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Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Twenty Years of New Jersey Tap Ensemble Celebrated in Show

New Jersey Tap Ensemble; photo courtesy Broadway World

New Jersey Tap Ensemble; photo courtesy Broadway World

“XX: A Celebration of 20 Years” will look back at the two-decade history of New Jersey’s leading tap performance group, the New Jersey Tap Ensemble, through performances of 20 dance pieces from the group’s past and present.

Broadway World said group founder and artistic director Deborah Mitchell will narrate the company’s journey from infancy to today during the show, set for September 21 at 2pm at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.

The program includes Jersey Bounce, That Rhythm Man, The New Low Down, and Savoy, choreographed and costumed by Mitchell in traditional tap styles reminiscent of the 1930s. Caravan, to be performed by Evan Ruggiero as a tribute to Peg Leg Bates, celebrates the power of the human spirit in the face of all odds. Opus One, choreographed by the late Dr. Harold Cromer, will be performed by Hillary-Marie Michael and Kyle Wilder. Special guest NJTAP2 (ages 12-17) will perform Crazy, choreographed by Maurice Chestnut, and Rhythms, by Mitchell.

Tickets are $75 (VIP with post-show reception) and $40 and can be purchased online at To see the original story, visit



Audience Joins the Story at Fort Wayne Dance’s Interactive Performance

Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s “Wonderland”; photo courtesy Facebook

Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s “Wonderland”;
photo courtesy Facebook

In the famous Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland, young Alice explores a magical and mysterious new world. Audiences at the Fort Wayne [IN] Dance Collective’s weekend fundraiser, “Wonderland,” might also find themselves tiptoeing though a world of wonder as part of an “immersive theater/choose-your-own-adventure” experience.

Indiana News Center said “Wonderland,” the Dance Collective’s second annual fundraiser, will be held September 12 at the Masonic Temple, 216 E. Washington Boulevard.

Audience members will be able to follow, interact, and perhaps dance, with Alice and the cast as the show journeys from floor to floor of the Masonic Temple. Organizers brought the idea to Fort Wayne from a show in New York, Alison Gerardot, outreach director, said. “Audience members will come in. There will be an initial scene that they’ll see, and they won’t really know when it’s going to happen—it’ll just happen. From there [they can] explore the entire space that is the Masonic Temple.”

Gerardot says all proceeds will go toward scholarships, community outreach programs for students and people with disabilities, and the Parkview Healing Arts program.

Tickets cost $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Doors open at 7:30pm with the show beginning at 8pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

To see the original story, visit



Classic Musical-Theater Routines Come Alive Again at the Joyce Theater

ADM21 presents Charles Askegard and Sarah Weber-Gallo in “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” choreographed by Hermes Pan; photo Christopher Duggan

ADM21 presents Charles Askegard and Sarah Weber-Gallo in “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” choreographed by Hermes Pan; photo Christopher Duggan

American Dance Machine for the 21st Century, an organization dedicated to the preservation of dance masterpieces from American musical-theater history, will give its first public performances November 11 to 16 at The Joyce Theater in New York City.

The event will feature eight performances of musical-theater dance numbers by Rob Ashford, Michael Bennett, Patricia Birch, Andy Blankenbuehler, Gower Champion, Jack Cole, Henry LeTang, Jerry Mitchell, Jerome Robbins, Susan Stroman, and others.

Each dance will be performed by a company of dancers and guest performers from the musical theater, ballet, and contemporary dance worlds, featuring live music.

ADM21 has worked with artists including Susan Stroman, Donna McKechnie, Robert La Fosse, Marge Champion, Nicole Fosse, and Kathryn Doby to reconstruct the original choreography of Michael Bennett’s “Music and the Mirror” from A Chorus Line, Jerome Robbins’ “Mr. Monotony” from Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Susan Stroman’s “Simply Irresistible” from Contact, Bob Fosse’s “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar” from Big Deal, and Bennett’s “Turkey Lurkey Time” from Promises, Promises.

The organization is run by Nikki Feirt Atkins, founder and artistic producer, and Margo Sappington, artistic director. Visit for more information.




Studio Owner’s Desire for a Place to Dance Results in Second Detroit Dance City Festival

Joori Jung; photo by Scott Lipiec

Joori Jung; photo by Scott Lipiec

The second annual Detroit Dance City Festival, set for August 22 to 24, brings together local and out-of-state dancers, both professionals and students, in a celebration of all things dance, with more than 20 all-day workshops, classes, and afternoon and evening performances in downtown Detroit.

“I love Detroit,” says Joori Jung, festival founder and artistic director of ArtLab J, told the Detroit News. “But there is still a bad perception about it. Detroit has so much potential and opportunity, but people don’t know it. So my goal is to bring more people to Detroit through dance and change their mindset.”

Jung, a native of Seoul, South Korea, moved to Detroit from New York two years ago to open a dance studio. She initially wanted to create a space for herself and local artists to workshop and showcase their completed or works in progress. What started as a bi-monthly showcase at her Eastern Market ArtLab J studio expanded into the first Detroit Dance City Festival. More than 1,000 participants attended last year, coming from as far away as New York.

DDCF’s 23 faculty members, who are all donating their time, include Jung and such local professionals as former Radio City Rockette Denise Caston and Tracy Pearson, a 2014 Kresge Fellow and dance instructor at Marygrove College in Detroit.

Professionals coming from out of state include Carolyn Dorfman of Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company from New York, and ballet dancer Sheena Annalise, founder of the all-female Arch Contemporary Ballet, also from New York.

The festival will run Friday through Sunday with workshops from 9:30am to 5pm at the Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and The Carr Center, with performances at the YMCA Boll Theater and 1515 Broadway. Free dance classes and performances will also be held outdoors at Paradise Valley/Harmonie Park, all three days, from 11am to 5:30pm, followed by community after-parties from 9 to 11pm.

For more information, call 313.683.2192 or visit

To see the original story, visit



New Tights Continually Moisturize the Skin as the Wearer Moves

Mondor moisturizing tights; photo courtesy Mondor

Mondor moisturizing tights;
photo courtesy Mondor

Mondor, a company that develops high performance tights and training and competition apparel for top athletes and professional dancers, has announced its latest: moisturizing 3D knit tights.

The tights combine ultra-soft microfiber yarns with Skintex® semi-opaque 40 denier yarn.

Microcapsules filled with active ingredients, such as vitamin E, passion fruit oil, Monoï de Tahiti, and squalane (derived from olive oil), are released gradually onto the skin to ensure continuous care while the wearer moves.

If the tights are washed according to instructions, their moisturizing properties will last a very long time. The tights are dermatologically tested and have been found to be effective for all skin types.

Details: Style #: 5366. Available in black. Price: $15. Sizes: S to XL. For more information, visit



San Antonio’s Second Professional Company Presents Ballet with a Latino Flair

Ballet Latino de San Antonio dancer Danae Quevedo; photo by Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News

Ballet Latino de San Antonio dancer Danae Quevedo;
photo by Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News

With performances during its inaugural season under its belt, organizers of San Antonio’s newest ballet company, Ballet Latino de San Antonio, are working on the fall 2014 schedule as well as plans for performing abroad next year.

The San Antonio Express-News said Ballet Latino is the city’s second professional ballet company. Ballet San Antonio, the resident ballet company at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, was the first. Both companies were started by the same woman, Mayra Worthen, a native of Puerto Rico and a graduate of Texas Christian University.

Her new company is a perfect fit in a city where Latin music is as familiar and welcome as country and western, she said. “Ballet Latino is a neo-classical company that celebrates Hispanic cultures by combining classical ballet with Latin rhythms such as salsa,” Worthen said.

Most of the members, she said, are from countries such as Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy, and well-versed in Latin music.

Worthen is looking to obtain sponsors and funds to put Ballet Latino on firm financial footing, and is working on the fall season and negotiating to take the troupe north next year. Ballet Latino has been invited to perform at a dance festival in Canada in the spring, Worthen said.

To see the full story, visit



Seven Illinois Studios Strive to Raise $5,000 for Drea’s Dream

RippleFX; logo by Ken Garnhart

RippleFX; logo by Ken Garnhart

Seven northern Illinois dance studios have come together to host RippleFX, a dance performance with the goal of raising $5,000 to help establish a Drea’s Dream dance/movement therapy program at a local area hospital.

More than 100 dancers are scheduled to perform in the show, set for August 16 at 2pm at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Illinois. Participating schools include DanceFX, Evolve Dance Company, Mary Lee’s School of Dance, Resilience Dance Company, Rockford Dance Company, Steps to Grace Dance Academy, and Turning Pointe Dance Company.

RippleFX is open to the public. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and $2 for children ages 2 to 5 (under 2 free) and can be purchased at the door. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit 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.

For more information, visit




Dance All Day—For Free!—on July 26, Philadelphia Dance Day

Philly Dance Fitness; photo courtesy Facebook

Philly Dance Fitness; photo courtesy Facebook

Philadelphia Dance Day, a nonprofit festival featuring free workshops, live performances, and a huge evening dance party, will be held July 26.

Philly Dance Fitness, an independent company based in Center City, first organized this event three years ago to celebrate National Dance Day. Organizers seek to unite the Philly community as they celebrate dance both as a platform for creative expression and as a joyful, physical activity.

More than 300 people participated in the 2013 celebration, and with the addition of more participating organizations and more volunteers, an even bigger turnout is expected this year.

There is no pre-registration, and no limit to the number of workshops participants can attend. Workshops are filled on a first come, first served basis. All daytime workshops are free. (There is a $5 entrance fee for the evening dance party and other events at the historical Ethical Society Building on Rittenhouse Square.)

