As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, I can’t help but think of studio mothers—the influential educators who give children their first dance experiences. Some do double-duty as both biological and studio mom. That’s the case with M’Liss Dorrance, who co-founded The Ballet School of Chapel Hill in North Carolina, where her daughter Michelle Dorrance (featured on the cover and pictured here with her mom) got her start. Today Michelle (“How I Teach Tap”) is both an exciting performer and a passionate teacher.
I don’t remember my first dance teacher’s name, but I have an indelible memory of tap and baton twirling as a preschooler in her basement studio. Those routines are a far cry from the age-appropriate developmental activities of creative dance teachers like Mary Seidman, who shares her approach in “Baby Steps,” yet the experience instilled in me a lifelong passion nonetheless.
May is a busy month on many fronts, with the school year winding down, rehearsals for spring recitals, competition regionals—and National Tap Dance Day, May 25! But it’s hard not to be distracted with thoughts of summer. I’m curious—when you plan your vacation, do you look for dance-related activities, or something completely different? And on the dance-related side, do you prefer technique class, pedagogy-based training or the chance to see your favorite dance companies perform?
A summer dance festival can offer something of all three—as well as a little bit of dance heaven. In DT Notes, we point out the 2012 highlights of four prominent festivals that will appeal to both you and your students (pick up an issue or order one here for the full story). And the annual Lifetime Learners supplement included with this issue is filled with continuing education opportunities exclusively for teachers.
Here at DanceMedia, all new episodes of “Dance212” launch May 21. In Season 6, the popular online video series follows five dancers as they train at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre’s JKO school, the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, Broadway Dance Center and STEPS on Broadway. (The new season stands on its own, but you can view all past episodes at Dance212.com.) This is what it’s really like to dance in New York City!