It’s January, a month named for Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates. And, because Janus is two-faced, gazing both ahead and back, he rules over beginnings and endings.
We may try to keep our classrooms homogeneous in skill level, but we’re still likely to end up welcoming new students into classes for which they don’t have all the prerequisite skills. In tap classes, this is especially challenging. Emphasizing all teaching modalities to reinforce new vocabulary and skills will help all your dancers succeed.
I sometimes sense my students moving hesitantly in class, doubting themselves and shying away from risk-taking. To address this, I tell them to ask themselves these questions in class when they feel unsure: “What is there to lose? What could go wrong? Do I trust myself enough to figure it out if I, say, turn the wrong way?” Their bodies are smarter than they realize: they don’t need to sabotage themselves by worrying about major catastrophes.
As a studio owner and director, I’m always thinking ahead to the next show, next schedule, next performance, etc., which means I miss the little things passing by. I’m so overwhelmed with a studio expansion, costume fittings, dress rehearsal, and hiring and training a new assistant (all happening in the next three weeks) that I can’t seem to center myself enough to step back and appreciate how exciting it all is! How do you decompress?
Legendary hoofer Bunny Briggs, known for his paddle and roll technique and improvisational finesse, died November 15 in Las Vegas, according to Yankee Jazz Beat. He was 92.
The Ashley Bouder Project premiere was a huge success [“Ballet Scene: Ballet in Cleveland,” October 2014]. Tickets were sold out in advance, and the program was perfectly conceived for the new audience Jessica Wallis is cultivating. Most of the patrons were young professionals, many with children who study ballet. I saw only a few people my age, including the former Cleveland Ballet trustees who are supporting Ballet in Cleveland. DSL clearly provided an important service to the field.
NOMINATED BY: Maria Graziano: “Lisa is not only a role model for dancers, but for our entire community. Her studio has strict rules and her classes are full year round. She runs three dance companies, and the studio is home to children with autism and those with handicaps and learning disabilities. I am a stage crew mom, and I have seen and heard Lisa working with students, demanding their best behavior, and encouraging all of them regardless of ability.”
Twenty-seven years ago, Roswell Dance Theatre (RDT), the in-house company of Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance in Roswell, Georgia, began a program called HUGS from Young Choreographers. HUGS began as an assignment for older students to choreograph a dance for their parents. Over the years the program expanded as word spread about the work being produced, and HUGS is now a public performance for charity with three sold-out shows. It is one of the highlights of the dance year because of the great support given to these 15- to 18-year-old students by all 100 RDT members, proud parents, and the community.
Dance classes for older adults are becoming increasingly popular. When designing a class for this population, keep in mind that your class will likely comprise a wide range of ages and physical abilities. As we age, hearing, vision, balance, and short-term memory often diminish. With information and planning, a standard class can be modified to target older adults.
The University at Buffalo (UB), the flagship institution in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, has 20,000 undergraduates in 100 programs. Within this bustling research university is the Department of Theatre & Dance, dedicated to the development of the next generation of theater and dance artists.
Dance, like any other artistic medium is about more than just aesthetics. The best choreographers create routines with a purpose in mind, be it something as simple as inciting joy or as important as social change.
A new book, Dance Competitions: Are You Ready?, tackles subjects that competition dancers want to know more about, with chapters such as “What Judges Are Looking For,” “Choosing a Good Ballet Class,” and “Mental Preparation.”
The School at Steps on Broadway, New York City, is now offering lessons to babies as young as three months old through Baby Steps, a new mommy-and-me program “designed for moms to get their pre-pregnancy bodies back while bonding with their child,” as described by Steps and reported by Danceinforma.
A school assignment from Scot Pankey, theater teacher at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School, led to the creation of a video in which Pankey and his students dance ’round the Dallas school to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk that’s gotten more than 3,220,000 views and a Facebook shout out from Mars: “I cried at the end. I’m still a thug though. Thank you to everyone involved in making this video.”
One block from the Empire State Building, in a building that houses the Korean Performing Arts Center, Korean dance teacher and performer Rebecca Lee is rehearsing two teenage dancers in the ipchum (translated variously as “standing dance,” “basic dance,” or “improvisational folk dance”), a simple traditional Korean dance.
Dance teacher Marisa Rotter’s weekly schedule reads like a tour of the Minneapolis suburbs. If it’s Monday it’s time to go to Farmington. If it’s Tuesday she’s shuttling between Burnsville, Apple Valley, and Northfield. On Thursday it’s back to Farmington.
Those of us in dance education regularly witness the power of dance to change lives: the shy child who comes alive onstage, the distracted child who learns deep focus, the uncoordinated child who discovers her own facility. For children in one dance program in Rwanda, this power has even more profound implications. For them, dance training can mean the difference between a life of homelessness and one of education and employment.
What is belly dance and how did it develop? The answer isn’t simple. Multiple stories, some with little evidence, are told about the origins of belly dance—as an ancient temple dance, a folk dance for social occasions, even a ritual to assist women in childbirth—and so many styles have developed in recent years that a definition is difficult to pin down.
Winners of this year’s National Dance Awards, which are decided by 50 dance critics from across the UK and celebrate excellence in professional dance, have been announced, according to a Royal Opera House press release.
Although dancing diva Gabrielle Williams has lost 220 pounds, her weight loss journey continues while she packs on more clients, friends, and glowing good times at her fitness studio, Cosmic Studios, in Florence, Kentucky.
Arvin Arjona, who first stepped onto the local scene as a special education teacher 11 years ago and thereafter moved on to become the Millburn [NJ] High School dance educator, will be recognized as the Society of Health and Physical Educators of America, or SHAPE America, Eastern District Dance Teacher of the Year next month.