Locations and offerings include:
• Headlong Studios: power jam stretch, impact jazz, Indonesian dance, hip-hop, striptease, dance party boot camp
• Major Movement Studio: Tap Tonic, Piloxing (Pilates and boxing), modern fitness, JazzTech, BalletEXTREME, Bhangra Blast, tango
• Philadelphia Dance Academy: adult beginner ballet and advanced beginner adult tap
• Studio 1831: belly dance
• Christian Street YMCA: Zumba Sentao, Body Jam, Sh’Bam, hip-hop master class
• Art in Motion Dance Academy: Bachata
• The Ethical Society of Philadelphia; cardio bellydance, Zumba party, lindy hop, rumba, salsa

To see the full schedule, visit



NYC Police Send “Show Closing” Notice to Subway Acrobats

Subway performer Dashawn Martin of W.A.F.F.L.E; photo by Bebeto Matthews/AP

Subway performer Dashawn Martin of W.A.F.F.L.E;
photo by Bebeto Matthews/AP

Underground acrobats who flip, somersault, and pole-dance among New York City subway riders as trains roll are drawing a new audience—police officers, said an Associated Press story in Seattle PI.

The New York City Police Department is cracking down on the subway showmen who use the tight quarters of the nation’s busiest transit system as moving stages for impromptu—and illegal—pass-the-hat performances. More than 240 people have been arrested on misdemeanors related to acrobatics so far this year, compared with fewer than 40 at this time a year ago.

Police commissioner William Bratton acknowledges he is targeting subway acrobats as part of his embrace of the “broken windows” theory of policing—that low-grade lawlessness can cultivate a greater sense of disorder and embolden more dangerous offenders.

The subway acrobats say they’re just out to entertain, make a living, and put a little communal levity in New York’s no-eye-contact commuting.

Andrew “Goofy” Saunders and some friends started doing routines on trains in 2007, hoping to make $10 to enter a dance competition. Seven years later, the group—W.A.F.F.L.E., for We Are Family For Life Entertainment—has a shoe-brand sponsor and has been booked for music videos, parties, even a wedding.

But the roughly 12-person troupe has largely stopped performing on subways because of the police attention. Members now hope to line up a public space to flip with permission. To read the full story, visit




National Dance Institute’s China Project Train Young Dancers

Dancers and teachers onstage in Shanghai; photo courtesy National Dance Institute

Dancers and teachers onstage in Shanghai;
photo courtesy National Dance Institute

After three years of training by American dancers, a group of Shanghai students put on a dance performance for teachers and parents last Wednesday, according to CCTV. The event was part of a three-year pilot program set up by the National Dance Institute, the U.S. nonprofit organization that introduces children to the arts.

More than 600 children from 15 schools in Minhang District took part in the two-hour performance. NDI members trained more than 50 Chinese teachers and helped them teach more than 3,000 children how to dance, communicate with an audience, and put their personalities into a performance.

“Between the first day we meet the children, and the day the performance happens, you see an amazing trajectory going from maybe a little reserved, maybe a little unsure, fearful, a lot of times. But by maybe day three, they start to open up a little bit, and you see them really bloom, like a flower . . . growing in self-confidence, and expressing themselves in a fuller way,” said Kay Gayner, director of NDI’s China Project.

Thought the pilot program ends this year, the institute says it plans to build a training center in Minhang District, and hopes to work with children all over China.

To see the original story, visit




SAB’s Annual Workshop Performance A Rare Opportunity to View Future Stars

School of American Ballet’s 2014 Workshop Performances; photo by Paul Kolnik

School of American Ballet’s 2014 Workshop Performances; photo by Paul Kolnik

The School of American Ballet’s Workshop Performance Benefit 2014 on June 3 celebrated 50 years of these annual performances and raised nearly $860,000 for scholarships and school programs, reported Elitedance.

The evening included the presentation of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Service to Dena Abergel, SAB faculty member and NYCB children’s ballet master, and Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise to Lyrica Blankfein, Christopher Grant, Baily Jones, and Addie Tapp.

“We are thrilled to announce that the Workshop Performance Benefit exceeded our original goal,” said Margie Van Dercook, SAB executive director. “We gathered to celebrate five decades of these annual performances—the culmination of each year’s work for the students—and the tremendous generosity of our attendees, donors, and sponsors.”

More than 800 guests attended the Workshop Performance, which, as SAB’s only public annual performance, is a rare opportunity to get a sneak preview of the ballet world’s up-and-coming young stars. The program included Balanchine’s Serenade (staged by Suki Schorer); and excerpts from Coppélia (staged by Dena Abergel, Yvonne Borree, Arch Higgins, Katrina Killian, Lisa de Ribere, Jock Soto, and Sheryl Ware), Swan Lake (staged by Darci Kistler), and Western Symphony (staged by Susan Pilarre).

To see the original story, visit



Pennsylvania Studio Performance Raises Funds to Help Repair Cemetery Vandalism

“Save the Graves” performer Julia Marasteanu; photo courtesy

“Save the Graves” performer Julia Marasteanu; photo courtesy

Central Pennsylvania Dance Workshop’s “Save the Graves” performance this Sunday at the Boal Mansion Museum benefitted the Boalsburg [PA] Cemetery, the scene of a vandalism spree in May that left more than 50 gravestones toppled over, with some snapped in half. reported on the dance studio’s performance of excerpts from Amelie Hunter’s Civil War ballet, The Vacant Chair. In one vignette, dancers in pale-colored period dresses thrashed in fits of fluid motion as their plantation “burned” to the ground behind them.

In another, dance instructor Karen Stoner’s movements illustrated a letter from Civil War soldier to his wife that described the deep and longing ache created by war’s brutal separations. The breath of wind she may feel on her cheek, he wrote, will be his breath, should he die in battle.

The dance company arranged the performance after learning of May’s vandalism, which caused extensive damage to gravestones dating back to the Civil War. “Save the Graves” was the latest of a series of successful community fundraisers.

“A lot of people were horrified, shocked, and saddened by the vandalism,” Harris Township manager Amy Farkas says. “”What’s great is that people took that anger and turned it into action, bringing the community together.”

To see the full story, visit,1459588/.



College Dancers Study Relation of Wind to Energy and Breath to Dance in New Piece

Ann Arbor Dance Works dancer Patty Solorzano; photo by Kirk Donaldson Photography

Ann Arbor Dance Works dancer Patty Solorzano;
photo by Kirk Donaldson Photography

Into the Wind, a dance piece inspired by the potential of harnessing the wind as a renewable energy source, will be performed in a theater this month and at a renewable energy center in August.

The Ann Arbor News said the piece was created in collaboration between University of Michigan Department of Dance faculty and students, faculty from Grand Valley State University, and the executive director of Muskegon’s Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center (MAREC).

It will be presented by the Ann Arbor Dance Works, U-M’s resident professional dance company, with choreography by company artistic director Jessica Fogel. A second choreographer, U-M alumnus Shawn Bible, Grand Valley dance department coordinator, will also choreograph for the Muskegon performance with dancers from GVSU.

“In rehearsals,” writes dancer Patty Solorzano on the blog devoted to the project, “it’s been interesting to explore various ideas involving wind within the body. What is wind? How is wind created? How can we create wind (breath) with our bodies? How can we figuratively become wind and thereby understand it?

“Perhaps by understanding the relationship between humans and our ability to harness our breath as a source of movement, we can understand the relationship between communities and the ability to harness wind as a source of energy.”

Preview performances will be held June 11 and 12 at M-U’s Petty Pease Studio Theater, with August showings to be held at MAREC, on Muskegon Lake. To read the full story, visit



NBS’ “Pop-Up” Performance Initiative Seeks to Encourage Young Dance Artists

NBS Creative Challenge participants; image courtesy Facebook

NBS Creative Challenge participants;
image courtesy Facebook

Student choreographers from Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) and their artistic collaborators will present free public “pop-up” dance performances in various locations across Toronto today, tomorrow, and June 14 as part of NBS’ first-ever Creative Challenge.

NBS’ Creative Challenge seeks to encourage the next generation of dance artists to be inventive, collaborate across disciplines, and perform new works in unexpected public places.

The students collaborated with an artist from a different discipline (e.g., musician, filmmaker, costume designer), and shared their creative process with their fellow choreographers, while also recording their work to be shared online via blogs, videos, or photographs.

Six NBS students will present performances across Toronto, while five international students (from the Dutch National Ballet Academy, The Juilliard School, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and The School of The Hamburg Ballet) will perform similar works in their respective cities.

The program was announced last May at NBS’ Assemblée Internationale 2013 (AI 13) festival, which presented nontraditional performance collaborations between students of different schools and countries.

For more information, visit





Rogue Dance Artist’s App Sneaks Dance Performance into NYC Museum

The Reaccession of Ted Shawn app; photo courtesy Adam Weinert

The Reaccession of Ted Shawn app; photo courtesy Adam Weinert

Art museums have been struggling for half a century to figure out how to collect and exhibit “time-based art,” such as dance and theater. Now, one dancer has figured out a way for museumgoers to experience dance on their handheld devices—and he did it without the museum’s consent.

Hyperallergic reported that dancer Adam Weinert brought to life the work of pioneering modern dancer and choreographer Ted Shawn during the “20 Dancers for the XX Century” program held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) last fall.

Recently, however, Weinert launched The Reaccession of Ted Shawn, an augmented reality app for smartphones and tablets that, when the device is pointed at certain intersections and wall texts within MoMA, plays videos of Weinert’s performances of Shawn’s work, as well as archival footage of Shawn himself performing. The intervention is unobtrusive and unsanctioned by the museum.

