Technique, Technique, Technique
Turns out one of the best ways to prepare young dancers for a professional future may be to show them what that future looks like. That’s the approach teacher Jess Hendricks took with the young Ida Saki (see “Industrial Strength”). Seems that Saki’s reference point for professional dance at the time was the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. While dancers now can see many examples of future possibilities on television and YouTube, I personally believe the screen can never replace the visceral experience of live concert dance. So when the 92Y Harkness Dance Festival announced a program for dance educators to learn how to attend a dance concert with their students, it got my attention. (Look for our firsthand report in June.)
Of course, Saki, who is now a member of Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance in New York (and was featured on the February cover of Dance Spirit magazine!), would not be the artist she is without the intensive training she received at Christy Wolverton’s studio and the Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Technique is the way dance teachers make dreams come true—and we cover it every month.
In “Head to Toe,” master teachers Finis Jhung, Irene Dowd, Sheila Barker and Pamela Pietro share their best corrections for common dance problems. From jutting chin to splayed ribs to tension in the feet and more, you can help students kiss these bad habits good-bye.
While modern dance has taken a backseat in recent years to its more glamorous cousin, contemporary jazz, “Kid-Friendly Modern Classes” offers some compelling reasons to include modern in your school’s curriculum. For one thing, it’s a great bridge between creative dance and ballet.
And don’t let your students graduate without knowing about the artists who laid the groundwork for contemporary dance in the U.S. This month’s History: Lesson Plan is about Doris Humphrey from the Bennington School era. Her early movement explorations became the foundation for Limón technique. We suggest you post it on a bulletin board in your lobby.
Photo by Matthew Murphy