July 2015 | The Dance Studio Life “Generous Heart” Awards


Last year, for our 10th anniversary, we established a new annual tradition: the Dance Studio Life “Generous Heart” Awards. The people and organizations selected by publisher Rhee Gold and the editorial staff do important, innovative work in dance education and provide much-needed services to the dance community.

The criteria that define these Generous Hearts are simple: they are risk takers, community-minded, and devoted to a cause, a practice, a belief. They use dance in a way that contributes to the greater good. They are sources of inspiration to the dance world, and to the staff here at Dance Studio Life, and they prove that dance, when used to its full potential, can be a vital and transformative force.

We are delighted to honor this year’s recipients of the annual Dance Studio Life “Generous Heart” Awards, and we thank them for the good work they do.

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July 2015 | Moving Images

Videos of note (new and not):
The Green Table
Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter
No Maps on My Taps
From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale

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July 2015 | FYI

What’s up in the dance community
Luigi: A Life of Influence and Inspiration
Renowned Teacher Maggie Black Dies

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DSL NewsWire: Redesigned Jacob’s Pillow Interactive Site Presents a Walk Through History

In 2011, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival launched a curated digital resource filled with video clips and context for many of the artists who have performed at the Becket, Massachusetts, festival since the 1930s.

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DSL NewsWire: Dynamic Exchange of Dance and Visual Art in Philly Exhibit

An exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art—Dance: Movement, Rhythm, Spectacle—showcases the kinetic energy of dance in a vibrant selection of prints, drawings, photographs, and vintage videos.

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DSL NewsWire: Ohio U Dance Professor Recognized for “Exceptional and Fresh” Teaching

Tresa Randall with Ohio University dance students; photo courtesy Ohio University Compass

Tresa Randall, an associate professor of dance in the School of Dance, Film, and Theater has won Ohio University’s Presidential Teacher Award.

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DSL NewsWire: Study Shows Hip-Hop Tops Ballet for Children’s Exercise

Pediatrics study; photo courtesy Getty Images

A study published in the journal Pediatrics says that only 30 percent of ballet class is spent in substantial exercise, and that most kinds of dance classes aren’t providing anywhere near the recommended amounts of physical activity suggested for children and adolescents, says Time magazine.

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DSL NewsWire: Des Moines’ Grand Dame of Dance, Mary Joyce Lind Thomas, Dies

Mary Joyce (Lind) Thomas; photo by Bill Neibergall/Des Moines Register

The 90-year-old grand dame of Des Moines, Iowa, dance took her final bow May 10. Mary Joyce (Lind) has died after teaching thousands of students in a career that spanned more than 70 years, reported the Des Moines Register.

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DSL NewsWire: Arthur Mitchell’s Archives at Columbia U to Open to Public in 2017

Arthur Mitchell; photo by Sam Hodgson for the New York Times

Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired its first major dance collection, the archives of Dance Theatre of Harlem co-founder Arthur Mitchell.

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DSL NewsWire: Dance Fixer Reality Special on Oprah Winfrey Network

Dance Crash will premiere May 30 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, according to Broadway World. The one-hour special follows Brandee Evans, a professional dancer and celebrity choreographer as she travels to Atlanta’s Westlake High School to overhaul its dance team in a dramatic battle to regain its hip-hop supremacy at the Georgia High School Dance Championship.

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DSL NewsWire: L.A. Dance Project at Cannes Film Festival

L.A. Dance Project; photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

The opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival featured members of L.A. Dance Project in a performance inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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DSL NewsWire: Misty Copeland Mentors Twin Ballet Dancers

Shaakir and Naazir Muhammad; photo courtesy CBS News

Reporting on Misty Copeland for 60 Minutes this week, CBS correspondent Bill Whitaker heard the story of the star ballerina’s childhood: how a dance teacher took a teenage Misty under her wing, took her into her home, and changed her life.