“In my experiences performing at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim Museum, among others, I bore witness to the extreme differences and complications that arise in presenting dance works in museum spaces,” Weinert said. “The choreographer cedes control over time, perspective, attention, and temperature in this context, and the work that results is often radically different. Furthermore, every performance I’ve been involved with in a museum has resulted in injury.”

With the app, “Weinert creates a permanent installation of his recent performances at MoMA in virtual reality,” it says at the project’s website, To read the full story, visit






A Gentle Reminder

There are two singing ensembles in my area. One boasts 100 chosen-by-audition voices trilling out six-part harmonies. In performances the singers wear black-tie garb and are accompanied by a professional orchestra—with a harp.

Then there’s my community chorus. All you have to do to join this 42-member group is grab a folding chair off the rack and, occasionally, bring a snack to share. You’re sure to be welcomed by the director’s dachshund, which weaves around our feet during rehearsals.

In a way, we’re like the Pawsox compared to the mighty Red Sox. Or—in an analogy every dance teacher can understand—the rec kids to the comp kids. This, of course, does not mean we love singing any less. It only means that high notes (like home runs) are harder for us to hit.

Last fall we prepared mightily for our Christmas concert, going over and over sections and marking up our music with pencil. We’re a jolly, friendly bunch, sharing throat lozenges and laughs, but at dress rehearsal for the public concert, we perched stiff and breathless in tiers on the Methodist church altar. Our director raised his baton. “Savor every note,” was all he said. “Enjoy.”

No last-minute “Don’t forget to do this-and-that.” No fussing and fretting over performance points or technical details. Only a gentle reminder that it was time to put away the struggle for perfection and enjoy the show.

It was good advice. Our “giddy-yap”s were sprightly, our “fa-la-la”s on key. And when we came to the sing-a-long, the audience actually sang. Our director—a very wise man—flashed us a secret thumbs-up.

This month, I’ll be “directing” my dancers in our first competitions of the season. How many teachers will I see backstage drilling their troops, pounding out counts in endless linoleum hallways, with furrowed brows and wagging chins? I’ve been there myself, but this year I know what my final direction will be: “Savor every step. Enjoy.” —Karen White, Associate Editor


All-Inclusive Dance

Not long ago, while I was leaving the garage to take Saturday morning ballet class at a downtown dance studio, an older couple rode the elevator with me. Both were in their mid-60s, graying, and they carried an extra 50 pounds between them. She wore the air of a woman who’d seen many children and grandchildren through colds, homework, and heartbreak. He sported a grizzled beard, a disheveled ponytail, and crooked glasses that slid down his nose. I noticed them because they seemed out of place in an area whose weekday bustle was largely muted on an early Saturday morning. The only significant pedestrian traffic at that hour was the trickle of addicts shuffling into and out of a methadone clinic.

Later, as I left my class in the main studio, I saw the two of them sitting on a bench in the hall in old workout clothes, dripping with sweat, street clothes in canvas shopping bags at their feet. I poked my head into the smaller studio and discovered they’d come from an Absolute Beginner Ballet Workshop class. I smiled and thought, “Whoa. You’ve really got to give it to them for having the courage and the chutzpah to do something like starting ballet at this age.”

The next week, back for another class, I spotted them again. Leaving their class, both of them looked happy and satisfied, if exhausted.

I was flooded with a sense of amazement, that dancing can and does afford so much happiness to so many people, of all ages, and shapes, and inclinations. And I was grateful to the teacher and the school for welcoming all of us—the no longer shiny new, the absolute beginners, the intimidated, the newly intrepid—to dance our hearts out. —Lisa Okuhn, Associate Editor



ATDF Takes Tap to the Streets With Free Outdoor Performance May 25

ATDF’s Tap Attack; photo courtesy Monsters & Critics

ATDF’s Tap Attack; photo courtesy Monsters & Critics

Tap Attack, a free outdoor performance presented by the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF), will be performed three times on National Tap Dance Day, May 25, in New York City. **Performances will be held at** Hudson River Park, Pier 45, Christopher Street and the Hudson River.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Tap Dance Day, a yearly celebration of tap dance as an American art form and national treasure. ATDF artistic/executive director Tony Waag will lead tap dance students ages 5 to 75 and professional dancers as they perform the Shim Sham Shimmy at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.

The day’s festivities also include open jam sessions and special appearances by top tappers Chloe Arnold and her company, Apt 33; Japan’s Kazu Kumagai; Michela Marino Lerman; Max Pollak; Jason Samuels Smith; and ATDF’s Tap City Youth Ensemble.

“Throughout its entire history, tap dance had a tradition of street performing, where tappers would improvise and busk with their peers at social events and public gatherings,” said Waag. “What could be more appropriate, then, that we hold this event outside, where so much of the art form was literally created and developed?” For more information, visit

To see the original story, visit



Tap Festivals

Montreal Tap Dance Festival offers classes in English and French. Photo by E.S. Cheah Photography

Montreal Tap Dance Festival offers classes in English and French. Photo by E.S. Cheah Photography

A guide to 2014 tap events in the U.S. and abroad

Intensive tap festivals abound, and most include workshop classes, performances, and more. Whether you’re on the hunt for a great tap experience for your students or yourself, you’ll find the right fit in our listings.

Festivals are listed alphabetically by state, province, or country.

National Festivals

Chloe & Maud Productions’ DC Tap Festival
Washington, DC
When: April 10-13
Fees/costs: Unlimited classes $300; single class $25
Registration deadline: Ongoing (March 1 for early-bird discount); walk-ups welcome
Faculty includes: Chloe and Maud Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, DeWitt Fleming, Jason Janas, Sarah Reich, Jason Samuels Smith, Dianne Walker, Joseph Webb, and Bakaari Wilder

Expand the language of tap dance through master classes with world-renowned tap dance artists. Includes competition, panel discussions, jam sessions, student showcases, cutting contests, and an all-star concert featuring tap masters, critically acclaimed musicians, and accomplished young dancers from around the world.

Contact: 202.421.0235;


Rhythm World
American Rhythm Center, Chicago, IL
When: July 7-August 3
Fees/costs: Two weeks $1,500; single class $25
Registration deadline: May 25
Faculty includes: Lane Alexander, John Angeles, Bril Barrett, Martin Bronson, Zada Cheeks, Starinah Dixon, Martin “Tre” Dumas, Jay Fagan, Doug Feig, Derick K. Grant, Jason Janas, Nico Rubio, Sarah Savelli, Jumaane Taylor, Dianne Walker, Sam Weber and Nicholas Young; plus guests from Europe and South America: Guillem Alonso, Daniel Borak, Victor Cuno, Roser Font, and Charles Renato.

Rhythm World, Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s 24th annual summer festival of American tap and percussive dance, features courses, master classes, workshops, and conferences taught by the world’s leading tap masters. “JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance” concerts showcase extraordinary foot drummers and percussive arts masters.

Contact: 312.542.CHRP (2477);;


Motor City Tap Fest
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
When: August 13-16
Fees/costs: Unlimited classes $395; single class $30
Registration deadline: June 15 for a 15 percent discount; July 15 for a 10 percent discount
Faculty includes: Guillem Alonso, Bril Barrett, Denise Caston, Suzy Guarino, Ray Hesselink, Shelby Kaufman, Avi Miller and Ofer Ben, Jenefer Miller, Claudia Rahardjanoto, and Gregg Russell

In its seventh year of bringing tap dance to the heart of Detroit, Motor City Tap Fest offers three days of master classes for all levels and ages with leading artists, a participants’ showcase, a “faculty chat,” a tap jam, and the “Masters of Tap” concert at Detroit’s historic Orchestra Hall.

Contact: 917.687.4811;;


Jersey Tap Fest
Bloomfield, NJ
When: August 14-17
Fees/costs: Unlimited classes $365; day passes and single classes available
Registration deadline: Ongoing as of April 1
Faculty includes: Maurice Chestnut, Jason Janas, Hillary-Marie Michael, Deborah Mitchell, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Kyle Wilder, Karen Callaway Williams, and Nicholas Young

Founded in 2010, Jersey Tap Fest offers master classes, a student showcase, a panel discussion, and the mainstage event, “Tap ’N Time.”

Contact: 973.932.0561;;


North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival
The Ballet School of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
When: June 13-15
Fees/costs: $30 per class
Registration deadline: Ongoing
Faculty includes: Michelle Dorrance and Derick K. Grant

A rhythm-tap festival for all levels, including a showcase for students and a performance for instructors.

Contact: Gene Medler, 919.260.7585;;


Point Tap Festival 2014
Noel Fine Arts Center, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI
When: August 7-9
Fees/costs: Full festival $400 (early bird $350), 1/2 festival and individual class options
Registration deadline: June 6 for early-bird discount
Faculty includes: Past teachers have included Robert Audy, Brandi Coleman, Thelma Goldberg, Mark Goodman, Josh Hilberman, Jeannie Hill, Ryan Korb, Lynn Schwab, and Mark Yonally.

National and international tap dancers from beginner to professional are invited to Wisconsin for three days of intensive tap dancing. Eight classes daily in two beautiful studios with sprung floors. Additional events include faculty rap session, cookout, downtown jam session, and festival concert.

Contact: Jeannie Hill,; 715.346.3980;


International Festivals

Vancouver International Tap Festival
Dance Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
When: August 28-31
Fees/costs: Varies
Registration deadline: August 28
Faculty includes: Terry Brock, Mika Komatsu, Gene Medler, Danny Nielsen, and Dianne Walker

Fifty master classes, four performances, and special youth programming.

