Each year since 2003, Dance Teacher has recognized top educators in studios, conservatories, the K–12 setting, colleges and universities. Here, we are very pleased to introduce four people who exemplify the passion, commitment and leadership it takes to succeed in this career field: Cindy Gratz, Sean Murphy, Heather Raue and Betty Webster. Their stories will inspire you.
This year Bill Evans receives our highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. For the cover shoot, we visited Evans in Brockport, New York, where he is visiting professor in the SUNY Brockport dance program. To be in Evans’ presence for more than a few minutes, you begin to understand why dancers and teachers sing his praises. “He has a different concept of the role of teacher than anyone else,” says Brockport interim department head, Jacqueline Davis. “It is teacher as guide, yet learning as well.”
In addition to taking over the tap program while also teaching modern, Evans has developed a graduate-level pedagogy course for Brockport. “It has just been thrilling,” he says. “I see the students go from teaching material, to understanding that they’re guiding the growth of a whole person.”
We caught the last half of his advanced modern technique class that editor Jenny Dalzell describes here. In “How I Teach Modern Dance,” Evans shares a foundational element of his technique: an under-curve with an inversion and spiral. (Because the concept is complex, I suggest you also watch the sequence on video to get the full effect.) In class, we saw what happens when dancers embody these concepts. His students moved with a fullness and sense of buoyancy, and they handled directional changes with ease.
Also included in this issue is the annual Dance Teacher Dance Directory. It contains contact info from the most trusted providers of service and products for your studio, and you’ll want to keep it handy throughout the year.
I hope you’ll join us in NYC for our summer conference, The Dance Teacher Summit, August 2–4. We will present the Dance Teacher Awards at the closing gala on Wednesday, August 4. Register now at www.danceteachersummit.com.
EDITOR IN CHIEF