Columns

May-June 2017 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Wings and Flash Steps

by Thelma Goldberg
Tip 1: Since the early days of tap, flash steps have been used to bring routines to exciting climaxes or to challenge other dancers in contests.
Tip 2: Popular flash steps with wings include the single-foot wing in the third step of the B.S. Chorus, the double wing in Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s “Doin’ the New Lowdown,” and the alternating wing and tip in the traditional buck and wing.

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May-June 2017 | EditorSpeak

“Learning With the Body” by Tamsin Nutter: I don’t have the brains to be a dance professional. Never did. I can pick out a spelling mistake at 50 paces, and I gamely answer kids’ questions about human cells and World War II. But the dance pieces I rehearsed and performed hundreds of times have vanished from memory. And please don’t ask me to show you last week’s combination.

“Comings and Goings” by Thom Watson: The upcoming July issue will mark DSL’s 13th anniversary. In conjunction with this milestone, we plan to roll out some exciting new changes: beginning in July and August you’ll find tips for teaching preschoolers and students with special needs; new columns about competition, costuming, business management, self-care, and studio style; a revamped dance history spread with resources to use in the classroom; and more.

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May-June 2017 | On My Mind

by Rhee Gold

This March I had the honor of giving a keynote speech and presenting seminars at the Victorian Dance Festival in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The experience reminded me once again that dance educators are the same no matter where they practice their craft.

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March-April 2017 | 2 Music Tips for Dance Teachers | The Ballets Russes and Petrushka

by Nina Pinzarrone

The great modernist composer Igor Stravinsky first intended Petrushka as a concert piece for piano and orchestra. At Serge Diaghilev’s urging, he instead wrote music and (with Alexandre Benois) libretto for a one-act dance drama in four “tableaux” portraying traditional Russian puppet theater. The resulting score was electrifying—but difficult for the dancers to count.

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March-April 2017 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Classic ’90s Hip-Hop: The Reebok

by Samara Atkins

Tip 1: The 1990s offered a fresh take on urban culture. The music, clothing, and messages were loud; the movement was big, colorful, and “hype.” To me, the expressive moves of classic ’90s style are still the pinnacle of hip-hop.

Tip 2: Imagery can be helpful when you’re breaking down a compound move. With the Reebok, I like to use the image of a door closing and opening.

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March-April 2017 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Finishing Touches

by Thelma Goldberg

Tip 1: Getting a tap routine ready for performance is like putting frosting on a cake. The ingredients have been organized and laid out, and now it’s time to concentrate on the final details: making it look and (in tap’s case) sound great.

Tip 2: Tap is a full-bodied dance form, and the upper body can express rhythm just as clearly as the feet can make sounds.

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March-April 2017 | EditorSpeak

“The Rights Stuff: Who Owns Choreography?” by Karen White: There I was, in another conversation about who owns choreography, the teacher or the studio. Sometimes I think this issue will never go away, doomed to be debated forever by two clans glaring at each other over an immovable fence.

“Cycles of Inspiration” by Thom Watson: There are days when I really love my job. For this issue, for example, I exercised editor-in-chief privilege to assign myself the delightful task of interviewing several of my favorite choreographers and master teachers for a feature story, “Cool & Contemporary.”

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March-April 2017 | On My Mind

by Rhee Gold

Just as I admire school owners for working together to improve dance education, I have always respected UDMA’s ability to unite some of the largest and most respected vendors in the industry. Together these vendors donate thousands of dollars for National Dance Week, offer continuing education seminars for teachers and school owners, and produce the largest American trade show in the field.

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February 2017 | 2 Music Tips for Dance Teachers | The Ballets Russes: Polovtsian Dances and Scheherazade

by Nina Pinzarrone

Tip 1: In the 1950s, composer-lyricists Robert Wright and George Forrest adapted many of these pieces for their musical Kismet; for example, the lilting 4/4 “Gliding Dance of the Maidens” became “Stranger in Paradise.” I like to use this piece for a barre or center fondu, stretch, port de bras, or adagio, or for a lilting women’s dance in character class.

Tip 2: For Scheherazade, Fokine used Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, op. 35—an 1888 suite based on stories from The Arabian Nights. This suite contains wonderful material for creative movement and character classes.

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February 2017 | 2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Playing with Tempo Changes

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.

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February 2017 | EditorSpeak

“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.

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February 2017 | On My Mind

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.

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February 2017 | 2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | B-Plus and Gut Check

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.

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