Contact: 604.253.0293;;


Montreal Tap Dance Festival
Montreal, QC, Canada
When: August 15-17
Fees/costs: All-access passes TBA (early bird $250)
Registration deadline: May 30 for early-bird discount
Faculty includes: International tap dancers and teachers offering classes in English and French

North America’s premier bilingual tap dance festival. Workshops, master classes, and three tap shows, a tap jam and cutting contest, panel discussion, footage viewing, and a Tap Dance Museum, all held in the historic Rialto Theatre. Performance opportunity for participants.

Contact: 514.779.6506;;


Stockholm Tap Festival
Stockholm, Sweden
When: April 16-22
Fees/costs: Festival package: 2600 SEK ($399 at press time; includes 14 classes in the main schedule and evening events). Master classes: 250 SEK ($38). Faculty Showcase Gala: 170-270 SEK ($26-$41)
Registration deadline: Ongoing until filled
Faculty includes: Guillem Alonso, Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Derick K. Grant, Josh Hilberman, Michela Marino Lerman, Jason Samuels Smith, Sam Weber, Joseph Wiggan, and Nicholas Young

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of Stockholm Tap Festival with seven days of classes, a student showcase, live music jam sessions, a cutting contest, a teachers’ gala, an all-style battle, and parties.

Contact: Jonas Nermyr, +46 704 385871;;


Zurich Tap Festival 2014
Backstage Studio Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
When: April 17-20
Fees/costs: Single class $50; complete program (16 classes) $30/class
Registration deadline: April 10
Faculty includes: Lane Alexander, Derick K. Grant, Jason Janas, Danny Nielsen, Demi Remick, Cartier Williams, and Karen Callaway Williams

Four intensive days with 52 master classes for all levels, including kids and teens, and specialty-themed classes (technique, slides, improvisation, funk, etc.). Student showcase and tap jam with live music; parties. European premiere of Rhythm Refix, the percussive extravaganza directed by Cartier Williams; Festival Concert 2014.

Contact: +41 (43) 311 6868;;






Center Stage’s “Charlie,” Sascha Radetsky, Sets Final Performance With ABT for July 3



Sascha Radetsky; photo by Fabrizio Ferri

Sascha Radetsky; photo by Fabrizio Ferri

Center Stage star Sascha Radetsky, an American Ballet Theatre soloist since 2003, will give his farewell performance with the company on July 3 at the Metropolitan Opera House in the role of Franz in Coppélia.

Radetsky was born in Santa Cruz, California. He studied on scholarship at the Kirov Academy in Washington, DC, and toured with the Kirov Ballet throughout the United States and internationally. He also studied on scholarship at the summer programs of the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre’s School of Classical Ballet with Mikhail Baryshnikov, the San Francisco Ballet School, and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Vail, Colorado.

Radetsky has performed in galas and festivals around the world and as a guest principal with companies such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Berlin Staatsballett, Ballet San Jose, Ballet do Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, and with the Dutch National Ballet as a principal dancer. In 2012, he choreographed for Bucknell University’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

He and his wife, ABT soloist Stella Abrera, were recently named repetiteurs-in-training with The Antony Tudor Ballet Trust. Radetsky will star in the Starz television series, Flesh and Bone, slated to air in 2015.

For more information, visit



Pre-Professionals Pay Tribute to Longtime Joffrey Teacher Francesca Corkle

Francesca Corkle and Kevin McKenzie; photo by Herbert Migdoll

Francesca Corkle and Kevin McKenzie; photo by Herbert Migdoll

The Joffrey Concert Group, a pre-professional performance company that prepares dancers for the world stage, will pay tribute to longtime Joffrey Ballet teacher Francesca Corkle during a May 19 performance at New York Live Arts.

Corkle, who danced with the Joffrey Ballet from 1969 to 1978, has spent the past 30 years teaching at the Joffrey Ballet School. Her significant impact on the lives of the students and her initiative to maintain the highest artistic integrity within the school is unparalleled, said a release from the school.

The 30-member troupe, who will also perform May 20, will present two signature works by Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino: Kettentanz (1971) and Light Rain (1981). Other pieces on the program include Entropy by Joffrey Concert Group artistic director Davis Robertson; world premieres by Shawn Hounsell (formerly with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet) and Africa Guzman (former associate director of Compañía Nacional de Danza under Nacho Duato), plus a New York premiere by Scott Rink, former Lar Lubovitch company dancer.

New York Live Arts is located at 219 West 19th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) New York City. Tickets are $25 general admission and $20 for students and seniors and can be purchased through New York Live Arts at



Pavilion Audiences to Enjoy Simulcast of Hubbard Street Program June 6

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Gnawa by Nacho Duato; photo by Todd Rosenberg

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Gnawa by Nacho Duato; photo by Todd Rosenberg

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s summer series programming includes the first-ever simulcast of a Hubbard Street performance this July to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

The first dance simulcast from the Harris to the Pritzker, two summers ago, drew a capacity audience of more than 11,000 to watch the Paris Opera Ballet performance of Giselle.

The live simulcast will be presented on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot-wide, 22 1/2 -foot tall LED screen in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion June 6 at 8pm. This free outdoor event, open to the public, is part of Millennium Park’s 10th anniversary celebration and highlights the final weekend of Hubbard Street’s Season 36 performances.

The simulcast performance includes Gwana by Nacho Duato, a world premiere by resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, Falling Angels by Jiří Kylián, and Cerrudo’s PACOPEPEPLUTO.

Hubbard Street’s summer series at the Harris Theater runs June 5 to 8. For more information, visit



Multi-Faceted Arts Program, Hope Stone Studio, Closes to Reevaluate and Rejuvenate

Children in dance/movement class at Hope Stone Studio; photo by Simon Gentry

Children in dance/movement class at Hope Stone Studio; photo by Simon Gentry

Anyone who’s ever crossed paths with arts entrepreneur Jane Weiner is instantly captivated by her ability to get things done, to find a way to fix things. It’s because of Weiner’s determination that her decision to close down Hope Stone Studio will come both as a surprise and as a warning to art consumers and supporters, reported Culture Map Houston.

“We have made the hard decision to take a year to right-size our business by reducing overhead and closing Hope Stone Studio, refocusing on the programs that make the greatest impact, and deploying our resources in the most cost-effective way,” Weiner explains in an email to the company’s subscribers. “This has been a difficult decision, but I believe the right one for the organization.”

The space, located in the Art Deco Tribeca Lofts on West Clay Street, has hosted dance and movement classes for children and adults for 10 years. An artist-in-residence program offered emerging choreographers a rehearsal and performance venue in which they could embark on their creative journeys. (See “Art for Art’s Sake, Dance Studio Life, November 2013,

Weiner explains that all commitments have been met for the 2013–14 season. Classes will continue through May 16. It’s important to note that it’s only the physical space that’s ceasing operations. Founded in 1997, Hope Stone Dance Company will continue its performance series.

To read the full story, visit



Philly Company of Dancer/Choreographers to Present Work in Free Outdoor Shows

MM2 Modern Dance Company; photo by Bill Hebert

MM2 Modern Dance Company; photo by Bill Hebert

Philadelphia’s MM2 Modern Dance Company—a unique collaborative effort in which each member is charged with creating and setting new work each year on the entire company—will be offering three free programs this spring at The Porch at 30th Street Station, reported The Dance Journal.

MM2 will present their latest work, BREATH, as well as site-specific improvisation, on April 27 (rain date: June 29), May 18 (rain date: July 13) and June 1 (rain date: July 27). All performances run from 1 to 2pm.

“There is no better setting for our work than being outdoors at the Porch and sharing our passion and dance with the Philadelphia community,” artistic director Brianne Scott said. The group had appeared at the Porch in 2013 as part of the Solow Festival and “fell in love with the space,” Scott adds.

The company is comprised of seven dancer/choreographers: Jessica Bryan, Jenna Faye Eugenides, Kaylee Goodwin, Jillian Ikeler, Jennifer Laucella, Alison Liney, and Brianne Scott.

The performances are free to the public and appropriate for family audiences. For more information, visit or To see the original story, visit





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




NY Public Library Makes Historic Dance Performance Videos Available Online

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

To see the original story, visit




NYCB’s Wendy Whelan’s Last Performance with Company Set for October 18

Wendy Whelan; photo by Nisian Hughes

Wendy Whelan; photo by Nisian Hughes

Wendy Whelan, principal dancer with New York City Ballet who became a major star of the post-Balanchine era, plans to give her farewell performance with the company on October 18 after 30 years—and then to continue her leap into contemporary dance.

“It’s exactly like a 30-year circle,” Whelan, 46, told the New York Times. Whelan joined NYCB as an apprentice in 1984 and went on to become a prima ballerina and to create roles in new ballets by choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, and Alexei Ratmansky, among others. “It feels perfect. I wouldn’t want to stay 31. Thirty years is a good, long time.”

But Whelan, whose departure is being announced Monday, does not seem inclined to slow down. After making a critically acclaimed foray into modern dance last year with her program Restless Creature, she is planning a second venture: a program of new works for her to perform with the Royal Ballet’s Edward Watson that is scheduled to have its premiere in London in 2015.

Whelan said she was recovering well from a hip injury that required surgery and sidelined her, forcing the postponement of a national tour of Restless Creature that had been scheduled for this spring. “I’m making some steady progress,” she said, adding that she hopes to dance with NYCB this spring and to dance this summer in Saratoga, New York; London; and Vail, Colorado. The Restless Creature tour has been rescheduled for next year.

To read more, visit



ARB April Events: College Admissions Discussion, DANCE POWER Performance

American Repertory Ballet’s DANCE POWER; photo courtesy ARB

American Repertory Ballet’s DANCE POWER; photo courtesy ARB

The public is welcome to attend two free outreach programs offered up by American Repertory Ballet’s Access & Enrichment department this April.