What Whitaker didn’t expect to hear was that Copeland, now a soloist at American Ballet Theatre (ABT), is doing something similar for two teenage boys from Brooklyn—identical twins Shaakir and Naazir Muhammad. “She’s a coach, she’s a mentor, she’s a big sister,” Whitaker told 60 Minutes Overtime. “Her face lights up when she talks about them.”

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DSL NewsWire: Fred and Adele Astaire Award Nominees Announced

An American in Paris; photo by Angela Sterling Photography

Nominations have been announced for the 2015 Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, reports Theatermania. Established in 1982, and formerly known as The Astaire Awards, the awards recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season.

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DSL NewsWire: Couple Brings Mexican Dance to Detroit

Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel; photo by Donna Terek/Detroit News

How do people who work full-time jobs and have kids find the time to take on a volunteer project? Jaime and Maria Luisa Carrillo somehow find the time because their project, Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel, is their passion.

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DSL NewsWire: Cornish College Dance Chair to Retire

Kitty Daniels; photo by Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times

According to the Seattle Times, Kitty Daniels, longtime chair of the Cornish College of the Arts dance department, will retire this month after 29 years in her position. “I believe so firmly that we all stand on the shoulders of others,” Daniels said. “My entire time here, I’ve very consciously and deliberately said everything is a team effort. I’ve actually refused to use the words ‘I’ and ‘my’; I’ve always said ‘we’ and ‘our.’ ”

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DSL NewsWire: Halprin’s 1967 Protest Dance Reconstructed on SF Streets

Blank Placard Dance 1967; photo courtesy Lawrence Halprin

For nine decades, Anna Halprin has explored what it means to dance and to heal. The iconic San Francisco Bay Area–artist, who started dancing at age 5 and turns 95 in July, is the subject of a series of celebrations called “Dances for Anna” spanning three months and 15 countries this year. Halprin—who founded San Francisco Dancer’s Workshop in 1955—is known internationally for her investment in dance as a transformative practice.

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DSL NewsWire: Chicago Students and Teachers Unite to Offer Affordable Dance Classes

Recycled Barre; photo courtesy Recycled Barre

In order to address those challenges for future generations of aspiring dancers, Rendon and other Benito Juarez students teamed up with two of their teachers to bring a dance studio with classical dance training to Pilsen this summer, reports DNAinfo Chicago. Instructors Barbara San-Roman and Dianne Martinez came up with the idea for Recycled Barre last summer after discussing the void of dance studios in Pilsen and other South Side communities.

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DSL NewsWire: Two Grants Support Hubbard Street Youth, Community Programs

Hubbard Street Youth Programs; photo by Todd Rosenberg

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has received two sizable grants to help support its continuing work with young people and families in Chicago.

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DSL NewsWire: Students Benefit From Loyola Marymount/Bill T. Jones Partnership

Bill T. Jones; photo by Lois Greenfield

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, New York Live Arts’ resident dance company, has launched a new, four-year partnership with Loyola Marymount University (LMU) that will bring the company’s works and their pedagogical and performing philosophy to LMU’s campus and the Los Angeles area.

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DSL NewsWire: Interest From Male Students Leads to First “Mancing” Class at Virginia Studio

Elite School of Dance “mancing” class; photo courtesy Southwest Times

“Mancing.” That’s what Elite School of Dance and Performance Art in Radford, Virginia, calls it when its 15-member, all-male dance class starts moving to the beat.

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DSL NewsWire: Top College and University Programs for Choreography Named

Ten colleges noted for choreography; photo courtesy Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The top schools for choreography are those offering dance programs that emphasize choreography or offer a distinct choreography degree, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has released a list of its Top 10 Choreography Schools.

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DSL NewsWire: New Orleans Students Join Limón Company Onstage for Missa Brevis

NOBA dancers rehearse for Missa Brevis; photo courtesy Facebook

A handful of young New Orleans dancers and a local chorus will perform with the Limón Dance Company on May 9 when the modern dance company presents one of its masterworks, Missa Brevis.

