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Posts Tagged ‘dance’

CUNY Dance Initiative Offers a Stage and Support to NYC–Based Choreographers

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CUNY Dance Initiative could assist groups such as Ballet Next; photo by Gene Schiavone

CUNY Dance Initiative could assist groups such as Ballet Next; photo by Gene Schiavone

City University of New York has responded to a 2010 report from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that cited “a critical need for affordable dance rehearsal space” in the city by creating a new residency program that will provide rehearsal and performance space at the university’s campuses across the five boroughs.

The New York Times ArtsBeat blog said the CUNY Dance Initiative, announced this week, will offer 12 to 14 residencies to New York–based choreographers that also include assistance with artist fees, marketing expenses, and other costs.

In addition to assisting choreographers, the initiative hopes to build audiences for dance. “The project provides dance artists and companies with welcome opportunities to engage with more New Yorkers in all five boroughs,” Lane Harwell, the executive director of the service organization Dance/NYC, said in a news release.

The program is supported by a $200,000 grant from the New York Community Trust and $80,000 from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Choreographers who live in New York City are eligible to apply for a residency, to take place between June 1 and December 31. Deadline is April 30. More information is available at http://cuny.edu/about/centers-and-institutes/dance.html. To see the original story, visit http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/15/city-university-of-new-york-announces-dance-initiative/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=dance&_r=0.

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Rising Rents Forces Manhattan Ballroom Studio to Vacate 20-Year Location

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Dance Manhattan; photo courtesy DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

Dance Manhattan; photo courtesy DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

A longtime Manhattan dance studio will have to move out of its West 19th Street space by the end of summer, after a looming rent increase priced them out of the neighborhood, owners told DNAinfo New York.

Dance Manhattan is leaving its 14,000-square-foot location at 39 West 19th Street after nearly 20 years because its landlord is doubling the rent at the end of August, according to one of the dance studio founders.

“It’s crazy. But, you know, I guess I hear that Chelsea in particular seems to be the Silicon Valley of the east,” co-founder Elena Iannucci said. “The fallout of that is that you have the Googles and the Yelps and the Yahoos . . . who are looking for space and they become the people that buildings like this one want to rent to and not necessarily to those of us in the arts who are providing dance to the public.”

Iannucci, who grew up in Long Island and left her corporate job to pursue dance full time after her father passed away, co-founded the studio in 1992 to teach dance to people of all skill levels who want to learn styles like swing, tango, salsa, and ballroom.

Iannucci said the space not only tries to make dance accessible to the general public, but also to foster an environment in which professional dancers and teachers can perfect their craft. “During the day we provide them with free space so they can pursue their own dreams, so they can rehearse their own troupes, create their own choreography that they then go and take to other communities around the world, around the country,” she said.

Swing dancer Dan Bates said the loss of Dance Manhattan would be a huge blow. “It is one of the biggest and best studios in New York and is known throughout the world,” he said. “Dancers coming through New York on their way elsewhere always make a point of stopping off there to check it out. It’s a community as well as great space, and to lose it would be terrible.”

To see the full story, visit http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140414/flatiron/popular-dance-studio-has-move-because-of-rent-increase-owners-say.

 

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Georgia Teen Receives First Pair of Tap Shoes from Maurice Hines

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Jaelen Tyner and Maurice Hines; photo contributed by Greg Mooney/Access Atlanta

Jaelen Tyner and Maurice Hines; photo contributed by Greg Mooney/Access Atlanta

Jaelen Tyner, 18, has miles of promising dance steps ahead of him after dancing legend Maurice Hines presented him with a pair of tap shoes in front of a packed Alliance Theatre audience in Atlanta, Georgia, last week.

“I always believe in giving back,” Hines said, as he called Tyner up to the stage at the end the show, reported Access Atlanta. His show, Maurice Hines Is Tappin’ Thru Life, is playing at the Alliance through May 4.

“For him to do this—give him the shoes—that’s so special,” mom Yolanda Tyner said. “It’s a very special night.”

Tyner is part of the Alliance Theatre Teen Vibe program, whose members attended Hines’ recent appearance at the Goat Farm Arts Center. While visiting with the artist, Tyner told Hines he was interested in tap dancing but could not afford tap shoes.

His mom said her son been involved in musical theater at Mill Creek High School, where he is a senior, and has enjoyed his time with the Alliance’s youth ensemble. “He wanted to start incorporating tap into some of the dances he was learning,” she said, adding that tap shoes “can be quite pricey, especially for his size. He’s a size 13.”

Hines’ gift to Tyner, though, felt priceless. “I realize now after speaking to Maurice Hines that it’s a dying art and it is a very important style of dance that cannot be killed off,” said Tyner, who plans to attend the University of North Georgia in the fall. “I’m going to pursue acting and theater. This is my passion. This is my career. It’s all I want to do.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.accessatlanta.com/news/entertainment/arts-theater/hines-gift-helps-young-dancer-take-next-step/nfZND/.

 

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Illinois Dance Studio Organizes April Show to Benefit Dance Across America

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Willow Street Dance Theatre students; photo courtesy Dance Across America

Willow Street Dance Theatre students; photo courtesy Dance Across America

Willow Street Dance Theatre of Mokena, Illinois, will be hold a “Dance for a Cure” benefit performance for The Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s nationwide fundraising effort, “Dance Across America,” on April 30 at 7pm at the Lincoln Way East High School Auditorium, 201 Colorado Avenue, Frankfort.

“Dance Across America” is one of many fundraising efforts created by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to bringing dance therapy to children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals, public schools, and Ronald McDonald houses across the country.

Willow Street Dance Theatre owner and director Donna Ziegler will oversee 61 dancers ranging in age from 5 to 18 as they perform jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, contemporary, and tap dance numbers. The public is invited to the event, which will include raffles and a silent auction. Tickets at the door are $12, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Dance Across America.

For more information on The Andréa Rizzo Foundation, call 401.952.2423, e-mail DreasDream@aol.com, or visit www.DreasDream.org.

 

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92nd Street Y Live-Streams its Educational Fridays at Noon Program

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Liz Gerring; photo courtesy 92ndY

Liz Gerring; photo courtesy 92ndY

Dance educators and fans across the country can now view live-streaming of the 92nd Street Y’s long-running Fridays at Noon program thanks to an educational collaboration between the 92Y Harkness Dance Center, NYU’s Tisch Dance, and New Media Program.

Upcoming programs include:
• April 25: Dance Lineage: a look at whether the ideas of choreographer and designer James Waring, an influential avant-garde artist of the ’50s and ’60s in New York, have influenced two subsequent generations of choreographers.
• May 2: Liz Gerring curates a program of works by Keely Garfield and Stephen Petronio, as well as a work-in-progress she is creating along with former Merce Cunningham dancer Brandon Collwes.
• May 9: Glimpse 2: A Performance/Installation Based on the Underscore; a group of dancers, along with musician Mike Vargas, create a rich and inspiring view of human and artistic phenomena in dance improvisation.
• May 16: Martha Graham dancer Christine Dakin screens her film, La Voz del Cuerpo (The Body Speaks), about the creative life of the dancer and dance’s roots in the natural world.
• May 30: Choreographer Christopher Caines presents a preview of his new, as of yet untitled ballet, performed by artists from New York Theatre Ballet.

To see a list of Fridays at Noon programs, visit http://www.92y.org/Uptown/Dance-Performances-and-Events/Fridays-at-Noon.aspx. To access the living streaming, visit http://www.tischdanceandnewmedia.com/live.

 

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Artistic Directors Discuss Pros, Cons of Starting a Professional Dance Company

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Lori Belilove; photo by David Fullard

Lori Belilove; photo by David Fullard

Steps Beyond continues its Artists Talk Series with “Dance Company or No Dance Company: That is the Question,” a frank discussion with dance company artistic directors on the pros and cons of starting and maintaining a dance company, April 25 at 8pm in the 4th floor studio at Steps on Broadway, 2121 Broadway (between 74th & 75th Streets).

The speakers, representing various genres of dance, will share their thoughts and take questions on the difficult, demanding, and hopefully rewarding enterprise of starting a dance company. As with all Steps Beyond events, the evening will end with a reception for more talk, questions, mingling, and meeting the speakers.

The panel for the evening includes: Lori Belilove, Isadora Duncan Dance Company; Sidra Bell, Sidra Bell Dance New York; Andrew J. Nemr, Cats Paying Dues Plus; Bradley Shelver, Steps Repertory Ensemble; and Nancy Turano, New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble.

Tickets are $10. For reservations, call 212.874.2410 ex 127 or visit www.stepsnyc.com.

 

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ABT’s Calvin Royal III Wins Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship

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Calvin Royal III; photo courtesy ABT

Calvin Royal III; photo courtesy ABT

American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet member Calvin Royal III has been awarded a 2014 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship. The Fellowship provides additional resources to help young artists of extraordinary talent realize their full potential.

The one-year Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship will provide funds to cover training and expenses outside of ABT’s regular season, such as guest coaches/teachers, master teachers, a physical therapist/trainer, specialty teachers to explore artistic areas outside of dance, pianists, and studio space, as well as college courses and business/entrepreneurial interests.

Royal began his formal dance training at the age of 14 under the direction of Suzanne Pomerantzeff and Patricia L. Paige at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. He joined the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT in September 2006 and was the recipient of the Ethan Stiefel Scholarship in 2006 and 2007.

Royal joined ABT II (now the ABT Studio Company) in December 2007. He became an apprentice with the main company in October 2010 and joined the corps de ballet in April 2011.

Leonore Annenberg (1918–2009) served as U.S. Chief of Protocol during the first term of President Ronald Reagan. Her philanthropic work focused on education, the arts, and civic affairs. Visit www.leonoreannenbergscholarships.org for more information.

 

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Young Dancers and Artists Can Share Their Vision of Dance in NDW Contests

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National Dance Week; image courtesy Facebook

National Dance Week; image courtesy Facebook

Monday (April 14) is the deadline to enter for a chance to win dance convention scholarships in the National Dance Week essay contest.

One winner and his/her teacher in each age category (5th grade through high school) will receive scholarships to attend a Joe Tremaine or Dance Olympus dance convention. Runners-up will win a $50 dance tuition scholarship.

Essays should run between 250 and 500 words and address one of the two following topics:

• Why is dance so important and how has it helped you in other aspects of your life?
• Why is dance so important to individuals and communities that we should all take a week celebrating it?

Submissions for the NDW’s poster contest—original illustrations of “What Does Dance Look Like?”—are also due Monday. Winning artists will receive T-shirts sporting their poster design plus a $50 gift certificate to be spent on art classes, art supplies, or a school art program.

National Dance Week runs April 25 to May 4. Submission details for both contests can be found at http://www.nationaldanceweek.org/ndw/.

 

 

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Two New Jersey Organizations Team Up to Bring Arts Education to Seniors

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Center for Modern Dance Education logo; image courtesy Facebook

Center for Modern Dance Education logo; image courtesy Facebook

The Arts for Life Network of New Jersey and the Center for Modern Dance Education (CMDE) are joining together to offer a three-week dance class series for older active adults taught by dancer and choreographer Alexandra Stavrou, who has performed throughout the US, Greece, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea, in venues ranging from the Brooklyn Academy of Music to homeless shelters to remote village clearings.

Arts for Life classes are designed to inspire people to find a new love or reignite an old passion for the arts by dancing, acting, writing, or otherwise engaging in active art-making. Documented studies have established that active participation in the arts provides both physical and psychic benefits to older adults. Jacqueline Guttman, founder of the Arts for Life Network, has found that, “with the aging of the population nationally and in Bergen County, a group is emerging that is eager to learn, teach, and create.”

Sessions will open with a modern dance warm-up and focus each week on a different area and era, from samba, Charleston, and lindy to Singin’ in the Rain and Zorba the Greek. Classes are designed around the fundamentals of breathing, posture, alignment, and body mechanics—important for both good dancing and good daily living.

Classes will be offered Fridays at 2pm (May 2, 9, and 16) at CMDE, 84 Euclid Avenue in Hackensack. CDME is a nonprofit arts organization that has been serving the community for more than 50 years. The fee for a single class is $15, or $36 for all three. More information is available at www.artsforlifenj.com.

 

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Twyla Tharp’s Latest a Collaboration with Carolina Chocolate Drops Bluegrass Band

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Carolina Chocolate Drops; photo by Michael Wilson

Carolina Chocolate Drops; photo by Michael Wilson

As a group of black musicians playing what is usually assumed to be traditionally white music—bluegrass and old timey songs—the Carolina Chocolate Drops has worked to show the deep connectivity of all music. Now, the band is teaming up with legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp to break down even more barriers with a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music tonight (April 10) at 8pm, says the Brooklyn Paper.

“It will be cool and interesting to see how someone else will interpret our music,” said Carolina Chocolate Drops multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins—the only member of the North Carolina-based band who lives in Brooklyn.

It was Tharp’s idea to collaborate with the band. Tharp’s dance, titled Cornbread Duet, will be performed by New York City Ballet principal dancers Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, to music by the band.

“It is always great when different arts support each other and mingle with each other,” said Jenkins. “Our music is dance music and it is nice to be able to show people that.”

Tickets for Carolina Chocolate Drops with Twyla Tharp, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue (between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene) are $16 for members, $20 non-members. For more information, visit www.bam.org.

To see the original story, visit http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/14/24-carolina-chocolate-drops-2014-04-04-bk_37_14.html.

 

 

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Studio with Limited Parking Ordered by Courts to Provide Student Shuttle Service

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Ann's_Studio_of_DanceThe Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has upheld a judge’s order requiring Ann’s Studio of Dance in Huntsville to provide busing for students, reported AL.com.

In a unanimous decision issued Friday, the appeals court ruled that Madison County Circuit Judge Billy Bell was within his rights to impose conditions on a city variance that allowed the Whitesburg Drive dance studio to stay in business with an undersized parking lot.

Following a December 2012 civil trial, Bell upheld a Huntsville Board of Zoning Adjustment decision that allowed the studio to operate with six fewer parking spaces than city codes require for a building that size.

However, the judge ordered owner Ann Brown to start a shuttle service for her 582 students rather than let parents form car lines behind the studio on Center Avenue and Alabama Street. (The studio property has only 17 parking spaces.) Neighbors have complained for years that dance traffic blocks driveways in the Mayfair subdivision and makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to get past.

Bell did not specify where the shuttle should pick up and drop off students but said it needs to be outside the Mayfair area. The appeals court rejected Brown’s argument that parents will send their daughters to other dance studios rather than put them on a shuttle bus, possibly forcing Ann’s to close.

To see the original story, visit http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/04/anns_studio_of_dance_in_huntsv.html.

 

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Mickey Rooney “Did Everything There Was to Do In Show Business”

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Mickey Rooney at a young age; photo courtesy Associated Press

Mickey Rooney at a young age; photo courtesy Associated Press

The irrepressible performer Mickey Rooney, who died April 6 at 93, began appearing before audiences at 15 months in his parents’ vaudeville act, singing “Pal o’ My Cradle Days” while sporting a tuxedo and holding a rubber cigar, reports the Washington Post.

So launched a nine-decade career of unapologetic scene-stealing—he could sing, dance, play drums, and do pathos, pratfalls, and impersonations—that once made him the top box-office draw in the world.

Offscreen, he was lost. “I became as cocky a kid as ever cruised Sunset Strip in his own convertible, exploding with sheer, selfish energy,” he later admitted. His addictions to gambling and drugs and his eight marriages—including one to actress Ava Gardner—left him with debts he struggled to pay.

A fixture before the cameras since the silent-movie days, he was a perpetual dynamo who endured an astonishing series of reversals and revivals—honorary Oscars, has-been-dom, bankruptcy, Broadway success. Rooney appeared in more than 300 films and TV programs, in addition to his work in radio, recording, nightclubs, and commercials.

“Mr. Rooney had talent to burn, and he burned it,” film historian Jeanine D. Basinger wrote in The Star Machine, a 2007 book about the studio system that made Rooney famous. “He has done everything there is to do in show business, all with equal success, and it might be said, equal failure.”

To read the full memorial, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/mickey-rooney-dies-at-93/2014/04/07/dc332718-be67-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html.

 

 

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At 73, Bill Evans Still Going Strong as Teacher, Mentor, Company Director

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Bill Evans Dance; photo by Emily Watson

Bill Evans Dance; photo by Emily Watson

On Sunday, DanceLife Teacher Conference faculty member and Dance Studio Life columnist Bill Evans will celebrate his dance company’s 40th anniversary with, of course, a dance concert, reports the Democrat & Chronicle.

“My 30th anniversary concert was in New Mexico, and I thought that was going to be the end of it,” says Evans, the internationally renowned dancer and choreographer who retired from teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque that year. “I thought I was done.”

But then Evans, now 73, decided he wasn’t finished and joined the dance faculty at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.

“I found these beautiful dancers here in Brockport and decided to continue with my company here,” Evans says. “Here were dancers devoted to my work, and I wanted them to have the chance to perform it, because studying it is (just) one thing.”

Teaching has been the foundation of Evans’ company since he founded it in Utah and choreographed its first concert at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, in the summer of 1975. He still travels nationally and internationally conducting workshops and lectures and has a personal fondness for teaching and choreographing in Mexico and Latin America.

“I don’t know of anyone in the dance world that doesn’t think of him as a master choreographer and teacher,” says Debra Knapp, director of dance at New Mexico State University, who danced with Evans’ company from 1986 to 1991. “He is an incredible mentor.”

The concert will be held April 13 at 4 and 7pm at Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Avenue, Rochester, New York. For tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/584347.

To see the original story, visit
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/lifestyle/art/2014/04/06/bill-evans-dance-celebrates-years/7311521/

 

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Dance-Based Film, Fall to Rise, Stars Daphne Rubin-Vega and Desmond Richardson

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Daphne Rubin-Vega and Desmond Richardson; photo courtesy The Examiner

Daphne Rubin-Vega and Desmond Richardson; photo courtesy The Examiner

Two-time Tony and Drama Desk award–nominee, Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent, Anna in the Tropics), gives a powerhouse performance as a deeply troubled dancer in Fall to Rise, says a review by Dorri Olds in The Examiner.

Rubin-Vega plays Sheila Jules, a dancer who left the fictitious Hudson Dance Company (HDC) after becoming entangled in a mess with Des (Desmond Richardson), the artistic director of HDC. Lauren Drake (Katherine Crockett) left the same dance troupe after a serious injury to her knee forced her to stop dancing.

As both women are struggling to balance their lives amidst crushing career disappointments, they meet, and form a peculiar bond.

The audience is taken on a journey through the eyes of these two emotionally crippled women. The highly competitive and physically grueling nature of professional dance sets the stage for a background of high drama that intensifies Sheila and Lauren’s struggles.

The cast also includes Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: SVU). The indie film was written and directed by Jayce Bartok and produced by Tiffany Bartok, who used a Kickstarter crowd sourcing campaign in order to raise enough funds to get their movie made.

To read the full story and see the trailer, visit http://www.examiner.com/article/daphne-rubin-vega-stars-as-a-troubled-dancer-the-movie-fall-to-rise.