“Dancing Your Way into College,” an On Pointe enrichment series event, will be held April 4 at 5:15pm at Princeton Ballet School, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Representatives from ARB and from Princeton University’s admissions and financial aid departments will advise high school dancers and their families on their college options and how to best navigate the admissions process. Attendance is recommended for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing a degree in dance, as well as those who wish to keep dance as an extracurricular activity as they pursue a degree in another subject area.

Waiting in the Wings, a performance designed as the culmination of ARB’s 2013–2014 DANCE POWER educational residency in the New Brunswick Public School District, will take place April 7 at 7pm at State Theatre, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The performance, on the theme “Carnival of the Animals,” will feature more than 400 third-grade students from the New Brunswick Public School District who have participated in DANCE POWER since last fall.

For more information, visit




Documentary Uses Dance and Disability to Explore Siblings’ Relationship

Kiera Brinkley and Uriah Boyd in Soar; photo by Casey Parks/The Oregonian

Kiera Brinkley and Uriah Boyd in Soar; photo by Casey Parks/The Oregonian

The sisters had a month to get the lift right. Kiera Brinkley slides across the floor on legs stumped at the thighs. She jumps. Uriah Boyd catches Brinkley with her feet, grabs the arms that end just below the elbow and pushes her sister up.

It’s the airplane trick people play as children with their parents. When Brinkley—who lost parts of both arms and legs to an infection when she was 2—and Boyd do it right, it becomes art.

The Oregonian said an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Susan Hess Logeais, Soar, follows the past two years of the sisters’ lives, beginning with the last time they performed their duet in April 2012 at Jefferson High School. The films uses dance and disability to explore the ways siblings form identities away from each other.

A viewing of Soar and a dance performance is planned for April 21 at 7:30pm at the Newmark Theatre, Portland. “It’s about the human potential, how we grow and contract and continue and live,” said Melissa St. Clair, a dance choreographer who works with the sisters.

Students used to crowd circles around Brinkley in elementary school to watch her jump rope. She learned dance routines at Da Vinci Middle School, then taught them to Boyd at night. Then she’d choreograph her own, pushing her younger sister to perform with her.

Amputees “aren’t really supposed to dance,” Brinkley said. Dancing sharpens her bones to pencil points. Every few years she goes to the hospital. A doctor breaks the sharpened bones off, resets her legs. Brinkley spends the months after incapacitated, depending on family members to help her use the bathroom or make dinner. Nevertheless, she is now a member of Polaris Dance Theatre, a professional contemporary dance company.

To read the full story, visit



Free Mother’s Day Event Features Performances by Four Texas Dance Groups

Marina Almayeva School of Classical Ballet; photo courtesy Marina Almayeva

Marina Almayeva School of Classical Ballet; photo courtesy Marina Almayeva

The Dance Council of North Texas and the Town of Addison will celebrate dance styles from contemporary ballet to traditional Aztec dance to Russian folk dance during a free Mother’s Day event to be held May 11 from 2 to 4pm at the Addison Theatre Center, 15650 Addison Road.

This year’s Taste Dance Addison Style interactive performance schedule includes:
• Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli: Aztec Dance Company
• Hathaway Academy of Ballet: The Project Contemporary Dance Ensemble
• Marina Almayeva School of Classical Ballet: Russian Folk Dance
• Booker T. Washington HS of the Performing and Visual Arts’ Rep II Dance Company

Presenting groups will also give instruction in their style. Visit for more information.




Boston Ballet Concludes 50th Anniversary Season with Historic Visit to Lincoln Center

Boston Ballet’s Whitney Jensen and Jeffrey Cirio in Jorma Elo’s Plan to B; photo by Gene Schiavone

Boston Ballet’s Whitney Jensen and Jeffrey Cirio in Jorma Elo’s Plan to B; photo by Gene Schiavone

Boston Ballet will climax its 50th-anniversary season with its first-ever performances at New York’s Lincoln Center, reported the Boston Globe.

Two programs will be offered in six performances over five days, June 25 to 29, at the David H. Koch Theater. Program 1 will comprise William Forsythe’s The Second Detail, a new work (still untitled) by former Paris Opera Ballet étoile José Carlos Martínez, and Alexander Ekman’s Cacti. Program 2 will include George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, Vaslav Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun, Jorma Elo’s Plan to B, and Jirí Kylián’s Bella Figura.

It’s a contemporary group of works; only the Nijinsky and the Balanchine are more than 25 years old. Symphony in Three Movements will be particularly familiar to New York audiences; the company’s performances will invite direct comparison with those of Balanchine’s own New York City Ballet.

“This is one of the biggest historic things Boston Ballet has ever done,” artistic director Mikko Nissinen said of the tour. But he’s confident the company will be received as enthusiastically in New York as it was when it opened its 50th anniversary year last June in London. “I’m very proud with the way we do Symphony in Three Movements, and I’m very happy to take it to Balanchine’s home,” he said.

For tickets, visit To read the full story, visit



No Dance Experience Required to Join Performance Dance Art Planned for Boston

Le Grand Continental; photo courtesy Facebook

Le Grand Continental; photo courtesy Facebook

Celebrity Series of Boston is looking for more than 150 dancers to participate in a public “dance extravaganza” that will descend on Copley Square this May 16 to 18, reported

Informational “recruitment” meetings will be held February 2 to 4 at the Boston Conservatory.

Volunteer dancers will participate in a series of 20 rehearsals to learn and perform Le Grand Continental, a 30-minute performance of music and dance created by Montreal choreographer Sylvain Émard Danse. Le Grand Continental requires no previous dance experience and all ages are welcome.

Gary Dunning, Celebrity Series of Boston executive director, said organizers will accept as many dancers as Copley Square can hold. “We look for passion, energy, and the desire to do this, while we take on the responsibility for training. We’ll take all the applicants and work with them,” Dunning said. “In a sense, it’s as much about creating community as it is about celebrating community.”

Dunning said he was amazed by the success of “Street Pianos Boston,” a similar event of public performance art sponsored by Celebrity Series, and feels that city residents crave more opportunities to participate in and develop community around performance art. “Our goal is to have a project every year of some kind or another that celebrates how much Boston loves performing arts.”

For more information or to sign up for an information session, visit To see the original story, visit




PTDC Alumni Dancers Join Current Company in Special Anniversary Performance

Paul Taylor Dance Company; photo courtesy Broadway World

Paul Taylor Dance Company; photo courtesy Broadway World

Forty-six former Paul Taylor Dance Company dancers have accepted the modern dance master’s invitation to join the current company in the revival of his work, From Sea to Shining Sea.

Broadway World said the work will be presented along with the Taylor masterpiece Esplanade at a special added performance March 23 at 6pm as part of the PTDC’s three-week season at Lincoln Center. A 60th-anniversary party will be held immediately following the performance on the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater.

From Sea to Shining Sea, the first dance in what has become an acclaimed series of Americana-themed works, was initially hailed by some as sharp-eyed commentary and panned by others as tastelessly unpatriotic. Made in 1965—a time colored by presidential assassination, church bombings, urban riots, and an increasingly unpopular war—the dance provided an unabashed and controversial perspective on American history and cultural icons. Many observers outside of the United States were amazed that an American artist could exercise such freedom of expression.

In addition, to honor all Taylor dancers, Taylor Foundation executive director John Tomlinson has announced that all company alumni will be given free admission to Taylor Lincoln Center performances in perpetuity.

All special-performance tickets will be priced at half of regular prices: $5, $15, $27.50, $40, $55, and $80. Performance-with-party ticket prices are $65, $75, $87.50, $100, $115, and $140. Tickets are available at the Koch Theater box office, 63rd and Columbus Avenue, online at, and by calling 212.496.0600.

To see the original story, visit



New Cleveland Organization Dedicated to Ballet Plans First Fundraising Gala

Allison DeBona teaches a Ballet in Cleveland master class; photo by Vicki Lantz

Allison DeBona teaches a Ballet in Cleveland master class; photo by Vicki Lantz

Ballet in Cleveland, a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting extraordinary ballet performances and education with the best professional ballet companies and dancers from across the nation, will hold its first gala fundraising event February 28. reported that doors will open at 6pm for the ballet-inspired evening taking place at the Tudor Arms Hotel, 10660 Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland.

Proceeds from the gala will benefit scholarships for young dancers in Northeast Ohio to attend master ballet classes with world-class instructors, presented by Ballet in Cleveland. The fundraiser will also enable the organization to present professional ballet productions in Cleveland, including a world premiere performance to be produced and danced by ballerina Ashley Bouder—and featuring other New York City Ballet principal dancers in works by Balanchine, as well as a new ballet choreographed by up-and-coming choreographer Joshua Beamish—planned for October.

The gala will include dinner, dancing, and performances by Ballet Le Reve as well as nationally recognized professional ballet stars Allison DeBona, Rex Tilton, and Christopher Ruud of Ballet West and the television series Breaking Pointe.

Tickets are $100 per person and available online at To see the original story, visit



Montana Student Dances Take Aim at Cyberbullying in Annual Performance

Curtain Up! Performing Company; photo courtesy NBC Montana

Curtain Up! Performing Company; photo courtesy NBC Montana

The Curtain Up! Performing Company from On Center Performing Arts in Missoula, Montana, is taking aim against cyberbullying with its annual show “To Missoula, With Love.”

This year’s edition, titled “#Instant Fame,” is a multi-perspective show about the impact of social media on today’s youth, and features a piece on cyberbullying.

“A lot of people don’t actually understand that people can bully through the internet and texting and all that kind of stuff. We just kind of make it apparent and we show people kind of what can happen,” said student director Riley Sanders on NBC Montana.

The company dancers are ages 8 to 17, and several contributed choreography to the show, along with On Center Performing Arts’ owner and director Lisa Deer and instructors.

