Sometimes life just drops gems into your lap, on an otherwise typical Friday—like the 1980s public access television show "Stairway to Stardom" and the font of video footage that is the stairwaytostardom YouTube channel. Founded by Brooklynite Frank Masi—an amateur singer and apparent proponent of local talent—"Stairway to Stardom" featured child and teen performers who sang, danced and even performed comedy acts. It's an earnest show, and we don't mean to disparage the performers, but it's definitely fun to take a trip back to the '80s and reminisce over costume choices (SO MANY SEQUINS), jazz layouts and 3-D bangs—all performed on the smallest of (carpeted) sound stages. Though many of these performers went on to pursue other life choices, occasionally you stumble upon someone you recognize, like Anthony (AC) Ciulla. He's an Emmy award-winning and Tony Award-nominated choreographer who definitely made it big, but that's not gonna stop us from watching his "What a Feeling" (from Flashdance) performance over and over again:

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Photo by Naserin Bogado, courtesy of The Dance Studio of Fresno

When she was 20, Sue Sampson-Dalena rented a single room in a strip mall on the deserted north side of Fresno, California, with a simple dream. "I wanted to create a dance school where all disciplines were taught at a high level," she says. "In those days, you were either a ballet school or a tap-and-jazz school. So many people told me it couldn't be done that I decided I was going to try."

Thirty-five years later, The Dance Studio of Fresno has a faculty of 25 and a beautiful seven-studio facility. "I never envisioned I'd have this when I was 20 years old," she says of her 13,000-square-foot space. "But I did know even then that I loved education and all forms of dance and that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life." In 2015, Sampson-Dalena earned a rare honor. Her school was named Studio of the Year at The Dance Awards (produced by Break the Floor, NUVO and 24 Seven Dance conventions) and a top school by Youth America Grand Prix—a well-deserved validation that she'd indeed achieved her early goal.

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Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

By Joanna Dee Das

Oxford University Press; 288 pages; $34.95

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Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

Next month at the Dance Teacher Summit, we'll be honoring legendary choreographer, teacher and businessman Joe Tremaine with the Dance Teacher 2017 Award of Distinction. You may know him as the forward-thinking founder of Tremaine Dance Conventions, innovator of West Coast jazz or a choreographer to Hollywood's biggest stars. For our July 2017 cover story, Rose Eichenbaum photographed and interviewed Tremaine. But these Tremaine Dance Competitions & Conventions #TBT photos of him are just too good not to share—and far too evocative of his jazz classes, which Eichenbaum writes "included...high-powered lightning-speed combinations, which often left everyone dripping wet and in need of an oxygen tank." Scroll through for Tremaine's thoughts on what he's sought in his career and the state of dance today.

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Camille A. Brown. Photo by Christopher Duggan, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow

Jacob's Pillow has a long-standing tradition of showcasing the best in dance each summer in Becket, Massachusetts. But did you know that the festival, founded in 1933 by Ted Shawn, offers more than just great live performances? Check out the exhibits, talks and community classes being offered this summer.

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Photo by Mark Shelby Perry, courtesy of Heidi Latsky Dance

After joining Heidi Latsky Dance in 2007, Meredith Fages expanded her dynamic range as a performer under Latsky's mentorship.

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Long after your students leave your studio and go on to dance elsewhere, you will continue to have an influence on them. Though I no longer aspire to dance professionally, I still hold my former dance teachers in high regard. I carry their words of wisdom with me, feel the joy they brought to their dance classes and continue to abide by offhanded comments they made like, "Don't eat turkey before class; the tryptophan will make you sleepy."

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"Things rooted in the black community tend to be confiscated or diminished," says the founder of Joel Hall Dancers & Center. "I'm not going to let that happen as long as I'm around." Photo by Dean Paul, courtesy of Joel Hall Dance Center

When Joel Hall enters a studio, students fall silent and rise in respect. He can command a room from its corner with merely a facial expression, but more often, he takes charge by getting into the thick of the dance, letting the beat of the house music move him and pulling meaning and emotion from each dancer. A well-timed "yes!" can thrust a penché to 180 degrees. A snapped finger and a "work!" can bring out the inner diva in even the shyest student. And an ecstatic "oh!" can move hips like mountains.

"I instill in my dancers the discipline of proper training, but I also let them know they have a voice—a voice that shows where they came from—and I want to hear it," Hall says. "My class is tough, and I get fabulous people out of it."

Towering over his students, with unparalleled stature and grace, Hall may appear intimidating. But those lucky enough to have been part of his story know that he is much more than a fierce commander of the studio—he is made up almost entirely of heart.

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