 

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Government Regulations Force South African Ballet Teacher to Close Canadian Studio

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Lizette Nel and student; photo courtesy Vancouver Sun

Lizette Nel and student; photo courtesy Vancouver Sun

The arrival of South African ballet instructor Lizette Nel in the Canadian town of Merritt represented a big psychological boost for a beleaguered town reeling from the closure of one of three sawmills, as well as the gymnastic club, the figure skating club, and the karate club.

Now the Love To Dance studio has closed its doors, too. Nel is returning to South Africa on instructions from the federal government, an apparent casualty of a collision between the unbending juggernaut of immigration policy and the occasionally rough-hewn, just-get-it-done intentions of a small town volunteer arts administration, reports the Vancouver Sun.

Earlier columns dealt with how initial delays meant that by the time Nel arrived to take up a post teaching ballet to the girls of the small interior ranching and forestry town, class size had dwindled to unsustainable levels.

Nel took a $10-an-hour pay cut from the initially agreed-upon wage of $25 an hour while she renewed the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus-based program. This breached the original work permit and earned the attention of the federal government’s Integrity branch, which makes sure foreign workers aren’t ripped off by unscrupulous employers.

However, a last word from the ballet instructor. She hopes she can return to Merritt and finish what she started. In fact, she says in an email, she plans to study specialized dance instruction methods for the disabled and complete a special-needs program planned for next year.

“I still have a dream for ballet and dance in Merritt,” she said in an email. “We will open the Love To Dance Academy again and develop it further to include even more dance genres, an academy where children and adults can enjoy the many benefits of dance. I am not giving up hope! Learn from this episode that those who have determination will eventually win. Do not allow senseless situations to stop your dreams.”

To read the full story, visit http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Stephen+Hume+Curtains+close+small+town+dance+
studio/9707172/story.html#ixzz2yD69Xltc
.

 

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February 2014 Dance Studio Life

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Dance Studio Life, a magazine with a back-to-basics approach, is a division of the Rhee Gold Company, whose mission is to be at the forefront of dance and education by promoting the highest possible standards in teaching. Dance Studio Life understands the soul of the teaching field.

Dance Studio Life February 2014COLUMNS
Ask Rhee Gold
Advice for dance teachers
2 Music Tips for Dance Teachers | Notation Basics By Nina Pinzarrone
2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Rules of Ballet By David Arce
2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Let’s Tut By Geo Hubela
2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Balance and Functions By Bill Evans
2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Rudiments: Fundamentals of Footwork By Thelma Goldberg
College Close-Ups | Hope College
What students need to know about college and university dance programs.
EditorSpeak By Cheryl Ossola
FYI What’s Up In the dance community
On My Mind | Words from the Publisher By Rhee Gold

DEPARTMENTS
Classroom Connection By Holly Derville-Teer and Debra Danese
Ideas to incorporate into your curriculum
Mail
Words from our readers

Mindful Marketing | Make It Mobile By Kevin Ekmark
Teacher in the Spotlight | Lauren Kipphut
Teachers who make a difference  
Thinking Out Loud | Hats Off to Carolyn By Nancy Stone

FEATURES 
Ballet Scene | Fairrie’s Fitness By Joseph Carman
British-schooled Fiona Fairrie is in demand as a “fix-it” teacher.
Bright Biz Idea | On a Mission By Lisa Okuhn
How and why to put your philosophy and goals into writing.
Higher-Ed Voice | The Adelphi-Taylor Connection By Rachel Berman 
One dance department’s unique relationship with Paul Taylor Dance Company.
J.U.i.C.E.-d Up in L.A. By Rita Felciano
Hip-hop collective offers support and encourages creativity.
Schools with Staying Power | Earthbound and Airborne By Steve Sucato
Long’s School of Dance maintains traditions while moving beyond them.
Something New for Summer | Mozart to Mahler By Mary Ellen Hunt
Teaching musicality means going beyond counts and steps.
Something New for Summer | Teaching the Whole Child By Julia Holt Lucia
A summer session to boost mind as well as body.
Something New for Summer | Two Modes for Better Movement By Ann Murphy
Introducing students to Pilates and Gyrokinesis.
Summertime Teacher Training
Your guide to workshops and intensives across the U.S. and beyond.

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January 2014 Dance Studio Life

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Dance Studio Life, a magazine with a back-to-basics approach, is a division of the Rhee Gold Company, whose mission is to be at the forefront of dance and education by promoting the highest possible standards in teaching. Dance Studio Life understands the soul of the teaching field.

 

January 2014COLUMNS
Ask Rhee Gold
Advice for dance teachers
2 Music Tips for Dance Teachers | Exercises for Musicality By Nina Pinzarrone
2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Airborne By David Arce
2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Rock to the Beat By Geo Hubela
2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Shape and Process By Bill Evans
2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Step In Time By Thelma Goldberg
College Close-Ups | Jacksonville University
What students need to know about college and university dance programs.
EditorSpeak By Cheryl Ossola
FYI
What’s Up In the dance community

On My Mind | Words from the Publisher By Rhee Gold

DEPARTMENTS
Classroom Connection By Dawn Freeman and Karen White
Ideas to incorporate into your curriculum
Mail
Words from our readers

Mindful Marketing | Power of Perks By Meghan Seaman
Teacher in the Spotlight | Jessica Starr
Teachers who make a difference  
Thinking Out Loud | Heads Held High By Jennifer Moore Aguilar

FEATURES 
Ballet Scene | Crazy for Ballet By Claudia Bauer
The basics of building a program for boys.
Bright Biz Idea | Finding the “Vital Few” By Misty Lown
What a turn-of-the-20th-century principle of economics means to you.
Dance Theatre Goes Global By Rita Felciano
Kid-driven Mudd Butt Mystery Theatre Troupe gets inventive with dance.
Heat, Horton and Happiness By Karen White
One dance teacher’s transformative trip to Haiti.
Johannesburg to Oakland By Toba Singer
How South African dance landed at Laney College.

Living Traditions By Mary Ellen Hunt
In Native American dance, what’s old is eternal – and always relevant.
Mixing It Up By Joseph Carman
World dances, lindy hop, and Denishawn – Vanaver Caravan does it all.
Schools with Staying Power | Making Memories in Mobile By Lea Marshall
Sheffield School of the Dance’s three generations of dance lovers.
Who’s In Charge By Elizabeth McLain
When kids call the shots in class, chaos reigns.
  

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December 2013 Dance Studio Life

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Dance Studio Life, a magazine with a back-to-basics approach, is a division of the Rhee Gold Company, whose mission is to be at the forefront of dance and education by promoting the highest possible standards in teaching. Dance Studio Life understands the soul of the teaching field.

 

December 2013COLUMNS
Ask Rhee Gold
Advice for dance teachers
2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Better Balance By David Arce
2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Way to Pop By Geo Hubela
2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Get Grounded By Bill Evans
2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Building on Basics By Gregg Russell
A Better You | Thoughts to Carry With You By Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
What to remember to be the best ‘you’ ever.
EditorSpeak By Cheryl Ossola and Karen White
FYI
What’s Up In the dance community
On My Mind | Words from the Publisher By Rhee Gold

DEPARTMENTS
Classroom Connection By Megan Donahue and Karen White
Ideas to incorporate into your curriculum
Mail
Words from our readers
Mindful Marketing | Online Integrity By Julia Holt Lucia
Teacher in the Spotlight | Staciann Marcucci
Teachers who make a difference  
Thinking Out Loud | Five Lessons By Joan F. Smith

FEATURES 
Ballet Scene | Sharing the Love, Shaping the Mind By Melanie Gibbs
How to make ballet fun for kids who resist it.
Bright Biz Idea | Two for One By Mary Ellen Hunt
Cooperation is key in merger of two studios.
Chatting With Chet By Karen White
Jacob’s Pillow musical-theater master talks shows and shop.
From Injury to Inspiration By Ryan P. Casey
How a tap syllabus was born and what it can do for tappers everywhere.
Fundamentally Hip-Hop By Ann Murphy
3 arts activists speak to schoolchildren through dance.
Get Out and Dance! 
Competitions and conventions for schools of every size, taste, and budget.

Higher-Ed Voice | Dancers Without Borders By Bonner Odell
Discovering the power of dance service in Panama.
Hip-Hop for All By Geo Hubela
Teaching methods that suit every student.
Hip-Hop for Tykes By Megan Donahue
Cool moves and lots of action for the preschool set.
Tap From the Heart By Ryan P. Casey
How to put meaning, emotion, and story into tap dance.
Tap’s Past Made Present By Andrew J. Nemr
Tap-dance memorabilia may find a home in a new museum.
  

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November 2013 Dance Studio Life

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Dance Studio Life, a magazine with a back-to-basics approach, is a division of the Rhee Gold Company, whose mission is to be at the forefront of dance and education by promoting the highest possible standards in teaching. Dance Studio Life understands the soul of the teaching field.

 

Dance Studio Life November 2013COLUMNS
Ask Rhee Gold Advice for dance teachers
2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Super Stretches By David Arce
2 Tips for Hip-Hop Teachers | Build a Foundation By Geo Hubela
2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Seeing the Good, Analyzing the Need By Bill Evans
2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Breaking It Down By Gregg Russell
A Better You | Ointment Options By Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
Before aches appear, research which pain-relieving salve is right for you.
EditorSpeak By Lisa Okuhn and Karen White
FYI What’s Up In the dance community
On My Mind | Words from the Publisher By Rhee Gold

DEPARTMENTS
Classroom Connection By Michelle Knell
Ideas to incorporate into your curriculum
Mail Words from our readers
Mindful Marketing | Hootsuite’s Helping Hand By Lori Shecter
Teacher in the Spotlight | Whitney Teyf
Teachers who make a difference  
Thinking Out Loud | Beyond Normal Blue By Jennings Smith

FEATURES
Art for Art’s Sake By Neil Ellis Orts
Hope Stone Kids shouts out for diversity and individuality in art.
Ballet Scene | Personal and Provocative By Joseph Carman
TeenAge WasteLand gets teens talking, and dancing, about sensitive issues.
Boys to Men By Joseph Carman
Atlanta’s Men in Motion helps at-risk boys bypass crime for college.
Bright Biz Idea | You Want It? They’ve Got It! By Karen White
From the tried-and-true to the newest of the new, it was there at the DanceLife Teacher Conference.
Counterpoint and Connection By Ryan P. Casey
Choreographing dynamic duos is all about interaction.
Dancers With Voice By Maureen Janson
Wright State University emphasizes expression with acting and vocal training for dancers.
Dancing Inside By Arisa White
Teaching dance to the incarcerated.
Dancing on Common Ground By Ann Murphy
Dance Canvas turns to partnerships to nurture young choreographers.
Moving Passages By Jennifer Kaplan
Words and dance unite in a creative program for Baltimore students.
Onstage Poetry By Lois O’Brian
UB’s Digital Poetry and Dance Program links words and movement through technology.

 

 

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Ask Rhee Gold

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Advice for dance teachers

Hello Rhee,

I am writing to see if you have any input on a situation I am facing at my small dance studio. Recently we had a “Bring-a-Friend Week” and one of my recreational teen female dancers brought a boy with her. He was fabulous! He tried really hard and kept up as if he had danced all his life. He decided he would like to join the class. Of course I welcomed him.

A week later, three parents of students in this class approached me to say their daughters did not feel comfortable having a boy in their class and asked how I could have put him in there. I calmly explained that we do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, etc. However, I am facing the real possibility that I may lose three students if this boy stays in the class.

I understand teenage awkwardness and that these particular girls are shy and a little sheltered, but I cannot turn this student away and feel good about it. Of course, in terms of business, I cannot afford to lose three students to gain one. If you have any insight about how to handle this situation, I would appreciate it very much. —Nancy

 

Dear Nancy,

Unless I have missed something—for example, this boy is creating a problem in the classroom—these parents are off the wall. Actually, as a male and a former dancer, I am offended that they have any reservations about a boy being in class with their daughters. Excluding the boy from this class would be discrimination, and the parents of these girls need to know it.

We must stand up for our beliefs and do what we feel is morally right. If I were facing this situation, I would tell these parents that this boy is entitled to take any class he is capable of, just as their daughters are. If they can’t accept that and decide to leave your school, I believe you will gain respect from the majority of your clientele because you held firm to your policy of non-discrimination.

Think about it: if you don’t allow this boy into your classes, you will close the door to dance at your school for all boys. Word will get around in your community that boys are not welcome. This will hurt not only your enrollment but your current students, who would benefit from having boys as fellow dancers in any genre and as partners in ballet classes. By excluding this boy, you would perpetuate the misconception that dance is for girls only.

My guess is that if you call these parents’ bluff, they will decide to stay. If they still want to leave after you explain all the negative repercussions of denying this boy his right to dance, then they should leave. I wish you the best. —Rhee

 

 

Dear Rhee,

What happened to the days when dance teachers presented themselves as professionals? I’m talking about dressing and speaking appropriately, both in class and in public.

Recently, several teachers in our community were invited to an important arts council meeting to explore how the council could better promote dance and how we could develop a mutually beneficial relationship. One school owner and her teachers showed up in T-shirts, pajama bottoms, and ball caps; when they spoke they giggled like teenagers and made offensive remarks about a school whose owner could not attend. (The school they criticized has been in our area for 40 years and is respected by the rest of us.) This school owner and her teachers were disrespectful and unkind. Many of the other teachers, including me, felt uncomfortable and embarrassed by how they represented our dance community.

The meeting was successful, but I can’t stop thinking about the negative impression these teachers made. I feel like I should say something to them because they make all of us look bad. Should I? —Catherine

 

Dear Catherine,

This is an interesting situation, and I understand why you would be ill at ease. But I am sure the arts council people know that the attitude and behavior of these teachers are not representative of all the teachers in your community.

Unless the offensive school owner or one of her teachers contacts you, I think it’s best to say nothing. Chances are good that they will not be interested in working with the other schools in the area, and it will be their loss.

Think about the positive: what happened at this meeting was productive in building relationships within the arts community. Also, those of you who did present yourselves as professionals probably left the meeting appreciating each other more than you did when you walked in. The representatives of this one school, by dressing and speaking inappropriately, showed the rest of you exactly what you don’t want to do in such situations.

I say you should look forward to the next meeting and the opportunities it could bring, and forget about the way these people acted. —Rhee

 

 

Dear Rhee,

I run dance competitions, but formerly I was a school owner. You always talk about how to be a good competitor—what would you say when a teacher asks you to keep another school out of a certain competition? The teacher promised that if I did that, she would send me $30,000 in entry fees and bring everyone to nationals. I asked why she wanted to keep out the other school, and she said having them there is not good for her business. The other school has been to a lot of our competitions. They cause no problems, but they are much smaller in terms of entry fees. It is hard to turn down the money, but I do not want to keep anyone out of my competitions. What would you do? —Uncomfortable

 

Dear Uncomfortable,

Turn down the deal! You have a loyal client in this smaller school, and they have never created any issues at your events, so why should you penalize them? They may spend less money than the one offering big bucks, but I’d bet they would never make such a request of you.

As a former competition director, I can say with confidence that the schools you want to attract to your events are the ones whose owners and teachers have integrity, loyalty, and strong ethical standards. The size of the school is less important. The request you received is unquestionably an uncomfortable ultimatum. But there is only one response.

On another note, the school owner who called you probably doesn’t realize it, but anyone who thinks she can pay off someone to prevent her students from having to compete with a certain school is not a teacher who will last long. My guess is that she will be swallowed up by her own insecurities. Have a great season! —Rhee

 

 

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2 Music Tips for Dance Teachers | Notation Basics

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46 2 Tips MusicBy Nina Pinzarrone

Tip 1
In written music each tone is written as a symbol called a note, which indicates the pitch (how high or low) and duration. Notes are written on a staff consisting of five lines and four spaces.

A G (treble) clef on the left side of the staff indicates that the notes appearing there are higher in pitch. On the piano these notes are usually played by the right hand. An F (bass) clef is used for the notes that are lower in pitch. On the piano these notes are played by the left hand.

Different physical appearances tell the musician the duration of the tone: a quarter note equals one beat, an eighth note equals half a beat, etc.

 

 

Tip 2
Your students should know the most common time signatures used in dance music so that they can count musical phrases when learning choreography or class exercises. Time signatures organize the musical notes into regular units (called measures or bars) that have a specific number of beats. Often each measure has a repetitive pattern of strong and weak beats. The most important time signatures to introduce to your students are the simple ones: 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4.

The 2/4 time signature is most commonly represented by a polka, which has two beats per bar, with the first beat accented. The waltz, polonaise, mazurka, and minuet have 3/4 time signatures, with three beats per bar. The march is the dominant example of 4/4 time, with four beats per bar.

To listen to different dance rhythms and time signatures go to YouTube and search for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra playing the “Blue Danube” waltz (On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314) and the Pizzicato Polka, Op. 234 by Johann Strauss II; and the Radetzky March, Op. 228, by Johann Strauss I.

 

 

 

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2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Rules of Ballet

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38 2 Tips Ballet
By David Arce

Tip 1
Classical ballet is different from other forms of dance in three fundamental ways. Feet must point as soon as they leave the floor (see “2 Tips for Ballet Teachers: Airborne,” January 2014). Furthermore, every step or pose must be done with turnout.

Turnout is often compromised when beginning or ending relatively advanced steps such as saut de chat, tour jeté, or sissone. I permit my students to learn and practice these steps only at a musical tempo that allows them to properly turn out and point their feet. This lets the students use and feel the correct muscles and gradually work up to a faster or slower tempo.

 

Tip 2
In any step, from tendu to grand battement to jumps and turns, the working foot and leg must continue in the same direction until the end point of the movement is reached. In a grand battement arabesque, for example, the working foot/leg starts in one of the five positions on the floor and moves in a straight line to its highest point.

From time to time you must remind your students of the proper trajectory of the leg and foot. I do this by manually directing the foot and leg from the floor to its ending position. This is most easily done when students are at the barre. With the student moving extremely slowly, I make sure she is demonstrating proper turnout, a straight knee, and a pointed foot the entire time.

 

 

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2 Tips for Modern Teachers | Balance and Functions

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42 2 Tips Modern
By Bill Evans

Tip 1
Proportional balance: Recent research in dance science confirms the importance of proportional balance in classes among time spent on the floor, time spent standing in place, and time spent moving across the floor. All three portions of class are important, but dance scientists recommend that teachers devote approximately one-third of class time to each.

 

Tip 2
Different functions: Time spent lying or sitting on the floor (as in Bartenieff Fundamentals, Graham, or Hawkins techniques, for example) provides crucial opportunities for students to tune in deeply to breath, kinesthetic sensation, and basic patterns of total body organization.

The portion of class devoted to exploring various bodily articulations while standing primarily in one place (as in Cunningham, Limόn, and other traditional modern techniques) is also essential. It allows students to focus on clarity of initiation, sequencing, phrasing, and form, while also developing muscular strength and control.

Moving through space develops much more total body integration and coordination than the earlier-mentioned portions of the class, and greatly increases overall muscular activity. I suggest devising class structures and strategies that allow students to move through space in every second or third exploration throughout the class, rather than offering those opportunities only at the end.

