One of my favorite dance-teacher phrases is “That’s the work.” I’ve heard many teachers say it, always with a look of deep satisfaction. I can tell they love that “Aha!” moment when teacher and student together figure out what an exercise or step is really all about. When you finally feel those inner thigh muscles…Read More
Tough Nut | Acting exercises help coax Nutcracker performers out of their shells by Karen White For studios of all sizes, putting on The Nutcracker is a major affair. The cast is large; the sets and costumes formidable. Performers can range from 7-year-old mice to senior student Snow Queens. They all have to know ballet,…Read More
Everything Old Is New Again by Thelma Goldberg Tip 1 Summer is a perfect time to plan ahead for a fabulous new year of tap dance programming. Remember, investing now in your own growth and training (with intensives, books, DVDs, etc.) will pump new energy and ideas into your classes. Begin by planning new warm-ups…Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: Staying at the front of the studio during class can limit you as an instructor. Changing your vantage point is a good way to catch issues that otherwise might escape your attention.
Tip 2: The ease and fluidity associated with contemporary duet work can begin with a simple weight-sharing exercise.
by Ryan P. Casey
What if the trick to getting more people to tap dance was getting them to attend a fitness class?
That’s the premise behind Sole Power, a tap workout program Riverdance alumnus Aaron Tolson conceived in 2013 that fuses basic tap dance with cardio and strengthening exercises.Read More
Classroom Connection: Resistance Band Exercises
Consider integrating stretch/resistance band exercises into pointe and pre-pointe classes to strengthen dancers’ feet and ankles.
Reality Check: Communication Challenge
Q. I’m looking for ideas that will help multiple front desk staffers handle office communication more effectively. Example: Suzy’s mom calls about registration. One staffer calls back and leaves a message—which is noted in the message book—but no one follows up or calls the mom again. Does anyone have a solution? —Neala Dunn
Tip 1 Merriam-Webster defines counterpoint as “the combination of two or more independent melodies into a single harmonic texture in which each retains its linear character.” How can we use counterpoint in our choreography and classroom exercises?
Tip 2 For advanced dancers playing more complex rhythms, make sure the volume of each counterpoint section is equal—otherwise one rhythm will drown out the other.
Individuality is essential in hip-hop. While students need to know how to pick up and execute other people’s choreography, they also need strategies for generating their own movement. Try these exercises to get students’ brains working and creativity flowing. Allot plenty of time, and end with performances and a critique session. As they work, students may find it helpful to jot down steps in a notebook.
Choreograph by “cutting and pasting”: students generate short sequences, then identify beginning, middle, and end sections. They cut apart and rearrange these sections—for example, moving the end to the beginning or the middle to the end.
We typically think about dancing for exercise, but what about exercising for dance? Hip-hop requires strength and stamina, but dancers who start off in the street (like me) may have no prior physical training. Some students struggle to keep up in class because they lack conditioning, not rhythm or ability to pick up steps.
The knee drop is a common but impressive transition to the floor. (Jerkers call it a pin drop.)Read More
Barre-type exercises done on the floor, which sometimes include elements of Pilates or yoga, have numerous uses and benefits. In a supine position, using gravity to their advantage, dancers can feel the correct alignment of the body, particularly the spine, hips, and torso. They can understand the proper genesis of turnout in the hips, allow the muscles to lengthen and tone, and more easily coordinate the arms and legs. Floor barres provide excellent core strengthening by requiring stability in movement through the exercises.Read More
It’s easy for intermediate/advanced students to become overwhelmed with numerous steps and patterns. One trick I use to simplify things is to state the step without including which side to do it on. Of course, with younger students, explaining whether to start on the right or left is important, but as they get older they will naturally follow you to figure this out. Doing the sequence on the other side is easier for them because they are thinking only of the steps. This also improves their terminology.Read More
What do a singer/songwriter, a mom of four, a CPA, a 911 dispatcher, and a clinical dietitian all have in common? If you guessed that they love tap dancing, then you should play the lottery.Read More
Waking up tired and sluggish? Do you feel apathetic, indifferent, and numb at the studio? Have long days turned into long years, your attitude become “Been there, done that” as you anticipate every irritation that can happen in a day? Are you counting the days until vacation even though the dance year just started?Read More
You just walked out of class or a rehearsal, and your imagination starts working overtime. There you are—knocking ’em dead in a Broadway show, taking the gold at a competition, whipping through more fouettés in class than you ever dreamed you could do.Read More
When you are 80 years old, you could feel that your life is almost over and that you should slow down. Not I. I feel that I need the social time with younger people and the physical benefits that dance creates.Read More