**Click here to print and download this quiz!

1) How many ballets did Vaslav Nijinsky create? (BONUS: Name the first work he created for the Ballets Russes in 1912.)

2) How tall was Nijinsky?

3) True or False: Nijinsky made his professional debut in a travelling circus.

4) Why was Nijinsky fired from the Imperial Theatre?

5) Which choreographer was instrumental in creating roles for Nijinsky that featured his talents and expanded his abilities? Name two of these famous roles.

6) True or False: Bronislava Nijinska, Vaslav’s brother, also became a boundary-breaking choreographer.

7) Which of Nijinsky’s ballets remains the first and only ballet that caused an audience to riot?

8) During the first rehearsals of this same ballet, what demand made the dancers resent Nijinsky because it completely contradicted ballet’s classic technique?

9) What psychiatric diagnosis did Nijinsky receive, following his break with the Ballets Russes?

10) Fill in the blanks: Nijinsky helped transform ballet from a _____ _____ into a _____ _____ _____ injected with social commentary that explored primitive or folk art as a basis for psychological truth.

1.) Four; BONUS: Afternoon of a Faun; 2.) 5’4”; 3.) True; 4.) He appeared onstage wearing only tights and a short tunic as Albrecht in Giselle.; 5.) Michel Fokine; the Golden Slave in Scheherazade, the nameless clown in Petrouchka and/or the Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose; 6.) False, Bronislava Nijinska was Vaslav’s sister, not brother; 7.) Sacre de Printemps (or The Rite of Spring); 8.) He demanded that they walk and jump in a pigeon-toed position, contradicting ballet’s outward technique.; 9.) Schizophrenia; 10.) courtly entertainment; modernist art movement
Read the full article on Vaslav Nijinsky here.

Photo by John Lindquist, courtesy of Dance Magazine archives


Introducing and teaching rhythm can seem easy, but in reality it can prove to be a complicated concept—especially for younger dancers to grasp. At Ballet Hispánico's School of Dance in New York City, Los Explorers for 3- to 5-year-olds uses classic salsa and tango music to help kids acquire rhythmic awareness.

Here Rebecca Tsivkin, early childhood programs associate, and Kiri Avelar, associate school director, offer exercises to help youngsters feel the beat.

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Dance Buzz
Panelists (left to right): Emily Nusbaum, Eric Kupers, Judith Smith, Deborah Karp and Suzanna Curtis. Photo by Aiano Nakagawa, courtesy of Luna Dance Institute

This past Saturday, I visited Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, California, to attend the Dance & Disability Discourse & Panel—a discussion with five artists, educators and researchers about access and equity for disabled students in dance education. Here are three statements from the discussion that I found eye-opening.

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Todd Rosenlieb, left, of The Governor's School for the Arts. Photo by Victor Frailing, courtesy of Todd Rosenlieb

You're setting choreography on your class and most of the students are picking it up. One dancer, though, is having difficulty remembering the steps. You review the material several times, but you fear that this is starting to hold back your more advanced students. Still, you're worried the struggling dancer will be left behind. What is the best way to proceed?

Memorizing choreography is an essential skill for dancers. Fast learners have more time to work on the technique and artistry within a combination, and they are often the first to catch the eyes of directors. Like most skills, learning pace can be improved. Encouraging students to develop their own memorization methods will help them approach choreography with confidence.

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Dancer Health
Neuromuscular expert Deborah Vogel with Jordan Lazan, right. Photo by Jim Lafferty

By strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the foot and ankle, a dancer can help prevent or correct existing pronation. Having strong intrinsic foot muscles keeps the arches aligned, preventing them from dropping inward.

Here, Vogel shares three strengthening exercises to help correct and prevent pronation. She advises dancers to include these in their cross-training regimen.

Mobilize your ankles. (Step 1)

For this ankle mobilization exercise, having a TheraBand wrapped around your ankles puts pressure on your feet to pronate. By resisting that action and keeping your feet centered through the relevé, you're essentially training the ankle where center is.

  • Sitting up straight in a chair, with your feet planted on the floor a few inches apart, tie a TheraBand in a loop around your ankles. You can place a yoga block vertically in between your knees to maintain space between your legs.

Next Page
Photo courtesy of New York Live Arts

Ellen Robbins' modern dance classes for kids and teens are legendary in New York City. Robbins, who has been teaching kids how to dance since the 1970s (and whose pupils included the actresses Claire Danes and Julia Stiles), takes the standard recital model and turns it on its head. Her students—ranging in age from 8 to 18—are the choreographers for the annual concert she produces at esteemed NYC venue New York Live Arts.

If that approach sounds borderline insane to you (we know you're all deep in the throes of recital season right now), consider Robbins' unique teaching philosophy: Improvisation is present in every aspect of class, for every age group. Here are four ways she shapes her youngest dancers into choreographers—almost without their realizing it!

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Teachers & Role Models
Former students of Kelley gather around a cardboard cutout made in his honor at the recent tribute. Photo courtesy of Merritt

Every dancer has a teacher who makes an impression. The kind of impression that makes you want to become a dancer or a teacher in the first place. For Mara Merritt, owner of Merritt Dance Center in Schenectady, NY, and countless others, that teacher was Charles Kelley.

Known as "Chuck" to most, Kelley was born December 4, 1936. He was a master teacher in tap, jazz and acrobatics, who wrote syllabuses for national dance conventions like Dance Masters of America. Growing up in upstate New York, Merritt's parents, both dance teachers, took her into Manhattan every Friday to study with Kelley. First at the old Ed Sullivan Theater and the New York Center of Dance in Times Square, then years later at Broadway Dance Center.

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