 

 

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College Close-Ups | What students need to know about college and university dance programs

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98 College Close-ups T
Hope College

Dancers can refine technique, explore creativity, and develop an artistic voice at Hope College, a four-year, liberal arts, Christian-based college located near Lake Michigan in Holland, Michigan.

The Hope College Department of Dance offers students an opportunity to study five dance techniques (ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and hip-hop), and receive a BA in dance performance/choreography, a dual major of dance with a related field, or a dance minor. It is one of a limited number of accredited private institutions in the U.S. that offer a BA/dance education certification program for K–12 public schools.

Students interested in related disciplines such as dance therapy, dance medicine, dance science, or dance writing can pursue dual majors such as dance/psychology, dance/biology or chemistry, dance/engineering or physics, dance/French, or dance/history or English.

We prepare not just the dancer, but the artist, the visionary, and the intellectual in every student. In essence, we are here to cultivate the whole person. —Linda Graham, dance department chair

The department was founded by Maxine Debruyn, who began teaching elective dance classes at Hope in 1965, and worked to establish a dance program in 1970–71 and a dance showcase in 1974. Dance majors were first offered within an official dance department in 1983. The program, which is celebrating its “unofficial” 40th year (Dance 40), boasts an extensive list of graduates who work in many dance-related fields, including performance (concert and commercial), choreography, dance medicine, and dance education (public schools, studios, and universities).

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Photo by Bob Handleman

Accredited through the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), the dance department seeks to prepare students for career opportunities in dance while maintaining the highest standards for technique, composition, production, and academic quality. The department sponsors a dance company that tours internationally, and hosts semester-long visits from guest teachers and choreographers such as Sharon Wong, Eddy Ocampo, Mark Yonally, Jon Lehrer, and Richard Rivera.

Faculty members have performed with dancemakers representing a wide range of dance styles, from Alwin Nikolais to Rennie Harris, and have presented award-winning choreography throughout North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.

Performance opportunities for students include student and faculty concerts, work with affiliate dance companies, and participation in dance clubs. Dancers have access to numerous on-campus dance-related activities, such as Sigma Omicron (dance honors), theater productions, and music ensembles, or off-campus experiences such as internship opportunities in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Paris, and Querétaro, Mexico.

Hope is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College, a guide first compiled by the late New York Times education editor Loren Pope. The guide looks at small, often overlooked schools that provide nurturing educational experiences. “We prepare not just the dancer, but the artist, the visionary, and the intellectual in every student. In essence, we are here to cultivate the whole person,” dance department chair Linda Graham says.

While historically affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, Hope is ecumenically diverse and values open discussion of matters of faith and respect for the opinions of others. Says Dr. Jeff Tyler, chair of the Religion Department: “At Hope College, dance engages mind, body, spirit, and community . . . it is a fierce and joyful kind of play, a kind of play that opens your life, your world, your future.”

Visit hope.edu/academic/dance/ for more information.

—Matthew Farmer

 

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Photo by Erik Alberg

Name of program: Hope College Dance Department
Year founded: Dance majors first offered in 1983
Department philosophy: To provide opportunities for students to develop artistically, intellectually, physically, and spiritually—through the art of dance and in adherence to the college’s religious and liberal arts philosophies.
Entrance audition required: No admittance audition. Scholarship auditions held throughout the year, with $10,000 ($2,500 for four years) scholarships offered to 12 incoming freshmen annually; some DVDs accepted.
Degrees available: BA: dance performance/choreography, dance education certification (state of Michigan certified); 32 dual majors including BA in dance therapy, dance science, dance medicine/pre-med, dance/French, dance and English/creative writing; minors available in dance performance and dance education
Number of students in department, 2013–14: 62 (majors and minors); serves more than 400 students campus-wide each semester
Ratio of faculty to students: 8:1
Technique classes offered: Ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, pointe, historical/social
Additional classes offered: Dance composition (choreography), improvisation, contact improvisation, dance history survey, 20th-century dance history and criticism, dance therapy, anatomical kinesiology, dance production, movement fundamentals, drumming, dance accompaniment, folk/social/swing, creative dance for children, dance for sport, arts for the elementary teacher, fencing, historic social dance, career skills for dancers
Faculty includes: Linda Graham, Matthew Farmer, Nicole Flinn, Crystal Frazier, Angie Yetzke
Performance opportunities: Annual department concert, fall and spring student-choreographed showcases, H2 Dance Company (semi-professional repertory), Strike Time Dance Company (lecture/demonstration), Sacred Dance Company, Ballet Club, Hip Hop Anonymous dance club
Additional opportunities: Internships previously mentioned, plus more than 200 study-abroad opportunities in more than 60 countries
Notable alumni: Timothy Heck (class of 2004), former member of Blue Man Group, dancer in Off-Broadway’s Sleep No More; Dr. Kathleen Davenport (class of 2004), board-certified physiatrist specializing in sports, dance, and performing-arts medicine; Lindsey Ferguson (class of 2009), Celebrity Cruise dancer/aerialist performer, Naganuma Dance, TV and theater credits; Alissa (Gigler) Tollefson (class of 2010), Thodos Dance Chicago.

College and university dance departments are welcome to submit profiles. Contact Karen White at Karen@rheegold.com for more information.

 

 

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EditorSpeak

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28 EditorSpeakDance, All Over Again

I love dance neophytes. Accompanying one of those newbies to a performance—whether it’s their first exposure to dance in any form, to a particular kind of dance, or to a specific work—has the added perk, beyond the performance’s offerings, of a delicious mingling of pleasures.

Last December, when I took a friend to San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, I got to share in this 20-something’s delight as she discovered the magic of a ballet she had never seen as a child. She swooned over costumes embellished with beading and silken textures and glorious colors, gasped when the Russian trio burst from their Fabergé-like eggs, exhaled soft “ooh”s at the elegant perfection of the grand pas de deux. Sitting next to her, in effect seeing the stage through her eyes, I experienced this Nutcracker, which I’ve seen too many times to count, with a renewed feeling of joy. And pride, a sense of ownership.

Isn’t it odd how we can feel possessive about something as impermanent and intangible as a dance performance? When I expose someone to something that’s new to them, I see their experience of dance art as something real and permanent. When dance moves us, for whatever reason—beauty, provocation, a shift in perspective—it becomes part of us, something we internalize and integrate into who we are. Maybe we revisit a performance mentally because it challenges our thinking, or maybe we simply let it resonate quietly within us, an emotional touchstone. Either way, the art lives, and we have become something we were not. The choreographer and the dancers have sent us a message, and we have interpreted it as we will.

Dance, all spectacle aside, is a form of communication. All art is—dance, literature, music, fine art. Our need to communicate on a deep level through art is, to me, the most elemental definition of being human. Art shakes us up. It creates wonder, transcends the rote of the everyday.

In that darkened theater, those vital messages were flying faster than IMs, from the dancers to my friend, from my friend to the dancers, and from her to me. How lucky I am to be able to give that experience to others and in return live it anew. —Cheryl A. Ossola, Editor in Chief

 

 

Power of One

Last month editor in chief Cheryl Ossola wrote about Nederlands Dans Theater; I saw the same performance. But rather than bringing to mind Calvino’s literary manifesto, it got me thinking about individualism and discipline.

I saw onstage a retinue of dancers, each of whom was intensely and tangibly distinct. There was no prescribed “style” of dancer. The dancing was as individual as it could be. One dancer had a fierce dramatic presence. Her slow creep across the stage could have stopped traffic. Another moved so smoothly into and out of the floor that he might have been cutting through the surface of a pond.

Yet when any group danced in unison, the impact was astonishing. A phalanx of men moved across the stage with a power that pinned me against my seat.

Dancers have to learn to control their bodies and constrain their egos to convey the kinds of choreographic ideas only unison movement can communicate. Also, dancing as a group is immensely satisfying, in the same way that playing or singing in a musical ensemble is.

Yet cultivating an individual, unique relationship with dance is what makes a dancer an artist. Certainly teach your kids to watch spacing, keep their legs at uniform levels, match the group’s dynamic quality. But also teach them to know when they’re allowed to bust out. Help them find the personal spark that will make them glow inside and shine onstage.

Many years ago I saw a ballet company whose dancers were so interested in expressing their individual fabulousness that they were almost incapable of touching their noses in unison. A talented ballet master got hold of them; now what you see onstage is a unified ensemble that brings to the stage the soaring melody of group movement—but also individuals whose gifts ring clearly and distinctively. —Lisa Okuhn, Associate Editor

 

 

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FYI

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20 FYI T
What’s up in the dance community
“Papa” Frank Hatchett Dies
20 FYI 1

Beloved jazz dance teacher Frank Hatchett died December 23.
Photo courtesy Broadway Dance Center

Frank Hatchett will be remembered for many things: his knowledge of jazz dance, his founding of a world-renowned New York City studio, and his expertise as a teacher. But what those who knew him will remember most is his heartfelt support of dancers young and old, beginner or pro.

“He made everyone feel special. He made everyone feel as though they could dance,” Michèle Assaf, a former Broadway Dance Center teacher, told Dance Studio Life.

Hatchett, 78, died December 23, 2013, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, reported the Republican. Hatchett grew up in East Hartford, Connecticut, studied dance in Philadelphia, and performed in Atlantic City and Las Vegas with top acts such as Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey, and Tony Bennett before turning to teaching. He taught tap, jazz, and African dance at Frank Hatchett Center for the Performing Arts and Dunbar Community Center in Springfield before moving to New York City in the early ’80s to start Broadway Dance Center. At BDC he popularized a style he called “VOP,” translated on the school’s website as “blend of strength, funk, and individual interpretation, with an emphasis on selling your performance.”

“I would walk by Frank’s classes, and the energy that came out of that room was pure, raw, honest, passionate, and inspiring,” Assaf said. “Everyone was always smiling, always sweating, always working hard to please ‘Papa Frank.’ He encouraged countless dancers, from children to professional dancers. Hopefully we will always feel his spirit, his words, and his loving hand in our work.”

 

 

Inspired Art: Pilobolus

It was the early ’70s, and dramatic things were happening at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College: female undergrads were admitted, a new flex schedule allowed students to customize their own academic year, and four guys taking a modern-dance class in gym shorts wondered if their unconventional experimentations in physical configurations could be called art.

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A performance of Walklyndon is featured in Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty. Photo by Joseph Mehling

The inception of modern-dance groundbreaker Pilobolus is detailed in a new DVD documentary, Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty. Dartmouth associate professor of film and media studies Jeffrey Ruoff caught up with the company when it returned to Dartmouth on the eve of its 40th anniversary; his film follows a collaboration with cartoonist Art Spiegelman that results in a “2-D meets 3-D” dance piece; the death of original member Jonathan Wolken; and the evolution, injuries, and inspiration experienced by young company members.

What Pilobolus’ story seems to say is that change coupled with curiosity often breeds creativity. Lack of knowledge of conventional partnering, for example, coupled with a fear of being onstage alone, led to the interesting lifts, balances, and counterbalances that became the company’s signature. “We didn’t know what dance was,” explains one dancer in the film. “We only had to amuse ourselves.” Visit pilobolusfilm.com.

 

 

A Cause in Colorado

A 5-year-old Colorado boy battling cancer will enjoy a Disney cruise this spring with his family, thanks to a studio owner’s desire to provide her students with “something other than competition dance.”

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Eight Colorado dance studios performed in a benefit concert for a Make-A-Wish recipient.
Photo courtesy Danceworks of Colorado Springs

Lyndzi Barnes, owner of Danceworks of Colorado Springs, told Dance Studio Life that December’s “Hope for Conner” concert raised $13,853 for Make A Wish Colorado, specifically to grant the wish of Conner Arnold.

Barnes got the idea for a concert that could benefit both a cause and her dancers at last August’s DanceLife Teacher Conference. “I wanted my dancers to learn more concert-style dance, learn about lighting,” she says. “Also, we are in a very competitive atmosphere here, with lots of studio-hopping and studio owners at each other’s throats. I wanted other studios to get involved, get all the dancers in Colorado to get together, make friends, and form a dance community.”

And that’s what happened. The studio contacted Make A Wish, word went out, and on December 8 more than 200 students—from preschoolers to high school seniors from Danceworks and seven other studios—performed for an almost-capacity audience. (Of the 1,100 theater seats in Wasson High School, only 26 were not sold.)

Conner, who had charmed the Danceworks performers during a studio visit, was guest of honor. “The girls said the best part was seeing Conner in the front row, smiling and taking pictures, jumping up and down and dancing,” Barnes says. “Teachers were crying, and everyone was so thankful and generous. And every studio was a part of it.”

 

 

Ballet on the Big Screen

When The Royal Ballet’s artistic director, Kevin O’Hare, looks at the future of live performances, he sees a movie screen. In an interview on Bloomberg TV’s In the Know, O’Hare spoke in glowing terms about The Royal’s foray into live cinema telecasts, in particular the December 12 Nutcracker performance that was broadcast to more than 1,300 cinemas in 29 countries.

With most of The Royal Opera House’s 2,200 seats generally filled—and The Nutcracker selling out months in advance—the cinema broadcasts are a way to “get people across the nation and the world to see what we do,” O’Hare said. While “something was lost in translation” with earlier broadcasts, recent developments, such as the addition of backstage footage and hosts such as former principal dancer Darcey Bussell, have spiced up broadcasts.

This cinema success has led to other developments, O’Hare said, such as last year’s Royal Ballet Live Day internet simulcast, during which cameras followed the dancers through class, rehearsal, and performance. Look for another Live Day this year.

 

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On My Mind

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18 On My Mind
Words from the publisher

Today I learned of the passing of Frank Hatchett, whom I admired for many reasons. Thinking about him takes me back to my childhood, and to my early career as a dancer and teacher.

Long before he founded Broadway Dance Center, Frank owned a dance studio in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was about 10 years old when my mom took me to one of Frank’s recitals. It was the first time I’d seen African dance, and drummers onstage, and I loved it.

One thing I’ll always remember is that the second act opened with Frank sitting center stage in an oversized upholstered armchair, surrounded by his preschool students. Some of the children were sitting on his lap and others were on the floor nearby. He asked each child to say his or her name, and then he would say something like, “Show everyone what you learned this year.” Each child would do a kind of improv to the live drumming. The moment was personal and kind. Frank was like a grandfather sitting with his flock of loving grandchildren.

Years later, Frank and Maurice Hines took over what had been Jo Jo’s Dance Factory (directed by Jo Jo Smith) at 1733 Broadway in New York City. The school, which launched as Hines-Hatchett, eventually became Broadway Dance Center, one of the most famous and respected dance studios in the world.

At the time, the classes were filled with hundreds of dancers clad in Lycra (and, of course, legwarmers), and sweat was flying all over the place. Frank’s classes were always jammed, as they would continue to be until he retired a few years ago. He had a way of making everyone feel comfortable, regardless of their ability. His high-energy personality and style would take over the room, and everyone’s spirits soared. No matter what kind of class you had, you always felt great afterward. Frank made his students feel like part of his family, and they left his classes feeling good about themselves.

As I grew older, I had the opportunity to work the convention circuit with Frank, where that Hatchett energy was always present. There was never a time when Frank didn’t give his heart and soul to a class. The teachers, the kids, and the kids’ parents loved him, and he always lived up to his reputation of being one of the best in the business.

As we say goodbye to our friend, a legend in the dance world, I can’t help but think how cool dance was and is because of masters like Frank. He and the jazz dance he taught set us free to be the dance people we are today. He was a pioneer who taught us that dance is an expression of the soul, and many of us will continue to pass that legacy on to future generations.

Thank you, Mr. Hatchett. You will be missed.

 

 

 

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Classroom Connection

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34 Classroom Connection
Improv Freeze Dance

One day I had 15 minutes to spare at the end of a beginner jazz class for 7- to 11-year-olds. “What am I going to do for 15 minutes?” I thought. Then I remembered my days teaching 5- to 6-year-olds and it hit me: freeze dance! I needed to create an older version of this kindergarten hit, on the spot. I recalled the improvisation class I’d taken from Derrick Yanford at the 2011 DanceLife Teacher Conference, and it came to me: improvisation freeze dance.

“OK,” I said, “I am going to play the music and you can dance any way you want to. When I turn the music off, freeze. Then I will give you a new challenge.”

With challenges inspired by Yanford, I first asked them to dance with one arm behind their back. After 20 seconds, I told them to freeze and changed the rule to only floor work. Next were all jumps, all turns, favorite animal, giraffe, anger, sadness, happiness, etc., with freezes after each. When I said, “the color blue,” the students looked at me, puzzled. I responded, “How do you think the color blue would dance?”

The kids loved it. Their natural expression and creativity flowed. The entire class danced with complete abandon. This game encouraged the kids to be expressive, confident, and creative. It was such a hit that the kids started requesting it every class. I now end all of my 7- to 11-year-old classes with five minutes of this exercise.

—Holly Derville-Teer

 

 

Out of Site

Site-specific dance is increasingly popular, and is fun and simple to introduce to students of all levels. Leaving the classroom to dance opens up many possibilities for creative learning. Your facility and its surroundings may make this challenging. But if you have access to playgrounds or other common areas, you can easily incorporate site-specific dance into your lesson plans.

First, explain what site-specific dance is: movement that is created for a particular place, usually not a traditional performance space. The location is both the stimulus for the dance’s creation and an important part of the experience for both dancers and viewers. The material or movement might not be possible to do—or would be very different—somewhere else. Show video examples to help students understand the difference between dancing at a location and dancing “with” the space.

Next, take your students to the location and have them do a classroom exercise. Afterward, ask questions to begin developing their aesthetic awareness. How did they feel dancing there? Did they feel a sense of freedom? Isolation? What sounds were they aware of—leaves rustling, traffic passing, crowd noises? How was dancing on grass or pavement different than the studio floor? How did they need to adjust their movements?

Designate groups and have each group select an area in which they will create and perform movement. Identify areas that are out of bounds for safety reasons. Have them incorporate benches, sculptures, railings, fountains, bushes or trees, slides, and stairways into their movement studies. The time they have to work depends on the length of the class; having time for discussion is an important part of the activity.

After each group performs its study, ask the dancers which movements they needed to practice most, and why. How did the environment affect their choice of high, low, or middle levels and the dynamics they used? How would those choices have been different if they’d danced in a different area or utilized different environmental elements?

Finally, have the dancers who were watching describe how the environment played a part in their experience as audience members.

—Debra Danese

 

 

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Mindful Marketing | Make It Mobile

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36 Mindful Marketing
By Kevin Ekmark

When parents and kids walk into the studio, you can count on them to have their smartphones at hand. Outside of the studio, you can bet that other parents are sitting in the carpool line at their kids’ schools, passing time by searching the internet. Some of those parents might even be searching for a dance studio on their phones.

Many dance websites receive 35 percent or more of total visits from a mobile device. Consider what people experience when they view your site on a smartphone. Do they need to pinch the screen in order to zoom in on the text? Can they easily navigate and find your most important information? If they can’t, then there’s a good chance that you do not have a mobile version of your website. This can be an issue for studio owners who are concerned about making a great online impression on potential customers.

Consider what people experience when they view your site on a smartphone. Can they easily navigate and find your most important information?

Because smartphones and tablets are ingrained into our lives, we need to use that fact to our advantage. If you’re like most dance studio owners, you’re always interested in improving your website. Making it mobile-friendly will help get more dancers into your studio and improve the online experience of the families you’re already serving.

You may know about some versions of mobile websites. The form you are most likely familiar with is seen when you go to a site (examplesite.com) on your smartphone and the site automatically switches to a mobile one (m.examplesite.com). Essentially, these are two different websites. Since most studio owners barely have the time to update their main website, you’re probably wondering how you can be expected to update two.

While there are various ways businesses can create mobile-friendly websites, one technology makes it especially easy for small business owners. In fact, it happens to be the method that both Google and Bing agree should be used to build most websites: mobile responsive website design.

A mobile responsive website seeks to provide the best viewing experience for multiple types of devices. It recognizes whether someone is on a laptop or smartphone and automatically adjusts to fit the user’s needs. It only needs to be updated once, regardless of whether it will be viewed on a desktop, iPad, or smartphone.

The mobile responsive website provides dance studio owners with a highly functional, efficient internet marketing solution. Since mobile responsive websites are built as one website, you save both time and money. Many use a content-management system, which makes updating your website as easy and quick as creating and saving a text document.

Think back to those parents sitting in the carpool line, searching for dance studios in your area. Imagine how your site will stand out among the rest because the parent can easily read the text, find your phone number, and click on it to call your studio, or even register online. Your website will be working for you, drawing in new dancers and filling classes.

There are easy ways for dance studios to convert to a mobile responsive design. One of the simplest ways is to create a WordPress.com website—and it’s free. WordPress is a content-management system that makes it convenient for studio owners to update pages or write blog posts in real time. As of now, there are approximately 65 mobile responsive website designs available for free from WordPress.com.

Studio owners who want a more customized solution can use a self-hosted WordPress website with a premium theme. WordPress makes its software available to website developers, giving them the creative freedom to customize and manipulate it. A custom solution gives you more control of the design, but you will need a web developer’s help to get started. You will likely have to pay the web developer, and web hosting companies charge fees, usually $5 to $7 per month, but a self-hosted WordPress website is as easy to maintain as the free version.

Mobile internet use is an important part of any marketing plan. It’s not enough to have a website anymore; you need to have a site that’s user-friendly for people on the go—and these days, that’s everyone.

 

 

 

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Teacher in the Spotlight | Lauren Kipphut

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32 Teacher Spotlight
Director and teacher; Spring Mill Dance Academy, Ivyland, Pennsylvania

NOMINATED BY: Maddi Szodfridt, student: “When I was 12, I decided I wanted to have dance as my profession. I told Lauren this. Most teachers would say it was a wonderful idea but never follow up on it. Not Lauren. She increased my training hours and gave me two-hour privates. My private training time was right after school, and my mom found she wasn’t able to get me there that early. Instead of canceling or shortening the sessions, Lauren decided they were important enough that she would pick me up at school and bring me to dance. This is beyond expectations for any dance teacher. Not only is Lauren extremely devoted to her students, she is the fairest individual I know. She is my best friend, my big sister, and the most important person in my life.”

YEARS TEACHING: 18

AGES TAUGHT: 2 to adult

GENRES TAUGHT: Creative movement, ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, hip-hop

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Photo by Maria Menjivar

WHY SHE CHOSE TEACHING AS A CAREER: I always knew I wanted dance to be a career. As a dance major in college I discovered that I loved teaching. I taught local children as part of the dance conservatory’s curriculum; I loved working with them, developing classes and syllabuses, and finding creative ways to teach. Watching the children develop their skills and knowing I was part of that progress gave me pride.

HER GREATEST INSPIRATIONS: My childhood ballet teacher, Olga Blumenkrantz. Every class was enjoyable and well structured. She let me choreograph for a couple of my classmates and myself. My parents were my inspiration throughout college and at the beginning of my career. I had 100 percent support from them to follow my heart and never give up. Since I started teaching, my students have become my inspiration. They make me strive to be a better teacher. They challenge me, whether that means keeping up with new and innovative choreography or helping them work through their frustrations as dancers.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: To dance with your heart, mind, and body—from the top of your head to the ends of your toes and everywhere in between. Put those three together and you are unstoppable.

WHAT MAKES HER A GOOD TEACHER: First, listening. I come up with new ideas—I research, experiment, take master classes, and try to think out of the box to find new ways to teach and choreograph. But listening to my students is what really guides me into new ways of thinking. I teach for them, so I want to know what they want. Second, versatility—the ability to work with students of many different levels: beginners, special-needs students, and those who aspire to become professional dancers. I have been able to adapt to each dancer’s abilities and challenge each one individually.

HER FONDEST TEACHING MOMENT: Seeing a sense of accomplishment on my dancers’ faces. Having a student finally perfect a pirouette or watching them blossom as they perform their first solos makes me proud. A few of my former students have pursued careers in dance and I am overjoyed knowing I had a part in that. As a teacher, you always hope you are instilling something in your students.

ADVICE FOR DANCERS AND TEACHERS: For dancers: never give up. At times it will be frustrating, but always remember to dance for yourself. For teachers: never give up on your students, and give them as much dedication as they give to you.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: After 16 years of teaching, I finally achieved my dream of directing a dance studio. I adore my students. They have helped me become the person and teacher I am today. I am blessed to be able to work with such passionate students who have such wonderful support from their families.

 

DO YOU KNOW A DANCE TEACHER WHO DESERVES TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT? Email your nominations to Arisa@rheegold.com or mail them to Arisa White, Dance Studio Life, P.O. Box 2150, Norton, MA 02766. Please include why you think this teacher should be featured, along with his or her contact information.

 

 

 

 

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Thinking Out Loud | Hats Off to Carolyn

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30 Thinking Out LoudBy Nancy Stone

Ten years after selling my studio to two of my former students, I still miss being a dance teacher, with all the fun and heartaches that go with that job. Only now can I discuss, tear-free, not owning a studio. A few years ago I went to a recital at my former school, and it brought home to me all over again how important teachers are. The audience was filled with former dancers who came to acknowledge the 50-year history of a dance studio in a small Georgia town.

For the finale, the owners, Terri and Kim, asked former students to participate in “Footloose,” a number that had often ended my recitals and had always been a hit. Some of the dancers who participated had graduated as long ago as 1978 and some as recently as 2011. Some lived more than 1,000 miles away. Most of these dancers had done the number years before, and of course the choreography came back to them immediately. Eighty-six former dancers filled the stage with big smiles and lots of enthusiasm.

After the show, at a cocktail party, I talked to former students I had not seen in many years. We reminisced about old shows, how talented they were or were not (age, it turns out, brings brutal honesty), dances they performed, and costumes they wore. Throughout the evening, I was reminded again and again about the importance of dance teachers in the life of every student. It is wonderful to have students who dance on Broadway or in Las Vegas, join a prestigious ballet company, or become stars at Disney. But I am also proud of the dancers who chose a different career but still have the love of dance in their hearts.

Carolyn and I became big sister/little sister, mentor/student, and, most important, friends.

After coming down from the high of that evening, I began to think about my first dance teacher and how important she was—and is—in my life. “Miss Carolyn” was from Atlanta. Each week she rode the bus to Jackson and several other towns to teach dance. This was the first exposure the people in these small towns had to dance, and Carolyn was an instant success.

My father had recently died and my mother had no cash, so Carolyn gave me dance lessons in exchange for three nights of room and board each week. Carolyn and I became big sister/little sister, mentor/student, and, most important, friends. One of the most difficult days in my life was Carolyn’s announcement that she was getting married and moving to Virginia. She had arranged for another dance teacher to take over, but classes were never the same.

Not long after Carolyn said, “I do,” she and her husband invited me to visit them. They showed me around Washington, DC, and I spent the better part of that summer with them. It was the 1950s, and Elvis Presley was becoming hugely popular. All I could talk about was his upcoming show in Atlanta and how I would give anything to see it. As I boarded the train to return to Atlanta, Carolyn gave me the name of one of Elvis’ backup singers, in case I ever got to a concert.

When I got home, my mother surprised me with tickets to the concert—and after the concert, Carolyn’s friend introduced me to Elvis! He kissed my cheek, and I still consider not washing that part of my face! My mother and Carolyn made my dream come true.

While I was attending the University of Georgia, Carolyn and her husband returned to Atlanta. Carolyn opened a studio and asked me to teach for her one day a week. The tables had turned—now I was staying at her house.

Carolyn opened so many doors for me. I am the person I am today, in part, because in 1951, a young dancer from Atlanta came to a small Georgia town and took the time to befriend a girl who had lost her father and needed support. We have remained friends through all these many years, and still we talk, laugh, and have fun together.

Hats off to you, Carolyn Phillips Fleetwood. You made a difference in my life and the lives of so many others.

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Bright Biz Idea | On a Mission

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90 Bright Biz
How and why to put your philosophy and goals into writing
By Lisa Okuhn

What is a mission statement? At its simplest, it’s a written description of who you and your school are, what you provide, and how you provide it. Why does a dance studio need one? Because it not only tells clients and potential clients who you are and what you offer, but how you offer it, and why; and it keeps your entire organization focused on what matters most to you.

A mission statement doesn’t have to be called that. You can call it your “Statement of Purpose,” or “Core Principles.” You can park it under a label like, “About Us,” or “Who We Are” on your studio’s website. The important thing is that it communicates your purpose and values and articulates the ways in which you’re pursuing them.

I do not believe a mission statement should be created for marketing purposes. It should not be a crowd pleaser. It should truly reflect the fiber of the organization. —Kathryn Sprankle

Regardless of what you call it, a mission statement is essential, says Kathryn Sprankle, owner of Sprankle Leadership, a nationally active governance and business strategy consulting firm. “It’s a very important element of communicating what an organization is, both to its public—its audience or clientele—and to its employees and other stakeholders,” she says.

How a mission statement functions externally

What you emphasize in your statement and how you articulate your priorities have the potential to shape your organization from the outside in. A mission statement should not be a generic banner telling the world that you teach dance, love dance, and think dance has the potential to change the world. Such statements are undoubtedly true, but they’re unspecific and not very useful to people who are trying to decide where to enroll their children or themselves in dance classes.

Clients have many schools to choose from. It serves both those families and your school to make sure people know what they’re getting. Crafting a welcoming message with specific language defines your organization and lets clients find the school that best suits them.

Your statement, whatever form it takes, should not necessarily be created to capture the largest share of the available market. “I do not believe a mission statement should be created for marketing purposes,” Sprankle says. “It should not be a crowd pleaser. It should truly reflect the fiber of the organization.”

That means being clear about what drives your organization, what’s important to you, and especially, what makes your school different from others. For example, Laura Ward-Moran, owner of Maryland School of Ballet and Modern Dance in Bel Air, Maryland, wanted to convey the fact that her 125-student school has a pre-professional or precollegiate focus—it’s largely designed to prepare students for a career in dance and/or for a college dance program. She also wanted potential clients to understand that “they’re not just learning ballet and modern dance, they’re learning about their bodies; they’re learning anatomy and kinesiology.”

Ward-Moran included the following language on her studio’s website: “Distinguished dance-degreed professionals who approach teaching from an anatomically correct perspective instruct all classes, and professionalism is maintained at all times by teachers and students.”

Putting the mission statement on the website, Ward-Moran says, has steered toward her school those students who seek serious training and expect to learn about optimal physiological functioning and reap its benefits. Occasionally competition-oriented students wander in, but they leave when they discover that there are no sequins or trophies to be found there. Overall, Ward-Moran believes her mission statement works well as a natural sorting mechanism.

Chan Hon Goh, director of Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver, British Columbia, communicates the school’s purpose in both a mission statement and “A Message From the Director,” on the academy’s website. The message is welcoming and inclusive and clearly identifies the academy’s overarching goals. “I wanted our mission first to reflect our openness to all races, all genders, everybody in our community,” Goh says. “Anybody who wants to dance is welcome. We have a number of programs to suit different needs.”

At the same time, however, she and others at the academy—whose graduates fill the ranks of top-tier ballet companies across the globe—want to communicate to the public that they offer serious ballet training. “Dance can be beneficial for everybody,” Goh says, “but we are known to be the training ground for professional dancers. We want to be clear about who we are so that the message will differentiate us from other academies, schools, and institutes.”

Goh’s message also reads, “The unabashedly forward-looking and internationally focused Goh Ballet curriculum enables students to develop the skills necessary to thrive in the diversely interconnected world of the 21st century.” This communicates another important aim of the academy: to offer an international dance education.

“It’s important for the academy to make it known that we are very much aware and want our students to be aware of what’s happening internationally,” Goh says. “In Vancouver we mustn’t be looking only at the training here, but at the training that goes on all over the world, in New York, in London, Paris, Moscow.”

Inside your organization

Along with informing the public, a mission statement keeps faculty and staff focused on a school’s purpose, principles, and long-term goals.

Goh Academy of Ballet’s language states: “We are a caring, supportive, and inspiring institution with high standards and high expectations. We take tremendous pride in the commitment and accomplishments of our students. Our world-class faculty demonstrates innovation, loyalty, sustainability, care, dedication, teamwork, and leadership by example. These same values are shared by our administrative team, our ballet shop associates, and our volunteers.”

When everyone inside an organization agrees that they are united in pursuing principles like those outlined by the Goh Academy, Sprankle says, “it becomes a beacon for an organization’s culture.”

Goh believes that stating common values has served the academy well. “It’s an overall understanding that we all share this commitment as an organization. I think we function better as a whole when that sense is communicated.” At the same time, she does not expect uniformity in teaching style or temperament. “I value the artistic minds and the artistic personalities I bring in to the organization, and believe in the individualism and strengths of each faculty member,” she says. “They’re the people who get students to the next level.” But, she adds, “within that it’s important that we all feel of like minds when it comes to what we want as a whole.”

A good mission statement can draw like-minded teachers and staff to your school from the outset. Ward-Moran says that more than a few of the people who work at her studio were attracted by the philosophy articulated in her statement.

Amy Kweskin, who teaches arts business courses at the Art Institute of California–San Francisco, says a good statement allows potential employees to “understand your approach, your philosophy, the choices you make as a business, artistically and administratively.”

From time to time, Sprankle says, a business owner needs to refer employees to the statement that articulates an organization’s core principles. If the employee’s goals have shifted, she says, “That’s fine. We wish them well. There are plenty of other places.”

Whether you are creating a business or operating one, a mission statement reminds you that you can’t be everything to everyone, and that doing what you believe in and do best is the most strategically sound principle on which to build success. Keeping these values in the forefront can sometimes be difficult, says Sprankle, “but that’s where the courage comes in.”

Ward-Moran agrees. “We’ve run a steady business with the same philosophy and never veered away from it,” she says. “Many times, I’ve wondered if I should change this and do that and that would draw more students. But I pretty much stick to [what we’ve established].”

Other studios might have 500 students, Ward-Moran says, but each student may only attend once a week. She has 125 students, “but 75 percent of my students dance four to five times a week, and they’re paying to be there that many times.”

How to develop a mission statement

According to Sprankle, the first step is to ask the important questions. Number one is “why bother?” doing what they do. Next she asks, “What’s truly important to you? What drives the organization?”

Getting past pat answers and platitudes is crucial, Sprankle says, although it can be difficult. “My clients will say, ‘We want to be there.’ I say, ‘What is there?’ They’ll state something and I’ll say, ‘What does that mean? Why is that important to you?’ ” If you’re working on your own, you’ll need to question yourself and strive for clarity. “You have to question these statements deeply, and from an objective standpoint,” Sprankle says.

Kweskin describes formulating a mission statement as following a formula of sorts. She says, “I always start with your greatest intention; for example, ‘We believe every child should have the opportunity to express herself through dance.’ Then the mission states how you’re going to fulfill that intention.” For example, you might say, “Our outreach programs funnel students into the school in a low-cost, donor-subsidized curriculum taught by renowned professionals.”

A longer statement, Kweskin says, can include “your philosophy on teaching, your engagement with students, how you utilize your programs, how people can engage in those programs, who it is you think you are serving.”

She recommends using the language of the consumer or the target market. “Avoid ‘weird-speak,’ ” she says, meaning pompous, self-referential arts language. “Your clients or potential clients should be able to say, ‘You’re talking to me!’ ”

And, according to Sprankle, the message should be easy to reiterate. “If someone asks, ‘Why do you go there?’ or ‘Why do you support that place?’ it’s nice if [clients] can say, ‘They’re really interesting because ABC. Or XYZ is important to them.’ A mission statement should capture and articulate that.”

Other tools

In addition to a mission statement, Sprankle says, an organization should have what she calls a vision statement. For a small business such as a dance studio, this is most useful as an internal tool rather than a published statement—in other words, it’s a guideline for growth.

A vision statement defines where your business is right now and where you want it to be in, for example, 5 years and 10 years. “It’s intended to be, almost literally, a picture,” Sprankle says. It can take the form of a narrative or graph that depicts how your organization will look at specific times in the future. While for-profit companies normally measure growth in revenues or profits, a dance school might also use enrollment, recital tickets sold, or number of community events as a metric.

After you’ve established a mission statement and a vision statement, it’s useful to develop a strategic plan, which will lay out your strategy for getting where you want to be in 2019, 2024, or any other time in the future.

A statement, a vision, a plan—why do you need them? Goh states the reason simply: “Our philosophy, what we view to be of great importance, has to be felt within. It is a very important part of who we are. Having the statement out there is putting into words what we’ve always believed in.”

 

 

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Higher-Ed Voice | The Adelphi–Taylor Connection

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“Taylor’s work…provides endless opportunities to project who I am through dance,” says Adelphi senior Sasha Smith (front). Photo by Robert Petkus

“Taylor’s work…provides endless opportunities to project who I am through dance,” says Adelphi senior Sasha Smith (front). Photo by Robert Petkus

One dance department’s unique relationship with Paul Taylor Dance Company
By Rachel Berman

On a Friday evening in early autumn, 40 minutes east of New York City, Adelphi University’s dance studios are teeming with activity. Orion Duckstein, a former member of Paul Taylor Dance Company (1999–2010) and a full-time Adelphi faculty member, is choreographing a new work—a comedy—for the fall concert, “Dance Adelphi.”

The Taylor/Adelphi history reaches back six decades, when the modern-dance icon was finding his artistic voice. By passing on Taylor’s distinct movement style and rich legacy, Duckstein challenges his students to “learn from the great minds of the past and to go beyond them”—an Adelphi philosophy.

For more than 75 years, an amazing array of dance artists and educators has passed through the dance department’s doors, including Jack Cole, Hanya Holm, Norman Walker, Carmen de Lavallade, and Paul Taylor.

There is an easy camaraderie between Duckstein and his cast of 12 female students as they balance laughter with complete focus on the task at hand. The women—collaborators in his creative process—mimic the lush movements Duckstein’s body cuts through space, or offer variations at his prompting. The Taylor influence is easy to see in the way they initiate movement from their backs, move across the floor in a grounded sweeping style, and in the sly wit and humor of Duckstein’s work.

