In Sweet Briar’s dance program, students explore creative expression while gaining practical experience. For more than 40 years, the program has drawn on traditional and modern dance techniques and newer styles such as aerial, with an emphasis on and intensive training in choreography.Read More
by Samara Atkins
Tip 1: When you’re building up choreographic phrases, repetition is key to students’ understanding of the sequencing. Repeating a section several times, breaking down the more difficult moves as you go, helps students remember what you’re teaching.
Tip 2: Playing with tempo changes is also helpful once you’ve taught the entire phrase.
by Karen White
Dance intensives are called that for a reason—generally, a lot of learning is crammed into a limited time. The dancers are expected to rise to the occasion—fast—in an unfamiliar atmosphere where everything from experiencing new movement to finding the bathroom can prove challenging.
Dancers who spend one, two, or three weeks of their summer with the bicoastal School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA) tackle all that—plus they perform in one or more professional-quality dance videos.Read More
by Ryan P. Casey
What if the trick to getting more people to tap dance was getting them to attend a fitness class?
That’s the premise behind Sole Power, a tap workout program Riverdance alumnus Aaron Tolson conceived in 2013 that fuses basic tap dance with cardio and strengthening exercises.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: When I teach or coach forward leaps (grands jetés), this phrase gets good results: “Push carry!”
Tip 2: Teaching young dancers to run with both strength and abandon takes time and persistence.Read More
by Bonner Odell
A fusion of dance, martial arts, and healing arts, Nia is a cardio fitness technique performed barefoot to music from around the world. Through a mix of simple choreography and guided improvisation, Nia instructors emphasize sensation and internal experience over outward aesthetics in an effort to cultivate awareness of one’s body, mind, emotions, and life as a whole.Read More
“Safe and Sound” by Heather Turbeville: In December, I started physical therapy for my hip. It wasn’t my first time in PT; it wasn’t even the first time I went for my hip. But it was the first time I told my physical therapist, “It bothers me in dance class—but I’m not going to stop dancing.”
“Remembering Debbie Reynolds” by Thom Watson: When Debbie Reynolds appeared in her first leading film role as Kathy Selden in the 1952 musical classic Singin’ in the Rain—at age 19—she had been studying dance only a few months.Read More
by Rhee Gold
Creating choreography is an opportunity to be an artist, to make a statement, or to entertain. An audience, except perhaps for dance teachers or judges, isn’t generally impressed with spectacular feats; the average audience member doesn’t even know the difficulty of a given move. However, an audience always responds positively to performances that elicit an emotional response or provoke thought.Read More
by Karen White
Guided by occupational therapists, early childhood development specialists, and pediatric physical therapists, Gomez created a system for teaching hip-hop that could be understood by students with learning differences and special needs and that could help these students reach some of the physical, social, and cognitive goals set by their medical teams.Read More
by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: For a well-organized class that moves smoothly from one activity to another, create a set playlist that complements your lesson plan.
Tip 2: Choosing appropriate music for tap performances can be challenging.
by Bonner Odell
There is one group that is especially close to Susanne Liebich’s heart and to whom she owes the idea to start Dancing Wellness: adolescent girls. She created her first wellness program, which she named GirlPower!, just for them.Read More
Videos of note (new and not)
2. Lincoln Center at the Movies Presents Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, Grace, Takademe, Revelations
3. Dance for PD: At Home, vol. 1
4. Gotta Dance
by David Arce
Tip 1: Remind students to take their time moving into B-plus, making sure to plié generously and present a fully turned-out heel before straightening the standing leg.
Tip 2: The circular port de bras, toward and away from the barre, is important for all students to practice, as it develops strength, flexibility, and musicality.Read More
What’s up in the dance community
-NDEO President Thom Cobb Remembered
-Ballet Companies’ Seasonal Spirit Saves Nutcracker
-Liz Lerman Recognized With ADF Educator Award
-American Tap Company Triumphs Over Travel Woes
Summer—what better time to think about wellness, the perfect addition to any dance curriculum? Discover GirlPower! workshops that promote well-being in tweens/teens, a revamped Nia practice, and the tap-and-fitness mix of Sole Power. For a cool summer intensive idea, check out the film-and-dance combo at School of Creative and Performing Arts. Then help yourself to our annual list of summertime teacher trainings!
Plus, a program that teaches hip-hop to students with physical and cognitive challenges, and our annual list of summertime teacher training opportunities.Read More
by Nina Pinzarrone
On June 2, 1909, in Paris—an auspicious day in ballet history—Serge Diaghilev presented his newly formed Ballets Russes in Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides in the form we know today.Read More
Classroom Connection: Resistance Band Exercises
Consider integrating stretch/resistance band exercises into pointe and pre-pointe classes to strengthen dancers’ feet and ankles.
