinking that I’m gonna take the side of the parent. And I’m like, “No.” I think the message to the coaches from me as the owner, they're my team. So, not only are we coaching teams, but I have to coach that team, and that team has to be whole, and that team has to be loved, and that team has to feel valued, and I have to have that positive growth mindset with them as well. So, I always tell them, “I’ve got your back!””

– Jennifer Koonce

Key Highlights –

  • [1m 52s] – About Jen
  • [5m 17s] – The Lows and Studio Growth
  • [9m 32s] – Having Your Instructors’ Backs
  • [12m 31s] – How Jen’s Cultivated Positive Studio Culture
  • [18m 27s] – How Jen Empowers Her Coaches
  • [22m 06s] – Dress Code and Mirror Quotes
  • [24m 05s] – The Finisher
  • [27m 16s] – Be Grateful, Be Humble, Be Blessed
  • [30m24 s] – Handling Disappointment Through This Established Studio Culture
  • [35m 21s] – Focus on Studio Growth at the Banquet

Resources –

Sign up to my Email List: 

Adrenaline Studio’s Website:

The Relevé Dance Coach Membership is there to replenish your personal, mental, and emotional energy and help you create dancers who are mentally tough, resilient, and motivated. Join the Relevé Membership here:

Submit a question to be answered on the show:

Join my email list here:

Be sure to visit me on Instagram @dr.chelsea.pierotti for more mental skills advice for dancers

Word of mouth is still the best way the show can grow! If you have a dance friend out there who you think would benefit, please share this episode with them!


Jennifer Koonce

Jennifer has over 30 years experience in jazz, hip hop, and pom as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. She was a founding member of the Old Dominion University Dance Team in her freshman year of college before transferring to JMU. As a graduate student at George Mason University, she danced as a Masonette. Jen has performed with Culture Shock DC, co-founded the Phenomena Hip Hop troupe, was an original member of the Urban Moves Hip Hop Company, and performed in a multi-city tour through China with Encore Studios.  

Jennifer has been coaching high school and competitive teams for 26 years. 

She was the ten-year head coach for the Madison High School Dance Team, leading them to multiple national pom championship titles in Orlando, Florida. She won Best Choreography for the hip hop category at NDA Nationals, and was named Coach Mentor of the Year. Jennifer has choreographed for many high school teams and coached the McLean High School Dance Team for 7 years. 

Jennifer founded Adrenaline Dance in 2003 as her own as a company to inspire and teach kids how to perform and prepare them for their future in team environments in dance.  As the company grew and changed, Adrenaline Dance Force became the largest after school program in Northern Virginia reaching over 600 kids a year in after school dance classes. 

In the first year of competition, the Adrenaline Studio All Stars made top 5 at Dance Worlds in Orlando and she established the first Virginia All Male Crew and was only one of four All Male Crews at the category's inception at Dance Worlds in 2013.  Adrenaline Studio is known for its Coed and All Male teams in the All Star Community. 

Jennifer is excited to continue her vision to bring amazing opportunities to kids and challenge them to be the best athletes they can be.  

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