Now 83, Taylor—perhaps the greatest living pioneer of American modern dance—discovered dance while attending college on a swimming scholarship. After training with Martha Graham and others, he was chosen by Graham to be her partner; seven years later, he forged his own choreographic path. He has made 139 works since 1954 and shows no signs of slowing down.

Taylor’s work can be lyrical, athletic, humorous, satirical, or terrifying—often mixing elements of “dark” and “light” within one dance. He is an expert at holding up a mirror to the many facets of humanity and often does so in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

A notable history

Adelphi, a private university on a lush 75-acre campus on Long Island, has had a long and illustrious history, yet its dance department remains a hidden gem. Founded in 1938 by modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis, it is one of the first American dance departments established outside of a physical education department.

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Taylor choreographed his signature solo in Aureole in 1962 while riding the train from New York City to teach at Adelphi. Photo by Jack Mitchell

Adelphi’s president at the time, Paul Dawson Eddy, whose wife studied with “Miss Ruth,” was intrigued by her idea of dance as an expression of spirituality. Eddy offered her a unique opportunity to train dancers in a variety of techniques and in her exotic stylings. The brochure announcing the department’s formation noted that joy would be “the keynote of all teaching.”

For more than 75 years, an amazing array of dance artists and educators has passed through the dance department’s doors, training and influencing generations of dancers and pushing them to advance the field. Jack Cole, Hanya Holm, Norman Walker, Carmen de Lavallade, and Paul Taylor are among the most notable. Taylor taught intermittently at Adelphi in 1962 to keep his fledgling company afloat. “We used to do it all in the old days,” he says, “choreograph, teach, perform.” His iconic solo, the heart of his groundbreaking dance, Aureole, was choreographed—via pencil and paper—while riding the Long Island Rail Road to Adelphi. “That was the only time I had to plan it out. I then re-created the positions I had drawn when I got into the studio.”

According to Duckstein, Taylor’s work is particularly suited to the Adelphi students. “We’re not focused on producing one version of one perfect dancer,” he says. “We’re invested in finding the best dancer inside each student. Paul’s work offers a lot of room for a dancer to invest their whole personality.”

Sasha Smith, a current senior Adelphi dancer, concurs. “What speaks to me about Taylor’s work is that it provides endless opportunities to project who I am through dance. Taylor’s work/class/style has extended into all aspects of how I dance by giving me a sense of foundation, grounding, and a place I know I can go to in order to feel present and alive while dancing. It also gives me a sense of belonging to an extensive modern-dance history and tradition.”

A revitalized relationship

In 2008 the department began a new chapter in its history, opening a 53,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center comprised of state-of-the-art concert and recital halls, studios, classrooms, and offices—a far cry from its humble beginnings in the school gymnasium.

The exhibition and ceremonies that surrounded the PAC’s opening were held in tribute to Miss Ruth, commemorating the department’s 70th anniversary. That same year Adelphi awarded Taylor an honorary Doctor of Arts, almost 50 years after his teaching stint. Adelphi president Dr. Robert A. Scott, already one of PTDC’s greatest champions, became even more intrigued with the man behind the artistry while writing Taylor’s honorary citation. He was invited to join Taylor’s board of directors by the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation’s executive director, John Tomlinson, another Adelphi graduate.

With a revitalized Taylor relationship, the chair of the dance department, Frank Augustyn, began negotiations with Tomlinson to secure a Taylor work for his students. The result, a month-long residency by the six-member second company Taylor 2 in the fall of 2010, transformed Adelphi into a hub of Taylor activity.

Partially funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, the residency consisted of a restaging of Taylor’s 1975 Esplanade on the Adelphi students, master classes, open rehearsals, and outreach throughout the surrounding Long Island communities; it culminated in a performance by PTDC.

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“Dance Adelphi” showcases work by the masters as well as faculty-produced pieces, such as Jennifer Kreichman’s Impromptu Momentata. Photo by Claudio Papapietro

“I thought Taylor’s work would be a good fit for our students; I hadn’t even thought about a residency,” says Augustyn. “It turned out to be a wonderful and invaluable experience. Not only did our dancers perform a choreographic masterwork, they were able to interact with the Taylor 2 dancers and better understand what it takes to be a professional.”

Duckstein had joined the Adelphi faculty that same fall, mere weeks after his retirement from PTDC. In fact, because there were not enough male dancers to fill out the cast, he performed Esplanade alongside his students—an experience that formed a nice segue into academia, and, for his students, directly connected the Taylor legacy from classroom to stage.

“Being a part of Esplanade my freshman year,” says Smith, “gave me the desire to make all my dancing generate the same euphoric and energetic feeling.” Consequently she attended two Taylor summer intensives to further immerse herself in the repertoire.

In its current incarnation, the department has a core of three full-time faculty members, all with illustrious professional backgrounds. Augustyn danced for National Ballet of Canada, Catherine Denisot-Lawrence for Pina Bausch and Nederlands Dans Theater, and Duckstein for Taylor 2 and Paul Taylor Dance Company. Adjunct faculty members, most of them former professional dancers, teach Graham technique and Pilates, among other classes.

The department, with about 60 dance majors (of whom 11 will graduate this spring), is the perfect size, according to Augustyn. “We can go up to about 65 majors in total, but keeping class sizes small means we get to know our students and their needs.” Intimate class size is a selling point for students, says Smith, who adds that it allows professors “to push us past technique.”

The program

Acceptance into the department is based on both a dance audition and academic record. The curriculum is a conservatory-level performance-based Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with daily classes in modern and classical ballet technique, plus choreography, improvisation, music, functional anatomy, and dance history, balanced with university-required academics. Electives are offered in partnering, pointe, and pas de deux. Duckstein also teaches a “how to audition” class.

Each semester, in addition to several concerts highlighting student choreography, a new theme is chosen for “Dance Adelphi,” which showcases work by both faculty and outside choreographers. The cast acts as a mini dance company, readying for the concert. Over the years “Dance Adelphi” has presented choreography by, among many others, St. Denis, Doris Humphrey, Hans van Manen, Michel Fokine, Martha Graham, Jirí Kylián, and Taylor. Augustyn hopes to present work by Pina Bausch in the future.

This academic year, both guest works happen to be by PTDC alumni. In the fall David Parsons (PTDC 1978–1987) set his 2005 Wolfgang on the students, and in the spring Takehiro Ueyama (PTDC 1995–2003) will set his 2005 Sakura Sakura.

Beyond the classroom

It is the human connections beyond the classroom that make Adelphi unique. Norman Walker directed the Adelphi dance department from 1972 to 2004, touching many lives, including those of two students, both Long Island natives, who went on to dance with PTDC.

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Adelphi students benefit from a longstanding relationship between the university and modern-dance choreographer Paul Taylor. Photo by Brittany Piazza

Cathy McCann, a powerhouse of a Taylor dancer from 1979 to 1991, owes her career to Walker. “I was a commuter student, so I didn’t get much of the college experience. But it turned out to be the best place for me,” McCann says. “The connections I had with my teachers established my whole career.” A few years after graduation, Walker made a call that got McCann into the invitation-only PTDC audition, where she was hired. In 1993 and ’94, she returned to Adelphi to teach master classes and choreograph on the students.

Another PTDC alum indebted to Walker is Maureen Mansfield (PTDC dancer 1997–2002). “I was lucky to be accepted into Adelphi on pure potential. Because I had only begun dancing a few months prior, I was told I would have to work very hard,” Mansfield says. “I was always pushed to be my best. It was a nurturing yet challenging environment.”

Coincidentally it was McCann who pegged Mansfield as a future Taylor dancer when she saw her perform. She and Parsons were guests in that same concert, in which they performed a duet from Taylor’s Runes. Walker passed the compliment on to Mansfield that night, changing her life.

An Adelphi education goes beyond the classroom, giving students the freedom to participate in internships and independent study. For example, Duckstein arranged for Smith to work two days a week in the PTDC fundraising department during her fall semester, where she learned about the inner workings of a nonprofit organization. “I feel like I have been connected not only to New York City, but also to the world through study-abroad intersessions,” she says. She’s referring to the study she and a small group of fellow students, primarily dance majors, did in Bangalore. For two and a half weeks in January 2013, they taught dance classes and participated in cultural exchanges with Indian dancers. This year she travels to Taiwan for a similar program.

The future

The majority of the Adelphi dance students are from the New York tri-state area, though in the past few years the department has recruited aggressively in other states. Augustyn says that while the department’s curriculum and faculty have grown over the past decade, he wants it to retain the familial feel.

Smith and many of her peers plan to move to New York City and pursue professional careers, following in the footsteps of alumni who have danced on Broadway or with companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, Eliot Feld, Merce Cunningham, Pilobolus, or PTDC.

Though the Taylor connections run deep, Augustyn wants his students to have a broad experience with a variety of guest artists and styles of work throughout their four years. The goal: to give the students a well-balanced curriculum and connect them to the professional world.

 

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J.U.i.C.E.-d Up in L.A.

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Lamonte “Tales” Goode demonstrates the strength, artistry, and edge inherent in hip-hop dance at an open dance session.  All photos courtesy J.U.i.C.E.

Lamonte “Tales” Goode demonstrates the strength, artistry, and edge inherent in hip-hop dance at an open dance session.
All photos courtesy J.U.i.C.E.

Hip-hop collective offers support and encourages creativity
By Rita Felciano

On a late August afternoon, Los Angeles’ heat pushes down on you like a heavy blanket; you don’t want to move or even take a deep breath. It’s also quite warm inside the air-conditioned MacArthur Park Recreation Center, in L.A.’s Rampart neighborhood, but no gauge will measure this temperature. This is heat generated by the focus, passion, and sense of experimentation of some three dozen young men—and a few women—who are dancing at the top of their abilities.

They are members of J.U.i.C.E. (Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy), an arts and performance collective that encourages leadership, individual growth, and technical skills through hip-hop arts: breakdancing, legal graffiti painting, deejaying, emceeing/spoken word, and music recording.

Accomplishments are often acknowledged with a handshake or pat, and the atmosphere is one of mutual support rather than competition.

“Hip-hop,” explains J.U.i.C.E. board president Eric Nishimoto, “is what most young people in densely populated, poor urban neighborhoods grow up with. So this program is something they already know; it allows them to explore deep-seated talents.” J.U.i.C.E. was designed to serve disadvantaged urban youth, but everyone is welcome, and everyone is considered an artist.

J.U.i.C.E. was born when Dawn Smith-Camacho, now an Atlanta resident, volunteered at L.A.’s Juvenile Hall while working for the Department of Cultural Affairs. There she helped facilitate a theater program “open only to minors incarcerated on charges of the most serious crimes—murder or attempted murder,” she says. “The shows we created had a depth unmatched in any traditional theater I had seen. Those young people had such wisdom and creativity. They were clever, imaginative, and had leadership skill, and yet these qualities also were coupled with real vulnerability. They were too old and too young at the same time.”

64 Juice 1

Akie “Bgirl Akie” Sawada is one of the young artists who benefit from the mentoring and support offered at J.U.i.C.E.

What, she asked them, would have helped them avoid turning to crime and what might help their younger siblings and friends avoid similar situations? Without exception, they told Smith-Camacho that while Los Angeles has many programs for young people, the participants have to pay for them, or dress in a certain way, or have specific grades—all of which excluded them. What they needed was a place where they were safe, and where they could be themselves.

In 2001, J.U.i.C.E. became that place. Smith-Camacho, founder and vice president, enlisted a hip-hop radio station DJ as president of the nonprofit’s board of directors. The two of them, with the help of many friends, organized a fundraiser that launched the project.

Nowadays J.U.i.C.E. opens its doors in the MacArthur Recreation Center every Saturday from noon to 4pm, to all comers, free of charge. On this day in August, the dancers either work alone or within informal circles, where they take turns stepping into the center to finesse their moves. Accomplishments are often acknowledged with a handshake or pat. Some dancers are more technically proficient than others, but the atmosphere is one of mutual support rather than competition.

“They grow and learn together and develop friendships and camaraderie,” says artistic director Marcus Napuri. He found J.U.i.C.E. 11 years ago, when the rave environment he had been part of no longer satisfied him. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but breakdancing proved to be what he needed.

Participants typically stay engaged in the program for around four years “and then move on to whatever life throws at them,” Napuri says. While most are in their early 20s, “the youngest we have had was 3, and we also had an 80-year-old man who just wanted to dance.”

J.U.i.C.E.’s primary goal is self-empowerment and encouraging social change; however, many participants transition into professional dance careers. Both Napuri and Nishimoto remember artists who were at J.U.i.C.E. when they joined and who now make their living in the hip-hop field. Some periodically return to refresh themselves in the supportive, non-competitive environment—so different from the commercial world in which they work. Some also want to give back, and they can do so at J.U.i.C.E. even if they didn’t start out there. Last September, for instance, Harry “Full Out” Weston, a member of the L.A. group Versa-Style, who is passionate about working with at-risk youth, and former J.U.i.C.E. member Gilyon Wiley Brace-Wessel (aka “Bboy Guillotine”), who danced in the movie Battle of the Year, offered free workshops.

64 Juice 2

Board president Eric Nishimoto says the welcoming environment at J.U.i.C.E. allows young people to explore their talents.

In September 2012, the fifth J.U.i.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival, the organization’s yearly fundraiser, included a special program, “Each One, Teach One.” Organized by hip-hop artist and event producer Emiko Sugiyama, 16 teenage artists or groups were offered professional development opportunities, for which they had to commit to 15 weeks of mentoring by various professionals. The dancers learned about choreography and stage presentation as well as marketing and event production.

“For many of them, this was the first time they shared a stage with professionals,” Nishimoto says. “It changed their lives.”

In the big, airy MacArthur studio space, the Saturday afternoon J.U.i.C.E. dancers twist, turn, spin on their heads or their elbows, and freeze in pretzel-like positions. Some of the moves—a moonwalk, a windmill, a robot—may look familiar, but these dancers are developing individualized movement languages.

Joshua “Kenzo” Aldrete, the DJ facilitator, is a quiet presence in the room. He exchanges a few words with one dancer, gives another one a hug, a third a handshake. He is there with a Band-Aid when someone chafes a knee, and he offers a suggestion to a young woman in a crouch who is struggling to get her leg curled around her standing foot.

The learning that happens in the J.U.i.C.E program comes from participating and sharing ideas, not through formal teaching. Still, Aldrete says, “if I see somebody who might be new to the art, I might give them some pointers.”

Nishimoto, who learned about J.U.i.C.E. by overhearing a b-girl talking about it, says, “The first two or three times I came, I just watched.”

Looking around the room, Aldrete points out three young men intently observing the action. “They are breakdancers visiting from Japan who came to check us out,” he says. Also present are “a very famous clothing designer and a great graphic artist. They come every once in a while to clear their heads.” Then Aldrete sees a bilingual Spanish-English emcee/spoken-word artist. “I guess he decided that today he wanted to dance.”

Unlike in other programs, J.U.i.C.E. artists are free to choose which aspect of hip-hop—breakdancing, deejaying, graffiti art—they want to pursue at any time. “The only rule we have is that we respect everyone, and we respect this place. Life is tough; jobs are tough. This is a home,” Aldrete says.

Once in a rare while, he needs to talk with someone who has issues or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “I tell them I understand where they are coming from, but that they may want to think of this place perhaps as a church or their grandmother’s house, which they want to respect,” says Aldrete. “Somewhere else, they might get yelled at. But we treat them with dignity and as the human beings that they are.”

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J.U.i.C.E. artistic director Marcus Napuri (left) and Joshua “Kenzo” Aldrete, dance and DJ facilitator, welcome both serious dancers and those looking for a safe environment where they can practice their art.

Breakdancing is the largest aspect of J.U.i.C.E.’s activity, but emceeing/spoken-word skill development and music recording are also integral to the program. Nishimoto opens a door to a small, dark space, gloomy looking yet charged with positive energy. Music production facilitator Leon Lustre has the expertise and the professional-quality equipment to help poets produce commercial-grade demos. At this moment, surrounded by fellow spoken-word artists, a young man is recording a long poem in hip-hop’s highly rhythmic language. Nishimoto closes the door quietly.

In 2004, when Aldrete walked into J.U.i.C.E., it was because he felt lost. “I was teaching elementary school and wondering where I was going with my [visual] art,” he says. Today he facilitates the weekly jam sessions and also mentors DJs. He expects the DJ working this Saturday afternoon to become a professional soon. “He is very good; there is little I have to tell him,” Aldrete says. “He is musical, with a good rhythmic sense, and he can read the room. You must be able to sense the atmosphere and adjust your deejaying to it.”

Aldrete started out at J.U.i.C.E. working on graffiti, the most controversial aspect of hip-hop culture, since it has become identified with tagging and illegal spraying. Napuri says he understands the public’s reaction, but he also knows graffiti is integral to the lives of these young people who need to speak through the art. So J.U.i.C.E. offers opportunities to create legal, socially sanctioned graffiti, such as murals in the community.

In the MacArthur lobby, half a dozen artists are sitting around a table. They and visual arts facilitator Hakan Smith are designing a poster for the upcoming J.U.i.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival. An hour later, they are outside, attaching a large canvas to a wall. Once in a while someone adds a dab of paint here, lengthens a line there. Mostly, the artists look at what they have accomplished so far. The vitality of the work’s layered colors and shapes jumps out. This graffiti is already dancing.

By late afternoon, Nishimoto, who had manned the reception desk with another volunteer, has finished his day’s work of giving back. As the L.A. sun streams through the lobby’s open doors, he starts to dance. Slowly, carefully, all by himself.

 

 

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Schools With Staying Power | Earthbound and Airborne

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Aerial training includes work on the lyra, demonstrated by Aerial Arts Team member Karen Weibel. Photos courtesy Long’s School of Dance

Aerial training includes work on the lyra, demonstrated by Aerial Arts Team member Karen Weibel. Photos courtesy Long’s School of Dance

Long’s School of Dance maintains traditions while moving beyond them
By Steve Sucato

Perhaps best described as a school combining a youthful vibe and an old soul, Long’s School of Dance in Erie, Pennsylvania, is like the community it serves, on the one hand rooted in its past and on the other changing with the times.

The school’s principal driving force—its soul—comes from its late founders, Margie (Marge) Campbell Long (1921–2005) and James Walter Long (1916–1999).

My mother was a no-nonsense teacher. . . . If you were messing around in class or not putting forth the proper effort, she would make you aware of it. —Jay Long

Both natives of Pittsburgh, Marge and Jim (or “Shorty” as he was known to family and friends) had show business careers before they married and moved to Erie in 1946 to found Long’s School of Dance.

According to daughter Beverly (Long) Veenker, Marge’s showbiz career began in 1928, when she was a child actor in Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies. She studied dance at Mamie Walker Barth School of the Dance in Pittsburgh, in the company of fellow students Gene Kelly and Dick Powell. Later, she worked with Powell at Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theater, where he was emcee. An Erie Times-News article says Marge’s performance career also included “dancing in Warner Brothers’ production of Stars of Tomorrow, a live show staged at various Warner Brothers theaters”; grandson Jeremy Long, the unofficial family historian, says she danced on the B.F. Keith vaudeville circuit and in shows with Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Martha Raye, and Kelly.

