Campbell Midgley of Queen City Ballet in Montana calls herself a Nutcracker masochist. “I keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, so I guess I’m insane!” Heading into the holiday recital season, perhaps you can relate.
In this issue we share the advice and experience of studio owners and teachers who, like Midgley, every year face the music—mostly Tchaikovsky—of ambitious recital projects. Here are their suggestions for rethinking your recital this year:
- In “Recital Madness,” five teachers discuss how they successfully manage recital logistics to avoid disaster.
- The heartwarming experiences related by the studios of “A Nutcracker with Extra Heart” show it’s worth the effort to include children with emotional or physical challenges in classes and performances.
- In “Telling New Tales,” three schools switch up their recital routines with an original story ballet.
- And in “Running on Empty,” we learn that sometimes taking a brief time-out for yourself is enough to ward off total burnout.
Assistant editor Jenny Dalzell and photographer Matthew Murphy hopped the train to Philly this month to meet and photograph the gorgeous Arantxa Ochoa. We love the cover image they brought back.
“We basically staged a mock class for Arantxa and a few students,” says Jenny about the visit. “But the intensity and integrity that she brought to the session were remarkable. She was really coaching the students—they were sweating and sore by the end.” Furthermore, she says that Arantxa was so genuine and understated about her role with the Pennsylvania Ballet School, which recently reopened with its first class in 20 years. “Matt had to keep reminding her to get in front of the camera. She was doing it all for the girls.”
We’d love to hear about your unique take on holiday concerts. “Like” us on Facebook and join the conversation.
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.