Laurieann Gibson arrived for the Dance Teacher photo shoot the morning after Lady Gaga’s awe-inspiring show at Madison Square Garden. Though Gibson said she was tired, you’d never know it had been a late night. (Doesn’t she look great?) Still fueled by adrenaline, the pop star’s creative director chatted with us about her start in dance and the phone call she made to tell Gaga about her concept epiphany—“We’re going to birth a new race!”—which they developed for the video “Born This Way.” But what impressed me most was that Gibson trained in Horton technique at The Ailey School. Read more in “How I Teach Hip Hop," about how she’s a stickler for proper training, and check out the phrase she demonstrates from “Born This Way” to share with your students. (To view it on video, click here.)

 

Though every issue of Dance Teacher includes advice and information for studio owners and directors (as well as educators in other settings), June is the month when we bring studio business concerns to the forefront:

 

“Retail Report”: A frequent question I hear is: Should I open a retail store in my studio? If you’re not sure you have what it takes to run two labor-intensive ventures, perhaps you could  instead leverage your relationship with a local dancewear store. We suggest you open a conversation with your local retailer. We’d love to hear about any creative collaborations that develop. No store near your area? We know storeowners who would happily travel to you.

 

“Location, Location, Location”: Since location can make or break a business, you can appreciate the leap of faith Ballet Austin took when it decided to consolidate school and company operations and renovate a risky downtown site. Read about how it’s turned out in “Location, Location, Location.”

 

“Summer Studio Checklist”: When was the last time you looked into studio management software? The features of new generations of these products may surprise you. Turn to “Goods” for a handy checklist of this and other essential business to-do’s for the summer.

 

We hope to see you in person at the Dance Teacher Summit, where the pages of the magazine come to life, July 29–31. (There’s still time to register: www.danceteachersummit.com.) And look for the July issue, where we reveal the 2011 Dance Teacher Award honorees.

Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

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Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

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Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

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Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

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Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

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Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

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How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

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