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Marge Long’s early professional career included performances on the B.F. Keith vaudeville circuit.

A professional pianist, Jim worked on the famed SS Leviathan ocean liner and toured with leading orchestras of the day, including Les Brown’s.

The couple started Long’s School of Dance because, recounted Marge in the aforementioned Erie Times-News article, “I wanted my daughter [Beverly] to start class, so I began teaching with only eight students. There were other dance studios in town, but I wanted my own.”

Marge taught ballet, jazz, tap, and acrobatics while Jim managed the business, played piano for the classes and recitals, and taught piano and fencing.

“My mother was a no-nonsense teacher,” says Jay Long, the school’s current owner. “She was very staunch in the way she believed things should be. If you were messing around in class or not putting forth the proper effort, she would make you aware of it.”

While Marge was known to lay down the law in the classroom, she did so, Jay says, because “she always felt that kids needed to be exposed to the best you could give them. She was hands-on, and would stand with a student if they were having trouble with a step and work with them until they got it.”

Marge’s dedication and generosity extended to periodically taking students to the Barth school in Pittsburgh and to New York City for auditions and additional training. Sometimes, when a student could not afford to make the trip, she covered the cost.

Marge also put her teaching skills to use as a longtime principal of Dance Educators of America’s Teachers’ Training School (now the DEA Teacher Training & Certification Program). Says Beverly, “My mother initiated a program where teachers completing the [DEA] training school could receive college continuing-education credits through Western Kentucky University. This college-credit module continued while she was principal of the training school.” In 1989 Marge received DEA’s Award for Excellence in Dance Training.

For Jay and Beverly, dance would become a lifelong calling.

Starting at a young age, Jay took classes in tap, jazz, ballet, and acrobatics from his mother, and piano and fencing lessons from his father. His time spent at the school, and helping his parents, he says, was an education in how to run a dance school. While he was absorbing the knowledge that would later allow him to take over the family business, Beverly lived one of her mother’s unfulfilled dreams: becoming a circus performer. During summers in the 1950s and ’60s, she performed with Barnes–Carruthers circus. Later she put her dance training to use as director of the dance department at Western Kentucky University.

Like many schools its age, Long’s has become an institution in the communities it serves. It offers classes in tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, acrobatics, modern/contemporary, Irish dance, and Latin Fusion/Body Barre for children and adults. Its name and brand have become synonymous with dance education in the Erie area. Thousands of students have trained at Long’s, including many third- and fourth-generation members of families. Some of them, says Jay, have danced on Broadway, with the Rockettes, in dance companies, in touring shows, and on cruise ships, while others have become dance teachers and studio owners.

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Lee Ann Long carries on the teaching legacy established by her in-laws more than six decades ago.

With seven locations and upward of 1,300 students, Long’s has been recognized by an Erie Times-News annual readers’ poll as the city’s best dance school/studio for 12 years running. Jay officially took over the school operations in 1997, after Jim retired and Marge suffered a knee injury that forced her into semi-retirement. Under Jay’s leadership the business expanded into martial arts, adding classes in kung fu, qigong, and ba gua to the existing fencing lessons to form the Long’s Combative Arts School. “Dance and martial arts are similar synergistically,” Jay says.

Those similarities have allowed for a unique marriage of the dance and combative arts divisions of the school in the form of Long’s Performing Arts Team, LLC. The team, a throwback to Marge’s upbringing in the vaudeville era (when acrobatic dancing was in vogue), blends elements of dance and circus contortionism with the classic form of acrobatic adagio Marge had introduced into the school in the 1950s. Acrobatic adagio includes partnering and lifts like those found in pairs skating. The 60-member team includes male students of the Combative Arts School who partner female dancers in the acrobatic adagio routines. “The guys’ martial arts training, with its athleticism and speed, is a perfect match for the skills needed to partner the girls in the adagio routines,” says Jay.

The Performing Arts Team has danced at Disney World, in a Harlem Globetrotters pre-show event in Erie, in several local sports teams’ halftime shows, and at nursing homes and charitable events. This form of acrobatic performance dancing might be seen as antiquated nowadays, but it is a prime example of this school’s soul: keeping Marge’s legacy alive for new generations to experience. It is dance as spectacle, replete with daring lifts and tosses.

Another part of the school’s legacy is giving back to the community. Marge and Jim sought to instill that philosophy in their students, and it remains an integral part of Long’s today. In addition to ongoing community-service efforts such as those at nursing homes and charitable events, for years the school put on a popular Christmas show that raised money for the Erie Shriners Hospital for Children.

86 Earthbound 5Aerial training is the latest addition to the school’s offerings. Long’s Flight School offers aerial training designed for dancers, including silk work and lyra (aerial acrobatics using a hoop). Its Aerial Arts Team offers performance opportunities for those dancers.

Today the school remains a family-owned and -operated business. Jay and his wife, Lee Ann Long (the school’s dance director), and Jay’s son, Jamie Long (the school’s vice president), carry on the legacy of professional training with heart that Marge and Jim established more than six decades ago. While the school still uses the graded syllabus developed by Marge, which places students in classes according to age and ability, it stays in step with new teaching methods and dance styles.

“The school doesn’t have a specific mission statement,” says Lee Ann. “We train our students to be professionals. We approach all of our classes with the goal of giving our students the best possible experience, even if a student is just trying out dance classes.”

Each summer the school holds a two-week dance intensive for beginner and intermediate students ages 6 and up, plus master classes by guest instructors like former Sadler’s Wells Ballet soloist Henry Danton, former Giordano Dance Chicago dancer Marcus Alford, and tap master Bobby Ziegler. There’s also a one-week children’s dance camp for ages 3 to 5.

Marge and Jim’s legacy is alive not only in the classroom, but in the annual student recital, dubbed the “Big Show.” The two-night extravaganza, held at Erie’s historic art-deco Warner Theatre, pulls together students from all seven locations. “It’s a Broadway-style show with a kids’ revue in it,” says Lee Ann.

Typically a themed show, the recital features a live orchestra with vocalists, elaborate props and costumes, multimedia effects, and a myriad of dance and acrobatic adagio numbers along with aerial routines.

It is perhaps its mix of old and new, incorporating disciplines that extend beyond traditional dance classes, and a professional approach that have accounted for the school’s longevity. It’s a vision of what a dance school can be on the ground and in the air.

 

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Something New for Summer | Teaching the Whole Child

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53 Teaching The Whole T
A summer session to boost mind as well as body
By Julie Holt Lucia

A few years ago, a once-a-week student (a second-grader I’ll call Susie) said she felt fat. Her mom did not blame anyone at my studio for introducing this thought, but she wanted me to be aware that it wasn’t an isolated remark. Susie continued to dance, and her mom and I kept our eyes and ears open. Eventually the “fat” talk disappeared. But I’ve wondered: does Susie still have those thoughts, years later? Has she simply internalized them? Is there more I could do to help her feel confident in her body and change her negative self-talk?

The short answer to the last question is yes. As focused as dance educators are on teaching dance skills, we also want to nurture our students as human beings; we want to help mold thoughtful, disciplined, and healthy youngsters who, whether or not they pursue dance long-term, become confident and work well with others. We want our students and their families to see dance as a positive influence.

Does Susie still have those “fat” thoughts, years later? Is there more I could do to help her feel confident in her body and change her negative self-talk? The short answer is yes.

Achieving this goal, however, is no small feat; we can’t jump into our students’ personal lives to gain a better view of their specific needs. But we can offer them the chance to learn more about the “supporting characters” in their dance lives—the non-dance things that can nurture a dancer’s overall well-being, both mind and body.

A weeklong summer session is the ideal time to do this, and the flexibility of summer means that you could potentially offer more than one session, perhaps divided by age groups (ages 7 to 10, 11 to 13, and 14 and up, for example, or simply by elementary, middle, or high school). With the right planning and research, you could use this mix of lessons to connect the dots between the positive in dance and the positive in life.

To help get things started, here is some sample content for a weeklong session called “The Whole Child.”

Content

Over the course of a week, in addition to dance technique classes, the session has three subject areas: developing the critical thinker, caring for the young psyche, and maintaining a healthy body. We’ll touch on different aspects of each subject area each day.

To help keep things organized, give each dancer a folder with her name on it and some scratch paper inside. This will be a place for collecting handouts and making notes throughout the week. Encourage creativity by allowing the dancers to personalize their folders with crayons or markers.

Critical thinking and self-awareness

Although dance inherently involves some critical thinking (remembering steps, patterns, formations, counts; interacting with classmates), there are several ways to encourage and improve these skills to help students’ productivity in and out of the classroom. During these lessons, we’ll focus on time management and teamwork.

53 Teaching The Whole 2For young students, start the discussion about time management with a word-search or crossword puzzle (see sidebar). Talk about what those words mean, and about how we sometimes divide our time between what we have to do versus what we want to do. With older students, have them practice writing a typical day’s to-do list and talk them through how to prioritize tasks.

All ages can do this simple activity: on a sheet of blank paper, have each student write down recreational activities they enjoy (watching TV, checking Instagram, playing video games, etc.). Don’t put them in a list; scatter them across the page. Then have the students rip or cut off the parts of the paper with the words on them. What’s left of the paper is the time they have for necessities—homework, meals, chores, and so on. How much paper is left, a lot or a little? How can they give themselves enough time for the necessary activities of life and still have time for what they want to do?

Discussion could include ways to organize recreational activities and necessities so that they have time for both; using an agenda, planner, or calendar; and prioritizing. Asking, “How do you decide what to do first?” can allow them to analyze their paper and say, “Wow, I’m spending too much time on the computer and running out of time in my day for homework/chores. What can I do to prevent that from happening?” Hopefully this discussion will encourage the dancers to share ideas about what works and what doesn’t.

53 Teaching The Whole 1For a teamwork activity, nothing is more fun than a scavenger hunt. Easily customizable for different ages, a scavenger hunt allows students to follow clues that lead them to work together to achieve a list of quirky tasks. Divide the class into at least two groups, give each group a list, and set them on their way. Rather than designate a winning or losing team, have each team challenge itself to complete the tasks in an allotted time. Example tasks: link together a dozen bobby pins, make a tutu out of newspaper, or create a collage about dance from magazine pictures.

Another cooperative activity is something I’ve named “Story Cubes Choreography.” (Rory’s Story Cubes, if you are unfamiliar with them, are dice with a different image on each side.) Break the dancers into small groups of three or four, and roll at least three Rory’s Story Cube dice for each group. Using the images rolled, the dancers must create a storyline, then choreograph a short dance to tell their story. (Give them a limit on counts, perhaps 32 counts for young dancers and 64 for teens). Have some music selections for them to choose from, and be prepared to offer guidance to groups that appear stuck or have a shy member. Afterward, have each group perform its dance and then tell the others what the images on the dice were.

Young psyches

A young dancer’s mind can be a mystery in many ways (how many times do we wonder, “What is she thinking?”), but what’s clear is that every child needs self-confidence to succeed. And every dancer, even if she has concerns about her body or technique, needs to be encouraged to feel comfortable in her own skin. Confidence levels and body image can be tricky topics to tackle, but we can approach them in a sensitive way with fun yet thought-provoking activities designed to help the dancers view themselves in a positive way.

As an interactive icebreaker activity, put the dancers in groups and have them tell one another what they like and admire about each person. Then offer each student a self-esteem worksheet to complete (see sidebar). Ask for volunteers to read aloud their answers to one or two of the questions, and have the dancers share how it feels to acknowledge good things about themselves.

53 Teaching The Whole 5Having a “Self-Talk Talk” is yet another way to inspire young people to think positively. Explain that the way they think about themselves is as important as what is said out loud. Using a whiteboard, write down the dancers’ suggestions for affirmative self-talk phrases, like “My body is healthy and strong,” or “I love and accept myself for who I am.” Encourage them to choose a phrase they like and practice it until they develop a habit of talking to themselves that way. You may also want to discuss how positive self-talk can help them avoid being demoralized by kids who tease or bully; if you like yourself and believe in yourself, what those kids say won’t matter as much.

Have the group throw out positive things they or their friends might say to themselves, as well as some negative statements they might make. Write them down on a whiteboard or large piece of paper and then let them talk about how language habits affect their confidence levels. Practicing using compassionate language in reference to themselves on their own (on their own time) should be encouraged.

In the next activity, the dancers set goals and plan how to accomplish them by creating an “I Will . . . ” book. Give each student a stack of blank cardstock pages or small poster-board sheets. Ask them to write, draw pictures, or cut out images from newspapers or magazines to represent goals they wish to achieve. Each page gets a different goal. The goals could be short-term, such as “I will be more patient with my little brother,” or “I will eat healthier meals,” or long-term, such as “I will become a professional dancer.”

When the goals are set, have the dancers write (on the back of each page) a list of steps needed to reach that goal. (Help the young students think them through.) For example, if becoming a professional dancer is a goal, a student might list: take more dance classes; build strong muscles; become a college dance major; attend auditions. After all of the pages are complete, attach them together like a book for the dancers to take home.

Healthy bodies

Despite the physical activity dance requires, things like poor eating habits and stress can affect dancers’ health. The subject of physical wellness has many facets, but we’ll home in on nutrition, anatomy, and relaxation techniques.

An easy but effective nutrition lesson can begin with a discussion about the food pyramid. Then, using food and drink images on paper (like flashcards), move into an activity I like to call “My Lunch Plate Needs What?” Choose three items for a meal (say, a glass of milk, applesauce, and broccoli), and show them to the dancers. Then say, “What’s missing from this meal?” When they answer, ask how can they give the meal more protein, for example, and have the group sort through the images to find protein sources.

Try different combinations of foods for meals, and try different foods to fill in the missing nutrients, such as iron, calcium, or vitamin D. If someone chooses an incorrect food, talk about what benefits that food has instead and why it’s a better fit for a different meal. Have the dancers make notes in their folders about the types of healthy meals they enjoy (or think they would enjoy) so that they can share those meal ideas with their parents.

For a lesson on anatomy, use a drawing of the human body as a visual (see sidebar). Offer handouts to the class and discuss basic vocabulary for the musculoskeletal system. (Exclude difficult terms for the youngest dancers.) Then proceed through a “Dancer Says” (like Simon Says) game in which the students use the handout to help them find the parts on their own bodies. After the game, review a few dance moves and ask the students, “Which body parts do you notice working in plié? What about port de bras?” Then determine which muscles and bones help the body move correctly through those movements.

Learning how to de-stress can be as important for a child’s body as it is for her mind. During this lesson on relaxation technique, remind the dancers that taking care of their bodies sometimes means taking time in the day to simply be still and breathe.

53 Teaching The Whole 4Try a short, guided relaxation activity with the class: have the dancers lie down on their backs and close their eyes. (Dim the lights if possible.) Ask them to tense one body part at a time, holding it for a few seconds, then release it slowly as they exhale. Work from the toes all the way up to the eyebrows. Help the dancers be aware of their steady breaths, and ask them to imagine that every exhale helps them let go of stress and worry. (See sidebar for a link to a guided imagery script.)

Outcome

Get your current students and parents excited about this session well before summertime rolls around by mentioning it on your website, on social media, and in your email newsletters throughout the busy spring. Use a catchy tagline, such as “The Whole Child: Dancing Positively Through Life” or “The Whole Child: A Summer Camp of Healthy Minds and Bodies.” Highlight the unique aspects of this session by mentioning parts of the sample schedule, and create some extra buzz by introducing a few themes during class time—perhaps with a teamwork activity or anatomy discussion.

As you talk to parents, remind them that the lessons offered will benefit their dancer’s life as a whole—at home, at school, and at dance. Whether or not their goals are dance related, students will walk away with new tools to build their dreams.

 

 

 

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Summertime Teacher Training

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70 Your Guide T
Your guide to workshops and intensives across the U.S. and beyond

Programs are listed in alphabetical order by sponsoring or producing organization.

 

2014 Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop With Ana Marie Forsythe

Sponsoring or producing organization: The Ailey Extension
Dates: Session I: July 7-11, introductory/beginner; Session II: July 14-18, intermediate/advanced
Location: The Joan Weill Center for Dance, 405 W. 55th St., New York, NY
Fees/cost: Session I: $850; Session II: $850; Session I & II: $1,500 (early bird Session I: $825; Session II: $825; Session I & II: $1,450). Materials not included.
Requirements/prerequisites: Three years of teaching experience, and knowledge of Horton technique
Registration deadline: June 30 (early bird June 8)
Description: In-depth review of the Horton vocabulary; learn or review Horton studies, and understand the range and depth of this American modern-dance technique with Ana Marie Forsythe, master teacher and Horton scholar.
Contact: 212.405.9500; aileyextension.com; 405 W. 55th St., New York, NY 10019

 

 

American Academy of Ballet

Sponsoring or producing organization: American Academy of Ballet
Dates: July 25-29
Location: SUNY Purchase
Fees/cost: $148 per day
Requirements/prerequisites: DVDs and CDs for the Performance Awards program must be purchased, and will be available onsite.
Registration deadline: June 30
Description: Covers basic principles of classical ballet technique, beginner to advanced pointe work, and American Academy of Ballet’s Performance Awards program. Participants receive instruction in 113 choreographic compositions and observe Performance Awards classes and master classes with Paloma Herrera (ABT) and Gilbert Mayer (Paris Opera Ballet).
Contact: Simon Kaplan, 212.787.9500; aaofballet@gmail.com; american-academy-of-ballet.com

 

 

Teacher Training Intensive

Sponsoring or producing organization: American Ballet Theatre
Dates: July 29-August 6
Location: American Ballet Theatre, 890 Broadway, New York, NY (See website for satellite dates and locations.)
Fees/cost: $1,650 plus $150 materials fee
Requirements/prerequisites: An advanced or professional level of ballet training
Registration deadline: See registration form
Description: ABT’s National Training Curriculum aims to assist beginning through advanced teachers in training dance students to use their bodies correctly, focusing on kinetics and coordination, anatomy, and proper body alignment. Artistically, the National Training Curriculum strives to provide dance students with a rich knowledge of classical ballet technique and the ability to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance.
Contact: Meghan Love, National Training Curriculum associate, 212.477.3030 x1168; curriculum@abt.org; abt.org; 890 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

 

 

Dance Professionals Workshop

Sponsoring or producing organization: American Dance Festival
Dates: DPW Intensive: June 21-29, and DPW Dance Sampler: June 22-29; June 29-July 6; July 6-13; July 13-20
Location: American Dance Festival, Durham, NC
Fees/cost: $875. Additional weeks are half-price.
Requirements/prerequisites: Completed an undergraduate program or five years of professional experience
Registration deadline: June 12
Description: A nine-day workshop with ADF faculty that addresses the needs and interests of dance practitioners and educators. DPW Dance Sampler is a self-guided exploration of classes and performances.
Contact: 919.684.6402; school@americandancefestival.org; americandancefestival.org; PO Box 90772, Durham, NC 27708

 

 

