A: Over the years, our group of competition dancers and their parents has grown very close. When we travel out of town for an event, we make sure to have a “party room” available, where everyone can meet after the competition ends for the night. (The hotels also like this idea, because it keeps everyone out of the hallways at night.) Parents have food delivered for the kids, and my husband and the other dance dads will break out the poker chips and the cooler. We often will either come a day early or stay a day late, so that the families can go golfing or shopping or hang out around the pool. The focus is on making the atmosphere as relaxed, positive and fun as possible for everyone involved. Right before we go onstage to compete, we get in a big circle, hold hands and sing “We Are Family.”
We also organize two fundraisers as a group: a dance-a-thon and a charity barbecue. For the dance-a-thon, the dancers find sponsors to participate in all-day dancing, and our advanced dancers teach the classes. We keep it fun and hand out prizes. It’s a great way for my 16- to 18-year-olds to get some teaching experience. (And I can see where my future teachers will come from.) The money we raise goes toward future travel expenses. For the barbecue, our competition team and their parents work the event, and the proceeds are donated to the local animal shelter.
Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.
Photo by Dan Boskovic, courtesy of Joanne Chapman
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.