We couldn't ask for a better cover subject for the health and wellness issue than the founder of Dance New Amsterdam, Lynn Simonson. Whenever I mention hername, I hear some variation of this statement: "I learned to take care of myself in Lynn Simonson's class." It so happens that Simonson was in town during December to conduct her annual New York teacher training workshop, where a new generation of dancers is learning to teach her unique style of jazz dance. In "How I Teach" (page 32), she demonstrates an essential foundation for any technique: proper alignment. The woman is an inspiration. Now in her 60s, the lithe Simonson still has the moves and she literally glows with positive energy and enthusiasm. If this is the result of years of Simonson Technique, then I say: Sign me up! Watch her in action on www.dance-teacher.com. Health is a topic no dancer can afford to take lightly and we address it in Dance Teacher each and every month. In this issue, we've approached the subject from a variety of angles, including a college dance wellness curriculum (page 72), a profile on the eccentric creator of Pilates (page 62), and teachers who bring body-mind wisdom (page 38) into the studio. We also address the perennial question of body image (page 54) and the role teachers play in helping young women cope with unrealistic expectations. And there's much more . . . we offer something in each issue for educators in every setting. Let us know what you find helpful and what you'd like to see more of in the magazine—including questions for Ask the Experts. You can write a Letter to the Editor (e-mail is perfect), or send us a tweet @Dance_Teacher. Have you submitted your nomination for the annual Dance Teacher Awards? This month we will select four educators to honor at the August Dance Teacher Summit in categories of studiosand conservatories, K-12 and higher education. See page 12 for details. Post a video to Dancemedia.com! Congratulations to Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, California, for its winning entry in the Dance Teacher Video of the Month contest. For more about how you can share your expertise, publicize your school and performances and get your work recognized in the pages of Dance Teacher magazine, please see Chat Room, page 10. Here's to your health, Karen Hildebrand Editor in Chief
Starting this Saturday, the Children's Museum of Manhattan on the Upper West Side will have an interactive dance exhibit called "Let's Dance!" Basically every facet of dance is featured in the exhibit: kids can explore lighting design with a special child-friendly lighting box; choreograph with the use of props, signs and costumes; create accompaniment with percussion instruments; manipulate posable figures; see incredible dance photography and video; and, best of all, interact with the dance portal, where they can watch, learn and interact with professional and student dance companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dancing Classrooms, Mark Morris Dance Group and Martha Graham Dance Company. Whew. That's a LOT of great stuff.
Kathleen Kelbe, Pembroke School of Performing Arts | Pembroke, MA
Total budget: $100,000
Project timeline: 3 months (ongoing)
Kelbe expanded from 1,600 to 6,000 square feet. She used Rosco's SubFloor and Adagio vinyl and broke her extensive renovation into three phases.
Ellen Marshall, Off Broadway Dance Center | Fulton, NY
Total budget: $60,000
Project timeline: 3 months
Marshall renovated a Methodist church into a 4,000-square-foot studio, with Stagestep Flooring Solutions' marbleized gray Timestep in her two studios.
Diana Griffin, Fusion Dance Company | Palm Harbor, FL
Total budget: $40,000
Project timeline: 45 days
From restaurant to studio! The checkerboard ceilings were a restaurant leftover that Griffin decided to keep. Her O'Mara sprung floors were self-installed in her 7,000-square-foot space.
Barclay Gibbs, Dance Conservatory of Maryland | Bel Air, MD
Total budget: $10,000
Project timeline: 2 days
Gibbs chose Gerstung Floor Systems' AirBase 600 for her 2,000-square-foot studio. This semi-permanent flooring will travel with her, should she change locations in the future.
Nigel Burgoine, Ballet Theatre of Toledo | Toledo, OH
Total budget: $4,000
Project timeline: 1 day
In her work as director of physical therapy for New York City Ballet, Marika Molnar relies on tools like bands, balls and Pilates equipment to rehabilitate and strengthen dancers. She says there's a place for such tools in daily dance classes, as well. Resistance and stability tools can help students develop strength and even break bad habits. "Say someone is compensating because of a weakness or restriction—that's what they're always going to do," she says, even after a teacher corrects them repeatedly. "If you give them something that makes things a little unfamiliar, their brain has to participate more. It becomes not only a physical exercise but a cognitive one." The dancer learns in a new way, and improves.
Molnar has collaborated with Pilates expert Joan Breibart and PTs at Westside Dance Physical Therapy to create a series of tools and exercises with dancers' training and recovery needs in mind. Here, she shares three of her favorites.
Christy Wolverton had a student who often either missed class or seemed to be sick. "When you're in our pre-professional company, attendance is huge," says Wolverton, owner and director of Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, Texas. She tried to be patient with the dancer and communicate with her parents to get a better idea of what was going on at home. "When she was diagnosed with a serious illness," she says, "we were relieved that we didn't come down on her for something that wasn't her fault."
Laura Glenn can still remember the excitement she felt watching the Limón Dance Company perform at Central Park in the summer of 1962. "I turned to the person next to me and whispered, 'He's going to be my teacher!'" she says. Two weeks later, she started as a Juilliard freshman, where she indeed studied under the legendary José Limón before joining his company in her second year.