Before class began yesterday, one of my 7-year-old ballerinas shared her perfect prank for today: "I'm going to tell my brother that I saw a cockroach under his bed. He's going to go crazy! And then when he tells me he can't find it, I'm going to shout, 'April Fool's! I fooled you!'"
Then, she asked me if we could watch Cinderella in class—the made-for-TV version with Brandy and Whitney Houston. I said it was a great idea, though we didn't have time that evening. We chatted briefly about the songs, until she told me that she hated musicals.
Given her previous statement of love for Cinderella, I was fairly certain she did not hate musicals. I'm sure some adult in her life expressed a dislike for musicals, and she thought it was the cool thing to say. (How unfortunate.) So I continued naming my favorites, in particular—West Side Story. I told her she shoud watch it; she'd love it, too. After all, it takes place in New York and the dancing is stellar.
The director of the studio, who was sitting close by, whispered, "I think she may be a little young for West Side Story." I hadn't thought about that at all. I immediately steered the conversation back to Disney, but I've been wrestling with this all day. Is 7 too young for West Side Story?
I remember watching West Side Story for the first time in school, when I was 9 or 10. I certainly didn't understand "Officer Krupke;" it was merely a catchy and silly tune. And I definitely didn't pick up on the bedroom scene or what Anita was singing about in her verse of "Tonight."
After talking to other editors and moms around our office, there are obvoiusly more kid-friendly musicals I could have (or should have?) recommended. But don't all musicals have some dark matter? Would you rather a young student watch West Side Story over knowing all the words to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance?"
What do you think? Was I wrong to suggest West Side Story? Leave comments below; let's start a conversation and share ideas!
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.