“Dancing with the Stars” pro Louis van Amstel has been part of Kim DelGrosso’s ballroom program at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio since its start. So it was serendipitous to catch him there for our cover in full teaching-artist mode. But it’s DelGrosso’s story that we felt compelled to tell in this month’s cover feature.
If you’ve met DelGrosso, you know she has enthusiasm to spare—especially when talking about the way ballroom training enhances a dancer’s performance career. And judging by the list of students who’ve gone from Orem, Utah, to commercial fame, she’s on to something. Derek and Julianne Hough, Chelsie Hightower, Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello all have “DWTS” and “So You Think You Can Dance” credits. And in the past year, Center Stage alum Haylee Roderick has landed a role on “Glee,” the cover of Dance Spirit magazine and a video with Gloria Estefan.
You’ll also be interested to know that the financial side of DelGrosso’s ballet-to-ballroom concept is as successful as her students. Center Stage’s ballroom division adds substantial revenue to the studio’s more traditional curriculum of ballet, hip hop and jazz. In “Where Ballet Meets Ballroom,” the studio owner discusses her winning crossover approach—and she tells how you can do it, too.
During the 1970s and ’80s, Maggie Black had an impressive underground following of professional dancers in New York City, including Gelsey Kirkland, Martine van Hamel, Kevin McKenzie, Gary Christ and Robert Hill. This was pretty much unheard of at the time because Black was not affiliated with a particular school or company. In “Black Magic,” writer Rachel Straus tells why dancers flocked to Black to find what they couldn’t get anywhere else.
Dancers today wouldn’t see anything odd about this. It’s now common to move fluidly (more or less) between teachers and from ballet class to jazz, hip hop and modern. Versatility is prized over loyalty, and studio teachers are like curators, exposing students to a wide range of choices. This is one reason Dance Teacher includes a regular monthly “How I Teach” feature and video—to introduce core movement elements by master teachers of many styles. This month, Rachel Tavernier demonstrates a barre exercise designed to warm up the spine for Katherine Dunham’s African-inspired classes—something highly useful, no matter what class we’re taking or teaching. (video here)