The Fundamentals of Teaching Dance

Sponsoring or producing organization: Associated Dance Teachers of New Jersey
Dates: August 12-13
Location: Mary Lou Hale’s School of Dance, 135 N. Beverwyck Rd., Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
Fees/cost: ADTNJ members $295; non-members $320 (early bird ADTNJ members $245; non-members $270)
Requirements/prerequisites: Teachers/teachers-in-training 19 years and older
Registration deadline: July 1 (early bird May 1)
Description: New teachers learn the what, when, and why of teaching. Veteran teachers refresh and reinvigorate methods and syllabuses. Directors will adapt a cohesive syllabus for the entire staff. To be covered: syllabus for children; syllabuses for beginning to advanced levels in ballet, tap, and jazz; basic anatomy; music theory; choreography. Limited space.
Contact: Karen Hale-Assante, ADTNJ, 800.825.0933; info@associateddanceteachers.com; associateddanceteachers.com

 

 

Ballet Magnificat! Teachers Workshop

Sponsoring or producing organization: Ballet Magnificat!
Dates: July 19-27 or July 19-August 2
Location: Jackson, MS
Fees/cost: 1 week $807 ($533 off-campus); 2 weeks $1,272 ($768 off-campus)
Requirements/prerequisites: Dance teachers ages 18 and older
Registration deadline: May 30
Description: Training and development classes with ministry professionals, including opportunity for teachers from a variety of backgrounds to come together with other teachers to learn, share ideas, and be refreshed in the Lord.
Contact: 601.977.1001; bmag.workshop@balletmagnificat.com;
balletmagnificat.com;
5406 I-55 N,
Jackson, MS 39211

 

 

Bill Evans Scotland Dance Teachers’ Intensive

Sponsoring or producing organization: Bill Evans Dance, in association with Dance Base and Julie Chilvers
Dates: June 9-13
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Fees/cost: $675 (early bird: $535 before April 1, $595 before May 9)
Requirements/prerequisites: Professional and emerging dance educators
Registration deadline: Opening day, if space is available.
Description: Bartenieff Fundamentals and Evans Laban-based modern technique, anatomy, anatomy-based ballet, pedagogy seminars. Taught by Bill Evans, Kitty Daniels, and Don Halquist.
Contact: 585.391.3756; billevansdance@hotmail.com; billevansdance.org

 

 

Bill Evans California Dance Teachers’ Intensive

Sponsoring or producing organization: Bill Evans Dance, in association with the Department of Performing Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California
Dates: June 22-27
Location: Moraga, CA
Fees/cost: $650 (early bird: $500 before April 15, $600 before June 1)
Requirements/prerequisites: Professional and emerging dance educators
Registration deadline: Opening day, if space is available.
Description: Bartenieff Fundamentals and Evans Laban-based modern technique, pedagogy workshops and seminars, repertory, improvisation/composition. Taught by Bill Evans, Debra Knapp, and Suzie Lundgren.
Contact: Yailey Yaffe, workshop coordinator, hailey.yaffee@gmail.com; 585.391.3756; billevansdance@hotmail.com; billevansdance.org

 

 

Bill Evans New York Dance Teachers’ Intensive

Sponsoring or producing organization: Bill Evans Dance, in association with the Department of Dance, The College at Brockport, SUNY
Dates: June 29-July 5
Location: Brockport, NY
Fees/cost: $700 (early bird: $500 before April 15, $600 before May 31)
Requirements/prerequisites: Professional and emerging dance educators
Registration deadline: Opening day, if space is available.
Description: Bartenieff Fundamentals and Evans Laban-based modern technique, repertory, pedagogy seminars and workshop. Taught by Bill Evans, Claire Porter, and Jan Erkert.
Contact: Cynthia Williams, williams@hws.edu; 585.391.3756; billevansdance@hotmail.com; billevansdance.org

 

 

Conference on Applications of the Evans Method to Teaching and Creation

Sponsoring or producing organization: Bill Evans Dance, in association with the Department of Dance, The College at Brockport, SUNY
Dates: July 5-8
Location: Brockport, NY
Fees/cost: $200 (early bird: $150 before April 15, $175 before May 31)
Requirements/prerequisites: Professional and emerging dance educators
Registration deadline: Opening day, if space is available.
Description: Presentations by certified teachers of the Evans Method: technique, somatics, creative movement, repertory, choreography, and more.
Contact: Cynthia Williams, williams@hws.edu; 585.391.3756; billevansdance@hotmail.com; billevansdance.org

 

 

Bill Evans Texas Dance Teachers’ Intensive

Sponsoring or producing organization: Bill Evans Dance, in association with Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth and the Department of Classical and Contemporary Dance, Texas Christian University
Dates: July 26-30 (tentative)
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Fees/cost: TBA
Requirements/prerequisites: Professional and emerging dance educators
Registration deadline: Opening day, if space is available.
Description: Bartenieff Fundamentals and Evans Laban-based modern technique, ballet for modern dancers, Evans repertory, pedagogy seminars and workshops. Taught by Bill Evans, Kathy Diehl, and Don Halquist.
Contact: Kerry Kreiman, cdfw@cdfw.org; 585.391.3756; billevansdance@hotmail.com; billevansdance.org

 

 

Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop Teacher Programs

Sponsoring or producing organization: Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop and the University of Colorado
Dates: July 19-August 2
Location: University of Colorado dance studios
Fees/cost: Weekend Workshop $100; Certificate Program $400
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: July 18 or until classes are filled
Description: Two programs: Weekend Workshop, July 18-20, offers intimate classes exclusively for teachers; Continuing Education Certificate Program is a course of study during the BJDW two-week intensive that includes a completion certificate (optional one-unit graduate credit available through CU for $60).
Contact: 303.449.0399; info@bjdw.net; boulderjazzdanceworkshop.com;
PO Box 7107, Boulder, CO 80306

 

 

Cecchetti USA Residential Summer Course

Sponsoring or producing organization: Cecchetti USA
Dates: August 4-9; welcome banquet and check-in August 3
Location: Richmond Ballet studios, Richmond, VA
Fees/cost: $695 (early bird $595); $100 non-refundable fee; room and food (double occupancy at Crowne Plaza Hotel) $670; single-day tuition $150; single-class tuition $50; additional welcome banquet ticket $30; photo DVD $15
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: None (early bird May 1)
Description: Separate tracks for teachers at several levels to suit individual needs, including: Teaching Certificates 1&2, Associate, Licentiate, and Fellowship. All tracks include the principles of teaching, choosing effective music, and evening lectures. Teachers from all backgrounds are invited to attend.
Contact: 805.636.9444; Denise Rinaldi, executive director, director@cecchettiusa.org, or Judith Hawkesworth, Mssjudy2@aol.com; 7199 Tuolumne Dr., Goleta, CA

 

 

CNADM Summer Dance Workshops: Training School & Convention

Sponsoring or producing organization: Chicago National Association of Dance Masters
Dates: July 14-17
Location: Woodfield Hyatt Hotel, Schaumburg, IL
Fees/cost: Varies
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: None
Description: Emphasis is placed on teaching technique, educational theory, and personal dance development through classes and workshops. Classes focus on teaching ballet, tap, and jazz to beginning dance students, and progress to teaching advanced students by the last day. Technique classes and choreographed materials are notated in book form for attendees.
Contact: 815.397.6282; dance@cnadm.com; cnadm.com; 220 E. State St., Suite G, Rockford, IL 61104

 

 

Teachers Training School at UNLV Dance Educators of America, Inc.

Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance Educators of America, Inc.
Dates: July 7-12
Location: University of Las Vegas, NV
Fees/cost: DEA member teachers $1,200; non-member teachers $1,400
Requirements/prerequisites: Online registration
Registration deadline: May 20
Description: Revised, updated curriculums for Level 1 Teachers Training School. Comprehensive training in ballet/pointe, jazz, modern, tap, anatomy, and music theory as it relates to dance. Additional classes in partnering, contemporary, and injury prevention.
Contact: 914.636.3200; dancedea.com; info@dancedea.com; 3340 SE Federal Highway #262, Stuart, FL 34997

 

 

Dance Teacher Web Live!

Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance Teacher Web
Dates: July 27-30
Location: Red Rock Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, NV
Fees/cost: $597 (early bird $497)
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: Open (early bird May 15)
Description: Three days of interactive sessions, expo resources, and special events.
Contact: danceteacherconferenceexpo.com; 1580 Post Rd., Fairfield, CT 06824

 

 

Dance Teacher University

Sponsoring or producing organization: UNLV and Dance Teacher Web
Dates: July 27-30
Location: Red Rock Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, NV
Fees/cost: $895
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: Ongoing
Description: Comprehensive teacher-training program for K–12 teachers and dance studios with multiple disciplines
Contact: danceteacheruniversity.org; 1580 Post Rd., Fairfield, CT 06824

 

 

Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training School

Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance Masters of America, Inc.
Dates: July 29-August 2
Location: SUNY Buffalo
Fees/cost: Members $400, non-members $470; room $300; meals $260
Requirements/prerequisites: 18 and older
Registration deadline: June 1
Description: Comprehensive curriculum with a focus on technique and teaching skills, and the opportunity to meet fellow dance educators.
Contact: Robert Mann, national executive secretary, DMA National Office, 718.225.4013

 

 

The Fundamentals of Ballet Technique: Teacher & Adult Student Workshop

Sponsoring or producing organization: Finis Jhung/The Ailey Extension
Dates: August 9-10
Location: The Joan Weill Center for Dance, 405 W. 55th St., New York, NY
Fees/cost: $425 (early bird $375)
Requirements/prerequisites: Ballet teachers, advanced beginner adult students
Registration deadline: August 1 (early bird May 1)
Description: Finis Jhung leads this 10-hour weekend workshop focusing on balances, turns, and jumps; learn Jhung’s teaching technique, based on years of studying the world’s best dancers in performance.
Contact: 800.357.3525; finis@finisjhung.com; finisjhung.com; Ballet Dynamics Inc., 119 W. 72nd St., PMB 353, New York, NY 10023

 

 

Giordano Dance Chicago Summer Intensive and Teacher Training

Sponsoring or producing organization: Giordano Dance Chicago
Dates: June 18
Location: Chicago, IL
Fees/cost: $300 for one-day teacher-training session only; see website for other workshop pricing options
Requirements/prerequisites: Intermediate and above
Registration deadline: June 1
Description: Master educator Nan Giordano leads a one-day training to guide instructors in teaching Giordano technique. Following teacher training, participate in up to four days of Giordano Dance Chicago repertoire, floor barre, technique, and more.
Contact: Sarah Seeber, 312.922.1332, sarahseeber@giordanodance.org; giordanodance.org; 1509 S. Michigan Ave., 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60605

 

 

Annual Summer Intensive With Lori Belilove and The Isadora Duncan Dance Company

Sponsoring or producing organization: Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation
Dates: July 6-12
Location: New York, NY
Fees/cost: $400-$900
Requirements/prerequisites: Knowledge of Duncan technique required for Advanced Studies Certification; no prerequisite for Basic Studies Certification.
Registration deadline: June 30
Description: Practical work in learning, teaching, and performing Duncan material; required readings; and viewing of relevant films and videos. Basic Studies Certification prepares dancers to teach the dance of Isadora Duncan to children and non-professional adults. Advanced Studies Certification prepares dancers to teach students at all levels and to perform selected repertory.
Contact: 212.691.5040; info@isadoraduncan.org; www.isadoraduncan.org; 141 W. 26th St., 3rd floor, New York, NY 10001

 

 

Leap ’N Learn Teacher Training

Sponsoring or producing organization: Leap ’N Learn
Dates: June and July workshops, dates TBA
Location: The Ballet Studio, 605 Kaliste Saloom Rd., Lafayette, LA
Fees/cost: Contact Beverly Spell for details.
Requirements/prerequisites: Early childhood dance teachers
Registration deadline: Two weeks prior to workshop
Description: Five-day workshops for teachers seeking licensing in the curriculum. Leap ’N Learn, a progressive, developmentally appropriate dance program for 3- to 12-year-olds, is designed to capitalize on the cognitive and neural development of children.
Contact: Beverly Spell, 888.211.5180, Beverly@leapnlearn.com; leapnlearn.com; PO Box 474, Milton, LA 70558

 

 

Luigi’s Jazz Centre 2014 Summer Workshop

Sponsoring or producing organization: Luigi’s Jazz Centre
Dates: July 7-12; July 14-19
Location: Luigi’s Jazz Centre at Studio Maestro, 48 W. 68th St., New York, NY 10023
Fees/cost: 1 week $475; 2 weeks $775
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: May 25 ($100 non-refundable deposit)
Description: A master class series that teaches Luigi’s style and technique. Repertory classes emphasize artistry, musicality, elegance, and sophistication.
Contact: Alisoun Price or Francis Roach, 212.874.6215, aprice123@me.com; luigijazz.com; 48 W. 68th St., New York, NY 10023

 

 

Summer Institute

Sponsoring or producing organization: Luna Dance Institute
Dates: July 17-25
Location: Mills College, Oakland, CA
Fees/cost: Contact Luna Dance for details.
Requirements/prerequisites: Application process. Must be in a current teaching practice to apply.
Registration deadline: April 1
Description: Learning in a collegial group of diverse educators, participants improve teaching practice, gain confidence as professionals, and develop long-lasting systems of support. Included: the elements of dance; creating and implementing standards-based dance lessons; human development, 0 to 24 years; learning theories, in particular critical pedagogy and constructivism; observation skills; and more.
Contact: 510.883.1118; arasera@lunadanceinstitute.org; lunadanceinstitute.org; 605 Addison St., Berkeley, CA 94710

 

 

Developing & Implementing Dance Curricula-A

Sponsoring or producing organization: Luna Dance Institute
Dates: July 14-18
Location: Luna Dance Institute, Berkeley, CA
Fees/cost: $480
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: June 23
Description: Course defines a creative, standards-based approach to teaching dance at all levels. Includes: structuring discrete standards-based dance lessons; elements of dance; human development theory; observation and instructional methods.
Contact: 510.883.1118; arasera@lunadanceinstitute.org; lunadanceinstitute.org; 605 Addison St., Berkeley, CA 94710

 

 

PeffPointe Traveling Teacher Trainings 2014

Sponsoring or producing organization: Mme Peff Modelski
Dates: July 25-September 15
Location: Workshops held in your location; must be in a studio or appropriate space that can accommodate the number of participating teachers.
Fees/cost: Two- to five-day training sessions: $100 per day per teacher. Transportation, hotel, and food costs included.
Requirements/prerequisites: 10 or more teachers; local studio organizer within each group; CD player or iPod for class work
Registration deadline: April 15
Description: Workshops address the how-to of turnout, extensions, sequences, memory learning, pirouettes, jumping, creating beautiful arabesques, pointe work, injury prevention, and the effect of port de bras on balance and timing. Sessions run 10am to 4pm and include Feldenkrais-based Now I Feel Great© segments, daily technique class, and Q&A.
Contact: Mme Peff Modelski, 331.645.8347, peffdance@aol.com; www.peffmodelski.com; 351 55th St. #104, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514

 

 

Royal Academy of Dance USA 2014 Courses for Teachers—Georgia

Sponsoring or producing organization: Royal Academy of Dance
Dates: June 25-27
Location: Atlanta Ballet, Chastain Square, 4279 Roswell Rd., Suite 703, Atlanta, GA
Fees/cost: Members $396; non-members $612
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: May 30
Description: Introduction to the new Grades 4 & 5 syllabi
Contact: 414.747.9060; info@radusa.org; radusa.org; 3211 S. Lake Dr. R317, St. Francis, WI 53235

 

 

Royal Academy of Dance USA 2014 Courses for Teachers—California

Sponsoring or producing organization: Royal Academy of Dance
Dates: July 21-23
Location: California State University, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA
Fees/cost: Members $396; non-members $612
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: June 9
Description: Introduction to the new Grades 4 & 5 syllabi
Contact: 414.747.9060; info@radusa.org; radusa.org; 3211 S. Lake Dr. R317, St. Francis, WI 53235

 

 

USA International Ballet Competition Teacher Training Program

Sponsoring or producing organization: USA International Ballet Competition
Dates: June 14-28
Location: Jackson Marriott Downtown, Jackson, MS
Fees/cost: $1,030 (includes tuition, materials, observation of classes); registration fee $35
Requirements/prerequisites: Designed as a 2-week program; 1-week option not offered.
Registration deadline: April 25, full tuition due May 23
Description: Held in conjunction with the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, the program is designed to help ballet instructors refine their teaching skills under the instruction of ballet pedagogue Roni Mahler. Three-hour morning sessions held Monday through Friday. Participants receive discounted competitor performance tickets, admission to a performance by Trey McIntyre Project, and 30 percent off the Rhee Gold Project Motivate seminar.
Contact: Krista Bower, Dance School administrator, 601.355.9853; kbower@usaibc.com; usaibc.com; PO Box 3696, Jackson, MS 39207

 

 

DEL Essentials: An Introduction to Dance Education Laboratory

Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y
Dates: June 30-July 2
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $250 (early bird $225)
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: Ongoing (early bird June 23)
Description: Prepare for the DEL Summer Institute by learning the fundamentals: Laban Movement Analysis applications, child development, methods and strategies, lesson planning, creative technique, and integrating dance into school curriculums. Required for new students enrolled in Wonderdance. Taught by Jody Arnhold, MA, and Ann Biddle, MA.
Contact: John-Mario Sevilla, 212.415.5555; JMSevilla@92Y.org; 92Y.org/del; 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128

 

 

DEL Summer Institute, Week 1:
92Y DEL WonderdanceTM Teacher Training—A New Early Childhood Dance Education Curriculum

Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y
Dates: July 7-11
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $575 (early bird $550)
Requirements/prerequisites: DEL Essentials: An Introduction to Dance Education Laboratory required for new students.
Registration deadline: Ongoing (early bird June 30)
Description: The curriculum encourages learning through play, providing a stimulating, multisensory, and nurturing community for diverse young learners to explore and discover their innate movement capacity. Program helps children develop increased self-awareness, kinesthetic understanding, and self-confidence. Taught by Ann Biddle, MA, Deborah Damast, MA, and Jennifer Katz, MA.
Contact: John-Mario Sevilla, 212.415.5555; JMSevilla@92Y.org; 92Y.org/del; 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128

 

 

DEL Summer Institute, Week 2:
Language Of Dance® Foundations–Part 1

Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y
Dates: July 14-18
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $575 (early bird $550)
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: Ongoing (early bird July 7)
Description: Create, perform, respond to, and connect with the Language of Dance to develop dance literacy. Explore the universal elements of the Movement Alphabet and integrate movement Motif symbols into dance experiences to connect physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional learning. Participants will utilize dance literacy strategies to transform teaching and creative practices. Language of Dance Foundations—Part 1 awarded to participants upon successful completion of all course requirements. Taught by Tina Curran, MFA, PhD, and Susan Gingrasso, MA, CMA.
Contact: John-Mario Sevilla, 212.415.5555; JMSevilla@92Y.org; 92Y.org/del; 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128

 

 

DEL Summer Institute, Week 3:
Dancing Histories, Living Legacies

Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y
Dates: July 21-25
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $575 (early bird $550)
Requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: Ongoing (early bird July 14)
Description: Through the artistry of Pina Bausch, examine the social and cultural contexts of dance trends and selected masterworks. Through embodied experience and an analysis of choreographic excerpts, identify characteristics of movement styles, techniques, and genres of various dance periods and choreographers. Using this dance legacy framework, integrate history into your lessons to create a complete dance curriculum. Taught by Tina Curran, MFA, PhD, with Mari DiLena and guests.
Contact: John-Mario Sevilla, 212.415.5555; JMSevilla@92Y.org; 92Y.org/del; 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128

 

 

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Lenexa, Kansas, Studio Owner Named ADCC’s Humanitarian of the Year

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Erin Lustig; photo courtesy KCTV

Erin Lustig; photo courtesy KCTV

Erin Lustig of Starstruck Performing Arts Center in Lenexa, Kansas, was named 2013 Humanitarian of the Year this spring from the Association of Dance Conventions & Competitions, reported KCTV Channel 5.

