August 2015 | Bulletin Board: Pin, Post, and Share

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Click! What’s new online at the Rhee Gold Company
Dance in Time: August
Quotable: Dancers on Dance

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July 2015 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Anna Marie Leo

Photo by Ean Mosser

NOMINATED BY: Gail Skinner and Amelia Kinsolving, Leo’s lifelong friends and fellow teachers: “At the 2013 DanceLife Teacher Conference, we were amazed by the number of people who approached Miss Anna Marie to tell her what a great influence she had on them. At the age of 84—and as her studio enters its 64th year—Anna Marie continues to teach, always willing to share her talents with students and fellow studio owners alike.”

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July 2015 | EditorSpeak

Photo by Chris Hardy

What I do believe in is this: striving for wholeness and balance in every aspect of life. When we do that, we learn where to focus our self-confidence so that it yields the greatest results. If you’re like me, working toward wholeness and balance is an ongoing process, difficult to master. But I’ll keep striving for both.

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July 2015 | 2 Music Tips for Teachers | The Classical Period: Part 4

Photo courtesy Nina Pinzarrone

The polka was the second most important couple dance (after the waltz) in classical-period ballrooms. In 2/4 meter, the polka originated in Bohemia as a peasant dance.

Also in 2/4 meter, the galop, named after the running gait of a horse, is a lively country dance introduced in Paris at the Carnival of 1829 by the Duchesse de Berry.

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July 2015 | A Tree Dances in Alameda

Dance/10's owner, Pamm Drake, started choreographing holiday shows 40 years ago, and she still can't resist being a Tree. Photo courtesy Dance/10

Jan Yale hadn’t wanted to go to America’s Children’s Holiday Parade, but there she was, standing roadside in Oakland, California, when her ears caught the distinctive sound of taps. She turned to see lines of dancing Christmas trees—men and women, teens and adults, clad in shimmering green-and-white tree garb and clutching red-sequined top hats. With a sprightly time step and a shuffle ball change they passed her and launched into a sequence of precision kicks.

“They had me at the kick line,” says Yale, who chased them down the street to get an info postcard from a troupe representative. Yale was 63 when she joined the group the following fall, in 2009, and has been a member of The Tap Dancing Christmas TreesTM ever since.

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July 2015 | Bulletin Board: Pin, Post, and Share

Click! What’s new online at the Rhee Gold Company
Dance in Time: July
Quotable: Dancers on Dance

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July 2015 | Say What?

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Most dance teachers have to talk—a lot. You communicate regularly with children, parents, business associates, and adult learners, to name a few, and among them are the young, the old, the polite, the funny, the argumentative, and the easygoing. Some of that communication happens by email, texting, or social media, but when you’re in a dance studio your voice is all you’ve got. It has to be clear and it has to be heard.

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July 2015 | Bright Biz Idea | Primed for Success

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Next in our business series on opening a dance school, we cover the search for a location and facility. The questions that follow will guide prospective studio owners in the process of picking a location that works for their students and a facility that’s right for their business goals. We’ll hear from several studio owners about how they found their facilities and ways they saved money on start-up costs.

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

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

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

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

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July 2015 | Moving Images

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

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July 2015 | Page Turners

Books of note (new and not):

1. Swine Lake
2. Balancing Acts: Three Prima Ballerinas Becoming Mothers
3. Oxford Dictionary of Dance (2nd ed.)
4. Shall We Dance? The True Story of the Couple Who Taught the World to Dance

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July 2015 | FYI

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

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July 2015 | 2 Tips for Tap Teachers | Teaching Musicality

Photo by Robert Rosen

Teaching students to respond to and connect with music is as important in tap as it is in other forms of dance. As tappers, our students are “joining the band,” and each sound they make adds to the overall musical arrangement.

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July 2015 | College Close-Ups | Hamilton College

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Hamilton College, a four-year liberal arts college in upstate New York, seeks to nourish in its students a love of learning, a creative spirit, and an informed and responsible engagement with an ever-changing world.

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May-June 2015 | On My Mind

Photo by Mim Adkins

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

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

Photo courtesy Nina Pinzarrone

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

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

Photo courtesy Patricia Leigh Dwyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May-June 2015 | More Than Money

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

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

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May-June 2015 | Moving Images

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

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May-June 2015 | Page Turners

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

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

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

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May-June 2015 | FYI

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

What’s up in the dance community:

Filmmakers Tap Into Inspiration

Dance in Hidden Spaces

Chicago Dance History Project

Erik Bruhn Prize Winners

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

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

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May-June 2015| Bright Biz Idea | Primed for Success

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This month, Dance Studio Life kicks off a multi-part business series on opening a new school. We’ll take a comprehensive look at each step in the process, exploring best practices and hearing from studio owners about the successes they’ve enjoyed as well as the challenges they’ve faced.

In this initial installment, we examine four questions every prospective studio owner should consider when brainstorming a vision for her school. These questions will aid in identifying the purpose, goals, and defining qualities of a school—all of which are key elements of a mission statement and business plan.

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March-April 2015 | On My Mind

Photo by Mim Adkins

I’ve been in the dance education field for a long time, and over the years I’ve noticed some changes, particularly in regard to student performances. Long before the current generation started dancing for awards, generations of young dancers performed for something quite simple: applause.

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March-April 2015 | Make It Modern

Ana Marie Forsythe, chair of The Ailey School’s Horton Department, says the lack of ambiguity in Horton technique makes it appealing to students. Photo by Eduardo Patino

For some educators, the thought of teaching modern dance raises terrifying questions. How do you do it best? How do you know you’re qualified? What is modern dance, anyway? Others ask: why do my students need modern training? Aren’t those techniques old-fashioned and outdated?

