Meet the Editors

Karen Hildebrand, Editor in Chief

Karen Hildebrand is vice president-editorial for all publications and websites of DanceMedia ( Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, Pointe and Dance Retailer News). She joined Dance Magazine in 2001 as education editor and has led the Dance Teacher team since 2009. She hails from Colorado where she was active in the Denver/Boulder dance communities. Contact her at:

Joe Sullivan, Managing Editor

Joe Sullivan started out in the dance world as a fact checker with Dance Magazine. In the years since, he's worked as a copy editor for all of DanceMedia's publications, seen many amazing performances and helped edit two dance books: Shoot Me While I'm Happy, a tap dance memoir by Jane Goldberg, and American Ballet Theatre's The Healthy Dancer: ABT Guidelines for Dancer Health. He edits Dance Teacher's Lead News section and can be reached at:

Rachel Rizzuto, Associate Editor

Rachel Rizzuto graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern Mississippi with a BFA in Dance and a BA in English. New York is a far cry from her upbringing in Chalmette, Louisiana, but she is currently a very happy dancer with Mari Meade Dance Collective and takes class at Mark Morris Dance Center. Rachel covers the studio business beat and edits the monthly technique feature and Theory & Practice department. Contact her at:

Betsy Farber, Associate Editor

Betsy Farber graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a BA in Communications/Journalism. After college, she performed in regional theaters in New York, Ohio and New Hampshire, and was the swing in the national tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As a writer, she's freelanced for the Huffington Post, the L.A. Times and DAME magazine. She edits DT Notes and Contact her at:

Haley Hilton, Assistant Editor

Haley Hilton graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in News Media. She is from Salt Lake City, Utah, where she trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop. She taught at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio for four years and has danced professionally with Odyssey Dance Theater. She covers What My Teacher Taught Me, Chatroom, Face to Face and Teachers' Tools, and Technology, List and Recommended for DT Notes. She also edits Ask the Experts and Ask Deb. Contact her at:

Emily Giacalone, Art Director

Emily Giacalone earned a BFA in Communication Design (majoring in Illustration) from Pratt Institute. She got her start in magazine design with George Magazine and has worked on a variety of publications including Vogue, Four Seasons, Show People, Pilates Style, Pointe and Dance Retailer News. Contact her at:

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Via Kenedy Kalls Instagram

Dancers have a language all their own. From French technical terms to scatting out choreography dynamics, it's a wonder any nondancers understand a word we say! Perhaps some of the most confusing dancer terms are the various foods we use to describe our feet. To help dance outsiders out, DT broke down the foods that are commonplace in dancer lingo. Share them with your loved ones, so they can better understand the weird and wonderful breed of dancer that you are.

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I recently started back in modern dance after a long hiatus—I stopped dancing at age 11 and went back two years ago at age 24. I've found that when I'm on the floor, I can't open to a very wide second. Also, if I'm sitting in butterfly on the floor with my feet together, my knees are some distance from the ground. What can I do to loosen my hips?

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Dance Teacher Tips
Standing on stage is as important as moving. Photo by Arthur Coopchik

When your students are onstage, every dance step matters, of course. But so does every non-dance step. The simple act of being onstage—whether standing still, walking to a position or running from one place to another—requires a constant presence. And as Kitty Carter, of Kitty Carter's Dance Factory in Dallas, Texas, points out, "walking and running are actually part of the dance. They act as transitions from step to step." So teaching your students to understand the importance of active stillness and pedestrian choreography is essential, and it will help them see the "big picture" of a performance. But it's not easy.

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Dance News
Image via Michaels' Instagram

We all know and love Mia Michaels. She's a fearless choreographer and teacher, who's inspired a generation of dancers with her unique style, grace and brilliance. What's not to love? And now we can't help but gush over a personal confession she recently shared on Instagram.

Bottom line: No matter your age, size or shape, don't wait to love your body or yourself.

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Peter Boal coaching PNB dancers in Opus 19/The Dreamer. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy of PNB

In a windowless subterranean studio under the New York State Theater, I pulled back an imaginary arrow and let it fly.

"Good!" said ballet master Tommy Abbott. "I think you're ready. Tomorrow you rehearse with Mr. Robbins."

I was slated to play Cupid in Jerome Robbins' compilation of fairy tales called Mother Goose. It was a role given to the tiniest boy who could follow directions at the School of American Ballet. In 1976, that was me.

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It takes strength and suppleness to reach new heights of flexibility. (Photo by Emily Giacalone; dancer: Dorothy Nunez)

There is a flexibility freak show going on in the dance world. Between out-of-this-world extensions on “So You Think You Can Dance" and a boundaries-pushing contemporary scene, it seems the bar for bendiness gets higher every year.

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Dancer Health
Photo by Megan McCluskey, courtesy of MTJGD

Train yourself and your staff to spot indicators of serious depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. Bonnie Robson, a psychiatrist who has worked with the National Ballet School of Canada, provided this list and emphasizes that it's for teachers watching for external signs of duress. Students should understand the internal symptoms of depression, as well, like those detailed by Dance/USA.

If someone on staff is worried about a student, Robson says they should tell the studio director, who should call a meeting with the dancer and her parents (that's essential if she's a minor, particularly) to share the observations and consider asking the dancer to get a professional opinion, while avoiding drawing any conclusions themselves. "If the parents or the student are in denial of any problem, the teacher or director has the right to ask for a letter stating that the dancer is safe to dance," Robson says, treating the concern as they would an injury or concussion.

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