As teachers and dancers, we've all fallen victim to needling perfectionism that can derail our confidence, and Desmond Richardson is no exception. Although he's now co-artistic director of the hugely successful Complexions Contemporary Ballet, he was once a freshman at the High School for Performing Arts in New York City, obsessed with comparing himself to others. Richardson's Graham technique teacher, Penny Frank, helped him concentrate on more important things.
"I was such a perfectionist—I would beat myself up because I didn't have what others had. I was seeing all of these kids who had come from the School of American Ballet, and I was a kid from Queens who had grown up on street dance. Penny told me it was a waste of energy to focus on that. She told me to instead concentrate on getting the information--the proper technique for all the styles of dance I was learning—and pay attention to that."
Complexions will perform at The Joyce Theater in New York, November 19-December 1. www.joyce.org
Photo by Jae Man Joo
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.