The show will be held at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts on 200 North Adams Street in Missoula on January 31 at 7pm and February 1 at 2 and 7pm. To see the original story, visit




ABT Studio Company Dancers to Perform at Historic NYC Dance Space for First Time

American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company; photo by Erin Baiano

American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company; photo by Erin Baiano

American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company will make its inaugural appearance at the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center in New York City with four performances February 7 to 9.

In 1935, what became 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center provided a home to the fledgling American modern dance movement. In the decades that followed, every great American dancer and choreographer—visionaries including Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, Robert Joffrey and Donald McKayle—spent time at 92Y.

The ABT Studio Company is comprised of 14 dancers-in-training ages 16 to 20 who gain performance experience through residencies, cultural exchanges, and local performances. The works scheduled to be performed include a world premiere choreographed by Larry Keigwin, Martine van Hamel’s Trio a Deux, excerpts from Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk, Antony Tudor’s Continuo, and the pas de sept from Raymonda.

Tickets, priced at $25, are available at The 92nd Street Y is located at 1395 Lexington Avenue in New York City.




Special Dance Performance Hopes to Open Conversation on Mental Illness

Dancers rehearse for an upcoming Paramus Stigma-Free Zone performance; photo courtesy Paramus Stigma-Free Zone

Dancers rehearse for an upcoming Paramus Stigma-Free Zone performance; photo courtesy Paramus Stigma-Free Zone

Dancers from Paramus [NJ] High School, Mariann’s School of Dance, Center Stage Dance Studio, and the Ridgewood High School Dance Company will perform a special choreographed piece titled Let’s Help to call attention to the Paramus Stigma-Free Zone’s effort to abolish the stigma of mental illness, reports The Paramus Post.

The special choreographed performance for the Paramus Stigma-Free Zone will be presented at 2:30, 3, and 3:30pm on January 25 at the Paramus Park Mall in Paramus.

The Paramus Stigma-Free Zone is a community group established in July of 2013 by Paramus resident Mary Ann Uzzi under the belief is that the best way to end stigma is to begin a healthy conversation on mental illness. The dance performance is one of many local events planned by the group. As more events are held, the expectation is that the conversation will continue to grow.

“As an artist and teacher, I truly believe in advocacy through the arts and see this as a natural way to address the issues within our community,” said Jennifer Landa, lead choreographer of the dance project, along with Claudine Ranieri, Ann Marie Coelho, and Mariann Paul. “It has been wonderful to see the dancers and teachers here in Paramus collaborate and have the opportunity to share their work, their thoughts, and their feelings on the issue.”

For more information, visit To read the original story, visit



Luke Spring, 10, Stops the Show with his Professionalism Onstage and Off

Luke Spring during a performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical; AP Photo/Keith Sherman & Associates, Carol Rosegg

Luke Spring during a performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical; AP Photo/Keith Sherman & Associates, Carol Rosegg

Ten-year-old tap prodigy Luke Spring has tapped his way onto the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in A Christmas Story: The Musical, the Tony Award telecast from Radio City Music Hall, and now Madison Square Garden.

“I’m just honored and blessed to be performing onstage,” says Spring, a remarkably well-behaved, 4-foot-tall blond boy from Ashburn, Virginia, told the Associated Press. Luke has returned to A Christmas Story, the hit musical based on the 1983 movie about a kid who dreams of getting an air rifle for Christmas. It’s at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City, until December 29.

His second-act tap solo has become a special highlight of the show; even the show’s dressers crane their heads offstage to watch his act, which he improvs every night.

Dance captain Mara Newbery recalls an early rehearsal in which Luke unleashed a flurry of tap-tappity-taps that stunned everyone. The assistant conductor leaned over and whispered in her ear, “You just got outtapped by a 9-year-old.” Newbery, who holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of Michigan and is a seasoned performer, agreed: “I was like, ‘I know. I need to go to class.’ ”

She’s even found herself learning from Luke, some 15 years her junior. He’s unfailingly polite, regularly practices on his own after rehearsals, and carries himself with total professionalism.

“I think that’s something we forget as adults: you can learn so much from kids. We try and act like, ‘Oh, we know what we’re doing. We’re here to tell you what to do,’ ” she says. “Sometimes you get a kick in the pants and you’re like, ‘Oh, wait. I can learn something from you.’ ”

To read the full story, visit

To see a video of Luke’s performance on the Tony Awards, visit



Dancers Across the Nation Kick Up their Heels In Support of National Dance Week

A Wakeland High School dancer participates in National Dance Week Foundation’s Kick It Challenge; photo courtesy Facebook

A Wakeland High School dancer participates in National Dance Week Foundation’s Kick It Challenge; photo courtesy Facebook

Teamwork, timing, and fun were on display when more than 600 participants in five states performed kick lines as part of National Dance Week Foundation’s second annual Kick It! Challenge.

The performances were held during October and November and took place at a variety of venues and events, including high school and college football games. Participants filmed the performances and submitted them to the NDWF for judging.

“The winning videos are featured on our website and posted on Facebook,” Cathy Graziano, NDWF executive director, said. “We can’t wait to see what people do next year.”

Groups competed in five categories: high school, elementary school, college dance team, dance studio, and longest. Winning entries included:

High School:
• Texas High School Royals Dance Team (47 dances) at Hall Stadium, Missouri City, Texas, on October 4 and 11
• Seaman High School Vikettes (22 dancers) in Topeka, Kansas, on September 6
• Lake Travis High School Cavalettes (39 dances) in House Park Stadium, Austin, Texas, on September 27

Elementary School:
• Apache Babes (106 dancers ages 3 to 12) at Rose Stadium, Tyler, Texas, on September 21

College Dance Team:
• Apache Belles (46 dances), a precision dance and drill team from Tyler Junior College, at Rose Stadium, Tyler, Texas, on October 26

Dance Studio:
• Westport Academy of Dance junior and senior company members (19 dancers) in Westport, Connecticut, on November 9
• Angela Floyd School for Dance and Music dance company (23 dancers) at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium, Knoxville, Tennessee, on October 14

Longest Kick Line:
• Dance-N-Drill (213 dancers) in Tyler, Texas

To see the winning entries, visit


Thinking Out Loud | Defining Reality

By Julie Holt Lucia

Dear Former Customer,

Today was such a special day. Our annual recital, like most, is so much more than a performance—it’s a chance for all of our students to dance their hearts out in front of their families and friends. From the tiniest preschooler to the teenager with nine dances to remember, they all look forward to their moment onstage where they can share their love for dance.

Our staff members too, look forward to this day with great anticipation. Finally, the hours and hours of work they put in, most of them behind the scenes, are recognized by an audience. As the studio owner and director, I’m always nervous and excited for everyone—dancers and teachers alike—and I always hope that we’ve done enough to satisfy you, the parents.

You believed the dancers were being taught by perfect teachers; we are not perfect. You thought perfection was our goal; it wasn’t.

We clearly failed you. But I am not sorry.

You expected to watch perfect dancers; we did not put perfect dancers on the stage. You wanted to see perfect technique; we did not show you that. You believed the dancers were being taught by perfect teachers; we are not perfect. You thought perfection was our goal; it wasn’t.

Somehow you missed the joy, the smiles, and the pure excitement of the dancers on that stage. Backstage too, there were countless high fives, hugs, and happy tears.

We have nurtured these dancers and instilled in them a sense of accomplishment. Whether they are naturally gifted—like your beautiful daughter—or struggling to keep up, we encourage them. We walk a line every day between how to correct and how to inspire. We take pride in teaching technique that is developmentally appropriate and will not injure young bodies. Choreography is planned and costumes are chosen with the intent of helping our dancers look their best.

Year after year, the dancers achieve new goals, on and off the stage. When a kindergartner finally masters shuffle hop step, we are beyond thrilled. When a shy dancer learns how to freestyle in hip-hop, we hug her and whisper, “Way to go!” When a high-schooler is accepted into a summer intensive or an arts magnet school, we are delighted beyond words.

And yes, all of those students are tickled pink to perform in the recital. For them, each in his or her own way, being a dancer is realizing a dream. For me, being a small part of that dream is incredibly rewarding and humbling.

And so the hateful, vile criticism you posted via social media about my studio, staff, and dancers? The comment that next year, your daughter can do “real” dancing somewhere else? It made me feel sick.

But only for about a minute. Because after that minute, I realized that you’re looking for all the wrong things in a dance school, and we are not the right fit for you. You and I have very different definitions of “real.” For me, what’s “real” are the dancers’ accomplishments, big and small, and the happiness they share when the curtain falls.

Hundreds of people were happy today. It’s a shame you weren’t one of them.


Proud Studio Owner




Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Moves Closer to Approval of New Multi-Million-Dollar Facility

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Kathi Sundstrom executive director; photo by Ted Rhodes/Calgary Herald

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Kathi Sundstrom executive director; photo by Ted Rhodes/Calgary Herald

A city council committee has approved a $5.46-million funding request for a proposed $17.9-million dance facility in Calgary’s Beltline, reported the Calgary Herald.

At 3,250 square meters, the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Dance Centre would be the largest facility of its kind in the city. It would house several dance studios, performance venues, a recreational school, and community space.

“We moved into our current facility in 1993 . . . and we paid $35,000 a year in rent,” said Kathi Sundstrom, executive director for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. “We now pay in excess of $250,000, so we can’t afford to operate where we are because we can’t expand our revenue because there are only so many studios.”

DJD is partnering with the Kahanoff Centre for Charitable Activities to build a $40-million, 12-story building at Centre Street and 12th Avenue S.E. DJD, which is kicking in $17.9 million for the project, would occupy the first five floors of the building through a 49-year lease.

