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Posts Tagged ‘Dance Masters of Arizona’

Strength in Numbers


Dance teacher organizations—where to team up, share ideas, and be heard

Profile: Dance Masters of Arizona, Inc.
Since receiving its charter in 1977, Dance Masters of Arizona, Dance Masters of America Chapter 36, has been offering member teachers opportunities to further their own dance education, share and exchange ideas, and work together producing workshops and providing scholarships for students.

Dance Masters of Arizona DMA Chapter 36 president emeritus Ann Spisak congratulates the chapter’s 2010 Miss Dance, Casey Gonzalez. (Photo courtesy of Dance Masters of Arizona)

The group was founded by dance teacher Kay Everett after she moved from Texas to Arizona. The first dozen members have grown into a group of 30 today—still fairly small, but with 10 potential new members taking certification exams in March.

President April Spisak Nelson, a 35-year DMAZ member, says all the members help with DMAZ events, such as the 35th Spring Workshop. Planned for March 16 to 18 at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, this year’s event will feature master classes with renowned teachers Diane Gudat, Derrick Yanford, and Albert Cattafi.

More than $5,000 in scholarships will be awarded through auditions, title competitions, and performing-arts competitions. Students can receive cash scholarships or vouchers for DMAZ workshops, and prizes are awarded for high-scoring entries in the PAC. Winners of the Miss and Mr. Dance competition receive prizes including a scholarship that covers all tuition and entry fees for the national soloist competitions held at each summer’s DMA national convention.

In addition, each year the chapter awards a teacher scholarship in honor of the late Toney Spisak, a president of DMA of Southern California Chapter 1 who served as master of ceremonies for the Chapter 36 PAC and Miss Dance programs for many years before his death in 2007. “He was a great friend to our chapter members and an inspiration to many of our students,” Nelson says. “He was a great supporter of the program and what it offered dance teachers.” The award allows one DMAZ member to attend DMA’s Teacher Training School.

Outreach efforts for Chapter 36 include donating 10 percent of its annual workshop revenue to Dancers Responding to AIDS. Contributions are also made to two DMA causes: the Scholarship Fund and the Friendship Fund, which assists DMA members dealing with illness, fire, natural disasters, or other difficulties.

Nelson suggests there are many reasons why studio owners and teachers join DMAZ. Some are enticed by the discounted licensing fees from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC that are available to all DMA members. Others enjoy connecting to people in the dance industry in a non-competitive way, or for educational, social, and business reasons.

“It stands to reason that the more active you become in an organization, the more opportunities you have, the more you learn, the more friends you make, and the more you can share with your students,” Nelson says. “It’s all volunteer work, but ‘work’ I am happy to do for my chosen profession.”

May events

Carolina Dance Masters
Event: CDM Pink Ribbon College Scholarship deadline
When: Application due May 1
What: A $500 non-renewable scholarship for students of member teachers based on grades, recommendations, resume, and an essay. Applications available on CDM website.

Dance Council of North Texas
Event: National Tap Dance Celebration
When: May 22-26 from 7 to 7:45pm
Where: The Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave., Dallas, TX
What: An annual event of free performances by tap companies, sponsored by DCNT and Dallas Summer Musicals.

Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston  617.924.0444;
Event: Scholarship auditions
When: May 5
Where: Jean Paige School of Dance, 1485 Beacon St., Brookline, MA
What: Auditions for the Lilla Frances Viles Scholarship and the National Dance Council of America Scholarship.

National Dance Education Organization  301.585.2880;
Event: Dance 2050 Symposium: The Future of Dance in Higher Education
When: May 17-20
Where: Temple University, 1801 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA
What: Plenary sessions and break-out group discussions on topics such as: future projections for our institutions; the evolution of dance program designs; dance in local, regional, and world communities; opportunities and challenges of emergent technologies; and more. Presented by the NDEO/Temple University Center for Research in Dance Education and the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University.

