From the classic Ronco Veg-o-Matic to the newfangled best-selling ShamWow, product designers and developers have one thing in common. They see a need—from turning lights off from your bed to washing your feet in the shower without bending down—that other products in the cluttered marketplace didn’t fulfill.
Parents of teenagers know the drill—college tours, college applications, college admissions—the agony and the ecstasy. Starting in their junior year, the question of college looms on the horizon for many high school students.
Summer dance camp is an established ritual for middle-class kids, but inner-city students often find the cost of the programs, not to mention the cost of forgoing a paid summer job, prohibitive.
Applications are now available online for The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company’s Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME), a mentorship program for self-selected pairs of choreographers, and CHIME Across Borders, a national mentorship program where a master choreographer mentors other choreographers for a year.
With the economy in the dumps and recovery a slow and painful process, both studios and educators are looking for innovative models to support dancers and dance programs. Rider University figured out one way to do it a long time ago. A small, private liberal arts college with 6,000 students, it joined with a pre-professional ballet studio to build a unique academic dance program.
“Joel is a wonderful role model for our young male dancers. He is personable, friendly, high-energy (especially important for those 4- and 5-year-olds’ classes), and always comes to class excited to teach something new.
It is bitterly cold outside Portland’s Keller Auditorium, and not much warmer inside, one Wednesday morning in December as Oregon Ballet Theatre’s dancers file onstage for company class. Everyone is bundled up in hoodies and track pants; Raychel Weiner even wears bright blue gloves as she grips the barre and begins warming up. Out in the audience, art students from St. Mary’s Academy begin warming up as well, rubbing their hands together and blowing on them, breaking out oil pastels and colored pencils, arranging sketch paper, and adjusting tripods and light readings on digital cameras.
For a small group of students—43 this year—at Indiana University, “Ballet,” is the answer to the familiar question, “What’s your major?” With less than a handful of programs in the United States offering a ballet major, college is hardly a typical track for ballet dancers, who most often join companies during their late teen years. The straight-to-a-company approach, however, is not a fit for every dancer; college may be the perfect path for the academically minded and gifted dancer.
Colleges across the country have distributed course syllabuses to their students at the beginning of each semester probably since Harvard opened its doors in 1636. A syllabus, whether on paper or online, serves as a road map for students, a blueprint for faculty members, and a guide for individual teachers to achieve the common goal of understanding and learning.
As the house lights dim at Zellerbach Hall, on the University of California’s Berkeley campus, two nervous girls stand in a spotlight reciting poems they have written during the six weeks of AileyCamp. Then the curtain rises on a program of dance and spoken word that is endearing and invigorating in its earnestness. The energy-filled performance may lack polish and brilliant technique, but that’s just as it should be. At AileyCamp, dance is a tool that’s used to achieve a much bigger mission.