The $5.46 million, which still needs council approval, is through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative Culture-Related Infrastructure Fund. The provincial and federal governments have already approved $5 million and $1.9 million, respectively, for the project. DJD has also received $1.5 million from the Calgary Foundation and $3.5 million in private donations.

Sundstrom said the new performing arts facility should open in November 2015 and will provide the community with additional arts space. “Our objective was to bring dance to the street and make it accessible,” said Sundstrom.

To read the full story, visit


St. Paul City Ballet Dancers Do Double Duty in Administrative Roles

St. Paul City Ballet; photo by Chris Polydoroff/ Pioneer Press

St. Paul City Ballet; photo by Chris Polydoroff/ Pioneer Press

The professional dancers in the St. Paul City Ballet’s holiday production Clara’s Dream often pull double or triple duty, dancing multiple roles in the one-hour performance. The dancers pull extra duty offstage as well, said the Pioneer Press, covering administrative roles as part of the company’s rare artist-led business model.

When Minnesota’s St. Paul City Ballet announced the 2013–14 performance season was in jeopardy, dancer Shannon Corbett pitched to the board the dancers’ plan to step into the administrative roles, overseeing the direction of the ballet in addition to the work they do in the studio, including a budget that would make it possible.

“Being artist-led makes it really easy for us to kind of have control, and have a little more artistic freedom, in that sense,” said Jarod Boltjes, who joined the St. Paul City Ballet this season and serves as the production coordinator, booking performance spaces for the company.

Dancer Zoe Henrot was nominated by the company to be the interim artistic director, overseeing much of the choreography for the season. “It’s kind of a blessing. Because we are artist-led, we can sit down and be like ‘What part has someone always been dying to do, but never has had the chance?’ ” Henrot said. “It gives us a lot of flexibility in what we want to put on stage.”

The company puts on a free performance once a month in downtown St. Paul. Dancers walked in the 2013 Twin Cities Pride parade, and the company maintains an active social media presence. This community outreach is crucial, Henrot said, because of the artist-led business model’s reliance on community support. “We’re just really trying to get out there and talk to people about what we’re doing, because we think it’s really cool,” she said.

To read the full story, visit



Ballet Preljocaj to Premiere Snow White in April

Preljocaj Ballet in And then, one thousand years of peace; photo by Ruth Fremson, courtesy The New York Times

Preljocaj Ballet in And then, one thousand years of peace; photo by Ruth Fremson, courtesy The New York Times

According to The New York Times, The Joyce Theater Foundation will present the New York premiere of Snow White with choreography by Angelin Preljocaj. Performed by Mr. Preljocaj’s French dance company, Ballet Preljocaj, and based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, not the 1937 animated Disney film, the production is scheduled for a six-performance run from April 23 to 27 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Mr. Preljocaj recently choreographed a new work for the New York City Ballet and Ballet Preljocaj completed a run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music during its Next Wave Festival this month.

To see the original story, visit



Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Plans Special Autism-Friendly Performance of Nutcracker

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker; photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker; photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is the first professional ballet company in the United States to offer an autism-friendly performance of The Nutcracker, set for December 27 at 2pm at the Benedum Center.

According to CBS News/Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh is a leader in making its performing arts accessible for people with disabilities—whether it’s a physical impairment, visual impairment, hearing impairment, or a developmental disability. An autism-friendly performance of The Lion King in September filled the Benedum Center’s 2,800 seats. (Pittsburgh was only the third city in the country to offer it.)

Alyssa Herzog Melby, education director for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, spearheaded the ballet’s autism-friendly Nutcracker with a focus group that included people with autism who gave them guidance. All choreography will remain the same, but the lights in the mice’s red eyes will be turned off, flares used in a magic trick will be eliminated, the sound will be lowered, and the house lights will be partially up.

The Benedum Center lobby will be outfitted with quiet areas for anyone who needs to calm down and activity zones for anyone who needs a break from the show but still wants to stay connected. Last week, the dancers had a special training on autism and what they can expect from the audience at the show.

All tickets for the performance are reserved for families who have a child or someone in their family on the spectrum or another cognitive disability, and are available at a discounted rate at

To see the original story, visit



2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Fine-Tuning Performances

2 Tips Ballet
By David Arce

Tip 1
During performances the audience looks at the dancers’ faces first, and then moves on to the choreography and technique. To encourage students to explore facial expressiveness without feeling embarrassed, try this between barre exercises: have them close their eyes and then call out expressions for them to try.


Tip 2
One major element that separates students from professional dancers is the quality of the connecting steps in choreography (such as walking and running), as well as non-choreographed stage movements such as bows. These must be done with confidence and are as important as the turns, jumps, and other technical steps; therefore they should be given equal attention in rehearsals.


Warm Up, Tune In, Let Loose

Strategies for prepping students physically, mentally, and emotionally
By Megan Donahue

Adults know that dancers at a competition should warm up, stay focused, bring extra hairpins, and probably not get hopped up on soda. But what seems obvious to adults is not necessarily clear to students. Learning to prepare for a performance is as important as learning routines. That means that no matter how busy teachers and school owners get as competition days approach, they can add one more thing to their to-do list: teaching preparedness to students. Here’s how to do it.

Laying the groundwork

It’s easy to focus on choreography when you’re getting students ready for competition; however, getting up on that stage involves much more than dancing. If your dancers are new to competition, there’s a lot they don’t know, and a lack of knowledge can make them nervous. When you tell your students where to go, what to bring, what not to bring, and the order in which things will happen, you help to build their confidence. They can relax, knowing that they don’t have to figure things out.

Manda Moore, owner of Manda’s Rhythm and Dance in Clinton Township, Michigan, holds informational meetings ahead of competition season. “We do a lot of talking,” she says. She explains every detail and provides a list of tips, compiled by a veteran dance mom, to give new dancers and parents an insider’s perspective. These tips range from how to put on false eyelashes to methods for storing costumes, all of which help dancers and parents feel prepared and capable.

When you tell your students where to go, what to bring, what not to bring, and the order in which things will happen, you help to build their confidence.

Once at the competition, you can continue to boost dancers’ comfort level by taking extra steps to supply information. For example, to minimize any stress dancers might have about getting oriented to their surroundings, Moore makes signs that have her studio logo on them, along with arrows directing the way to the dressing rooms. “They’re never lost,” she says.

Moore also posts updates on events and locations on the studio’s Facebook page so that parents can check in on their smartphones if they’re wandering around a venue looking for their group, or to keep everyone informed if there’s a schedule change.

Preparing physically

Warming up is not only necessary for safety, it’s also a good way to focus energy and bring the team together. Moore has different warm-up routines for each age group that competes, and they’re the same at every competition so that dancers have the comfort of a familiar routine. After the warm-up she lets the dancers run their piece one time, and no more. “If they don’t know it by then, they’re not going to,” says Moore.

Sarasue Taylor, owner of Sarasue’s Dance Zone (formerly Sarasue’s Academy of Dance) takes a different approach. Possibly following in her self-sufficient footsteps, Taylor’s students warm up individually, using the same warm-up they do in each class and rehearsal. “I used to tell them, ‘Girls you have to find a place to go warm up,’ ” says Taylor, but she soon found the reminder unnecessary. “I noticed they were going and doing it themselves.” As new dancers join the team, they pick up the habit from the established dancers.


Photo courtesy Manda’s Rhythm and Dance

This is more useful than a group warm-up, Taylor thinks, because the dancers are scheduled to dance at different times and can warm up at their own pace. She does not run the dance before the competition because she found that doing so “didn’t really achieve a difference” in performance.

Taylor reminds the dancers to take care of their bodies after dancing as well as before. “I tell them to take a hot bath and stretch when they get home,” she says.

Warming up and stretching are necessary, but dancers can overdo it. They want to be prepared, and with a lot of downtime at the event they can end up tiring themselves or over-stretching. Be sure to caution them about the dangers. Whether you’re leading a group warm-up or your dancers are preparing on their own, they have to stay strong and flexible all day.

Emphasize the need to treat their bodies gently. Let them know how much warming up is too much and which stretching activities to avoid. In particular, watch out for ballistic (bouncing) stretching, which can lead to injury.

Students may appreciate knowing that their desire to push harder while stretching isn’t a problem that only students have; professionals struggle with it too. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer Vernard J. Gilmore wrote on the Ailey blog, “Most often we as dancers just want to go for it, but we must use our innate intelligence toward stretching.”

Make sure your dancers know that warming up comes before stretching every time, understand which muscles are being activated before stretching, and don’t sacrifice alignment for the temporary satisfaction of reaching that little bit farther. Helping them develop this kind of intelligence will teach them how to keep themselves safe now and in the long run.

Additionally, the hallways and dressing rooms of competition venues are not always physically comfortable places. Moore requires her students to wear warm-ups between performances to keep warm, and cautions them about cooling off during down time. “If we have a long break, we’ll warm up again,” she says.

Competition days are long and can take a physical toll. Nutritious snacks, lots of water, and getting rest during the day can make the difference between a happy dancer and a tired, crabby person who’s trying to remember choreography. Moore encourages her students to bring non-messy healthy snacks, water, and a pillow and blanket to every competition.

Preparing mentally

Sometimes things go wrong during a dance. Lights go out, the wrong music plays, someone ends up in the wrong spot—these are the hazards of live performance. Moore and her staff teach students to be prepared for anything by playfully sabotaging their rehearsals. “We’ll throw things at them like stopping the music, or making it skip on purpose,” she says. No matter what happens, Moore instructs the students, do not stop dancing unless there’s an actual emergency.