Utah Dance Education Organization
Event: Utah Dance Festival (UDF)
When: May 5
Where: Master classes at Creative Arts Academy, 165 S. Main St., Bountiful, UT; adjudication and gala concert at Viewmont High School, 120 West 1000 North, Bountiful, UT
What: Co-sponsored by UDEO and Creative Arts Academy, UDF is designed to showcase private sector dance in Utah. Each group’s dancers will take master classes, perform for a panel of adjudicators/judges (optional), and have the opportunity to be selected for that evening’s Gala Concert.

June events

CORPS de Ballet International
Event: CORPS de Ballet International 14th Annual Teacher Conference
When: June 20-24
Where: Jacob’s Pillow, 358 George Carter Rd., Becket, MA
What: Master classes, lectures, special tours, and panel discussions, with special conference guest artists Anna-Marie Holmes, Ramona Pansegrau, and artists, faculty and staff from Jacob’s Pillow. Award banquet on June 20 will honor 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Alonzo King.

Dance Educators of America   800.229.3868;
Event: Teacher Training and Certification
When: June 25-30
Where: New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Ave., New York City
What: A multi-dimensional program of study enhancing the knowledge and teaching techniques of dance professionals open to DEA members, non-members, and assistant teachers ages 18 and older.

New York State Dance Education Association
Event: Bill Evans Dance Teachers’ Intensive
When: June 24-July 7
Where: Department of Dance, The College at Brockport, State University of New York
What: Program for established and emerging dance educators, including graduate and undergraduate students in dance education, featuring the Bill Evans Method of Teaching Laban-Based Modern Dance Technique. Courses include Somatics Lab for Dance Technique, Evans Laban-Based Method of Teaching Contemporary Dance Technique, Dance-Science-Based Ballet Technique, Laban-Based Improvisation and Composition, Ballet Pedagogy, Modern Dance Pedagogy, Feldenkrais, and Hands-On Teaching Lab.


Strength in Numbers


Dance teacher organizations—where to team up, share ideas, and be heard

Profile: Dance Alliance of Rhode Island
In the mid-’80s the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts started a discussion about ways to encourage cooperation among the organizations that represent different dance sectors in the state. The result was Dance Alliance of Rhode Island, a state affiliate of National Dance Education Organization which was certified as a 501(c) 3 in 1986.

Dance Alliance of RI Chance to Dance performers have closed their shows for 26 years with "Can't Stop Dancing," choreographed by founding artistic director Marty Sprague. (Photo by Nikki Carrara)

In its early days, co-presidents Catherine Bodner and Sharon Jenkins worked to fulfill the group’s mission—to bring dance-minded people together and to increase the visibility and accessibility of dance to the community at large—as current president Tovah Bodner Muro does today. With this mission, Dance Alliance serves K–12 schools, dance studios, dance companies, independent choreographers, and both students and teachers in higher education.

“We help each other when, how, and where we can. We build on our strengths and always welcome new ideas and people,” says Helene Scheff, treasurer and former president. “From toddlers to professionals our goal is the education of dancers at all levels and in all genres. People continue to join because they believe dance should have a voice in Rhode Island, and through Dance Alliance, we do have a collective voice.”

Many facets of the dance industry are included in the organization’s programming and relationships. Individuals from AAHPERD and the ballroom-based USA Dance, as well as local physical therapists and dance merchants, are either members or work closely with Dance Alliance. The organization also serves the multicultural dance community by hosting ethnic groups at dance festivals, inviting them to participate in projects, and by featuring classes in such as ethnic dances as classical Indian, Mexican folkloric, and Irish step at workshops.

Two of the group’s main initiatives are the RI Independent Performers Network (RI2PN) and Chance to Dance. RI2PN is a collection of dancers, choreographers, and other professional artists dedicated to engaging audiences through live performance. The group participates in events such as the summertime Indie Arts Fest in Providence and produces the Frazier Festival, a site-specific festival held in two downtown Providence parks or other open spaces each July.

 Chance to Dance, founded in 1986, offers dance instruction and provides a performance opportunity to public schoolchildren in grades 3 to 6. Scheff recalls one memorable quote from a sixth-grade boy; more physically suited to football than dance, he was in Chance to Dance as part of a physical education requirement. His end-of-year evaluation comment—“Our class was the dance bomb and we will be the next Riverdance!”—really hit home, she says.