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DSL NewsWire: Project to Create Online, Long-Lasting “Voice for Dance”

California modern dance pioneer Anna Halprin; photo by Ernest Braun, courtesy Dance Heritage Coalition

“The average life of a webpage is a hundred days,” stated a New Yorker article in January. Since writing about dance—along with other forms of arts criticism—now takes place mostly online, and frequently outside of well-established newspapers or magazines, the instability of webpages clearly presents a stark challenge to the survival of today’s dance writing.

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DSL NewsWire: Tragedy of Slain Family Leads Friend to Open Dream Studio

Moriah Davis School of the Arts; photo courtesy Facebook

It has been nearly one year since Stephen and Katie Stay, along with four of their five children, were gunned down inside their Houston home by an estranged relative. Now, a neighbor and friend is honoring the family with a dream inspired by two of the young victims.

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DSL NewsWire: Online Exhibition Tells the Stories of Historical Dance “Treasures”

Josephine Baker; photo courtesy Encyclopedia Britannica

Thirteen important dance history influences, from Isamu Noguchi who changed set design for dance forever by making it three-dimensional and interactive, to Ann Barzel who sneaked her 16mm camera backstage to film important performances of Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free and George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, have been added to the list of America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures.

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DSL NewsWire: Making the Leap From Student to Artist: Lar Lubovitch Speaks

Lar Lubovitch; photo courtesy Dance/USA

“I know who you are. You are the one amongst many who will make the leap from being a dance student to being a Dancer. You have existed for hundreds of years. You are part of a tradition that has been passed by hand from dancer to dancer to dancer. You have been living and breathing on the energy dreams are made of. It is a powerful source and there is nothing illusory about it. Trust it.”

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DSL NewsWire: NYC Kids See and Learn About Dance Through Victory Dance Program

Victory Dance; photo by Paula Lobo/New York Times

New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street in New York City has announced its second season of Victory Dance, a summer series of free dance performances by artists like Martha Graham Dance Company, Parsons Dance, and others, for children in NYC day camps, summer schools, and programs run by social service agencies.

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DSL NewsWire: Choreographer’s Gravity-Defying Art Subject of New Film

Born to Fly; photo courtesy Brooklyn Film Festival

Catherine Gund’s documentary Born to Fly, which follows iconoclastic choreographer Elizabeth Streb as she relentlessly pushes herself and her dancers to break free of the traditional, earth-bound confines of dance, will premiere on PBS’ Independent Lens May 11 at 10pm EST.

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DSL NewsWire: NJ’s Dance on the Lawn Aims to Engage Dancers, Audiences

Dance on the Lawn; photo by Anthony Turner

A work-in-progress by Robert Mark Burke, named the first Emerging New Jersey Choreographer by Dance on the Lawn, will be shown in rehearsal May 9 from 6 to 9pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s Assembly Hall in Montclair, New Jersey.

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DSL NewsWire: Dance Festival Ignites Memorial Day Weekend in St. Louis

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; photo by Jeff Sabo

Thirty professional dance companies will perform across three nights at the 8th annual Emerson Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis, Missouri, to be held this coming Memorial Day weekend (May 22 to 24).

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May-June 2015 | On My Mind

Photo by Mim Adkins

Honest. Trustworthy. We all label ourselves with those words, and that’s a good start. Next up: having the integrity to prove them true.

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DSL NewsWire: Why Have Dance in K–12 Schools? “Why Not?” Asks New Documentary

PS Dance!; photo courtesy Facebook

Two years in the making, the documentary PS Dance! captures a typical day in the New York City classrooms of five master dance educators and shows how dance can affect the trajectory of student development.

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May-June 2015 | 2 Music Tips for Teachers | The Classical Period: Part 3

Photo courtesy Nina Pinzarrone

In ballet class, waltz music is excellent for almost any exercise, from tendus, pliés, and ronds de jambe to grand allegros.

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May-June 2015 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Joan “Ms. Puffy” Lather

Photo courtesy Patricia Leigh Dwyer

NOMINATED BY: Patricia Leigh Dwyer, former student: “At 82, Ms. Puffy continues to make her mark on the dance world by touching young dancers’ lives. Her creativity is endless, her energy is electric, and she has a warm, loving way of drawing you into her world of music, wonder, and movement. I am proud, not only to have studied under her tutelage, but to have carried on her legacy—as thousands of teachers across the country continue to do.”

