Dance Buzz
Arthur Mitchell in class in the 1960s. Photo by Milton Oleaga, courtesy of Columbia University

With scores of rare photographs, more than an hour of footage, programs, posters, music and art works, Columbia University's latest exhibition, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem's Ballet Trailblazer, curated by dance historian Lynn Garafola, celebrates Mitchell's career and his impact on the dance community.

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Teachers & Role Models
Stuart (right) with Mark Stuart Theatre member Jaime Verazin. Photo courtesy of Stuart

Movement is movement, says Mark Stuart, associate choreographer of Andy Blankenbuehler's latest Broadway hit, Bandstand. But the motivation to dance really comes down to being inspired by music that speaks to you.

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Dance Buzz
Photo courtesy of The Chicago Academy for the Arts

Although at first glance Zachary Jeppsen looks like your typical teenager, he's quite extraordinary. A junior at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, he travels from his farm near Whitewater, Wisconsin, to Chicago six hours a day, six days week. Yes, you read that correctly: six hours a day, six days a week!

Defying most of the usual suspect stereotypes associated with your average teenager, he seems to be ingrained with the dream trifecta—an abundance of discipline, passion and talent. He's the kind of student any dance teacher craves to have in their classes. But where does all that motivation come from?

DT talked with Jeppsen about his love for dance, his supportive parents and why that grueling commute has been worth it.

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Win It

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Dance Across the USA

By Jonathan Givens

Eps Pub; 306 pages; $39.95

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Dance Buzz
"My body is my friend; my body is my enemy," says Solomons Jr. Photo by Kyle Froman

Despite Gus Solomons jr being 79 years old, he still relishes in the joy of performing. In a recent episode of The New York Times' "The Daily 360" series, Solomons gets real about his aging body and what he learned from choreographer Merce Cunningham.

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Videos

This month's winner is a lyrical piece to "Wounded Animal" by Mary Lambert, performed at the Turn It Up Dance Challenge. Before setting the movement, Ashley Zelano, choreographer and artistic director at the Fierce Dance Academy in New Castle, Delaware, took a cautious approach with the 11 teenage dancers. The song describes the despair felt in a relationship where one party can't fully commit. But she understood that her teenage students might not relate to what inspires her as an adult.

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Win It

Win It!

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Teachers & Role Models
Russell always tells teachers, "If you're not enjoying the music, you're not going to enjoy your class."

When Emmy-nominated choreographer and master tap teacher Gregg Russell was a young dancer, his teacher Henry LeTang exposed him to classic jazz music—in class. But, as Russell recalls, no one was using that kind of music at competitions. For his next Showstopper competition number, he decided to dance to the "new" music. He went with an old jazz standard from the '20s. "It was this scratchy track—I don't remember the name—with blues horns, and I remember the judges on the critique tapes saying, 'Oh, this is nice,' like it was brand-new," he says. This opened Russell's eyes and ears to the powerful impact music choice can have.

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