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March-April 2015 | FYI

Jamie Benson and his amateur company, Shakedown Dance Collective, will be making a stop at a New York Transit Museum event in April. Photo by Willie Davis

What’s up in the dance community:

The Dance Happy Project

Musical Tribute to Luigi

Shaking It Down in the Subway

Archives Expands Collection

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March-April 2015 | Thinking Out Loud | Discovering Gaga

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I take the stairs at a run, risking my neck by sprinting in socks, gripping my shoes in one hand and my bag in another, a mess of T-shirts dangling from my arm. I’m always running 5 or, let’s face it, 10 minutes behind, sheepishly dropping straight into pliés in fourth position or “accidentally” missing pranayama and chanting. But Batsheva Dance Company has been very clear: class begins at 11:30, and once class begins, no one enters or leaves. Maybe it’s the cultural influence of the Tzahal, Israel’s military, I think. My uncharacteristic punctuality is noted by a friend, who laughs and says, “In Israel, class always starts 10 minutes late.”

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March-April 2015 | Etudes for the Ages

Limon Dance Company in Jose Limon's Psalm, part of the source material for Limon Etude. Photo by Doug Cody

Pondering these questions of education and access, Strandberg and her sister Carolyn Adams, a longtime Paul Taylor Dance Company dancer and a faculty member at The Juilliard School, came up with a revolutionary concept—the Repertory Etudes Collection. Under the guidance of Brown’s American Dance Legacy Initiative (ADLI), established by the sisters in 1993, modern dance choreographers would create new works based on one of their signature works or personal stylistic and thematic choreographic qualities. Important deceased modern pioneers, like José Limón, who died in 1972, could be represented through a new work created by a close associate charged with preserving and protecting the choreographer’s legacy.

Since these short technique studies (informally called RepEtudes) were commissioned by ADLI, they could be recorded and distributed to educators, who could teach them to students and present them in performance with no rights or royalty issues attached.

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March-April 2015 | Kids in Contact

Photo courtesy Jennifer Kelble

Any child who’s ever “flown” atop a parent’s upstretched feet has an inkling of the kinetic pleasure at the heart of contact improvisation (CI). A movement form developed in 1972 by dancer and choreographer Steve Paxton, CI utilizes every bone, muscle, and surface of the body in the service of an unpredictable duet. Participants are “danced” by a point of contact, which might be a head against a back, a hand to a chest, or simply two wrists leaning into each other.

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March-April 2015 | Tap Festivals

The lineup at the 2014 Stockholm Tap Festival Teachers Gala included (from left) Josette Wiggan, Michelle Dorrance, Joseph wiggan, Derick K. Grant, Chloe Arnold, Michela Marino Lerman, Nicholas Young, Sam Weber, Jason Samuels Smith, Josh Hilberman, and Guillem Alonso. Photo by Iselin Jansen

If you’re looking for an intensive tap experience for you or your students, we’ve got you covered. Just browse through our annual listing of national and international festivals, most of which include workshop classes, performances, and more.

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March-April 2015 | Bright Biz Idea |Dance & Diversify

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For small-business owner Hillary Parnell, business is anything but small. The owner and artistic director of Academy for the Performing Arts (APA) in Apex, North Carolina, a suburb of Raleigh, Parnell has grown her school from a 4,000-square-foot dance-focused facility to one with 10,000 square feet and multiple programs.

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March-April 2015 | College Close-Ups | Boston University

Photo by William Parsons/Maximal Image

Boston University (BU) offers an extensive program of dance and movement courses through its Department of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (PERD) and School of Theatre in the College of Fine Arts. Although BU, a private institution, does not offer a dance major, it offers a dance minor program to undergraduate students in all majors.

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March-April 2015 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Ellen Dyer

Photo courtesy River Oaks Dance

“I own a dance program that caters to children ages 3 to 8, and Ellen has been an integral part from day one. She performs in many theater productions in the Houston area, and brings that energy and animation into class. I know my program wouldn’t be as successful without her dedication.”

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March-April 2015 | Moving Images

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1. Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow
2. An Evening With the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
3. Paul Taylor: Dancemaker
4. Martha Graham: Dance on Film

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March-April 2015 | Page Turners

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1. Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring
2. Improvisation on the Edge: Notes From On and Off Stage
3. Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture
4. The Vision of Modern Dance: In the Words of Its Creators

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March-April 2015 | EditorSpeak

Photos by Chris Hardy

I’m writing this the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at a time when world events make me wonder whether we, as individuals and societies and nations, will ever think of one another as equals. Serendipitously, I came across an interview with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle in which he speaks about dance’s role as an equalizer.

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March-April 2015 | Midwest Modern

TU Dance company performs to sold-out houses in Minnesota and on tour. Photo by Ingrid Werthmann

There’s a lot to love about Horton technique, a codified form of modern dance created by American choreographer Lester Horton (1906–1953). With its anatomically corrective approach and focus on producing dancers who are equally flexible and strong, the technique is an effective modality for teaching the fundamentals of modern dance to a wide range of students. While dancers who have mastered Horton tend to share certain traits—including lean and strong limbs, clean lines, and exceptional stamina—the technique is known for creating dancers who perform without affectation and can confidently transition among multiple styles of dance.

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February 2015 | Finding the Joy

Martuza, here with Moxie student Amanda Coleman, emphasizes individuality and a strong mind-body connection in her classes. Photo by Lindsay Hille

Inside every dancer, says Kathi Martuza, there’s a 5-year-old who loves to twirl. The most successful dancers aren’t only skilled technicians—they’re artists who know how to let that inner child out. But the joy people initially find in dancing can get lost during training, Martuza says, and a big part of her job these days is helping them get it back.

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