Lustig opened Starstruck while she was still a student at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She also founded and directs the nonprofit dance company, Seamless Dance Theatre, which partners with domestic violence shelters through the outreach program Healing Hearts Through the Arts. “We give a stretch and relaxation class to the women there and teach them some meditation techniques to help them get their mind off what’s going on in their life and get them some personal time,” she said.

Lustig’s nonprofit also runs SPARK Children of Kansas City, which allows children to attend Seamless dance performances free of charge; the Project Dance scholarship program; and Project Access, which provides weekly dance classes to children with special needs.

The ADCC (formerly, the FDC) also recently awarded its 2013 Teacher of the Year Award to Michelle Ferraro of Michelle Ferraro’s Dance USA on Long Island for her outstanding work as a dance teacher, commitment to her students, and contributions to the dance community.

To see the original story, visit http://www.kctv5.com/story/25158311/faces-of-kansas-city-dance-instructor-nominated-for-humanitarian-award  For more information on the ADCC awards, visit http://www.theadcc.org/awards/humanitarian/.

 

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Joan Miller Used Humor and Modern Dance to Comment on Race, Urban Life

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Joan Miller (left), with Nadine Mozon, celebrating the 35th anniversary of her troupe, in 2005; photo courtesy Hiroyuki Ito for the New York Times

Joan Miller (left), with Nadine Mozon, celebrating the 35th anniversary of her troupe, in 2005; photo courtesy Hiroyuki Ito for the New York Times

Joan Miller, a dancer, teacher, and enduring presence in modern dance in New York since the 1970s, died on March 23 at her home in Manhattan, said the New York Times. She was 77.

Miller, who performed with Jose Limón’s troupe and Judson Dance Theater, as well as the companies of Anna Sokolow, Ruth Currier, and others, was the founder of Joan Miller’s Dance Players and the founding director of the dance department at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Her signature works, rooted in the avant-garde and black consciousness movements of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, leavened sharp social commentary on issues like race and identity with a wry wit. Miller billed her troupe in its early years as the Joan Miller Dance Players: A Dance Company With a Sense of Humor.

In her autobiographical Pass Fe White, its title a play on the traditional “pas de deux,” a solo black dancer spins and heaves onstage as if at war with herself, discarding clothing and accessories in the process, including a blond wig, which she had used to “pass” for white. Miller’s dances often tackled sensitive issues—ghetto violence, class divisions, what she saw as American military aggression—in dances she gave whimsical titles, among them Earth Wind and Flying Things, Jungle City USA, Boots, Backtalk and Beyond, and Caged Bird Singin’ and Swingin’.

“I consider myself a city person, and I like to deal with the problems of the city,” she said in a 1993 interview with Newsday. Despite the spirited titles, she added, the theme permeating her dances was “man’s inhumanity to mankind.”

“I hope that through my work,” she said, “people might question what it’s all about.”

To see the full obituary, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/arts/dance/joan-miller-modern-dance-champion-dies-at-77.html?_r=0.

 

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Online System Offers Easier Method for Coaches to Communicate with Parents

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A new coach-parent communication system, MyKidsCalendar.com, is designed to streamline scheduling and communication for youth teams like competitive dance, says founder and operator Jeff Hill.

The system allows coaches to publish team schedules, post documents, build sign-up sheets, text last-minute changes, and confirm competition attendance from a laptop or mobile phone, and features free parent apps for Droids, iPhones, and iPads.

The system:
• tracks which parents have read emails
• keeps a record of emails sent; when, and to whom
• manages attendance for high-priority events with automated surveys and online reminders
• notifies all relevant parents of changes via email or mobile phone text message with a single click
• centralizes driving directions, contact information, and important documents for instant access
• offers a profit-generating email advertising program (MKC-ad)
• provides parents with simple, online access to up-to-date schedules
• builds custom sign-up sheets for car-pooling, etc.

The cost is $10 a month for a typical dance studio, with no cost to parents. MyKidsCalendar.com is now offering a free 30-day trial with no obligation to buy. (Initial setup usually takes only about 20 minutes.) For more information, visit http://www.mykidscalendar.com/

 

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LA’s Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival Gives Fifth Graders First Experience with Dance

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Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival; image courtesy Balita Filipino News

Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival; image courtesy Balita Filipino News

More than 3,100 fifth-grade students from throughout Los Angeles County will simultaneously perform a choreographed dance on The Music Center Plaza in Los Angeles this weekend as part of The 44th Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, reports the Balita Filipino News.

About 18,000 students will participate over the three days of the admission-free festival (April 9 to 11). For many, this festival marks their first experience with the performing arts.

Students prepare in advance with curriculum provided to their teachers by The Blue Ribbon in partnership with The Music Center. Students learn what to watch for during the performance, history and terminology, themes, and the choreography for their dance.

During the festival, students attend a performance by a professional company—this year, the Paul Taylor Dance Company—then gather on The Music Center Plaza to perform a special dance that incorporates music and movements from the live performance in a dance choreographed just for them.

The festival began in 1970 as part of The Music Center’s commitment to engage young people in the arts, and is one of California’s longest-running ongoing free arts education programs. For more information, visit http://www.musiccenter.org/education/Students-at-the-Center/Blue-Ribbon-Childrens-Festival/.

To see the original story, visit http://www.balita.com/18000-students-to-kick-up-heels-in-simultaneous-participatory-dance-performance-on-the-music-center-plaza-at-44th-annual-blue-ribbon-childrens-festival/.

 

 

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NY Public Library Makes Historic Dance Performance Videos Available Online

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Archival shot of dancers in 1919; photo courtesy New York Public Library for the Performing Arts/Jerome Robbins Dance Division

Archival shot of dancers in 1919; photo courtesy New York Public Library for the Performing Arts/Jerome Robbins Dance Division

For the first time, 24,000 films and tapes from the New York Public Library’s dance archive is available to view online, reports Hyperallergic.

The New York Public Library recently digitized thousands of hours of its videos in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive, from grainy historic footage to contemporary productions. Before, you had to ask for copies individually at the library. Even now, not all of the thousands of videos are viewable off-site, as much of the archive does still require you to be present in the library. However, in terms of accessibility, it’s miles ahead . . . [of where it was] before.

What you can view online includes documentation of the Khmer Dance Project featuring the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, and the Dance Division and Core of Culture’s three-year project of recording the Kingdom of Bhutan’s vanishing dance traditions.

There are also modern pieces like the 2011 Performance Space 122 reconstruction of the intense 1980s Them by Ishmael Houston-Jones, Chris Cochran, and Dennis Cooper, as well as the haunting Water by Eiko & Koma performed in 2011 right in the Paul Milstein Pool at Lincoln Center.

Then there’s the 2007 Monet Impressions performed by the Carolina Ballet depicting Monet’s life and his relationships in dance, as well as older works like the 1923 silent film star Alla Nazimova’s Dance of the Seven Veils, and Danse Macabre where two lovers try to escape the plague that frolics as a skeleton around them.

More films will continue to be available as the archive undergoes digitization. The Jerome Robbins Dance Division Moving Image Archive can be accessed online at http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/dancevideo.

To see the original story, visit http://hyperallergic.com/117959/new-york-public-library-puts-major-dance-video-archive-online/.

 

 

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City Dwellers in China Try to Squash Seniors’ Tradition of Public Dancing

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Women dance at a park in Beijing; photo by Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Women dance at a park in Beijing; photo by Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

In China, there is a new group stirring up controversy: middle-aged and retired city dwellers dancing together in parks and squares.

The Wall Street Journal reported that residents in nearby buildings say the noise makes relaxing after work hard and, worse, disturbs their children’s studies. Participants say the dancing keeps them active and healthy.

“Are we just supposed to sit around and wait for death?” says “Auntie” Su, who credits dancing with helping her recover from throat cancer surgery. “This is a national issue now.”

Moves to control public dancing threaten a tradition that has wide appeal among members of the country’s rapidly growing elderly population. As many as 100 million people, mostly women in their 50s and 60s, now take part as a way to stay healthy after the state health-care system atrophied under market reforms.

The dances take place in venues ranging from parks and public squares to parking lots. They take a variety of forms, from traditional folk dances involving silk fans and drumming to improvised routines set to patriotic songs, saccharine pop, and sanitized rap.

“Dancing in and of itself is nothing to criticize,” the Communist Party-run Guangzhou Daily said in commentary in November. “But as soon as ‘group dancing’ becomes ‘public nuisance dancing’ that infringes on the right of others to relax, it’s another matter.”

The dancing dilemma isn’t likely to go away. By 2020, according to state media, people 60 years or older will make up roughly 16 percent of China’s population at 240 million or so.

To read the full story, visit http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304250204579433473042852570.

 

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Dancing Wheels’ Show, Documentary, Retells Dumbo Story as an Anti-Bullying Saga

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Daring to be Dumbo; photo courtesy Dancing Wheels Company & School

Daring to be Dumbo; photo courtesy Dancing Wheels Company & School

In the Disney animated film Dumbo, peers tease the young elephant because of his unusually large ears, but he learns to overcome his body issues, bests the bullies who have tormented him and in the end becomes a hero to all.

That’s why Mary Verdi-Fletcher, founder of Dancing Wheels Company & School in Cleveland, Ohio, conceived of retelling Dumbo, first as a live dance performance, then as a documentary film, and ultimately as an ongoing educational program for schools, prisons, and other institutions with bullying problems.

The made-for-television documentary, Daring to Be Dumbo, airs on Cleveland’s Channel 3 (WKYC) April 5 at 7pm, said the Akron Beacon Journal Online.

Narrated by TV host and weatherman Al Roker, who says he was bullied for his weight issues as a young man, the film features the personal stories of several people involved with the project who have emerged strengthened from past encounters with bullying.

Featured is Elec Simon, a former member of the touring dance show Stomp. He quit the show to head up an anti-bullying program that uses rhythm and music to educate and build greater empathy for victims.

The original stage performance of Daring to Be Dumbo premiered last May at the Breen Center in Cleveland under the direction of choreographer David Rousseve. The retelling of the Dumbo story was set in a modern junior high school, incorporating onstage video and life-sized puppets.

To read the full story, visit http://www.ohio.com/news/dance-program-s-dumbo-theme-tackles-issue-of-bullying-1.477374.

 

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Dance Could be the Common Denominator that Reconnects U.S., Cuba

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Dances by Ronald K. Brown in Cuba; photo by Roberto Leon/NBC News

Dances by Ronald K. Brown in Cuba; photo by Roberto Leon/NBC News

If dance could end political strife between Cuba and the United States, the first steps were taken this weekend by American choreographer Ronald K. Brown at Havana’s Mella Theater.

NBC News said the award-winning choreographer chose Cuba’s MalPaso contemporary dance company to perform one of his original works. Titled Porque Sigues, or Why You Follow, the piece fuses African, American, and Cuban influences—a style Brown developed while working in West Africa.

Brown was selected by the Joyce Theater in New York to promote a two-year art partnership between the United States and Cuba. Under that, the Cuban dancers will leap from the Havana stage to one in the Big Apple later this spring to perform more works by Brown.

Friday night’s packed house included Nick Schwartz-Hall from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. “There was a cultural conversation [between Cuba and the United States] that was interrupted and we’ve all been the poorer because of it,” said Schwartz-Hall, who argues that the two countries’ shared cultural roots have the power to transcend political differences.

Osnel Delgado, MalPaso’s artistic director, thinks “there’s too much talking and not enough dancing” in this world. He believes dance diplomacy could be the vehicle that starts a conversation between the two governments.

To see the original story, visit http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/dance-diplomacy-american-choreographer-steps-unite-u-s-cuba-n66871.

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No Apparent Reason for Vandalism of Montgomery Ballet Studio

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Montgomery Ballet; photo courtesy Facebook

Montgomery Ballet; photo courtesy Facebook

Members of Montgomery Ballet expected to have a normal Saturday of class and practice. They didn’t expect to be cleaning up broken glass—however, that’s what they found themselves doing after someone vandalized their property, reported the Montgomery [AL] Adviser.

Rocks and pieces of concrete were thrown through windows into the ballet’s studios in a shopping center on East Boulevard, breaking a mirror and fabric that was part of a stage design inside.

Office manager Sarah-Ellen Thompson said she was angry and confused. “We don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the ballet, and we don’t have any grudges,” Thompson said.

Nicole Miller, a teacher with the ballet and member for six seasons, said the most trouble they’ve had at the location were cars broken into a few years ago. Members of the ballet said they feel like the studio was a second home, so the incident was met with strong emotions. “I’m shocked and in disbelief,” Miller said. “I feel very violated.”

To see the original story, visit http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20140330/NEWS01/303300026/Montgomery-Ballet-vandalized?nclick_check=1.

 

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Denver Hip-Hop Studio Startled by Two Burglaries within Eight Days

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BBoy Factory; photo courtesy BBoy Factory

BBoy Factory; photo courtesy BBoy Factory

A popular dance studio in Denver that attracts dancers from across Colorado and the rest of the country has suddenly become very popular with thieves, reported 9News.

BBoy Factory, located at 6401 Broadway, has been burglarized twice in the past eight days. During the first robbery on March 18, thieves took off with $3,500 worth of equipment and merchandise, including turntables, speakers, an amplifier and mixer, a TV, cash register, and art supplies. When the studio asked for help through GoFundMe, the community rallied and helped raise almost $4,000 to buy new gear. Then just eight days later, burglars hit the studio again—this time making off with only a set of brand new speakers.

Studio owner Ian Flaws told 9News he’s shocked, but working on moving forward. The studio offers hip-hop classes in dance, DJing, and graffiti art both at its home base as well as in several schools, afterschool programs, and for the Denver probation office. The goal is to give kids—especially those on probation, he said—and adults a safe place to practice their art.

Officials from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the burglaries but say they don’t have a suspect yet. Deputies say the best way to recover stolen electronics is to keep a record of serial numbers on all devices and equipment.

To see the original report, visit http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/03/27/dance-studio-burglarized-twice-in-8-days/6986181/.

 

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Engaging Muscles Key to Managing Knee Hypertension

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Knee hypertension; photo courtesy The Dance Training Project

Knee hypertension; photo courtesy The Dance Training Project

“In dance, aesthetics and safety don’t often go together—such as with knee hyperextension, or genu recurvatum,” writes Monika Volkmar, a former professional dancer turned personal trainer and founder of The Dance Training Project, Toronto, Canada.

Volkmar is a graduate of Ryerson University’s dance program and a strength-and-conditioning specialist (CSCS) certified through the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association).

On The Dance Training Project website, she writes: “Here are some simple things to consider in your dance classes (dancers and teachers alike) concerning knee hyperextension:

• Dance teachers should encourage students to NOT lock the knees, but to discover what “straight legs” feels like.
• Try taping the back of the knee. Dancers who feel the tape pull tighter if they hyperextend gives them some proprioceptive feedback, and will draw their awareness to their tendency to lock the knee.
• In first position, keep the heels together, and use the strength of the leg muscles (adductors, quads, hamstrings) to hold the position. Don’t just press the backs of the knees together. Feel the top of the thighs pulling together while pushing your feet through the floor and elongating the spine.
• While doing exercises like tendus or anything off one leg, the same cues as above apply. Does the girl in the picture look ready to relevé or jump off of her supporting leg? No—because she has no muscle engagement.

To read the full article, visit http://danceproject.ca/managing-knee-hyperextension-in-dancers/?fb_action_ids=
10152077857654748&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.UyWsTqIWWbe.like#.UzRHv89OWUn
.

 

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Workshop Features Study in Limón Technique and Repertory

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Dancing as a Creative Act; photo courtesy Limón

Dancing as a Creative Act; photo courtesy Limón

Registration is still open for Dancing as a Creative Act, an intensive workshop designed by the José Limón Dance Foundation that focuses on harnessing the creativity necessary to thrive in today’s contemporary dance world, set for June 15 to 28 at California State University–Fullerton.

By combining technical rigor and personal exploration, the workshop offers intensive training in Limón technique and repertory, new repertory, principles of performance, techniques of creation, breath and movement, and other special events, plus a final performance open to the public.

Classes will run Monday to Saturday, with full and part-time options available. Housing is available on the CSUF campus for full-time students.

No audition is necessary, but participants should be at an intermediate or advanced level. Previous experience in Limón Technique is preferred, but not a requirement.

The master teachers are choreographer Colin Connor, Doug Varone and Dancers performer Natalie Desch, and Debra Noble, soloist and collaborator with numerous contemporary choreographers.

A 10 percent discount is available to applicants who register before April 1. For full details, visit http://limon.org/californiasummerworkshop/.

 

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Old Tap Shoes but a Youthful Spirit: Dallas’ Leonard “Buster” Cooper Dies

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Leonard “Buster” Cooper; photo by Rex C. Curry/Special Contributor

Leonard “Buster” Cooper; photo by Rex C. Curry/Special Contributor

Leonard “Buster” Cooper, who inspired generations of Dallas dancers after opening a studio in 1951 and also leading the dance program he founded at The Hockaday School for decades, died Tuesday, reported the Dallas Morning News. He was 90.

Beloved by his students, many of whom went on to become professional dancers, Cooper prided himself on dancing in the same leathery footwear he had worn for decades. He saw it as a badge of honor that the stitches had come undone between the toe and the sole.

Even in his 80s, Cooper could tap like an elderly Savion Glover while leading 11 women in a morning class. He began dancing as a 3-year-old growing up in Magnolia, Arkansas. His first teacher, and the best by far, he said, was the family’s maid.

Cooper began dance lessons at 10, when a family friend marveled at his unusual gift and offered to pay for them. By 12, he was studying dance on Canal Street in New Orleans. At 17, he attended a workshop in Chicago and had the good fortune of being asked to stand in for Gene Kelly’s brother, Fred. It proved to be a pivotal moment, with members of the National Association of Dance Teachers applauding his energy and enthusiasm but most of all his rare skill.

Scores of his alumni went on to dance in productions at the Dallas Summer Musicals and on the Broadway stage, showing off moves Cooper had taught them in The Music Man, The Pajama Game, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Cats, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

To see the full story, visit http://www.dallasnews.com/obituary-headlines/20140325-leonard-buster-cooper-dance-studio-owner-founder-of-hockaday-program-dies-at-90.ece.

 

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