When dancers experience things going wrong and practice handling them successfully, they worry less about mishaps. Moore saw how this preparation can pay off when one dancer’s shoulder straps came completely undone during a performance, posing the risk of considerable exposure. “We had talked about that being the only time they are allowed to exit the stage, if they were at risk of their costume falling off or exposing them,” said Moore. “The dancer came off the stage during a time when it was easiest to not be noticed. I fastened her straps and then she found an appropriate time in the music and ran out with an added arm [gesture] like it was part of the routine.”

Competition teacher Emma Davis, of The Art of Dance in White Lake Township, Michigan, helps her dancers prepare mentally for whatever results they will receive by explaining each competition’s scoring system. “They’re looking at confusing numbers,” she says, since competitions’ scoring systems can be markedly different.

Preparing emotionally

“There’s a lot of pressure put on [kids] for something they do for fun,” Davis says about competitions. Performing and being judged can be an intense experience, so she tries to focus on positivity. “It can be fun to be part of a team and work toward a goal,” she says. Davis reminds students that they are there to enjoy themselves as well as perform. She meets them as they come offstage, and greets them with congratulations and encouragement, offering particular reassurance to those who are beating themselves up for things that didn’t go well.


Photo courtesy The Dance Zone

Moore pairs younger and older students as “buddies” for the competition and awards, which gives the younger dancers someone to look up to and “keeps [the older dancers] out of trouble,” she says. “They know they have a responsibility.” The dancers develop a relationship when they watch their buddies compete. “They root for each other,” says Moore. The pairings also foster a deeper emotional connection among all team members.

Davis recalls her own experience having a competition buddy as a young dancer, first as a younger buddy and then as an older mentor. She believes it encouraged teamwork and reminded the dancers that they weren’t competing against each other. The buddies would bring each other little presents and treats, which she thinks “reminds us we’re here to have fun too, not stress out.”

Taylor prepares her students emotionally by focusing on performance and teamwork instead of scoring. “I hope they learn more from losing than winning,” she says. She doesn’t think her students’ performances suffer when she doesn’t push them to be competitive—they took 10 best overalls at a recent competition. She encourages them to dance as an ensemble, not a group of individuals. Before they go onstage, Taylor tells them, “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

Another way to emphasize the idea of emotional preparedness is by keeping calm and happy yourself. “I love coming to work every day, and I think that shows,” says Taylor, who has owned, managed, and taught at studios for 49 years. At competitions, she stays relaxed and doesn’t stress the competitive nature of the events. She wants her dancers to have fun, not worry about scoring. “I don’t ever pressure them,” she says.

Moore allows students to have whatever kind of emotional reaction they want to about their awards—once they’re in their cars on their way home. When they are in the competition venue, they must “be OK with any results they get,” she says. No backstage breakdowns are permitted; Moore thinks it’s important for dancers to be gracious. “It doesn’t matter what they hand you—you say thank you,” she says.

Part of helping dancers become emotionally prepared is teaching them how to be in control—able to focus on the group instead of only on themselves, constructively direct pre-performance nerves, and handle disappointment with grace.

And go!

With your help, your dancers can become experts at getting themselves ready to go onstage. The physical, mental, and emotional preparation you teach will soon become second nature to them, and you’ll have a team of dancers that’s ready to go.



Joffrey Ballet School Fields Largest Nutcracker Cast Ever

Joffrey Ballet School’s The Nutcracker; image courtesy Facebook

Joffrey Ballet School’s The Nutcracker; image courtesy Facebook

The Joffrey Ballet School will be celebrating its 60th year by featuring the largest cast ever for its annual holiday season Nutcracker—355 dancers, according to a JBS release.

Three casts will perform five performances of the holiday favorite December 13 to 15 at New York University’s Skirball Performing Arts Center, 566 LaGuardia Place, Washington Square, New York City.

Davis Robertson, a former principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet and current artistic director of Joffrey Ballet School’s Concert Group, has choreographed the school’s Nutcracker since 2009. “It’s a tribute to the talent and hard work of our students and faculty to be able to have so many dancers perform this year, with the youngest dancer starting at age 2,” Robertson said.

A tradition started by founder Robert Joffrey 60 years ago, the Nutcracker has been an important part of the history of the Joffrey Ballet School. Of the dancers participating in this year’s program, 89 are from the school’s Children’s Program, 54 are enrolled in the Young Dancer Program, 7 are from the Fort Hamilton H.S. Joffrey Dance Academy; 145 are ballet trainees, 5 are jazz and contemporary trainees, and 30 are pre-professional dancers from the school’s Concert Group. For ticket information, visit


Almost Time for Annual Alvin Ailey Holiday Season Performances

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Belen Pereyra; photo by Andrew Eccles

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Belen Pereyra; photo by Andrew Eccles

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the New York City Center stage in December for its annual holiday season, the 25th since the passing of legendary founder Alvin Ailey.

The five weeks of performances include:

• The world premiere of LIFT by in-demand choreographer Aszure Barton
• New York and company premiere of Chroma, a Wayne McGregor’s ballet performed to a score by Joby Talbot and orchestrations by Jack White III of The White Stripes
D-Man in the Waters (Part I) a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award–winning work by Bill T. Jones
Four Corners, a powerful and hope-filled journey of tribulation, devotion, and triumph by Ronald K. Brown
• New productions of Ailey’s Pas De Duke and The River, set to music by Duke Ellington
• Encore performances of recent commissions including Kyle Abraham’s Another Night, Ronald K. Brown’s Grace, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Garth Fagan’s From Before, Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, and Rennie Harris’ Home
• Special evenings include a celebration of Matthew Rushing and his inspiring artistry, a New Year’s Eve Celebration featuring beloved Ailey dancers of the past and present, a Special Season Finale Program for Alvin Ailey’s birthday with highlights from the season, and select programs with live music accompanying Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece, Revelations.

To see the full calendar of performances, visit




Arizona Dance Festival This Weekend Features 30 Classes, Public Performance

Dance Festival of Southern Arizona; photo courtesy AZ Weekly

Dance Festival of Southern Arizona; photo courtesy AZ Weekly

More than 30 dance classes and special workshops will be featured in the first Dance Festival of Southern Arizona, planned for this weekend at Tucson High Magnet School, 400 N. 2nd Avenue.

The AZ Weekly reported that the festival is sponsored by the AZ Dance Coalition and the AZ Dance Education Organization (AzDEO).

Classes for dance students ages 14 and up, adults including seniors, dance instructors, and dancers, will begin October 19 and 20 at 8:30am, and will include subjects such as tap, modern, ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, Feldenkrais, flamenco, qigong, floor barre, and step dancing (body percussion); plus a special study of polyrhythms, a tap choreography workshop, a folklórico workshop, and classes specifically for teachers.

The lineup of master faculty members includes Anita Feldman, director of the dance education department at New York’s Hofstra University; Chad Michael Hall, assistant professor at the University of California–Irvine; Kathleen Sinclair, co-artistic director of Ballet Yuma, and others.

STEP to the Rhythm, DANCE to the Rhythm, a public performance, will be held October 19 at 7pm at University High School, 421 N. Arcadia Avenue, Tucson. Twenty-two companies and dancers will present dance styles such as African, Argentine tango, salsa, ballet, hip-hop, modern/contemporary, and tap. The award-winning Step’s JUNK FUNK Percussive Movement Art will also perform.

Performance tickets are available at

For details and registration information, visit To see the original story, visit



Youth Arts and Education Organization, The Wooden Floor, Prepares for January Show

The Wooden Floor in True or False; photo by Kevin P. Casey

The Wooden Floor in True or False; photo by Kevin P. Casey

The Wooden Floor, an arts-for-youth organization that partners ground-breaking choreographers with low-income youth in Southern California, will present three contemporary dance works January 17 and 18, 2014, 8:30pm, at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) at Walt Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

The Wooden Floor seeks to produce work that is original, inventive, and idiosyncratic. Performances seek to break down ethnic, gender, and age stereotypes about who can inspire, create, perform, and appreciate art. [See DSL January 2012 article: ]

Through performance opportunities and dance education, the program participants change the way they think about themselves, which helps them aspire beyond the grip of the poverty cycle. This will be the third time The Wooden Floor has showcased its pioneering work at REDCAT, Southern California’s leading theater for new and innovative arts.

It is highly anticipated that in the fall of 2014, The Wooden Floor will celebrate the 10th consecutive year in which 100 percent of graduates from the organization will have graduated from high school on time and enrolled in college, exceeding the national average for their peers threefold.

Tickets are $20 general admission or $10 for students, and are available at



California Preprofessional Company Invites Public to Learn, Perform, this Saturday

Imagine Ballet Company; photo by The Bakersfield Californian

Imagine Ballet Company; photo by The Bakersfield Californian

Imagine Ballet Company, a preprofessional company from Bakersfield, California, will hold a public, free, three-hour class of training and choreography that will culminate in a flash mob–style dance performance on October 12 in Beach Park.

“Dance with Us” will begin at 9am, with a noon performance. “We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year, and we thought it would just be awesome to invite the public to come and dance with us,” Norma Hamm, a member of the Imagine Ballet Company’s board of directors, told The Bakersfield Californian. “This is not something that you always see with a ballet company.”

After group stretching, participants will break off into performing groups to learn the moves—a mix of jazz and hip-hop—before reuniting to learn the grand finale. Imagine Ballet Company dancers will be teaching the moves and performing alongside the students.

The choreography for Dance with Us is designed to be one size fits all. “There is no prior dance experience necessary to take part in this,” Hamm said. “Our dancers will be out there showing everyone how to do it and you can follow along. Just wear tennis shoes and something comfy you can really move around in.”

The event is open to the first 100 registered participants ages 7 and up and includes lunch. Information/registration forms can be found at

To see the original story, visit


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