Reality Check: Communication Challenge
Q. I’m looking for ideas that will help multiple front desk staffers handle office communication more effectively. Example: Suzy’s mom calls about registration. One staffer calls back and leaves a message—which is noted in the message book—but no one follows up or calls the mom again. Does anyone have a solution? —Neala Dunn
by Samara Atkins
Tip 1: Dance can be especially helpful in processing emotions.
Tip 2: Encourage your dancers to use hip-hop movement to reflect their feelings—and to create rebellious and revolutionary art.Read More
by Debra Danese
All dance teachers know that they’re in the classroom to teach technique—but only some of them know that teaching their students proper dance etiquette is also part of their job.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: When teaching young dancers the basics of partnering, make sure to stress the importance of focus.
Tip 2: Teaching students the correct way to make contact with the floor when they roll from a standing position will help them to execute this common move effectively while avoiding injury.Read More
The school offers two undergraduate and three graduate degree options; all students have the option to pursue K–12 licensure. There are many opportunities to perform in a variety of concerts, both through the School of Dance and in musicals and other UNCG productions. Both undergraduate and graduate students have opportunities to showcase their choreography.Read More
“Studios as Safe Spaces” by Tamsin Nutter: No teacher can fix the world for her kids. Still, we adults owe it to children to be our best selves for them, and with them. We owe them love and safety. We owe them our protection.
“Inherent Value” by Karen White: How many of your studio’s alumni studied dance in college or went on to professional dance careers?Read More
by Rhee Gold
A new year is upon us, the time when we traditionally make resolutions about things we want to change about ourselves—lose a few pounds, read more, budget better, and so on. It’s a great opportunity for studio owners and dance teachers to resolve to change their professional lives for the better too. Here are my suggestions for you to adopt and share.Read More
by Constance Hale
Native Hawaiians often express their way of learning in a neat trio of verbs: ho‘onana, ho‘olohe, ho‘opili (“watch,” “listen,” “imitate”). Whatever the craft, the idea is the same: find a master, open your eyes and ears, and if you don’t get it quite right, trust your teacher to correct you.Read More
Read 2 great tips for tap teachers from the legendary Thelma Goldberg, teacher and director of The Dance Inn in Lexington, Massachusetts, since 1983, who is the author of Thelma’s Tap Notes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Tap: Children’s Edition.Read More
by Joseph Carman
When flamenco artist Carlota Santana demonstrates her snaking arms, articulate fingers, fiery footwork, stalking strides, and laser-like gaze for observers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, she evokes the ancient echoes of Gypsies in Andalusia. The pride and passion of her flamenco moves ignite the soul. Santana has produced numerous flamenco symposiums at Duke University, but they represent only a fraction of her efforts to share the technique and cultural aspects of this art form through performance and instruction.Read More
by David Arce
The grand jeté is one of ballet’s most rewarding steps, for both the audience and the dancer. The ability to propel oneself from one foot into the air, reach a perfect split, then land on the other foot, all while showing grace and ease in the upper body, is a hallmark of excellent ballet technique.
Don’t overlook the grand jeté’s landing; in terms of student safety, it is the step’s most important aspect. Properly turned out placement of the standing leg is a must, as any turning in puts extra stress on the knee’s tendons.
Every January we wander the vast and varied world of dance, in which each culture puts its own spin on the art form. Travel along with us this month as we take a backstage tour of college bhangra competitions, uncover the spirit and wisdom of flamenco, visit a high school’s world dance classes, and explore the intersection of traditional and contemporary hula.
Plus, we take a look at studio vending machines and options for leasing vs buying, teaching classroom etiquette beginning with the youngest students, and more.
Let’s go!Read More
“Artistry: Mystery vs Transparency” by Cheryl A. Ossola: Frederick Wiseman’s 1995 film Ballet is a unique perspective on the lives of artists, and in remembering it, I thought about the conversations teachers might have with students—conversations about artistry, how we perceive it, and what enhances or impairs those perceptions.
“Never Stop Dancing” by Tamsin Nutter: The hours I spend sitting at a desk make me feel creaky; a recent “big birthday” turned my thoughts to using my life stages wisely and well. Perhaps that’s why Keep Dancing, a lovely 2010 film portrait of then-90-year-old dance icons Marge Champion and Donald Saddler, has been on my mind.Read More
Let’s imagine that one town has two very good schools, and let’s say that they are roughly equal in size and that each offers a quality dance education. What could make one school stand out above the other?Read More
by Heather Wisner
When My-Linh Le watches turfers at work, she sees the grace, fluidity, and balance of ballet—no small feat, considering that turfers often perform their style of street dance aboard San Francisco Bay Area BART trains, busking for donations in cramped and unsteady spaces. “Turfers tend to get [up] on their toes,” she says, “and they like to do spins.”Read More