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May-June 2015 | College Close-Ups | Hollins University

At Hollins, MFA students include emerging or mid-career artists and teachers as well as those who have recently completed the all female undergraduate program. All dancers are encouraged to choreograph. Photo by Ty Parmenter

Hollins University strives to create an environment in which dance students are challenged both physically and intellectually, and learn the skills to participate in, experience, understand, appreciate, and thrive in the contemporary world of dance.

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May-June 2015 | A Dollar Here, A Dollar There

For their Indiegogo campaign, part of the team at Blue Lapis Light filmed a video inside the unfinished studio. (Clockwise from top left: Nicole Whiteside, associate artistic director; Jason Brown, company member; Lauren Peterson, managing director; and Sally Jacques, artistic director.) Photo by Scott Hathaway

When Urbanity Dance opened in Boston’s South End in 2008, the contemporary troupe consisted of only six dancers. The company’s studio space of less than 1,000 square feet initially served it well, but the growth of its school to more than 350 students made the space unworkably cramped. Urbanity found a 2,000-square-foot rental space, but it required $100,000 for construction and renovation—money the owners didn’t have. One solution: Kickstarter.

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DSL NewsWire: “Dancing Is Dreaming on Your Feet,” Says NDW Essay Winner

National Dance Week logo; courtesy Facebook

“Every time I dance, I turn into a better person. Dance temporarily takes away the pain of the harsh world outside of those studio windows. Dance enables me to find myself but to also lose myself at the same time.”

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May-June 2015 | Higher-Ed Voice | Continental Drift

MOOCing? is the result of the choreographer's intent to make a dance that would wrestle with technology as part of the dancemaking process. Photo courtesy Marni Davis

The first thing choreographers do in making a dance is to bring bodies together at a designated time and space. The space might be a ballroom, a studio, a park green, a subway platform—anywhere large enough and light enough to move in. Then the choreographer can turn to making dance. In the process, everyone breathes the same air, touches one another, and mingles sweat in face-to-face encounters—intimate, damp, and physical. Regardless of the kind of dance being made, the choreographer and her dancers share the experience in the same space and time.

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May-June 2015 | More Than Money

A gratitude journal boosts feelings of inclusiveness. During a hat and mitten drive, the journal gives students a chance to note what they are thankful for when donating an item. Photo courtesy Teri Mangiaratti

For a school to be successful, its staff needs to be motivated, committed, and on board with the studio owner’s goals. Retaining staff helps your studio thrive; achieving that means communicating clearly about your studio’s culture and helping your staff feel invested in it.

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May-June 2015 | Moving Images


Videos of note (new and not):
Trisha Brown: Early Works 1966–1979
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
A History of Dance on Screen
All That Jazz

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May-June 2015 | Page Turners


Books of note (new and not):
Giraffes Can’t Dance
Dance + Fashion
To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel
Tap Dancing America: A Cultural History

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May-June 2015 | Bulletin Board: Pin. Post. Share.


Click! What’s new online at the Rhee Gold Company.
Dance in Time: May/June – Up-to-Date Dance History.
Quotable: Dancers on Dance.

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May-June 2015 | FYI

Taking a bow at the 11th International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize are winners (from left) Yury Yanowsky,, Hannah Fischer, and Carlo Di Lanno. Photo by Bruce Zinger

What’s up in the dance community:

Filmmakers Tap Into Inspiration

Dance in Hidden Spaces

Chicago Dance History Project

Erik Bruhn Prize Winners

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May-June 2015 | Thinking Out Loud | Celebrating National Tap Dance Day


National Tap Dance Day is a real holiday? That was my incredulous thought 20 years ago after reading the cover story from the previous spring’s International Tap Association (ITA) newsletter (May/June 1994). When I came across the article in 1995, my studio in Lexington, Massachusetts, was in its 13th year, and I had started going to the Leon Collins Dance Studio in Brookline for tap classes.

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