A 23-columnist salute to 11 years of ideas, insight, and inspiration by Tamsin Nutter Some days you just need a little advice and encouragement—whether on preschoolers, degagés, or taxes—to pin on the staff bulletin board or mull over in the bathtub at night, from a trusted friend who’s been there, done that, and understands exactly…Read More
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.…Read More
Healthy student enrollment is vital to financial success. Here’s how to make it happen. by Andrea Ekmark Whether your ideal student enrollment is 250 or 2,500, healthy class sizes and a vibrant student population are keys to your studio’s financial success. Yet as you move toward your enrollment goal, there may come a time when…Read More
What’s up in the dance community The Motor City will be revved up August 10 to 12 as more than 50 local, national, and international dancers and companies converge on the Detroit Dance City Festival (DDCF). Artists hailing from Spain to South Korea will perform and teach workshops in modern, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop, followed…Read More
The college professor had a question: “Why don’t dance studios do more concert dance?” In one sense, the answer is easy: “Because we’re not a concert dance company or a college dance department.” Those exist in their own spheres where they are valued for what they are. (I doubt many modern-based concert companies constantly face…Read More
by Amber Perkins Today’s modern and contemporary choreography for students includes more and more partnering, so it’s important to designate class time to teaching its foundations. Try these exercises I developed to teach safe weight sharing and to strengthen the core. Blind back-to-back lengthen and balance. Begin with two dancers sitting back to back on…Read More
“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…Read More
by Amber Perkins Some say that contemporary is the new modern. I think Lester Horton and Katherine Dunham might be offended! I believe contemporary has a real connection to modern dance; it’s a free and emotional movement style that is fundamentally based in a traditional technique. Here’s a fun and interactive exercise that demonstrates this relationship.…Read More
What’s up in the dance community Columbia College Chicago’s new interdisciplinary hip-hop studies minor, a 21-credit program launched in December 2017, features core classes on hip-history history and culture, plus practice-based learning. The minor is open to students in any major: dance students are encouraged to take technique classes and complete a dance internship, whether…Read More
Montana dance festival has global reach by Bonner Odell The snow-capped mountains surrounding Missoula, Montana, might seem like a surprising backdrop to a dance festival featuring some of the world’s most elite dancers and teachers. But Missoula is the birthplace of the Vienna International Ballet Experience USA (VIBE USA), which last year alone drew more…Read More
What’s up in the dance community Tradition and innovation met August 12 as the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston’s Dance Education Training Course celebrated its 75th anniversary during graduation ceremonies at the Hilton Boston/Woburn. The 69 soon-to-be teachers, clad in white formal wear, promenaded in a grand march before family, faculty, and alumni just…Read More
Contemporary Classroom Etiquette by Jennifer McQuiston Lott Tip 1 Ballet has its history of established etiquette; classic modern techniques such as Graham or Limón follow clear rules of conduct. A typical contemporary class may be more relaxed, but classroom etiquette is still important. Outlining and enforcing a code of behavior will prepare your contemporary students…Read More
Words from our readersRead More
by Toni Pierce-Sands
Tip 1: The start of class can be challenging if I don’t allow students time to transition from their everyday routines into class time.
Tip 2: Repetition is always important, especially with middle- and high-school-aged students.
by Nicole Sasala Lobuzzetta
Now that studios can purchase dance curriculums—some with playlists included—I’ve been asking myself, “Where is the art in teaching modern dance? Is the performance the only artistic aspect? Or could we teach with the intent to foster creative growth, take risks, and push artistic boundaries?”Read More
The Emory University Dance and Movement Studies Program focuses on contemporary modern dance, emphasizing improvisation, choreography, and performance through a somatically based curriculum.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: Staying at the front of the studio during class can limit you as an instructor. Changing your vantage point is a good way to catch issues that otherwise might escape your attention.
Tip 2: The ease and fluidity associated with contemporary duet work can begin with a simple weight-sharing exercise.
by Karen White
The educational power of movement serves as the foundation of Locally Grown, a residency program through which Fusionworks Dance Company uses modern dance to take schoolchildren on an academic journey into subjects such as marine life, immigration, haiku, and earthquakes.Read More
In Sweet Briar’s dance program, students explore creative expression while gaining practical experience. For more than 40 years, the program has drawn on traditional and modern dance techniques and newer styles such as aerial, with an emphasis on and intensive training in choreography.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: When I teach or coach forward leaps (grands jetés), this phrase gets good results: “Push carry!”
Tip 2: Teaching young dancers to run with both strength and abandon takes time and persistence.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
Tip 1: When teaching young dancers the basics of partnering, make sure to stress the importance of focus.
Tip 2: Teaching students the correct way to make contact with the floor when they roll from a standing position will help them to execute this common move effectively while avoiding injury.Read More
by Patrick Corbin
When you teach the hip slide, explain that students need to be in three-point contact with the floor as they approach the slide.
When you teach partnering, suggest the following techniques for ensuring a good grip.
by Patrick Corbin
Developing lifting skills is fundamental to learning how to partner. Teachers often emphasize a lift’s take-off and apex, but the most important part of any lift is the landing.
“Look side, farther side, all the way side!” Sometimes I find it difficult to get students to turn their heads. Clarity of focal intent can be tricky. Students often think they are turning their heads when they are merely shifting their eyes.
Tip 1 We want students to jump high and give the illusion of being suspended in midair. But what about landings? Do your students make a lot of noise when they land? Are they able to bounce high in the air but unable to put their heels down when landing? Landing carelessly is likely to lead to injuries. To develop a strong, sustainable, and healthy jump, a young dancer must develop a pliant landing with a generous plié. Here are two helpful directions that are easy for students to remember and effective in reminding them to land softly.
Tip 2 Trust may be the most crucial aspect of partnering. Partners must have faith in each other to achieve the sometimes seemingly impossible tasks that choreography calls for. One way to build this trust is an exercise I call “Blind Date.”
Hannah Wiley has been educating Seattle dance audiences for more than 25 years, and she’s doing it in a way unlike anyone else in U.S. academia. As the director of the University of Washington’s MFA program in dance, and its associated Chamber Dance Company (CDC), Wiley, a former ballet dancer, has made it her mission to present, record, and archive works of historical and artistic significance. The current trend in the modern dance world is to pay homage to the past. Since 1990, Wiley and her company have honored the pioneers who forged the way, and nowhere else can this unique collection of archived works be found.Read More