Guiding Light

Judith Jamison, artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is the recipient of this year's Dance Teacher Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Gift of Dance

We celebrate just some of the ways dance teachers have touched the lives of their students.

Best of Back-to-School Advice

It's that time again—the start of a new dance year! Read on for tips from seasoned pros.

 

Teaching Creativity

Letting your students experiment with choreography is crucial to helping them develop as artists.

Fashion

New looks for ballet class

Reaching for New Heights

Brooklyn-based Dancewave may be geared toward kids, but it's anything but child's play.

There's No Place Like Home

Miller-Marley School of Dance and Voice in Overland Park, Kansas, makes Broadway dreams come true.

Performance Planner: On the Radio

Look no further than the radio for your next recital theme.

Tap Tunes

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards shares her favorite tap-appropriate tracks from OutKast's Idlewild.

Andy Blankenbuehler

In the Heights Tony Award-winning choreographer talks about the future of musical theater.

No Peeking

Are your students suffering from mirror dependency? Try these tips to help them kick the habit.

Mind Over Matter

When nothing else seems to work, use easy-to-understand imagery to help your students grasp technique.

A Parent's Perspective

One mother describes her search for a preschool dance class for her daughter and how she chose among four Bay Area programs.

Honor Roll

Discover how The National Honor Society for Dance Arts can benefit your students and school.

Staging Tudor

A professor shares how she prepared her students to perform Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies.

Lincoln Kirstein

Founder of The School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet

Competing with the Clock

Make rehearsals count with your strategies to best utilize your—and students'—time.

2008 Music Guide

Most popular releases for class and performance

To the Pointe

A guide to organizing a pointe-shoe clinic in your studio

The Art & Science of Pliés

Techniques for improving this essential movement

Boost Your Bottom Line

Five ways to diversify—and increase—your revenue stream

Jock Jams

Learn how to attract athletes to your dance studio.

Former students of Kelley gather around a cardboard cutout made in his honor at the recent tribute. Photo courtesy of Merritt

Every dancer has a teacher who makes an impression. The kind of impression that makes you want to become a dancer or a teacher in the first place. For Mara Merritt, owner of Merritt Dance Center in Schenectady, NY, and countless others, that teacher was Charles Kelley.

Known as "Chuck" to most, Kelley was born December 4, 1936. He was a master teacher in tap, jazz and acrobatics, who wrote syllabuses for national dance conventions like Dance Masters of America. Growing up in upstate New York, Merritt's parents, both dance teachers, took her into Manhattan every Friday to study with Kelley. First at the old Ed Sullivan Theater and the New York Center of Dance in Times Square, then years later at Broadway Dance Center.

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Photo courtesy of DM archives

"It's hard not to get too hurt in this profession."

Ann Reinking got real earlier this month at New York City Dance Alliance Foundation's Bright Lights Shining Stars gala. She was being honored as a 2017 NYCDA Foundation Ambassador for the Arts, and her speech was so moving that we had to share the entire thing with you.

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popular
Photo by Grant Halverson, courtesy of ADF

As a soloist with William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt and later as his assistant, Elizabeth Corbett got to experience firsthand the groundbreaking choreographer's influence on contemporary ballet. "I find it fascinating and never-ending," she says of his work. "It was a repertory that was constantly changing over time and still is." Now on faculty with the American Dance Festival, Corbett brings Forsythe's repertory and processes to the dancers in class every summer.

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Dancer Health
During seated stretches, I encourage my students to sit straight on their sits bones and then fold forward at the hips—even if they don't go forward very far. One student tells me that if she sits as I instruct, she can't reach forward at all. Why?
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Teachers & Role Models

In 2011, New York City–based choreographer Pedro Ruiz returned to Cuba after 21 years of dancing with Ballet Hispanico and more than 30 years being away. The experience was so moving that he created The Windows Project as a continuous cultural collaboration between American artists and Cuban dancers.

"I was so overwhelmed seeing all the dancers do Afro-Cuban dance with live music. It was the moment my soul reconnected to Cuba and to my roots," says Ruiz of his first trip back. "I started weeping." He saw that, while Cuban companies and schools have amazing knowledge and passion for dance, they needed access to train with teachers in a variety of techniques, and choreographers outside of Cuba. "Cuba is still struggling economically, so the dancers also don't have good ballet shoes or costumes, and The Windows Project was my way to begin to help," he says.

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How-To
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Midway through every semester at Indiana University Bloomington, contemporary professor Stephanie Nugent notices that her students aren't quite as awake as they were the first week of classes. They're tired from midterm exams and bring less energy to the studio. Nugent, too, feels the lull. "Teaching in academia is an arc with many peaks and valleys," she says, noting that the repetition of exercises can get monotonous. "On days when it feels like we've been doing the same thing over and over, I give students an improvisational prompt, and it reignites all of our interests. It's something to investigate, rather than something to repeat."

Most teachers experience a moment of stagnation at some point. Maybe students aren't progressing as fast as you feel they should, or you feel uninspired by the daily routine. Factors outside the studio, like administrative work, can also deplete your energy reserves. During these low and slow times, consider the following ideas to find inspiration and give yourself—and your students—a boost.

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Teachers & Role Models
Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, courtesy of BalletMet

Long before switching from ballet to Broadway became de rigueur, Edwaard Liang shocked everyone by leaving New York City Ballet to join the Broadway cast of the musical Fosse. Eleven years later, he defied expectations again by taking over as BalletMet's artistic director—without putting his robust freelance choreography career on hold. Liang, it seems, doesn't pay much heed to the conventional approach to a dance career.

In his four years with BalletMet, Liang has sought to challenge his dancers with diverse repertory that goes far beyond the typical confines of classical and contemporary ballet. This month, to celebrate BalletMet's 40th anniversary, the company teamed up with Ohio State University's dance department and the Wexner Center for the Arts to offer a smorgasbord of dance styles: from William Forsythe's singular brand of leggy-brainy dance to Ohad Naharin's exuberant Minus 16, performed alongside OSU dance students. Here, he talks to DT about the effect his choices have had on his career.

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