Departments

Did You Know? | Who is Michelle Dorrance?

“I am currently swimming in such an exciting range of possibilities.” —Michelle Dorrance, to the New York Times in 2018   Michelle Dorrance might have become a ballet dancer: her mother, M’Liss Gary Dorrance, had been a professional ballerina, and founded the Ballet School of Chapel Hill, where Dorrance studied as a child. Along with…

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Media Hub | Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir

Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir by Halifu Osumare Osumare takes readers through her four-decade journey—from choosing dance as her revolutionary statement; to teaching “jazz ballet” in Europe; to establishing a dance company in Copenhagen; and back to the U.S., where she danced with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company in New York City and was integral…

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Studio Style | Performer’s Edge Dance Center

Makeovers, renovations, and dream spaces by Heather Turbeville What do you do when your studio is bursting at the seams near the happiest place on earth? Performer’s Edge Dance Center (PEDC) built an entirely new space. The studio, which serves approximately 500 students with Mom & Me, combo, ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acro, contemporary,…

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FYI | Ballet for All in St. Paul

What’s up in the dance community Ballet should be open to anyone, regardless of age, race, body type, gender, income, or language. That’s the thinking at St. Paul Ballet, a Minnesota company and nonprofit dance school that has implemented programs designed to shift people’s thinking about what a ballet dancer should look like. SPB’s annual…

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Collective Wisdom | Classroom Connection: Focus on Facials

No matter how I used to encourage them to change up their facial expressions, many of my students only smiled when performing. When I asked them to experiment with different nuances and emotions in class, they would become self-conscious and visibly uncomfortable; onstage, they had difficulty connecting with their audiences. I decided to use musical…

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Media Hub | In the Steps of Trisha Brown

In the Steps of Trisha Brown directed by Marie-Hélène Rebois Go behind the scenes in the weeks leading up to the first performance of Brown’s 1979 work Glacial Decoy in Paris. Interspersed with rarely seen archival footage from original productions and of Brown herself in rehearsal, this film shows Lisa Kraus, restager and former dancer…

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In My Humble Opinion | I Just See Her

by Cathy Roe Many years ago, I joined hundreds of other educators seeking inspiration and class ideas at a dance teacher conference. In this huge convention center/hotel setting, the air was artificial, the lights were glaring, and all sorts of personalities were on display. During a break, I sat in the hallway on one of…

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FYI | World Celebrates Merce at 100

What’s up in the dance community Merce Cunningham, the mad scientist of modern dance, would have turned 100 years old next year. To celebrate his innovative and influential body of work, more than 60 international dance companies and presenters are joining in the Merce Cunningham Centennial, a celebration that begins this September and runs through…

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Collective Wisdom | Classroom Connection: Movement and Idea

Teaching students how to create choreography out of an idea shows them how to use movement as a means of artistic expression, and exercises the creative and collaborative processes that they will need to face 21st-century challenges. My studio uses a choreographic process that emphasizes improvising, creating, showing, and observing; students engage with the material…

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Media Hub | Beginning Hip-Hop Dance

Beginning Hip-Hop Dance by E. Moncell Durden Dancer, educator, and historian Durden provides dance and general education students with a strong foundation in the fundamentals of hip-hop—techniques, styles, aesthetics, history, significant works, and artists. A companion web resource includes 56 video clips for practicing techniques.

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FYI | Dancing Dreamers Curriculum Expands

What’s up in the dance community Dance educator Princess Johnson, founder of Greensboro, North Carolina’s Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet, designed her Dancing Dreamers curriculum to help kids embody their dreams through movement. This spring, local philanthropic organization the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation rewarded Johnson’s vision with a $1,500 donation. Johnson began developing the curriculum in…

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Media Hub | Pirouette

Pirouette by Robyn Bavati Adopted as babies by two different families, Simone and Hannah have never known they are identical twins. Simone has been raised as a dancer, but she hates performing. Hannah loves nothing more than dance, but her parents see it as just a hobby. When the two girls meet for the first…

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FYI | Jazz History Unspools in Transmission

What’s up in the dance community Some of the towering figures in jazz dance—including some you might not know of—discuss the art in Transmission, a documentary now in production. “When you ask people, ‘What is jazz?’ everyone has their own view,” assistant director/choreographer Zak Nemorin told Dance Studio Life. “We’re using the concept of the…

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Media Hub | The Men Who Danced

The Men Who Danced: The Story of Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers and the Birth of Jacob’s Pillow 1933–1940, 20th Anniversary Edition directed by Ron Honsa This film presents the story of the first all-male dance company in the U.S.—Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers. Including footage of the company performing Shawn’s choreography in the 1930s, the documentary…

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Studio Style | Makeovers, renovations, and dream spaces

Dance Innovations Dance Center by Heather Turbeville Recital season is one of the most hectic and stressful times of the year for studio owners. As if regular show prep pressures weren’t enough, the day before her recital in June 2016, Katie Fitzpatrick’s landlord dropped a bomb on her: he would not be renewing her lease.…

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Competition Zone | The Value of Understudies

by Joan F. Smith Dance professionals understand the practical mechanics of working with people. Sickness, injuries, and life events are unavoidable—so what’s a team to do? Understudies are a smart solution. You can avoid reblocking choreography if prepared understudies can step in when other dancers are absent or injured. The studio where I work has…

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Media Hub | One Day Pina Asked

One Day Pina Asked directed by Chantal Akerman This documentary provides a look at the work of choreographer Pina Bausch and her Wuppertal, Germany-based dance company. Capturing the company’s rehearsals and performances over a five-week European tour, Akerman interviews members of the company and shows excerpts from performances of Bausch dances, including Komm Tanz Mit…

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In My Humble Opinion | Keeping the Fire Burning

by Thelma Goldberg I celebrated my 36th recital in April. It seems like only yesterday that I first welcomed neighborhood children into my small home for dance lessons. My intention was to keep busy while on a leave of absence from teaching special-needs children in the Boston public school system. I never anticipated how busy…

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FYI | Crews Converge at Block Party

  What’s up in the dance community Which came first: the Block or the Block Party? The Block Party, a hip-hop dance event now entering its seventh year, was first. Held Labor Day weekend in Boulder, Colorado, it draws dancers, DJs, and judges from around the world to participate in dance battles and cyphers. It’s…

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Collective Wisdom | Classroom Connection: Observation Day

Holding an observation day during one of your regularly scheduled lessons is a great way to show parents what you do and explain why you do it. Observation can be stressful for teachers and students, but remember, this is not a performance—it’s an opportunity for you to explain the benefits of dance education. Students. Let…

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Media Hub | Breathing Life Into Dance: One Teacher’s Perspective

Breathing Life Into Dance: One Teacher’s Perspective by Robin Sturm Based on Sturm’s life as a student, professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer, this book serves as a guide to anyone who has a desire to explore dance, whether professionally or for personal artistic fulfillment. Sturm’s lifetime of experience has given her a fresh perspective on…

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