Dance Alliance’s membership of more than 100 grows a bit each year, and individuals have the option of joining just Dance Alliance or applying for joint DA/NDEO membership.

Dance Alliance offers four master classes a year in conjunction with a meeting, plus various seminars on topics such as injury prevention or business issues. This year the organization teamed up with Massachusetts Dance Education Organization in its first joint venture: a one-day dance festival with master classes and a shared performance, held January 8 at Bridgewater [MA] State University.

Member benefits include a workers compensation policy for independent contractors and event insurance for any events held under the Dance Alliance umbrella. For details, visit

March events

800.213.7193 ext. 464;
Event: AAHPERD National Convention and Exposition
When: March 13-17
Where: John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, MA
“Let’s Move—Let’s Dance—In School!” special event with presentations including Dancing Through the Curriculum, Fit2Dance Groovin’ Kids, Hip Hop to Glee, and more, plus the master class New Approaches to Physically-Integrated Dance Training, presented by Mary Verdi-Fletcher and Mark T. Tomasic of Dancing Wheels Company and School.

Canadian Dance Masters of America Chapter 38
Event: Performing Arts and Solo Title Competitions
When: March 23-April 1
Where: PAC: Armenian Youth Centre, 50 Hallcrown Place, North York, ON; title competition, Simcoe, ON
What: Annual PAC for CDMA member students only. Solo title audition classes March 23 at Lisa Naves Dance Company, 68 Pond St., Simcoe, with judges’ interviews and competition March 24 at Simcoe Composite High School, 40 Wilson Dr., Simcoe.

Carolina Dance Masters
Event: CDM Performing Arts Competition
When: March 23-25
Where: Johnston Community College, 245 College Rd., Smithfield, NC
What: PAC open to member students only. 

Dance Council of North Texas
Event: 16th Annual Dance Planet
When: March 31, 10am-5pm; April 1, 12-5pm
Where: Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, 2501 Flora Ave., Dallas, TX
What: Two free days of dance including 80 performances and 25 master classes in samba, jazz, Pilates, Afro-Caribbean, and other genres.

Dance Masters of Arizona Chapter 36
Event: Annual Spring Workshop
When: March 16-18
Where: Sheraton Crescent Hotel, 2620 West Dunlap Ave., Phoenix, AZ
What: Classes, scholarship auditions, and performing arts and title competitions. 

Dance Masters of New England Chapter 5
Event: Performing Arts Competition and Solo Title Pageant
When: March 23-25
Where: Worcester State College, 486 Chandler St., Worcester, MA
What: Competition and titles, plus the selection of four Dean College scholarship winners.

Dance Masters of Western New York Chapter 8
Event: Performing Arts and Solo Title Competition
When: March 30-April 1
Where: VVS High School, 5275 State Route 31, Verona, NY

Florida Dance Education Organization
Event: Third Annual Florida Dance Performance Assessment
When: March 3
Where: Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, 850 34th St. South, St. Petersburg, FL
What: A day of performance assessment for high school dance programs 

Ohio Dance Masters
Event: Performing Arts Competition and Scholarship Auditions
When: March 23-25A
Where: Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, Cleveland, OH
What: Competition for solos, duos, trios, groups, lines, and productions, with scholarship auditions. Faculty includes Richard White, Christopher Robbins, and Anthony Russo.

Utah Dance Education Organization
Event: UDEO 12th Annual Spring Conference
When: March 3, 8am-4pm
Where: Weber State University, Ogden, UT
What: Following the theme “The World Needs What Dancers Know,” presentations and group sessions will focus on dancers’ skills and how they can impact dancers and non-dancers alike.

April events

Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey
Event: Senior Scholarship Auditions
When: April 1
Where: New Jersey School of Ballet, 15-17 Microlab Rd., Suite 102, Livingston, NJ
What: Scholarship program for ADTNJ member high school students, honoring past ADTNJ president Frances L. Chalif.

Event: OhioDance Festival and Conference
When: April 27-29
Where: BalletMet, 322 Mount Vernon Ave., Columbus, OH|
What: “Dance Matters: Dancing with History” features master classes in contemporary, ballet, jazz, historical, world, and social dance forms, plus panel discussions addressing current dance trends.

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