Posts Tagged ‘Heather Wisner’

Safe Spaces

Smart ways to handle backstage access during recitals by Heather Wisner With so much happening onstage during recitals, it could be easy to miss what’s happening backstage. But for the sake of security—not to mention organization—it’s vital to have a plan in place to control backstage access. Dance Studio Life spoke with studio owners across…

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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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EditorSpeak | A Pretty Good Magazine

“Just reading through the August magazine, and thinking that we put out a pretty good magazine.” Tamsin Nutter, DSL associate editor, made that comment one July afternoon. She was one of five editors, an art designer, and a production manager still here as DSL wound down to its end. Because of the months-in-advance work schedule…

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2018 Dance Studio Life Generous Heart Awards

Join us in saluting dance humanitarians making a real difference Generosity permeates the dance education industry. You don’t have to look far to see a studio owner absorbing tuition costs for a needy student, a teacher missing a family gathering to attend an important rehearsal, or studio families stepping up to help another family in…

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Delicate Dance

A teacher’s recital choreography isn’t working. Now what? by Heather Wisner The pacing is sluggish. The transitions are clunky. The students are struggling with steps that are above their skill level. And the teacher who choreographed this recital piece is looking at you expectantly for your feedback. What do you do? Dance Studio Life spoke…

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Did You Know? | Who is Garth Fagan?

“Part of my joy, and my love in life, is moving to a positive place.” —Garth Fagan, in a TEDx Jamaica talk by Heather Wisner Garth Fagan’s blend of ballet and modern technique with African and Caribbean dance styles has won him millions of fans all over the world. Besides running his 48-year-old company, Garth…

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Editor Speak | The Language of Dance

When I moved to Costa Rica in 2003, I got to test an axiom I’d often heard: that you should be able to take a dance class anywhere in the world and follow along, no matter the local language. The studio near my neighborhood’s Más Por Menos grocery store was in a second-floor walkup with…

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Editor Speak | A Step in the Right Direction

The weekend after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia—and the upheaval that followed—I found myself looking for artistic consolation. The 2013 documentary Dancing in Jaffa, which had been sitting in my Netflix queue, turned out to be a timely choice. The film follows former championship ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine (whose Dancing Classrooms program in New York…

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Editor Speak | The XX Files

  Mao’s famous phrase “Women hold up half the sky” crossed my mind this summer while I was parked on a blanket in an amphitheater, watching Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Choreography XX project. According to OBT artistic director Kevin Irving, the project was meant to cultivate more work by female choreographers; after a national choreography competition,…

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December 2010 | Breaking It Down

When it comes to hip-hop instruction, Wildwood is old school By Heather Wisner In the beginning, hip-hop was more than just dance: It was a way of life, meshing movement with emceeing, turntabling, and graffiti art. But as veterans of the early days will tell you, today’s dancers don’t know their hip-hop history. And, they…

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May-June 2010 | Ballet Scene | Dance in Two Dimensions

It is bitterly cold outside Portland’s Keller Auditorium, and not much warmer inside, one Wednesday morning in December as Oregon Ballet Theatre’s dancers file onstage for company class. Everyone is bundled up in hoodies and track pants; Raychel Weiner even wears bright blue gloves as she grips the barre and begins warming up. Out in the audience, art students from St. Mary’s Academy begin warming up as well, rubbing their hands together and blowing on them, breaking out oil pastels and colored pencils, arranging sketch paper, and adjusting tripods and light readings on digital cameras.

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December 2009 | Room for Musical Theater

Triple threats—performers who can dance, sing, and act—may have a better shot at show-biz success than their specialist counterparts. So do dance studios offering the musical-theater classes to build those skills also have a competitive advantage? Some studio owners think so.

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Ballet Scene | Culture Shock

As a young folk dancer in his native Cambodia, Sokvannara Sar never dreamed of pursuing a professional ballet career; not long ago, in fact, he was unaware that ballet even existed. So how he got from his village to the corps of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet—with an extended layover in New York City and a side trip to Varna—makes for a remarkable story. Anne Bass has captured it in her engaging documentary, Dancing Across Borders, which came out last summer.

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From Silver Screen to Studio

“Which movies can I show him to get him interested in dance?” This urgent query came from a friend of mine with a 4-year-old son shortly before they headed off to San Francisco’s Ethnic Dance Festival. After wracking my brain (Billy Elliot? Too mature. Singin’ in the Rain? Too long. Hmm . . . ), I turned to studio owners to find out what videos they liked to show to different age groups and which videos best served a particular purpose. Most teachers like to add interest to their lessons with visual aids, of course, and dance teachers are no exception.

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How Funk Created a Monster

I am in no way an expert in this field, and certainly not a visionary,” says Monsters of Hip-Hop founder Andy Funk. “I just happen to be a businessperson who, along with my wife and sister-in-law, saw a need and took a chance.”

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