Four years ago, Nashoba Valley Technical High School became one of the first technical high schools in Massachusetts to add music to its curriculum, and will soon open its new Dance and Arts Studio as the Westford school expands its arts-based programs in music, TV and media, theater arts, and design and visual communications.
Immersive theater, a genre-bending theatrical style that blurs the lines between audience and performer, has exploded in popularity in the U.S. over the past several years.
Summerville [SC] Civic Ballet, a nonprofit company for dancers ages 9 and older, has designed the First Annual Lowcountry Dance Invitational in an effort to unite local studio dancers and choreographers while promoting dance education and appreciation in the Lowcountry.
Longtime judge Mary Murphy has left big shoes to fill with her departure from So You Think You Can Dance. So big, in fact, that Fox has hired two judges to replace her.
For the past two months, for her senior project, Jerome [ID] High student Rachel Cook worked with special education students to form “Rachel’s Dancin’ Peeps,” and last week they performed during halftime at the junior varsity boys’ basketball game.
Applications are due February 13 for young dancers and dance lovers who would like to spend the summer learning about dance production, theater management, public relations, marketing, and more as an intern at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts.
Students at Hillside Elementary School in West Des Moines, Iowa, had the opportunity Tuesday to learn movement techniques from a traveling dance troupe—but their teachers say this lesson applies to other subjects, like social studies, too.
Elizabeth “Nana” Shineflug, the founder and artistic director of the Chicago Moving Company, one of the first modern dance troupes in the Midwest, touched the lives of hundreds of students as a teacher and reached audiences around the world as a dancer and choreographer.
Jackrabbit Technologies, a provider of online class management software for youth activities centers, has again participated in Project Clean, a program of Hope4Kids/Grain of Wheat International that supplies hygiene supplies to some of the world’s most needy children.
Musical theater performer and Dallas native LaQuet Sharnell Pringle will be special guest artist during the 19th edition of Dance Planet, a free, community-oriented weekend dance festival held in Dallas by the Dance Council of North Texas.
Four free master classes open to the public are featured in D’Project’s 7th season of Southern Voices: Dance Out Loud, a New Orleans-based community event that offers a professional environment for seasoned and emerging choreographers to showcase new works.
The Chicago National Association of Dance Masters has selected choreographer Harrison McEldowney as this year’s recipient of the CNADM Artistic Achievement Award.
Take a Leap, a month-long Baltimore County [MD] dance celebration, takes to the stage and studio this February with more than 30 performances, free dance classes, meet-the-artist events, and artist residencies throughout Baltimore County.
Sign your kids up for dance class, STAT—that is, if you want them to learn computer skills and survive the 21st century.
Every Friday from 3 to 4pm, Mayo Street Arts founder Blainor McGough hangs a colorful banner outside of the small former church in Portland, Maine, which houses the nonprofit theater and community center, announcing that Club Hip Hop—a free, one-hour, drop-in dance class—is underway.
Elaine Summers, a dancer, choreographer, and multimedia artist whose work sought to blend dance and film into a seamless whole, died December 27 in Manhattan, reported the New York Times. She was 89.
More than 1,000 attendees of all ages are expected at the 6th annual Move Me Festival, a free family-friendly celebration of arts and culture, scheduled for March 21 from 1 to 5pm at Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, Virginia.
When Langley, Washington, choreographer and dance teacher Daunne Bacon Zinger herniated two of the discs of her spine, doctors told her she would likely never dance again. But Bacon Zinger heeded the words of her idol, jazz dance icon Eugene Louis “Luigi” Faccuito; she never stopped moving.
Dance Heritage Coalition has created a subject-specific website where researchers can search more than 500 special collections at multiple libraries to find dance-related materials.
Live Love Dance of Broomfield, Colorado, will hold a dance-a-thon in support of the Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s nationwide fundraising effort “Dance Across America” on February 7 from 1 to 6pm at the Live Love Dance and Arts Center.
The Harkness Foundation for Dance announced on Sunday that it would distribute $5 million in grants over the next decade to five organizations that support dance, reported the New York Times.
Registrations are now being accepted for Raising the Barre, a one-day workshop and competition directed by master teacher and studio owner Linda Giancaspro, to be held March 1 at the Bridgeport [CT] Holiday Inn.
Bernie Matzke, the founder and director of the Packerettes, the Green Bay Packers’ official cheerleading squad in the 1950s and 1970s, and who danced for 77 of her 85 years, died last Friday, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
Youth America Grand Prix regional semifinals got underway this past weekend with hundreds of hopefuls taking the stage in Tampa, Florida, and Seattle, Washington, with fans and friends able to watch the competition from their own homes thanks to this year’s live streaming.
More than two years after MTV canceled America’s Best Dance Crew, the network is bringing the Randy Jackson reality competition series back, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Making Art Dance: Backdrops and Costumes From the Armitage Foundation is an art-world reveal of what’s under dancers’ tutus, including hot pink ones designed by Christian Lacroix for “punk ballerina” Karole Armitage.
Sixty dancer ages 9 to 18 from North Shore Dance Academy of Danvers, Massachusetts, will perform in a showcase to benefit the Andréa Rizzo Foundation’s support of dance therapy programs for children with cancer and special needs in pediatric hospitals on January 31 at 6pm at Swampscott [MA] High School.
Envision Dance Exchange, a new collaborative effort that pairs dancers with special needs with dancers from a Chatham, New Jersey, studio’s performance company, will hold its debut performance January 24 at 7:30pm at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, Madison, New Jersey.
The film Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter tells the inspiring and largely unknown story of Martha Hill, a visionary whose life was defined by her love for dance, and who successfully fought against great odds to establish modern dance as a legitimate art form in America.