As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, I can’t help but think of studio mothers—the influential educators who give children their first dance experiences. Some do double-duty as both biological and studio mom. That’s the case with M’Liss Dorrance, who co-founded The Ballet School of Chapel Hill in North Carolina, where her daughter Michelle Dorrance (featured on the cover and pictured here with her mom) got her start. Today Michelle (“How I Teach Tap”) is both an exciting performer and a passionate teacher.

 

I don’t remember my first dance teacher’s name, but I have an indelible memory of tap and baton twirling as a preschooler in her basement studio. Those routines are a far cry from the age-appropriate developmental activities of creative dance teachers like Mary Seidman, who shares her approach in “Baby Steps," yet the experience instilled in me a lifelong passion nonetheless.

 

May is a busy month on many fronts, with the school year winding down, rehearsals for spring recitals, competition regionals—and National Tap Dance Day, May 25! But it’s hard not to be distracted with thoughts of summer. I’m curious—when you plan your vacation, do you look for dance-related activities, or something completely different? And on the dance-related side, do you prefer technique class, pedagogy-based training or the chance to see your favorite dance companies perform?

 

A summer dance festival can offer something of all three—as well as a little bit of dance heaven. In DT Notes, we point out the 2012 highlights of four prominent festivals that will appeal to both you and your students (pick up an issue or order one here for the full story). And the annual Lifetime Learners supplement included with this issue is filled with continuing education opportunities exclusively for teachers.

 

Here at DanceMedia, all new episodes of “Dance212” launch May 21. In Season 6, the popular online video series follows five dancers as they train at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre’s JKO school, the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, Broadway Dance Center and STEPS on Broadway. (The new season stands on its own, but you can view all past episodes at Dance212.com.) This is what it’s really like to dance in New York City!

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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
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.)

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored